The Speaking Industry Loses a Towering Figure: Mark French, Leading Authorities


Just a few days ago, I wrote a blog post about one of my most important partnerships – the many speakers bureaus who support and work with me.

Little did I know that the founder and CEO of one of those agencies would soon pass away.Mark French was the founder and CEO of one of the world’s leading bureaus, Leading Authorities. They have been booking me into events since the late years, almost some 20 years.

Mark had a stroke a number of years ago, but fought back and enjoyed his ultimate passion by getting back on the ski hill.

If you do anything today, share some kindness with those around you. Our time in this world is all too short.

I sent this note this morning to some folks at Leading Authorities.


Hi folks

I woke up this morning to read Rainey’s so heartfelt message with news on Mark.
I am so sorry for your loss and for everyone at Leading Authorities. Pretty certain I’ve missed some folks on the cc’ list.
This is a really small, small industry, and so news like this touches everyone.
You will know by the outpouring of messages that you will get from everyone in the coming days (including this one) that he was a tower in the industry, who did so much to shape what this crazy industry has become.
Rainey, in her Facebook post, spoke of Mark being an idea machine.
So let me share a story on that…
I remember being approached by Leading Authorities and Matt – what, 15, 18 years ago? – after I had been with them a time, with the idea of joining the ‘Marketing team’. This was after LA had already listed me for some years, back to the years!
The idea was that as a speaker I would *pay* LA money – it was a fairly hefty investment for 2003 and was a lift! —  to be given a bit of a bump in the listing on the Web site, some marketing oomph, a highlight in the big printed catalog (remember that!) ….and then for that, an arrangement with respect to commission on future LA bookings.
In other words, I as the speaker should invest a little bit in my own mutual success with LA.
I remember thinking – Really? . Then, I remembered  that I was the innovation guy, and I preached about the need to adopt new ideas on stage, I should do it myself.
So I signed on, and it worked out wonderfully.
I don’t know if Mark was behind this particular initiative, but it’s a great example of how LA is always out there…..
I am so sorry for your loss, and hope that you will have much opportunity in the coming days to share your stories of your joy of knowing him.


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