Never Underestimate the Power of a Great Speaker.
By Jim Obermeyer

In 2010, I was attending monthly networking/educational breakfasts sponsored by a local investment firm in my community. These well-attended sessions were excellent local networking opportunities and usually had interesting speakers.

Topics ranged from an annual economic review to sales and marketing tactics, operations and financial strategies. All good stuff for a small business owner.

And then there was the one session where the speaker was billed as an author and change agent.  Among all these serious business types accustomed to very serious presentations, this one seemed a bit out of place. But I went anyway. 

The presentation that John O’Leary gave that morning was unlike anything this group had ever heard. His message about passion, courage, and empowerment in business touched everyone in that room. I picked up a copy of his presentation and DVD and sent it straight to Jeff Provost, EDPA Executive Director. I thought this guy would be an excellent keynote for EDPA ACCESS.

As it turned out, Jeff arranged to have John present at the 2011 ACCESS Conference.

For me, that’s what I look for in the keynote speakers at ACCESS—someone who has such a strong and compelling message that it leaves the audience wanting more. At this past ACCESS in December 2017, that’s exactly what Ben Roth did in his session entitled “Transformation, Synthesis and Value: The Evolution of Experiential Marketing.” 

Ben Roth speaks at ACCESS 2017

Ben Roth speaks at ACCESS 2017

Roth’s presentation went straight to the shift we are seeing in our industry away from a supply/service centered model to a strategic experiential model, from a focus on just efficiency to engagement and adaptability. And the audience left wanting more.

There are a lot of good educational sessions during the ACCESS conference, but the keynotes are the ones that get us all fired up and ready to engage during the conference and after. I still stay in touch with John O’Leary and have seen him speak several more times. 

That’s what a good keynote will do…