“If success is a team sport, partnership is the playbook!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Over my 30-year career, I’ve built relationships with some of the most respected speaker bureaus in the world. The result is that the same agents who represent me also book various global icons, politicians, and business leaders into corporate and association events – such as Barack and Michelle Obama, George Bush, Magic Johnson, Anderson Cooper, and Richard Branson. Whether you are dealing with me directly or through one of my many global agents, my clients can rest assured that you are dealing with someone who has risen to the top of the global speaking industry.
When I determined last fall that AI was going to be THE topic on the speaking circuit for 2023, I laid out my strategy for bringing my clients insight – I would focus on the executive level and strategic issues; I would double down on emphasizing the topic through a specific AI-oriented Website (jimcarroll.ai), and I would work to ensure that my partners – these speakers bureaus – understand the role I could play.
I marking success on all counts. Over the last few weeks, I’ve written articles that several of my partners have shared with their vast global client base.
WSB – or Washington Speakers Bureau – ran my article about the massive legal and other risks with AI, “Artificial Intelligence: The Acceleration of Risk and Legal Complexity & What To Do About It.” [link [
My longest-standing relationship is with Canada’s National Speakers Bureau/ Global Speakers Agency – they booked me into my very first paid speaking engagement in 1993! Theresa Beenken is the CEO – and when I mentioned to her that I could write a summary article about the AI Megatrends that she could share with her clients, she jumped at the opportunity. The result was that over at their site, you can find the article I wrote for them, “Realizing the AI Opportunity.” [ link ]
If success is a team sport, you have to know who your partners are, and how you can empower them for success.
That’s long been my mindset and a part of my playbook, and I continue to follow it to today. The result is that the same agents who book some of the biggest names in the global speaking industry also regularly bring into their clients, knowing that I deliver the unique insight that their world-class clients require.
I also keep them up to date in various ways. Part of this is recognizing that there are always new team members, new ideas, and new content, and reaching out to them to keep them up to date. On the weekend, I had an AI do a short interview with me for the team at AAE about the article they were about to release.
WSB? There has been a lot of turnover with various agencies through the pandemic, with a lot of new team members. With that in mind, some months ago I filmed an update for them to reintroduce myself to them, walking through some of the high-profile events they’ve booked me into over a 20-year period, and the topics that I tend to focus on:
When a client contacts me for a speaking engagement, they might notice one of my first questions will be, “How did you find me?” If it was through one of these partners, I’ll make sure to have them involved in the booking and contracting process, because I truly value the relationship they bring, both to me personally and to my clients. That way, my clients know that are dealing with a top-notch professional, long in the industry, and experienced at what they do.
You’ll also know that you are dealing with folks who deal with some pretty rarified global talent. AAE books out that guy from Ted Lasso!
The Harry Walker Agency in New York can get you some pretty cool speakers for your event, and I always marvel that I share in their company.
Fully expecting that in this social media-driven world some crank-with-an-agenda will complain, WSB represents some folks with a more conservative track record – as well as insight on some fairly recent current events.
Every once in a while, I’ll have a ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming‘ moment, when I realize how blessed I am to share the company I keep! For example, at WSB you can book a couple of golf legends for your event. And if you like, enhance the program with my keynote Driving the Future; Linking the Acceleration of Golf to the Speed of Business.
Because of these amazing and powerful relationships, I’ve had some pretty fascinating moments over the years.
I’ve shared events and stages with folks like Leonard Nimoy (“Spock” of Star Trek), the late Carrie Fisher (“Princess Leia” of Star Wars), Terry Bradshaw of the NFL, Biz Stone (Founder of Twitter), Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, Astronauts Scott Kelly (last pilot of the Space Shuttle), Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 and ISS Commander Chris Hadfield, business leaders Jack Welch of GE and Roger Goodall, the Commissioner of the NFL, actors Robert DeNiro, Goldie Hawn & Forest Whittaker, and Lee Trevino and Bubba Watson of golf, among others.
These lead to some pretty surreal moments – the time the Secret Service had me cut my keynote 15 minutes short because they had to do a security sweep before President Bush took the stage; seeing my golfing son sitting backstage in the green room with Lee Trevino and David Leadbetter tailing golf; talking with Terry Bradshaw backstage in the green room about managing travel; and chatting with the late Carrie Fisher backstage about her battle with depression, and why she felt it so important to bring that message to the stage.
What do you need to know? If you are booking an event or leadership meeting, there are important partners out there who will be invaluable to your process.
Learn about them, work with them, and have fun with them!
Because partnership is the playbook when success is a team sport!