CMI Blog

the latest from cmi speaker managment

Posts by Karen Harris

Seventeen Years in the Making

By Karen Harris | Jul 13, 2018 | Comments Off

How One Speaker Kept the Faith, and Delivered on The Promise

Fresh off his recent closing keynote at The Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT) Annual Conference, Keynote Speaker Jason Hewlett, received a standing ovation from the more than 15,300 audience members and realized the cumulation of a vision and goal set in 2001 when he embarked on his speaking career:  To speak on the mainstage at MDRT.

“During my entire youth there were MDRT plaques lining the hallways of our home,” shared Jason. “My Dad, John Hewlett, being in the upper echelon of the most successful in the world in life insurance and financial planning fields, his lifetime membership in MDRT made it my goal as well. When I began my career in 2001 looking for big stages to perform on, asking my Dad where I should begin, he recommended MDRT because they had the best speakers at their conferences he’d ever seen. I made my first call to them, and I’ve submitted to be on their stage as a speaker every year since.”

For Jason, it was a home run, Olympic medal, life-changing moment. “Well-earned, well-deserved, and we are quite sure just the tip of the iceberg for what is next for this show-stopping entertainer and keynote speaker” shared Karen Harris, CEO of cmi speaker management. “He lights up the stage with humor, impressions, and an animated presentation that is just out of this world. More than that, however, he CONNECTS with messaging that is relatable, heart-warming, and exactly what audiences are looking for today.”

The topic he took the stage with was his signature, “The Promise” which compels audiences to take a long look at the impact their own “promises” make on the lives around them. While fun, engaging, and completely entertaining – the keynote has poignant moments that leave audience members feeling transformed, inspired, and motivated to take positive action in their lives.

“There is so much heart and humanity that just pours out of every speech Jason delivers,” shared Julie Escobar, industry consultant. “He is loved by audiences, adored and respected by his colleagues and peers, and a dream for meeting planners to work with. High entertainment, low ego, and a double-watt personality – all make him a speaker companies want to hire again and again.”

In a world that can certainly use a lot more fulfilled promises and big dreams coming to fruition, Jason’s journey to keynote for one of the most prestigious events hosted by the world-class organization of MDRT sends a resounding message to all of us. Keep your promises. Keep the faith. Stay focused and driven. Extraordinary things can happen when you do.

Great work, Jason. We can’t wait to see what event you’ll headline next.

Plogging, People, and Our Commitment to the Environment

By Karen Harris | Jun 08, 2018 | Comments Off

Everyone Can Make a Difference

If you know any of us here at cmi at all, you know that we are passionate about our planet. What you might not know is that I grew up on a farm and my parents taught us to take care of 'the land' because then it will take care of you. They didn't think of this as being environmentally friendly - it was simply a way of life and a way of being. I've brought that forward into my family and my business. It's really important to me that we do our part to protect the land and all that entails in today's world. In 2001, I also traveled to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. What I came back with was much more than a trip to a mountaintop. I saw abject poverty and inhumane living conditions and it changed me even more. The combination of my parents’ guidance and my experiences in Tanzania and other areas, has made world stewardship part of our company culture, and I’m blessed with a team who fully supports those efforts.

Because of this, it was no surprise to me that our first monthly foray into our “Queen of Fun” expeditions found my team taking up “plogging” in our community. Plogging is a trend started in Sweden – joggers out and about on their daily runs sporting trash bags and cleaning up the environment around them as they trailed their way through their communities.  

Back to the Queen of Fun title… I’ve got an extraordinary team at cmi. Fun, energetic, creative people who just shine in every conceivable way. At a recent roundtable meeting, we decided that we wanted to inject a little more fun into our team’s schedule and thought it would be hysterical, and game-changing to dub a Queen of Fun each month. My Digital Marketing Super Creator Dori Weisenberger took the first crown and came up with the idea of plogging as our May adventure. Together as a team of like-minded professionals, they spent an afternoon cleaning up our office community.

If you’re interested in learning more about this wonderful, environmentally-conscious plogging trend, there’s a great Washington Post article here.

If you want to know more about my incredible team, who they are, and what they do – click here! You’ll love them! I do!

Now, let’s go change the world for the better! We’re in!

What’s Working for Today’s Audiences

By Karen Harris | May 11, 2018 | Comments Off


When Humour and How-to’s Come Together

Here’s what we know – our world is a little chaotic right now. Stressful. Fast-paced. Even our best mindfulness experts are busy finding new ways to help organizations keep their staff members focused and steady in the “storms”.

One of the top requests we get from event planning professionals inquiring about our speakers is, “We need an entertaining speaker with a message.” We totally get that. A speaker who entertains, i.e., makes people laugh, is a tremendous equalizer. It’s a way for people to engage with a speaker and a message on a whole new level. Humour breaks down the barriers in communication in ways that other delivery styles can’t. It releases the stress that your audience brings with them from their busy work lives so when they hear the message (whether it be around innovation, leadership or teamwork) their minds are totally open and ready to learn.

We know that putting together events that work, start to finish, is a big job. It’s a juggling act between content and entertainment to ensure attendees get the right mix of skills, strategy, ideas, insights, motivation, and inspiration. Just as with humour, timing is everything.

What works best in our experience is to start your event off with an “entertaining speaker with a message” before you get to your “corporate speak” or “technical talks.” This ensures the attendees’ moods are lifted and their minds are open, so they are ready to receive the heavier material they also need to receive.

There’s a lot in our world to be stressed over, for sure. Finding a talented speaker who can BOTH educate AND entertain is one of the stressors we take away. It makes our day when your event participants give YOU a standing ovation for bringing in the best speaker ever!

Want to learn more? Contact us today to find out how we can help match the perfect speaker, message, and motivation for your next audience.

Karen Harris is the CEO of and is an expert at helping those who host and plan meetings to source great speakers. cmi is a global meeting industry leader which represents an international roster of carefully selected speakers who positively impact millions of people through their keynote speeches, books, and thought leadership.