Since 1995, we’ve booked over 38,000 speaking engagements and average about 2,500 per year now. That’s a lot of events, and with details aplenty and high stakes for clients and speakers alike, we work hard to ensure each and every one of them is a success.
But what powers this hard work and dedication? Our secret sauce is fun. It’s written into our core values and beliefs — we take work seriously, but not ourselves too seriously. This value not only fuels our culture of fun, but also a supportive and collaborative work environment that allows us to be our best.
As Speakers Spotlight’s co-founder and president Martin Perelmuter says, “we spend a lot of time at work, it would be a shame to feel like you can’t have fun while you’re working,” and we are very thankful he feels that way.
Throughout 2023, we’ve published a series of articles exploring what makes Speakers Spotlight, Speakers Spotlight, including an in-depth look at the mission that fuels us and the values that guide us.
We’ve previously explored how passion and compassion have shaped our team and why we respect intelligence but reject arrogance. Today, we’re looking at how fun and a dash of levity keeps us grounded, connected, and, most importantly, engaged in the work we do.
It’s All About Perspective
For Martin, this value plays two roles. First, it keeps things in perspective. Events can be stressful. As a company that serves the events industry, we understand this wholeheartedly, which is why we take great care in building an exceptional roster of keynote speakers and providing exceptional service and support to our clients. We want finding and securing a keynote speaker to be the easiest part of your Critical Path, from ideation to event execution.
But, as all event planners know, life happens. It was important to both Martin and fellow co-founder, Farah Perelmuter, to build this into their company culture. Mistakes happen, flights get cancelled, people get sick, etc., and that’s ok because together, we can find a solution (and help our clients find the solutions) to whatever life may throw at us.
Secondly, this value serves as a reminder that no matter how stressful things may get, we have a pretty cool job. We get to work with and learn from some of the most fascinating people in the world and help audiences do the same.
Watch Martin delve into this further in the video below:
Bringing this Value to Life
One of our incredible event coordinators, Alannah Ford, shared a story of this value in action. “We all work extremely hard to get things done, like re-booking cancelled flights super early in the morning to ensure a speaker gets where they need to be,” she said, “but we aren’t afraid to take on these challenges and roadblocks. We have fun doing it and celebrate and share those wins with each other.
“One story that comes to mind is when a speaker came down with COVID and could no longer make an in-person event. After cancelling their flight and finding a very last-minute replacement (the event was the next day!), we booked the new speaker’s flight only to find out they were actually going to be flying out of a different airport. Oops! After re-booking again (third times a charm!), we got them to the event with time to spare.
“We work hard but know that life happens! We get the job done every time while also participating in office lunch bingo, office Olympics, and Bachelor fantasy drafts.”
We have Alannah to thank for creating and organizing said Bachelor fantasy drafts, and yes, Martin did participate in them. He is not so secretly a hard-core Bachelor fan, and these drafts sparked some pretty epic conversations and debates.
We Put the Fun in Work
Fun is a cornerstone of working at Speakers Spotlight. Our director of accounting, Michelle Xu, has been with us since September 2007 and echoes the same sentiment as Alannah.
“We can encounter many unpredictable situations in our day-to-day and we go above and beyond every time we do. This is how we show our level of care and dedication to our teammates, speakers, and clients. But, if you visit us in person, you’ll see that we also love to have fun and share a good laugh together.”
When starting this company, Farah knew that she needed to have fun at work and wanted to create this kind of culture at Speakers Spotlight, and Martin agreed. They both believe that people are more productive and engaged when they’re having fun and would much prefer to hear laughter all day then work in silence.
Watch the video below to hear more from Martin and Farah on the importance of building a fun-fueled company.
We’ll end this article with one final note from our Chief Operating Officer Paula Sage. Before joining the team in 2016, she was a client of ours for 20 years and said that “every single experience and each person I worked with — whether sales, event coordinators, or accounting — were friendly, responsive, and never missed a beat! When it came time to make a career change, I knew this was the perfect fit — I believed in the culture, the people, and the work.”
In the seven years Paula has been with us, her opinion hasn’t changed. “We love our work and the benefits of working within this amazing culture,” she said, “There are jokes, laughs, and so much fun (along with lots of hard work!).
“We’ve been getting together in person again in our new office and at social events, and it made me realize just how much I love being around this energetic, fun, entertaining bunch!”
We’ll be exploring more of our values in the coming weeks — with the help of our incredible staff and community of speakers and clients — looking at how they’ve shaped our company over the last 28 years, and for many more to come.