With nearly 16 years in the speaking industry, Marnie Ballane heads up the Calgary office as our Director of Business Development, Western Region. Marnie loves to get out and see speakers in action, and is passionate about the meetings industry in Alberta and beyond. When she’s not working, you can find her with her three sons or following all-things football. She also aspires to be tennis champion of Alberta (seniors division) one day! We’re thrilled to shine our spotlight on Marnie today:
Did you always want to work in the speaking industry? If not, what other careers did you consider?
No–I just picked up a book and really loved it. I ended up asking the author/speaker for a job, and was introduced to the business that way. I have a BA in political science with a focus on Middle Eastern Politics–I wanted to be an ambassador to a small foreign country, so it’s a bit of a change–a good change.
Any advice for people getting started in the industry?
It’s very exciting–no day is the same as the day before, so you have to like change. My advice is to immerse yourself in it in any way you can, and realize how much fun it can be.
Do you have any great stories from events you’ve attended featuring Speakers’ Spotlight speakers?
I love to hear Mark Tewksbury tell his Olympic story from Barcelona. I’ve heard it many times, but he still makes you so excited to hear the end and you wonder, “Geeze, I hope he wins!” Every time!
What is your favourite thing about working with our speakers? With clients?
Speakers: I like interesting subject matter and learning, so it’s great to be able to hear so many different speakers and learn what has made them who they are.
Clients: I like to hear their goals and objectives for their conference, or in their role at their company, and help them to achieve them with the help of our speakers.
Best subject in school?
Which Canadian city is your favourite?
Toronto, but I just recently fell in love with Charlottetown and the rest of PEI!
Desert island album?
Soundtrack from Les Miserables.
Last book you read?
Phil Jackson–Eleven Rings.
Last film you saw?
How To Train Your Dragon, Two–though I slept through a good portion.
What speaker(s) alive, or who have already passed away, would you love to hear speak?
I’d love to see Hillary Clinton speak!