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November 02, 1990 - Image 49

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-02

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Special to The Jewish News


magine you're a busy
administrator or a meet-
ing planner trying to
pull together a pro,
gram. But a piece of
the puzzle is missing.
You need a keynoter or
perhaps a training con-
sultant to give the anchor
presentation, and you're not
sure where to look ; whom to
get or don't have the time to
Or you're interested in
self-improvement, but don't
know where to get a timely
earful of skills, from a known
expert, at a reasonable price.
Good, entertaining and in-
formative speakers are in de-
mand, and two local en-
trepreneurs are trying to
meet that demand in dif-
ferent ways within the same
kind of business.
Diane Lynn and Michael
Jeffreys are talk brokers. Mrs.
Lynn owns the Michigan
Speakers Bureau in Farm-
ington Hills; Mr. Jeffreys
owns Yes . . . A Positive Net-
work in Troy. Both act as mid-
dlemen, securing speakers for
Mrs. Lynn operates more in
a one-on-one vein, matching a
speaker with an individual
customer's needs.
The core of Mr. Jeffrey's
business is a subscription
seminar program, where he
brings in speakers on a
regular basis.
Both businesses grew out of
what their owners saw as a
need in the community- — to
provide a way to connect
speaker and audience.
After spending 2U years as
a volunteer putting tegqthe-
programs for local communi
ty groups and iinding
speakers, it dawned on. Diane
Lynn, over time, that what
this city needed was a local
clearinghouse for speakers.
"All these years doing non-

with the

Diane Lynn runs the Michigan Speakers Bureau.

profit, creating programs and
special events, I was aware of
a need, but I wasn't ready to
devote a full-time career to a
new enterprise. I wanted to
spend time with my
About two years ago, when
her youngest child was nine,
Mrs. Lynn decided to start a
business, which "had nothing
to do with a speakers
bureau." Along with a friend,
she formed a pre-teen dance
business, which is still in
.i.rom the first business
came a second — the
Michigan Speakers Bureau.
"There's a need in the com-
munity for good speakers, and

a way for non-profit, a cor-
poration, a hospital or a
retailer to have somebody
local to call and say, 'You
know, I need somebody.' "
Local resources are of ut-
most importance, some say.
Rhona Fidler, Hillel Day
School's development coor-
dinator, had to find a speaker
for the school's annual dinner.

Michael Jeffreys of Yes
Positive Network.

She says she didn't have the
time or the contacts to track
down an appropriate speaker.
In her experience, using a
speakers bureau is just more
"And to be able to have it in
this city saves a lot of time, ef-
fort, long distance phone calls

and tsoris," Ms. Fidler says.
Eventually, with Mrs.
Lynn's help, Hillel secured
author Rabbi Joseph
Teluslikin as its keynoter.
There's more to securing a
speaker than getting a name
at the right price and then

signing a contract. Some con-
sulting and thought work
goes into the process.
"It's not just a matter of
answering them with, 'Well,
who do you want?' You really
have to weed through a lot of
their thought processes to see
who the proper speaker might
be," Mrs. Lynn says.
As the "broker," Mrs. Lynn
handles all of the ar-
rangements for a speaker's
engagement, from the book-
ing to the transportation.
Sometimes a traditional
speaker is not appropriate.
Mrs. Lynn says she has seen
a growing demand for skills
trainers, facilitators and
seminar leaders. A year into
her venture, Mrs. Lynn says
her business is half training
and half what she calls
"entertainment" speakers.
She intends to pursue that de-
mand for trainers.
Some speakers are local
personalities and consultants.
The Michigan Speakers
Bureau is also tied into a net-
work of national speakers
bureaus. Largest sources are
two of the top national
bureaus, both of which are
based in New York City.
Through those bureaus,
Mrs. Lynn has been able to
secure the services of colum-
nist George Will and televi-
sion journalist Richard
While Mrs. Lynn brings a
'speaker to an audience,
Michael Jeffrey's business
brings an audience to his
speakers. More than 600 peo-
ple at a time have attended
his monthly speakers semi-
nar series, delivered lecture-
style at the Southfield
Mr. Jeffreys, 26, felt it was
almost a personal mission to
bring in some of the nation's
top educational speakers at
an affordable price.
Three years ago, shortly
after he had graduated from
The University of Michigan,



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