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About Us: We Respect Intelligence, Not Arrogance

About Us: We Respect Intelligence, Not Arrogance

Speakers Spotlight is in the business of ideas. We believe that speech can be a catalyst for positive change so the value of ideas and the intellectual capacity behind them is crucial to what we do. This is why we included as one of our six core values that we respect intelligence, not arrogance.

Earlier this year, we launched a new website and a new look to reflect our evolution as a company. Our values grounded us throughout this process — while we look different and have enhanced the services we provide, the foundation of who we are remains the same.

We’re exploring this foundation in part two of our “About Us series”, which takes an in-depth look at our core beliefs and values. First, we looked at how passion and compassion have shaped our team. Now, we’re digging into the important distinction between intelligence and arrogance, and how this value defines our team- and roster-building practices to ensure an excellent client experience from ideation to event execution.

A Business of Learning

There’s a fine line between a confident and intelligent person and an arrogant one, Speakers Spotlight’s co-founder and president Martin Perelmuter said. An arrogant person doesn’t believe they can learn from other people, he continued, but this business is all about learning.

We’re fortunate to work with some of the most accomplished people in the world. “Every day we get to learn something new,” Martin said, “we’re challenged to think differently.” So, when we’re hiring or building our team, we look for people who are curious and open-minded so they can thrive in our culture of learning.

Jemimah Cataga

This also translates to how our team works together. We have one of the most experienced teams in the industry, with more than half of our team working with us for 10+ years. We use our collective knowledge and expertise to provide our clients with unparalleled service.

One of our newer team members Jemimah Cataga experienced this value in action when she joined our all-star accounting team in 2022. “As an individual who is new, I am constantly learning and developing my knowledge of the speaking industry. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by people who use their expertise to help their fellow colleagues and treat each other as equal regardless of their experience and background.”

An Ever-Evolving Roster of Experts

We hold our speakers up to the same standard. An arrogant speaker, Martin said, can create a poor experience for staff and clients alike.

Many of the speakers we work with are also some of the most humble people. In those rare instances when we come across a difficult personality, Speakers Spotlight’s co-founder and CEO Farah Perelmuter said, we choose to cut ties with them because it’s not fair to either our staff or clients. Events are stressful enough without the added difficulty of an arrogant speaker.

This is part of why we’re so selective with the speakers we represent. Every year, we’re approached by well over 1,000 speakers seeking representation. We prefer working with the long-term in mind and seek speakers who share in that approach.

Kelli Thompson

Our senior administrative specialist Kelli Thompson has worked at Speakers Spotlight for 15 years, holding several roles from event coordinator to client services executive to her current role, where she’s in constant communication with current and prospective speakers. Pretty much every booking we do — that’s about 2,500 per year — runs through Kelli’s inbox, and pretty much every speaker we work with (past and present) has turned to Kelli for help at some point.

The most successful speakers, Kelli said, are those who are open to feedback and advice from our staff. They’re willing to evolve with the needs of our clients to maintain their longevity in the speaking industry.

Just as we weed out arrogance within our own team, we do the same with our roster of speakers. An arrogant speaker would not thrive in our culture of growth and learning. Just as we learn and grow from our speakers’ knowledge and expertise, we hope they can learn and grow from ours (and our clients) as well.

A Key Ingredient to Our Success

Watch Martin delve further into this value and its important role in shaping Speakers Spotlight:

We’ll be exploring more of our values in the coming weeks and how they’ve shaped our company over the last 28 years, and for many more to come.

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