It’s time to say goodbye to 2016 and leap into Speakers Corner’s 19th year. (Or waddle, as a quick poll around the office confirmed that between us we consumed 77 mince pies over the Christmas period).
But first, it's only right that we take a moment to look back on what has a been a jam-packed 12 months of hard work and fun. Our dynamic, passionate and cake-fuelled team of 16 have been busy helping our clients find speakers for over 1000 events across 6 continents, scoping out the freshest and best talent on the speaking and entertainment circuit, and building strong relationships with our industry peers.
Amongst this, we put on three successful Knowledge Guild events (our tri-annual speaker showcase); held our very first Comedy Collective event to showcase some of our amazing comedic talents; became an award-winning speaker bureau; partnered with some brilliant organisations; and welcomed six fantastic new team members, to boot! Check out our highlights below.
Growing our team and looking to the future
We’ve gained some lovely new team members this year.
Multi-talented linguist Verity Baynton has joined the account management parade, alongside our resident actor-turned-model Adam Cuthbert (who heads up the department), ‘master of games’ Lucy Baily and Debbie ‘100%’ Price.
Over in marketing, we’ve welcomed a new head in the form of Charlotte Sheridan, a book fiend who can whizz through five novels in the same time it takes me (Lucy Musselwhite) to read one, and marketing executive Lizzie Staiano, to whom the office owes our Uber Eats addiction. Together, the three of us have been focussed on creating interesting content that showcases the talents of our speakers and what Speakers Corner is all about. We also launched our new Instagram, and of course, you can still find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
To the logistics dream team, there’ve been three wonderful new additions – singing soprano Anna Marshall, music enthusiast Dave Ford and Alisha ‘Keys’ Eberle. “All three are highlights in my eyes!” says Rebecca Matthews, our head of logistics. Both herself and fellow event coordinator Helena Horesh have been working at Speakers Corner for over eight years, making sure that speakers are well-briefed, fully prepped and get to their events on time.
An insight into our diet here at HQ
(But don't worry, we get lots of exercise too)
Meanwhile, award-winning baker Paula Mahmassani (she really did win an award) has made sure we spend our money wisely as our ever-astute finance director; our brilliant office manager Louise Wafer has continued to keep everything running smoothly and coordinate our incredible team outings, and our managing director Nick Gold has had several more fights about 'the best cheese' with his brother and business partner Tim Gold.
We work really hard, but we also like to have fun - playing with Sydney the Dog; discussing what we’ve been reading at our monthly book club; and eating a lot of food on ‘Pizza Tuesdays’, ‘Burger Wednesdays’, ‘Surprise Chocolate Days’ (every day), and at our Summer and Christmas parties.
Kicking the year off with our team Away Day
Every year at Speakers Corner, we like to kick things off with a team Away Day - an opportunity to think about who we are as a business, in-between scoffing lemon cake and playing tense games of ‘Mafia’. This February, we waved goodbye to London and headed to a stunning country retreat in Hertfordshire. To help get our brains a-storming, we were thrilled to be joined by one of our keynote speakers Andrew McMillan who challenged us all to explore what you, our clients, really need from us and how we can make sure that you receive the outstanding consultation, booking and logistical service that we strive for.
Brainstorming with Andrew McMillan at our team Away Day - Coltsfoot, Hertfordshire
Continuing the success of The Knowledge Guild
In collaboration with The Brewery - a top event space in the heart of London – our Knowledge Guild partnership is a unique speaker showcase series for event professionals. In 2016, we hosted three – each one collating some of the best speaking talent on our roster to discuss a particular topic of interest. Check out the videos below!
‘Above and Beyond - Get Going for 2016’ (February)
‘2016: What a Difference a Year Makes’ (November)
Laughing (a lot): Launching our first Comedy Collective and visiting Edinburgh Fringe 2016!
In 2016, we were delighted to launch our very first comedy showcase, The Comedy Collective, to lighten up one fine evening in September with some eye-watering entertainment (and a cocktail or two). We hand-picked a brilliant host - Lee Nelson - and six of our favourite performers on the comedy circuit - the star of Channel 4's Catastrophe Rob Delaney, the hilarious Alistair Barrie, the edgy Ian Stone, the musical comedian Rob Deering, the self-deprecating former Etonite Ivo Graham, and the brilliant comedy writer Jo Caulfield - to bring the laughs at the ever-so-snazzy Ace Hotel Shoreditch.
Big laughs at our very first Comedy Collective
It has to be said, we are very good at laughing here at Speakers Corner. We had a brilliant time scoping out the new comic talent at Edinburgh Fringe this year - with Charlotte and Lucy B reporting back to us all their favourites entertainers and shows upon their return to the office. We look forward to more giggles in 2017.
Quick selfie while Charlotte and Lucy B scope out the Edinburgh Fringe talent
Winning awards, forming partnerships and featuring in the press
As well as hosting our own events, we were thrilled to form some exciting partnerships, as well as attend and sponsor some great industry events, including Networking Under the Stars, the Meetings Show (Centaur Live), Haymarket, Unique Venues, Firehouse, the Buyer's Network Club event show, and Confex (with MD Nick speaking at several of these).
Confex in March involved two days of activities for the gathered event and venue organisers at London’s Olympia. In his capacity (at the time) of Chairman of the European Association of Speakers Bureaus (EASB), Nick spoke on 'Getting the Right Speaker for Your Event'. “It was a great opportunity to share ideas with an association-focused audience on getting the best ROI from a speaker", says Nick.
We loved meeting everyone at The Meetings Show
April saw us brush our hair and put on nice clothes in order to attend the 10th Exhibition News Awards (ENA). Taking place at the Park Plaza, the evening was hosted by the charismatic Rory Bremner and highlighted successes in the event exhibition industry. We were honoured to sponsor the prestigious 'Best Venue Over 8,000sqm' category, with Nick on hand to announce the winner.
In July, as one of the 120 associate members of the PPA (the main UK professional body for magazine media), Speakers Corner were delighted to sponsor the PPA Connect series in celebration of live events. "Live events continue to thrive as a platform because what they offer is incredibly unique," commented PPA Business Media Manager Caroline Cronin.
Nick announcing winners at the ENA
We were also pleased to sponsor the Sustainable Events Summit in November - an enlightening day of keynote speakers and panel discussions that explored how event professionals can promote sustainability, with Benita Matofska discussing The Sharing Economy.
And, of course, were chuffed to win Silver for 'Entertainment/Speaker Bureau Agency of the Year' at the EVCOM Live Awards, also in November! A partner of EVCOM, we were proud to take part and be recognised at the event, which celebrates the best in the live and experiential events industry.
Plus, with Nick scribbling away for various publications, we've continued to be a thought leader in the speaking industry. For The Huffington Post blog, Nick has written about Clinton vs. Trump speaking styles, the art of oratorship, and integrity and authenticity in public speaking, and his words can also be found in City AM, Management Today, GQ, Square Mile and London Loves Business.
It's safe to say that it's been a busy one, and we wouldn't have it any other way. We look forward to more exciting things to come in 2017. To find out what’s in store, stay tuned for MD Nick’s end of year letter! Until then, we hope you had a great year and here’s to the next!
We represent a total of over 6000 speakers, with 1000 listed on our website. For more info, call us on +44 (0) 20 7607 7070 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.