Top South African Keynote Speakers – #112

Top Keynote Speakers In South Africa
Top South African Keynote Speakers

I’m James Taylor and you’re listening to the SpeakersU Podcast, a show for aspiring and professional speakers. 

My guest today is Bronwyn Hesketh of Speakers Inc, a Professional Speakers Bureau, based in South Africa. Speakers Inc has branches in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban and was started 21 years ago by Bronwyn. 

In today’s episode, we talk about top South African keynote speakers, how the bureau industry has changed because of virtual, and her new WeSpeak project. Enjoy the episode. 


In this episode:

  • South African Speakers Bureau
  • South African Speakers
  • Top South African Keynote Speakers
  • Top Motivational Keynote Speakers In South Africa
  • SpeakersU
  • WeSpeak


Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

Top South African Keynote Speakers

So Bronwyn Welcome to the SpeakersU Podcast. Great to have you with us today. Thank you, James. It’s lovely to be here. Now, what is happening in your obviously very sunny part of the world that you’re in? At the moment? You’re in lovely Cape Town. So how are things going over there at the moment?

Bronwyn Hesketh  0:50  

Well, weather-wise, Cape town’s weather is only valid for the next 15 minutes. Now, Sonny, that may change, we don’t know. But things are picking up. I’m very happy to say that. We are not quite as far along as the UK with our vaccines. I don’t know if you’re aware, but we have a naught point two something vaccination percentage at the moment. So we are lagging behind you guys a little bit. But thanks to the hybrid, I think that we are beginning to see a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel. -Top South African Keynote Speakers 

James Taylor  1:27  

The green shoots are coming through. Now you’ve had the bureau speakers Inc. for 22 years. Is that correct? I know right? Twice. Amazing. Yes. That’s amazing. No love, no love. businesses get past like the first five years, and definitely, not a lot of bureaus get through this amount of time. So tell us how did it all start? How did you start your speak of yours?

Bronwyn Hesketh  1:51  

Well, I’m Gen X. So in typical Gen X mode, I had 13 different jobs before I fell into this across approximately 13 different industries. So I’m the kind of person who after three months, I’ve conquered the challenge onboard the next kind of the early 20s. Yeah, Gypsy behavior. And then I came across this industry and I worked in I don’t know if you know, if you follow crickets or your listeners follow cricket in any way, they’ll know about the wonders club in Johannesburg. And I worked there in the banqueting departments. And I looked after seven different venues within the wondrous main club as the only banqueting coordinate. Which was interesting in those days, because it was so long ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. pterodactyls were our preferred mode of transport. And we didn’t even have MS-DOS. In those days, I had a handwritten diary, which was the size of, I don’t know, a small coffee table. And each thing, each event, and all the details were handwritten in pencil, that’s how long ago this was. So that’s where I started in the eventing industry. And from there, I moved into being a professional conference organizer or an event planner, as you can call them over there. And I did that for a while. And then I happened to class, this part of the industry. And I have to tell you that sitting where I am, is the best part of the industry. For me, I love what I do, I don’t have a job, I have an adventure. And having come from those three months since where everything got boring. I am now looking at 25 years in this industry. And I’m not bored. And you know, there are days which are frustrating, there are days where I have cried. There are days where I have snapped the heads off Barbie dolls. And generally, it’s been amazing. I work with incredible people and I have the coolest job on it. So that’s how we -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  4:04  

so for those of you because we often hear these different phrases like a speaker, management company, speaker, like an agent and a speaker Bureau. So like, how do you see that? And also in the South African market especially. Is there a difference between those things? Or is it primarily speak of bureaus that exist?

South African Speakers Bureau

Bronwyn Hesketh  4:23  

So it’s primarily speaker bureaus. And when I started, there were a couple of agencies that would be termed nationally as agencies. So they looked after people exclusively, you couldn’t book them, you had to go through that agency. And that has changed over the years. But as we are going forward with the advent of Google and technology going as far as it is, that’s the pendulum swinging back, I think. So speakers are looking more for agencies who will look after them who will guide them and take care of them. Not only just the admin stuff but also be there as a partner. So those agencies here, then are working in close partnership with those speakers. They, as I say, it’s swinging more towards agencies and bureaus. But there are a few. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  5:14  

I don’t know what your website is, but something quite interesting is about how you, you, categorize by nation, as well, like a lot, not everyone, you know, obviously, you have the usual topics, the speaker speaks on innovation speaks on resilience, but you also have it by countries there. So do you get you to know, is that that is kind of a USP for you in the market, like working with a lot of these international speakers and bringing them into the market.

Bronwyn Hesketh  5:41  

So this was one of the most exciting, unintended consequences of the pandemic for us. So because our currency is so weak, currently, we are at 14 to the dollar, just under 20, I think to the pound, 17 and a half to the euro. It was pretty much impossible for us to bring an international speakers act, they were the odd ones, but they were few and far between and corporations don’t generally have a couple of million Rand to throw around at a speaker. And then, of course, the speakers would be wild. Do I really want to come to Africa, especially, especially the American market? Do I really want to come to Africa, for a negotiated rate, it’s two days to get here. It’s a day to do the gig, a date, three days, two days to get home? It’s a week out of my diary, is it really worth my while. So the fees would be really high. And it was just, it was always a struggle. Even though speakers said, I’ll come out, if you just pay my expenses to go on a safari, which was, yeah, that’s amazing. But those are also few and far between. So for me, when we started with the pandemic, and everybody decided they were going to, I don’t want to use that P-word, the perfect word, because it’s actually banned in my home. And last week, I heard one of our speakers actually use a beautiful word, by contrast, reconfigure, so we reconfigured things. So when everybody was busy reconfiguring the boon for us and I was walking around telling everybody that suddenly, we didn’t just flatten the curve of the virus, but we flattened the curve of the earth. Because suddenly, all of our clients who previously hadn’t, we’re not keen on zooming somebody in, we even looked at holographic somebody in before COVID. And it just got too expensive. I mean, it’s like a fantastic idea. I’m a Star Wars junkie. I mean, what a pleasure. I’d also love to hold Princess Leia in my hand. I mean, Who wouldn’t? But it was impractical. So for me, our clients were suddenly dragged over the finishing line of virtual, kicking and screaming and bawling their eyes out, but suddenly, they had no choice. It’s okay now to accept that virtual is not quite the same as having in-person events. Of course, we wanted to go to the Robbie Williams concert. Of course, we want the T-shirt. And I do think that when we get back to being I don’t know, I do. I even said the other word normally again. People are people people. And we are going to have a boon in in-person events. I do believe that when everybody feels safe when everybody feels that it’s okay to do that when the economies come, right. I do believe there will be a resurgence of notes in people in imposing events. But for now, clients are accepting that it’s okay to have somebody zoom in. And all of a sudden, we got to deal with the most phenomenal National Speakers. It has been a year for me of High and High and High, no Bye. It’s just been it’s been, I mean, -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  9:00  

this is a thing. You know, we often hear about all the negatives and there’s been plenty of negatives with the time that we’ve had to go through just now as well. But you’re seeing that that kind of flattening of the Earth is a really interesting one. I was having a conversation with a bureau in Australia the other day, about a territory like South Africa, where I get loads of inquiries there. But at the time you factor in the currency, which was always an issue, and then the travel and even though you and I were in the same timezone as each other. It’s a pretty long flight. And it just, it can never quite work usually for one, one-off dates. And now, it’s like, Wow, this is amazing. But one of the things I’m interested to know and I was talking to this Australian Bureau about this, she’s seeing on the virtual being able to bring in a lot of these amazing international speakers now that previously our clients can get access to, but also she said has been a bit of a boon for Australian speakers. Because of the nature of their particular lockdown, no one is able to come into the country. It is very difficult to come into the country. And so those clients, if they’re doing now, are starting to do in person or hybrid events, they’re having to hire more some of those Australian, there’s local speakers or you find that in Australia. I mean, you’ve got some amazing speakers actually in South Africa itself. Are you finding that? -Top South African Keynote Speakers

South African Speakers

Bronwyn Hesketh  10:27  

Yes. So there are instances where they would have gone for an international speaker, and instead, they’re going for it for a local. Yes, we’ve had a few. But more than that, we’ve been able to book South African speakers to speak elsewhere. So it’s been for those speakers that we market quite aggressively into the states and into the UK, we’ve had some really great again, who would have thought that some person in Texas, yeah, evoking somebody who speaks about the lions or the meerkats. But that’s, -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  11:04  

That’s a really interesting one as well. Because, you know, for me, we have a lot of American speaker listeners to the show. America is such a massive territory in its own right, you almost don’t have to leave America, you can bet a really successful actually, you can live in Las Vegas, and just build a really successful speaking career just in Las Vegas, Orlando, for those of us like, like myself, who’s based in the UK, which is a small territory, you’re in South Africa, as well as it can have a smaller population less developed in terms of larger kind of conferencing, you know, further speakers, this is an amazing time because all those issues that we would have had before that see with visas for moving in certain territories. We don’t exist anymore. Exactly. So you so that’s really that’s, that’s interesting. So so your speakers, your South African speakers now are really going in and we I know we have a SpeakersU member, your SpeakersU member we have another SpeakersU member I was talking to the other day, he was in South Africa, who’s really going not for America as a territory, another territory that he just couldn’t have gotten to before with because of some of the visa and the travel issues. So. So this is a little bit of a boon, than just now. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

Bronwyn Hesketh  12:16  

Exactly. That’s why I say it’s been, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, it was an incredibly tough year. And I don’t think that anybody that I know can safely and end with a straight face say that they had a good 2020 anybody who was relying solely on the speaking, keynote, speaking as their business, I don’t believe that we’re certainly not in South Africa. Nobody had a great year last year. But as we are opening up as things are getting to be a little bit more positive, and with the vaccines that are happening all over the world, not here, but all over the world. And so people are becoming more hopeful. And there’s that energy building. And I do feel that there is a groundswell of positivity that’s happening, I can feel it here. I’ve been speaking with a few speakers in London over the last couple of weeks. And the same thing there. Now there’s, there’s, there’s definitely, there’s definitely green shoots, there’s definitely hope there’s definitely movement in the right direction. And I do think that for those people who have embraced this reconfiguration, and they, I mean, we have some speakers who are really uncomfortable with doing virtual, because their presentation is very image-heavy. Some others really need to feel the energy of the audience and they struggle with having to look at the camera. I mean, obviously, we don’t want to do that. So it’s not, nor do we want to sit around a fire. We don’t want to talk to the fire, we want to engage with the people around it. So but those guys who are getting over those hurdles, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, with their stories, literally the world is our oyster. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

Top Motivational Keynote Speakers In South Africa

James Taylor  14:08  

So because I mean, for those that are listening to this just now, maybe the ultimate professional conference organiser corporate client, and I think actually, I know I want to bring in some South African speaker, who are the top motivational keynote speakers on the scene just now that maybe those event professionals should be checking out and maybe all of our speakers are not from South Africa. We should be checking out our competition now the people are going to be picking up the backsides very soon. Who are those names? It’s always difficult because I know you don’t have your favorites. But you know, it’s like, like give it a nice blend a nice mixture of different speakers from South Africa, we should check out

Bronwyn Hesketh  14:48  

my heart is literally fading in my chest as I just know that I’m going to offend somebody by not saying their name. So let me think about how politically I can do this without Having a target on my back.

James Taylor  15:03  

I mentioned one person you had I think you had on a podcast and I’ve had it on one of my podcasts before, is a woman that a South African speaker in the sickie, I think is capitalization who actually was living in Scotland for a while, but I’m not even sure she may be back as well. And I’ve seen her do a couple of things as well. I can’t even remember Lisicki’s second name now as well. Is it in secret and kizi? keys? Yes, that’s right. Yes. So who are some other good speakers? We should be checking out -Top South African Keynote Speakers

Bronwyn Hesketh  15:39  

right so we I mean, in terms of international markets, the wildlife speakers are always going to be easiest to book because of those guys so there’s Lorne Stoker’s, who speaks about his big cat guy. SDN DBS speaks about meerkats and how they operate as a team. And he’s a stunning presentation and it applies everywhere. Quintin could see a is an evergreen favorite of mine, who’s been talking about the San Bushmen for as long as I’ve been in the industry, and he remains amazing. He’s a natural-born storyteller. And he’s just so lovely to work with. there in terms of business stuff. I mean, Graeme Codrington is always going to be up there in terms of international speakers, because he’s, I mean, just such a professional, and his content is always on point. And who else in terms of adventures, we’ve got David Greer, who ran the Great Wall of China twice, because once wasn’t enough, obviously. So he ran it in either direction. And he’s run so many different adventures. But what I love about David is that he doesn’t do it for self-aggrandizement, candies, no. or his ego. He does it to raise money for children with cleft palates so that they can suppuration smile so that he raises money and awareness for them so that these children, these infants can have cleft palate surgery. And I’ve never been in a room where David doesn’t get a standing ovation. I’ve never been in a room where the moms in the room aren’t weeping. If I’m just being so moved by the amazing work that he and operations Malzieu. Those are the speakers that really work for me. It’s the guys who are doing it. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  17:29  

I’ve seen Remember to speak and apologies is not South African Zimbabwe. But I know you can have neighbors. So cousins, and Rusty libres, gagne? Yes, I saw him speak in Singapore. And that is an incredible story. Really, really powerful story.

Bronwyn Hesketh  17:53  

It really is. And he’s actually one of our exclusive speakers here with my group. But he also we was so privileged, I think over December, he moved down to Cape Town, and he came and set our fire around what you guys would call a barbecue we call a Bry. He came and sat around and he was telling his story. And I mean, what a gift, you know, that’s right, James, I have the coolest job on Earth. Yeah, I do. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  18:23  

I’m James Taylor, keynote speaker, and speaker business coach, and this is the SpeakersU Podcast. If you enjoy listening to conversations, they’re going to help you launch and grow your speaking business faster than you thought possible. Then you’ve come to the right place. Each week we discuss marketing strategies, sales techniques, as well as ideas to increase the profitability of your speaking business and develop your craft. You’ll find show notes for today’s episode as well as free speaker business training at 

If you enjoyed learning about our guest today, then check out my interview with the top speaker of your agent Andrew vine, where he shares his insights on the future of virtual and hybrid events. Here is my conversation with Andrew Vine of the insight bureau at After the break, we return to my interview with Bronwyn Hesketh, where we discuss how she is connecting clients with speakers. This week’s episode is sponsored by SpeakersU the online community for international speakers, SpeakersU helps you launch grow and monetize your speaking business faster than you thought possible. If you want to share your message as a highly paid speaker then speakers will teach you how just go to to access their free speaker business training. 

It’s fantastic to hear all these really interest and also these names and I actually spent I was paying a little bit of time on your website today on speakers Inc. and I highly encourage people to go and check out the website because it brought there are some phenomenal speakers I’d never heard of before. I know that Wow. Okay, I need to check this person out. This is so good. I think this is good. We’re gonna see new voices coming into the scene. As you say we’re kind of flattening the earth this way as well. But you: The reason we got in contact I think originally you became a SpeakersU member. So first of all, how have you been finding speakers? You as a member? -Top South African Keynote Speakers


Bronwyn Hesketh  20:09  

I think it’s great. I think that you’re doing an amazing job helping new speakers and boats to get into the business and establish speakers to grow their business, I think I mean, it’s wonderful. Good job.

James Taylor  20:20  

I think you’d be you. I think you’re. I think we have like three bureaus now that are actually members. And, a lot of them kind of referred some of their speakers to us as well, especially the speakers who are just kind of getting started going from free to paid speakers. That’s, you know, exactly trying to find your thing can be a bit challenging at times. But you started something recently that I think is interesting, and I would love to talk about it called we speak. So tell us, what was the reason behind creating this? What was the impetus of it and tell us how it works and how people can get involved in it. Okay, -Top South African Keynote Speakers

WeSpeak Project

Bronwyn Hesketh  20:55  

so WeSpeak, it happened about three or four months before lockdown. So I, on top of having the coolest job on Earth, I also have the privilege of working with my best friend, who also happens to be my husband. And he is, I refer to him as the best wingman on earth. So all we do is work. And even when we go away for the weekend, we’re still working, and we are bouncing ideas off each other. And so for us, it was what we wanted to build an app for because there isn’t one, there are many, many directory sites, let’s say many directory sites for speakers to to list themselves on. But there isn’t an app, there isn’t something that you can open up on your phone while you’re in a meeting for an event organizer. But you could open on your phone and look at and go Okay, well, this guy’s really cool. You need to be near a desktop, or you need to use your Safari browser if you’ve got an iPhone, and it’s tiny writing and you know, I’m getting older so that’s a pain to have to keep scrolling out and zooming out. And so we wanted something that is available 24 seven in our event planner’s pockets. But our challenge was obviously being a bureau. How do we do that without putting ourselves out of business? Because you know, we need those Commission’s obviously we’ve got bonds to mortgages to pay we’ve got you don’t you don’t have Quest you have markets -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  22:30  

do you think we used to have well he’s actually going away disappeared off the streets?

Bronwyn Hesketh  22:36  

Exactly different branding. Willie’s is very high streets and not like your Woolworths. Yeah. So when we say Well, we’ve got to pay Willies. It’s not. It’s a Yeah, it’s a higher amount, I think then normal, your Willie’s version? So obviously, how do we not put ourselves out of business? And so this was, we were back and forth about this. And usually, over the years that Duncan and I have worked together, I will sit up in the middle of the night and go wake him up, sweetie. I’ve been thinking, and then they would be this grown from next to me in the band go, oh, Lord, here we go. I’m not going to sleep again for another three weeks or so. This time, it was him. So this is entirely Duncan’s brainchild. I’ve given some input into it. But it’s really his. He’s the master brain behind us. He woke up and he said, I’ve got it. This is how we do it. And so what we did was we put it, we made it into a subscription model. So it’s not a matter of we are not the app is very distinctly not a bureau. We don’t take any commissions of any bookings that come in via the app. So the speakers have absolute control. And we also looked at other offerings out there in the market. And we thought, Well, what are they all doing? And how do we make the best of what they’re doing, and make it accessible and affordable, so that everybody can use it to their best advantage? Because if you’ll allow me to just digress momentarily, I don’t do what I do for the money. I never have. And I know that people who are Nobuo owners go yar right. Okay, like, really, but I don’t really, I’m sure you’ve picked up. I’m passionate about what I do. I love my job. I love my people. For me, the money happens, but it’s not my driving force. My reason for doing what I’m doing is to get my messengers in front of those people who need to hear their messages. And there is a backstory to that but I’m not going to bore you with that right now. But it’s absolutely for me to get those guys who the David’s who’ve run the Great Wall of China in front of those people who need to hear their message so that one lady can stand up and write a personal check out of her She was a corporate bigwig in a corporate, a personal check. For 100,000 Rand made out to Operation Smile directly after David spoke because she was so moved by what he was doing and what he is doing that she needed to be part of that and she needed to be helping. So that for me is the kind of that’s what that’s my big purpose is to put as many people in front of audiences as I can, so that the audiences can hear what they need to hear at the right moment. So for me the app, it was never about the money me. So I want it to is a platform, it’s a marketing platform, which allows speakers and extraneous suppliers to get in front of event planners, wherever they are all over the world. It’s not just a South African app, it’s global. So we do have event planners in the states who have downloaded the app. We’ve obviously got South Africans, we’ve got the UK, we’ve got Australia, I think we’ve got a couple in Singapore as well. So our vision is really to take this to the global stage. And to make it as easy for people to book speakers as they can. There’s an indirect touch, you don’t book through that. You can if you want to get a review, you need to book through the platform. So we tell the speakers to take the booking, just get them to confirm through the platform, because if it’s confirmed though we speak, then you can leave a review. And obviously, the rankings are, according to reviews. So it kind of makes sense that if you’re with us, and you’re on the platform, that you want people to leave those reviews for you. I mean, social proof is everything. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  26:44  

What are the challenges? I can hear if I mentioned this to other speakers, just now they’re going to say, Okay, that sounds great. It gives me a new place to get in front of those eyes of the ears of those decision-makers, whether it’s event professionals, corporate organizers, but it always is like How is that? How is the demand generated? How do you get that in the hands of those decision-makers? How do you get them using App? How do you get them booking stuff through it?

WeSpeak App

Bronwyn Hesketh  27:15  

Well, interestingly, from my 22 years of marketing, the bureau experience also comes into play here, because I’ve had to get Speakers Inc, and conference speakers in front of those exact people. So we’re using a lot of the same tactics. So we have a database in South Africa, we are promoting the apps to our database here. We have a database of about 2000 event planners in the UK, and also about 25,000 across the US. So what we’re doing is we are using email marketing campaigns to get in front of them. We are using live events, which we launched last week. In fact, we interviewed Mark Sherman Pink’s drama last week. He was amazing, what an awesome human being, again, coolest job on Earth, right? So who knew? So we’re using that to drive awareness across all of our platforms. So whether it’s Facebook and Instagram or LinkedIn, we’re aggressively marketing the platform. Because why would the point be of not marketing the platform? Because we want our speakers to get in front of those people that will book them -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  28:29  

and for that, for that event professional, what is the benefit of them using an app as opposed to going on a website or a directory or calling a bureau traditional Bureau? Okay, so

Bronwyn Hesketh  28:40  

There are a couple of things that we’ve done. So you can have it if you have a listing on a site on the back. First of all, there’s also a desktop version, which we didn’t, again, an unintended consequence is getting much more viewing from the event planners than we anticipated. And I’m guessing that that’s because we’re all kind of sling lockdowns, right? So there’s no need to be on your app when you’ve got your laptop or desktop open in front of you. So what we’re seeing is a huge surge in desktop views, maybe three, four, or five times the app views. And we think well, that’s great because you know that when they are asked at least they still got the app, they are going to be in meetings. So what we’ve done just to answer your question is we’ve come within the app, if you list with us, you’ve got not just your static profile, you’ve also got you can upload PDFs so that the clients can download the PDFs from wherever they are with your branding as the speaker. So your sales are there. Everything about you is there. They are allowed to have two videos. And that’s only a bandwidth issue not because we are otherwise about it. You’ve got your testimonials there. You’ve got your book Store, if you have a book, it’s your own bookstore, it goes directly to you. We have a little thing called dinky notes, which we came up with earlier this year. It’s like a dinky car, like a dinky car. But it’s a dinky keynote. So a lot of people don’t have the budget anymore that they used to have to bring in, bring in, high ticket speakers, but they do still need to motivate or help the remote team somehow. So we’ve got speakers who have put together a short 1015 minutes during our keynotes, dinky keynotes, and the app on the listing. So you can buy that dinky note from that speaker from within the app so that a client can download it, they only get two beard ones, and show it to the team. So that’s all available as well, within your profile, we’ve got the training section so that if you’ve got an online training course, you can go in and upload that. And you can sell or sell again from within your store, your online training course. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  31:13  

And then from the perspective of the speakers then, so that one, obviously one of the benefits of something like this is they’re not going through a bureau, they don’t have to pay that they commissioned to a bureau. So what would it cost them to be a member of something like this? -Top South African Keynote Speakers

Bronwyn Hesketh  31:27  

$25 a month? Okay. Which would be sweet. Yeah, which we thought was really quite reasonable. There are others that are charging a lot more, I think to be, and I’m speaking under correction here, because I haven’t recently looked back, there are other websites who are charging more than net for less functionality. And we also don’t, and while we’re still kind of in the it’s not really beta testing, but we’re still in the sort of launching phase. So when we do a mass email campaign, we don’t charge for speakers today, I think even though the featured speaker this week is Robbie cogen, who climbed Kilimanjaro with two broken ankles. I think it might be last week, I don’t have my husband, I haven’t looked at this week. So we send that out. And we don’t we didn’t charge Robbie for that, you know, he invited might be done in packets. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  32:24  

So basically, if let’s say that an average bureau commission is 25%. If you’re even just a $1,000 speaker, then that’s one year for the whole year. That’s basically one speech, really, and you kind of got an extra 5000 or 10,000, obviously even less than -Top South African Keynote Speakers

Bronwyn Hesketh  32:43  

that. Exactly, exactly. We wanted to make it almost like a no-brainer. And to give as much value as we can to it. I’ve spent 22 years helping to build speakers’ careers. And for me, this was an actual extension into helping them do that to reach more people. So Tim gave it a couple of weeks ago to say to me, Oh, so you’re helping more people help more people. And I was like, Yes, that’s exactly it. We are helping more people help more people. And it’s sort of tied in perfectly with a pandemic, with all the markets opening up to international speakers everywhere. It was, you know, who, again, I sound like I’m positive about the pandemic, which I’m not by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m, I am annoyingly optimistic, -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  33:38  

but I do think it’s I think it’s interesting as well as what we’re going into and this is now you know, as globalization, I know people talk about D globalization, but globalization still very much happening and new markets are opening up all the time. Parts of Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, obviously Africa is like this has always been the coming, you know, continent, there’s always been okay, this is opening in Kenya and maybe everyone every, every person I speak about in the maybe a raves about Namibia as well. So So I guess also what this does is from a bureau standpoint, you can also stratify almost your client those clients that can pay a fee to be able to bring in someone like be you that can really put forward a suite of potential speakers it can really tailor-make that you know really find the right one for them. They will come to you directly. But for those that just say Listen, I you know, my budget is, is this or actually, I’m more experienced, I’m quite comfortable in just dealing there. I don’t need to feel like I want to have a beer. I just know I can know what I want here. Then they can go through what we speak and that’s their channel. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

Bronwyn Hesketh  34:49  

Exactly. Exactly. So it’s, I mean I do have we’ve got very loyal event organizer clients here and I did it a couple of weeks ago. So We work with the lady here called Hanley Princely who is a freediver, who is the world record champion free diver who has the most spectacular visuals. She speaks all over the world and her standard speaking rate is 11,000 US dollars. So she’s not an up-and-coming speaker by any stretch of the imagination. But because she spent most of her career outside of the country, she came back here and had a baby. She lives down the road from me in Kalk Bay. So the South African market doesn’t know her. So I recommended her to one of our clients who came back and said, okay, I’ve had to look at a website. It’s beautiful. But I need more information. And I was in the meeting at the time. So I just went because we can from within the app, you can share your profile directly via WhatsApp, it is just a built-in integration to it. So I just clicked share, to watch out for my client. I said, there you go. There’s everything that you need about her, all of her collateral is there. Have a look, see, tell me what you think. And five minutes later, they came back and said, Please confirm with her, that was already a bureau, a client who was very happy to have a look and get all of that information from the app, and still come back and talk through me anyway. So you know, I said the other day, also to another speaker, it’s all about relationships, if you have a good relationship with your clients, they’re not going to try and cut you out. As a bureau, we have really good relationships with some of our clients, maybe some more than others. But we have great relationships with speakers. So it’s, it’s, it wasn’t always a matter of being worried that we’re going to put ourselves out of business, it really was a matter of getting as much collateral in front of a decision-maker as quickly and succinctly as possible for the speaker. So I can make but I -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  36:56  

think as well, it’s also quite nice to disrupt yourself sometimes and to you know, and I see this with a lot of companies, I work with big, big companies who have those, whether they call the innovation labs, or they might have skunk projects or sometimes call them these things that kind of hidden away completely separate offices, separate spaces, whose job it is to build the thing that’s going to kill the main revenue driver of the company. Because we don’t do it, someone else is going to do it. And it’s often where you see, you know, things like Uber came about, they weren’t invented by taxi drivers, because it came from a different place. And so I think the industry, and I think also is interesting, just now you are seeing a different generation from like Gen X, and you’d seen different generations come in, who are more mobile-first. And I think as we start to open up again, there’s obviously been a little bit more challenging. Just now people are doing more stuff with their laptops or their desktops. But as we start to move that that event professional, that conference, the organizer is going to be back on planes again, they’re going to be the airports are going to be backstages. They’re going to be talking to the AV crew. And it’s going to be much easier for them to use that mobile app instead. Absolutely. On the app. How are you dividing your time just now between your traditional bureau business and then we speak because it could get to a point where we speak I think like get ahead goes ahead and what you’re gonna do. Do you have a plan for that? I know you’ve got three. I think it was three officers just now in Durban, Cape Town, and Joburg. Berta, how are you going to grow? -Top South African Keynote Speakers

Bronwyn Hesketh  38:32  

Well, sleep is largely overrated. In fact, we are in the process of opening offices in San Diego as well. So it’s, it’s Yes, it’s for me, I don’t think, yes, the aim is for all as we speak is definitely Where are we going with that? That is going to be our big baby, I can see that happening. Specifically, because our event planners are getting younger and younger. So they are going to be mobile-first. And as you said, if we didn’t do it, somebody else was going to so we you know, we had to get in there first. And we did, which has been an interesting exercise during a pandemic, I must tell you so that we can see and my vision for the app is to have the world of eventing in the palm of your hand. That really is it. I want an event planner, whether they are sitting in Kathmandu, whether they’re sitting in Nairobi or in Las Vegas, to be able to find exactly in the palm of their hand when they need it. So it can’t be done really on a part-time basis. So back then speakers Inc was awesome, baby. You know it was my firstborn child, really my daughter is turning 18 this year, speakers turn 22 in June. So, I don’t know that I’m ever going to be able to walk away from that, because it is the coolest job on Earth. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that. -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  40:08  

So, for people that want to learn about both of these both WeSpeak and Speakers Inc, where should they go west best best to head to. 

Bronwyn Hesketh  40:16  

So speakers Inc is or But started with the overhauling at the moment. So I think the dot co sat is the best place to go. And for the app, they can either download it on the App Store or the Android store, or they can go to the desktop version, which is  -Top South African Keynote Speakers

James Taylor  40:51  

All these links here as well for everyone on the show notes will go to speakers, just to type in Bronwyn. And actually I was thinking Bronwyn, I think it’s a Welsh name. I seem to remember, the Welsh names are very nice.

Bronwyn Hesketh  41:02  

I know, my mother has, my mother had a McCobb sense of humor, giving me a Welsh name in the middle of them.

James Taylor  41:10  

Well, Brahma is great to hear how you been? We’re not gonna use that word p, we’re going to use the word reconfiguring your speaking business for this new time, hopefully, next post-pandemic period that we’re going to start going into hopefully, we’re going to start seeing this a new roaring the 2020s that’s my hope. There are lots of good signals there that we could be looking towards that in the world. So thank you so much for coming on today. And we’re gonna put all these show links, people go to 

You can find all the links here. Everything we’ve been talking about today. Fantastic. Thank you, James. This has been such fun. You can subscribe to the SpeakersU Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts while you’re there. leave us a review. I really appreciate it. I’m James Taylor, and you’ve been listening to the SpeakersU Podcast.

-Top South African Keynote Speakers