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Staff Spotlight On: Kelli Thompson

Staff Spotlight On: Kelli Thompson

Kelli Thompson joined the Speakers’ Spotlight team in August 2008 as an Event Coordinator, and then transitioned to Client Services Executive. In January 2014, she moved into the role of Culture and Communications Specialist. We’re thrilled to put the “Staff Spotlight On” on Kelli today!

Did you always want to work in the speaking industry? If not, what other careers did you consider?

Before I started working at Speakers’ Spotlight many moons ago, I wasn’t even aware that there was a speaking industry. I stumbled into working here because a friend of mine posted a job opportunity on his Facebook page and the rest is history. Back then, I was working toward a career in radio, and switched gears since it was really difficult to find steady work in the broadcasting world.

Do you have any great stories from events you’ve attended featuring Speakers’ Spotlight speakers?

I recall an event where the great Max Valiquette’s A/V just would not work, and ever the cool customer and professional, he still wowed the crowd with his presentation. It didn’t even faze him! He handled the technical snafu with grace, humour and, since he knows his stuff inside and out, everyone in the audience forgot by the end there was even a technical difficulty to begin with! It was pretty amazing.

What is your favourite thing about working with our speakers? With clients?

I think my favourite thing about working at Speakers’ Spotlight is the access we have to so many great ideas! We have the opportunity to meet and work with people from all different sectors, and learn about the kind of work they do in the corporate world, the non-profit world, and with associations. I was floored when I found out there was an association for snack foods!

There is so much to learn, and so many interesting organizations out there that require our help in matching the right speakers for their events! I also love that we get to learn what the speakers on our roster are up to when they come to meet with our team. It’s pretty fascinating to find out what they’re working on next!

Best subject in school?

Drama, and oddly French class. I can still conjugate être in two seconds flat! Je suis, tu es, il est…you catch my drift.

Which Canadian city is your favourite?

I was born and raised in my favourite Canadian city of all time, Toronto! I just think this is a pretty great city. There are so many different neighbourhoods that are all pretty distinctive, great food, tons of good places to see bands, plus there’s dogs everywhere! Toronto, you’re alright by me and I love you, just be better at sports okay?

Desert island album?

This question plagues me, it keeps me up at night tossing and turning. I don’t want to answer it, but I know that I must. I’m not even sure I know if my pick is THE ONE, since I am crazy about so many musicians and bands.

Anyway, here we go–I would have to say that if I was stuck on a desert island the one album I would take with me would be The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street. See, because I’d be exiled and likely very bored, this classic double album would keep me boogying on the beach for hours. And this album has the hits that just won’t quit: Tumbling Dice, Happy, Sweet Virginia, Rocks Off, Ventilator Blues, and my personal favourite Loving Cup. Good gravy, that is one helluva song!

The whole history behind this crazy album is amazing–the Stones had tax problems in Britain at the time, so they had to leave and much of it was recorded at the Villa Nellcote in the south of France, and the sessions were pretty loosey-goosey. Keith Richards had all sorts of people hanging around, like Gram Parsons who was asked to leave after awhile because he was apparently a bad influence on Keith’s excesses. The rest was recorded in Los Angeles with some cool guests like Billy Preston and Dr. John! (I’d like to sneak Elephant by the White Stripes in my bindle for the desert island too, but that’s a story for another time friends.)

Last book you read?

Had Me A Real Good Time: The Faces, Before, During & After. Oh man, this book is so great! It’s all about the formation of The Faces, one of the great rock n’ roll bands of our time! It traces the history of the band with members Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones, and Ronnie Lane when they started out in England with Steve Marriott in The Small Faces, while Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart were cutting their teeth with the Jeff Beck Group and touring the US.

Steve Marriott left The Small Faces, Woody and Rod got fed up with Jeff Beck and BOOM…The Faces were born! I mean, here’s just a taste of the book: “Initially ignored by the hip cognoscenti in Britain who regarded them as passé, the Faces were quick to make their mark in America. Through a potent combination of hard work, creativity, and a readily identifiable image of approachable lads next door at the best party you ever had, they overcame this initial indifference toward them to become one of the biggest and best loved bands of the Seventies.” Now please watch this fantastic performance of their song Stay With Me, and enjoy Rod’s cool man-blouse.

What speaker(s) alive, or who have already passed away, would you love to hear speak?

I really wish I had the chance to see Rubin Carter speak. I worked with him a lot in my time here at Speakers’ Spotlight on events, and he was always so warm, friendly, and funny! His story is so unbelievable and powerful that it would have been really motivating to see him in action.