Successful Meetings - June 2008 - (Page 44)

Insurance Meetings Bottom-Line Speakers Here are six popular speakers who’ve addressed insurance industry conventions and conferences with intelligence, energy, and humor By Ron Donoho As program manager for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), Barbara Schell helps put together meetings and conferences that focus on bottom lines and financial issues. The Park Ridge, ILbased MDRT aims to provide members with resources to improve their technical knowledge, sales, and client service, while maintaining a culture of high ethical standards. Easy enough, right? Find some economists and number-crunching speakers, and line up the details with the speakers bureau. Not so fast. MDRT conferences must support the “whole-person concept.” That means meeting programs must also address seven crucial aspects of life that should remain in balance— family, health, education, career, service, financial, and spiritual. That’s why Schell books speakers like Li Cunxin. A Chinese ballet star, Cunxin (pronounced “Schwin-sing”), defected to the United States and became an international star with the Houston Ballet. His defection was a major diplomatic problem, and Cunxin talked about the process in a moving way at MDRT’s 2007 annual meeting in Denver. “He later became very interested in managing his own investments, and is a broker in Australia, and acts as chief of the Asia desk,” says Schell. “He talks about financial stuff, but he really is motivational when he talks about his personal side.” But insurance organizations do essentially get together to talk about numbers and markets. And that’s what Jeff Thredgold is practiced in doing. He does about 80 speeches a year, and is booked for the 2008 annual convention and career conference of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), to be held this September in San Diego. Thredgold is a numbers guy who also likes to inject humor into his presentations. He calls himself an “economic futurist,” because, he believes, “that sells better than ‘economist,’ because they aren’t, generally, great speakers.” Thredgold says economics is a dismal science. “There are so many people ready to predict doom and gloom,” he says. “There is so much negativity in the media. But the audience wants to feel good—not like it wants to jump off a bridge. I’m realistic, but optimistic. It’s not an artificial optimism—it’s what I predict and judge to be the case.” What follows is a cross section of some of the speakers insurance organizations are booking—in the past and for the near future, both motivational and industry-specific. Besides more on Cunxin and Thredgold, meet political junkies Mary Matalin and James Carville, management and technology expert Ed Morrow, and workforce trends specialist Peter Sheahan. JUNE 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS 44

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - June 2008

Successful Meetings - June 2008
Editor's Note
Industry Trends
Planner Spotlight: Kelly Broz
Technology Talk
Food & Beverage
Websites of the Month
Pre-Event: Tech
Pre-Event: Bartering
Tools of the Trade
Dialing for Dollars
The All-in-One Resort
Bottom-Line Speakers
Places & Spaces
Florida’s West Coast

Successful Meetings - June 2008