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Do You People Watch?

By Karen Harris | Jun 12, 2019 | Comments Off

 

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(Soooo many adventures in the last six months!!)

 

I do. I find it rejuvenating.

I was traveling the last 2 days and experienced what a lot of our clients do on a daily basis…travel delays. My outgoing flight was delayed by 4 hours getting me to the hotel around 9pm. On Monday, I was going full tilt from 6am to 6pm (this type of a day is not unusual for most of us).

When I got to the airport for my return flight, I was brain dead. I had work to do but I couldn’t think. So I just sat there - and I began to watch the people around me. 

I saw a 20-something daughter traveling with her parents. She was on her phone a bit but most of the time she was fully engaged in conversation with her family. I saw a woman in a wheelchair who was traveling with a friend - they were so helpful to each other as they maneuvered her from one gate to another. I saw a man whose arms and legs were extremely short who was laying on a skateboard and just motoring to his gate. No one took special notice of him - he was just like all the rest of the travellers. I saw 2 little girls who were so happy to be able to move after their flight - they were giggling and running as their mothers were chasing after them. There was a young man sitting behind me who was watching videos and every once in awhile he’d quietly chuckle. 

Who says we aren’t kind to each other? Or thoughtful? Or loving? Or happy? These things are all around us if we just look for them.

We are fascinating to watch - I highly recommend it.

It’s Time for More Women To Take Center Stage

By Karen Harris | May 08, 2019 | Comments Off

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The extraordinary success of Brene Brown’s new Netflix special speaks volumes - the world is ready, willing, and eager for strong female voices. Her take on vulnerability, shame, imperfection, and the very real need for courageous conversations strikes a chord, not just with women, but people from every diversity out there.

After watching Brene’s special and reading a powerful piece from Forbes about the underrepresentation of women in the speaking circuit – specifically in the area of technology, I was moved to action. Especially when I read, “Respondents made it clear that the presence and visibility of other women at tech conferences made them more likely to attend. Three-quarters of the women surveyed said they were more likely to attend a conference session, panel, or keynote event featuring a female presenter or panelist. Additionally, 94% indicated that it is important to have female representation in keynote speaker lineups (with 38% marking it “very important”). Classon pointed out that this visibility is key: We all want more girls in STEM and more women in tech. What message does it send when they don’t see themselves represented on the keynote stages at tech conferences? You can’t be what you can’t see.”

That last line really brought the idea home for myself and my team. We are an organization filled with empowered, strong, smart women. While we’ve had the incredible pleasure of working with and knowing some amazing female speakers over the years, we don’t currently have one on our roster of keynote speakers.

That’s about to change. We are so fortunate to have wonderful connections all over the world. Bringing speakers and clients together to generate powerful audience experiences is what we do best. We are actively seeking innovative female keynote speakers to lend her voice, experience, and expertise to our lineup of keynote professionals.

We know it’s the right time, and we look forward to finding the exact right speaker to bring messages of technology, excellence, overcoming adversity, diversity, and change – all topics that the world needs to hear.

If you know of a speaker who you feel would be a good fit for our family of keynote speakers, please contact us today. We are excited about expanding our roster of keynote speaking professionals and to further round out our diverse and expansive topic offerings. My team and I look forward to it!

Podcasts, People, and Pathways to Learning

By Karen Harris | Apr 26, 2019 | Comments Off

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I’m a huge fan of continuous learning and a voracious reader and information gatherer. It sure helps when you’re working with clients and speakers from around the world! It’s funny how communication and learning has changed so much through the years though isn’t it? Long before the internet, social media, and the perpetual news cycle? As professionals, especially, much of the information we consume these days is “on the fly” – as busy lives and full calendars shrink our downtime.

That’s one reason podcasts are so popular. According to a new CBS News poll, two-thirds of Americans listen to podcasts at least once in a while, including 23% who do so a few times a week. That’s up from the year before where a majority said they never listen to podcasts. Why the popularity jump?

According to Carrie Ryan, Co-Author of Serial Box's Dead Air, “It’s information and entertainment, in bite-size chunks, right at our fingertips. While many of us might not take the time to sit down and read a 20k word length article, we can listen to that article in bite sized chunks during our commute to work, especially if it’s presented in an entertaining, narrative way.”

I totally agree and I wanted to share podcasts that are blazing new trails by two of our amazing keynote speakers, Mike Walsh and Ty Bennett.

Mike’s podcast takes listeners on amazing exploration of our world and the compelling technology changes that are shifting the way we work, live, communicate, and relate. You’ll find insightful topics such as The Unexpected Economics of the Data-Driven Future, Ethical AI and the Digitally Transformed Insurance Company and visionary ideas such as Future Life in 2030. Learn more here.

Ty’s extraordinary guests captivate, educate, and deliver expertly powerful insights. He moderates discussions such as The First Woman to Ski Across Antarctica Solo with world-renowned explorer Felicity Aston, Exploring Limitless with author Laura Gassner Otting, and even life-affirming dialogues such as Our Journey with Stage 4 Cancer with Dan & Charity Lighten. I believe you’ll find each episode moving, informative, and transformative. Learn more here.

If you love learning as much as I do, I hope you’ll add these two wonderful podcasts to your listening portfolios. You won’t be disappointed!

Accountability, Action, and Aftermath: Leadership Lessons from Jacinda Ardern

By Karen Harris | Apr 12, 2019 | Comments Off

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Sadly, the news of mass killings rocks our news waves again and again in today’s world. One is too many, right? The aftermath of the recent tragedy in New Zealand is heartbreaking and solemn. We should do better, we think. We can do better. Where does that start?

Recently, Keynote Speaker and good friend Sam Silverstein shared his powerful thoughts on the extraordinary example of accountability leadership displayed by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a moving article. He perfectly sums up how and why her profound response to tragedy in her country makes her a leader of exceptional grace, empathy, and vision.

It is that leadership and vision that led her country to take swift and definitive action in the wake of tragedy. As reported in Vox, “After just one mass shooting, New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday voted 119-1 to ban most semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles in the country.” Her statement, “New Zealand stands apart in its widespread availability of weapons of such destructive nature and force. Today that anomaly ends.”

Ardern received praise from all around the globe for her strength and passionate response and quick action to the shooting.

Action in the wake of tragedy. Action in the presence of her grieving citizens. Action in response to senseless tragedy. Action with compassion. That’s the kind of leadership the world needs a whole lot more of.

Thank you, Sam, for your brilliant spotlight on the Prime Minister’s incredible accountability leadership. May we all learn from her steadfast examples.

Sam Silverstein: delivers leadership strategies, mindsets, and tools to organizations around the globe – helping them to leverage change, communicate more purposefully, and lead with accountability.

IASB & cmi: A Perfect Partnership

By Karen Harris | Mar 27, 2019 | Comments Off

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We’re so excited about the IASB (International Association of Speakers Bureaus) 2019 Convention coming up on April 4th in Vancouver. “This premiere event of the year is the largest gathering of speaker bureau, agency and speaker management professionals in the world.  The annual convention provides members with unparalleled opportunities to learn, engage and build relationships.”

We have so much respect for the bureaus we work with, and truly look at them as significant partners who help our extraordinary team of talented keynote speakers to deliver empowering and significant messages all across the globe.

I was recently asked what made us a good fit for IASB members. My answer lies in three words that are at the heart of who we are at cmi speaker management:  Caring, Responsive, and Transparent.

First, caring. We treat people with compassion, great care, and appreciation. To me, that’s a golden rule that is vital in any industry, and definitely in ours. I’m so fortunate to have an extraordinary seven-member team in place that are just as passionate about service as I am.

Second, responsiveness. Our clients tell us that we have some of the fastest response times in the business. Often, we answer back within mere minutes of an inquiry coming in. That works for everyone involved. No one likes to be left waiting for an answer, and in our day of information inundation – quick response is a must so that nothing gets lost in the abyss!

Third, transparency. We are an open book – and for good reason. We know that truth builds trust, and trust is the foundation for effective relationships. That’s why we are always forthcoming in terms of our negotiations, availability, fees – all of it. This quality has earned us high marks from bureaus all over the world. It takes the stress out of working with people when you know their integrity is always above board!  

I look forward to seeing colleagues at the April event. I know it will be filled and fuelled with lots of laughter, learning, and leveraging new and interesting strategies! Until then – here’s to amazing partnerships!

If there is ever anything we can do for you – please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re here for you!

Signing Off on a Signature Move in the Wake of Leaving Neverland

By Karen Harris | Mar 15, 2019 | Comments Off

In the wake of the new Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland and the subsequent interview with Oprah Winfrey, keynote speaker Jason Hewlett is retiring his Michael Jackson impressions and even taking the extraordinary steps to remove footage from his wide volume of videos.

That’s a bold move, at considerable time and expense for Jason – but it doesn’t come as a surprise to us, nor his growing audience base. Jason’s entire career, speaking and business foundation, and his life is now and has always been “family friendly first”.   

In his revealing post regarding the decision, Jason shares the inherent pull of integrity that has him walking away from “the moonwalk” and all things Jackson in his performances and keynotes. He also describes the decision as less from a place of judgement and more from a place of empathy and his own internal compass of what he feels is right for himself and his audiences.

Jason’s powerful keynote topics often revolve around what he calls “The Promise” for leaders, teams, innovators, and organizations. The often hysterical, always entertaining, and even emotional messages have attendees asking themselves deep personal questions about their own personal and professional promises and what that means when leading a purposeful life.

As one of our valued keynote speakers, we fully support Jason’s decision and applaud him for being tapped and tuned in enough to the world conversation, as well as his own integrity level to make this move.

Our world is a very complex one, especially in today’s advances of 24/7 news cycles and often embroiled social media spirals. There are rarely easy answers or simple black and white situations. What there is a lot of however are compassionate, promise-filled people like Jason Hewlett who are constantly reaching to produce the highest value with integrity and honor. We’re proud to be the team that helps him bring his messages to the world.

If you or someone you know needs help there are support centres you can reach out to. RAINN is a great one. Call 800-656-HOPE.

Automation and Artificial Intelligence - Getting Past the Fear

By Karen Harris | Mar 08, 2019 | Comments Off

I tuned into late night TV recently and caught an episode of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and found myself laughing – but also listening when the topic turned to automation. He was right on target – albeit hysterically irreverent. In the episode Oliver shares how recent articles and news stories have started to create panic with gloomy headlines such as “Technology is Taking Your Jobs” making their way to the world stage. He then wisely reminds his audience that technology has been shifting the way we work, live, learn, and more for a very, very long time.

With speaker and author Mike Walsh as a client, the topic made my ears perk right up and I found myself nodding right along. Mike’s new book, The Algorithmic Leader: How to Be Smart When Machines are Smarter than You hits the nail on the head in dispelling myths and sharing how savvy consumers and business leaders are leveraging technology instead of fearing it.

The truth is that when we think back even ten years ago, technology and machine intelligence have dramatically changed the way we live, work, communicate and absorb information. It’s certainly changed and improved processes and discoveries in fields such as medicine, engineering, and travel.

As an organization that represents some of the top speakers in the business and connects them with clients from all over the globe, I know the impact algorithms and technology have made on our company and the way we operate.  

What John Oliver gets right – and what Mike Walsh teaches – is that our world is changing, swiftly, exponentially, and across all lines and all industries. Artificial Intelligence and automation are complex topics that invoke both fear and excitement.  Fear for those who refuse to recognize and understand them, and excitement for the opportunities they are.

Thankfully, there are good people like Mike to help break down this extraordinarily complex topic and skillfully (in terms we can all relate to) share what it all means for leaders, employers, team members, and all of us.

Adam Alter, author of the New York Times bestseller Irresistible and Drunk Tank Pink summed up the book perfectly when he wrote, “Mike Walsh’s The Algorithmic Leader is an intelligent and timely look at leadership in the digital age. If the twentieth century was governed by leaders of people, the twenty-first will be governed by leaders who understand the relationship between people and the technologies that define the modern workplace. Walsh exposes not just opportunities, but also potential pitfalls, ultimately leaving today’s leaders smarter and better prepared for the coming rise of algorithms and big data.”

Why we love what we do at cmi!

By Dori Pominville | Feb 14, 2019 | Comments Off

Happy Valentines Day!

All the ladies at cmi want to spread the love and let everyone know why we love what we do. We try to make sure that our speakers and clients feel the love everyday!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFrpaA9EcAQ&t=2s

Learn more about cmi and what we can do to bring the perfect speaker to your event!

 

AI, Algorithms, and the Changes That Are Here to Stay

By Karen Harris | Feb 08, 2019 | Comments Off

Image credit: Center for Generational Kinetics

If you’re finding article after article and news story after news story referencing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and algorithms – you’re not alone! Sources tell us that AI is changing the landscape of how people do business, how markets shift, how we travel, purchase, sell, and how organizations map out the future.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Forbes columnist Bernard Marr shared five of his top predictions for 2019 in an insightful article that spells out how it can potentially affect politics, transparency, automation, jobs, and more. “AI points towards a future where machines not only do all of the physical work, as they have done since the industrial revolution but also the ‘thinking’ work – planning, strategizing and making decisions.” For some, that sounds scary, but for others, embracing change (always a good idea) and getting a handle on how AI is being integrated in almost every part of our lives and economy is just smart business.

Another recent article in Medium Magazine shared, “A recent McKinsey study estimates that the most advanced AI techniques may create between $3.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion in new value annually in 19 industries — from agriculture and automotive to banking and basic materials to travel and telecommunications.  AI is defined as the ability of a machine to perform cognitive functions we associate with human minds. And as human learning grows, so does AI. Scientists continually push the boundaries of what is possible with new techniques. As a result, it’s critical for leaders to understand not only the vision but also the reality of AI.”

With so much buzz – it’s no surprise that futurist and thought leader Mike Walsh made AI the focus of his new book, The Algorithmic Leader: How to Be Smart When Machines are Smarter than You.  In it, Mike brings together years of research and interviews with some of the world’s top business leaders, AI pioneers, and data scientists to share a set of 10 principles about what it takes to succeed in the algorithmic age. The Algorithmic Leader offers a hopeful and practical guide for leaders of all types, and organizations of all sizes, to survive and thrive in this era of unprecedented change.

What is an algorithmic leader? Someone who has successfully adapted their decision making, management style, and creative output to the complexities of the machine age. The world is changing, to be sure, and with it, our ability to communicate, adapt, and understand how technology will lead us into the future. To be successful, as a leader, a business professional, or even consumer – we must learn new ideas, new skill sets, and new ways of thinking.

They say the only constant in life is change. The keeping up with it part is up to us!

The Magic and Mastery of Bohemian Rhapsody

By Karen Harris | Jan 25, 2019 | Comments Off

With the release this week of the 91st Academy Award Oscar nominations, it was no surprise to see the Freddie Mercury bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody score in five coveted categories.  With music as complex and iconic as Mercury himself, the movie provides pivotal insights into the creative genius that went into what would end up being labeled as “one of the greatest songs of all time”. 

According to Irwin Fisch, an Emmy nominated composer and Professor at NYU Steinhardt, “One of the reasons why Bohemian Rhapsody sounds so different is in its structure. The song is neither an a cappella, ballad, opera or rock. It's actually all of them in one song. It advanced a tradition of suites in pop music, meaning not a continuous song, not a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge structure, which was the norm. A put together group of different songs, in essence. So, if people refer to Bohemian Rhapsody as a song, that's a bit of a misnomer. It's actually three or four songs.”

Complex, long (almost six minutes), and legendary. Exactly the kind of challenge Keynote Speaker, Musician, and eight-time Carnegie Hall Headliner Mike Rayburn wanted to tackle as a showcase piece for his audiences to underscore his messages of learning to perform at virtuoso levels and peak performance.  

Watch below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xywtoQ56RC8

Learning to play such a difficult piece on the guitar with seemingly impossible key changes and note progression takes arduous hours of practice, musical mastery, and perhaps even a little of Mercury’s magic and inspiration.  The end result however, whether standing on stage in full rock and roll regalia with a full band and orchestra - or like Mike Rayburn, expertly coaxing classic rock history from a well-tuned and well-loved instrument, delivering a mesmerizing performance for audiences and a chance to pay homage to legendary music and musician - is a thrill in itself.

We’ll have to wait and see on February 24th whether Bohemian Rhapsody brings home Oscar gold. Until then, we’ll always have YouTube.