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Worldwide Speakers Group Expands Global Reach through Acquisition

Posted by Kelly Dieter on Jun 12, 2013 4:28:00 PM

Worldwide Speakers Group Acquires Arnett & Associates-- Premier Speakers to Expand its Global Resources

Worldwide Speakers Group (WWSG), one of the fastest-growing and most innovative speakers bureaus in the world, has acquired the Richmond, VA-based Arnett & Associates-- Premier Speakers. With a strong history of personalized service to its customers and direct access to the world's most significant thought leaders, Arnett & Associates-- Premier Speakers complements WWSG's unwavering commitment to excellence. 

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In the past four years, WWSG has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing and most innovative lecture agencies simply because we offer an unparalleled level of access to the world's most influential newsmakers and an unprecedented level of service to our customers. 

To further exceed our customers' and speakers' expectations, WWSG is proud to announce that our staff has grown significantly, including two industry veterans to our management team:

  • Patsy Arnett, SVP--The former Founder & President of Arnett & Associates-- Premier Speakers brings more than 35 years of experience to WWSG.  A former PR consultant, Washington lobbyist and newspaper reporter, Patsy's contributions to the global lecture industry are significant.
  • Keith Lambert, SVP--A former VP at one of the world's largest agencies, Keith has recruited and managed high-profile thought leaders, while providing valuable consultative advice and access to meeting planning customers around the world. 

Get to Know New Members of WWSG's Management Team

Patsy Arnett

Patsy ArnettHow did you first get involved in the speaking industry?

I was managing a client by helping with his marketing and branding. Part of our tactic was to send him out on speaking engagements. Consequently, other speakers started asking if I could do the same for them. So you could say that I identified a need and made it happen.

What are some of the significant differences between working in public relations vs. the lecture industry?

Not that many. In the bureau business, I use my PR skills every day. With a career in PR & marketing, I see things from a different strategic viewpoint. PR is vision- and solutions-driven with specific goals in mind. Speaking consultants help clients find to the right speaker to achieve their overall vision and goals. It’s a perfect combination. 

I also provide a unique perspective because I’ve been in the shoes of the client, looking through their eyes because I’ve been there.

What aspect of transitioning to WWSG are you most excited about?

I’m very excited about working with WWSG because of the way they do business. We share the same business philosophy and core values in the way we work with clients, speakers and our colleagues. I enjoyed working with WWSG over the years and have great admiration for them as a bureau. I’m thrilled to come on board and have the opportunity to do what I love with a fabulously talented team of support and immeasurable resources to offer my clients.

As a respected figure in the speaking industry, you must have seen a lot of keynotes. Do you have any favorite speakers? Why?

I have so many favorites; it’s really difficult to single one speaker out. One of the greatest benefits of working in the speaker business is the opportunity to hear some of the greatest thought leaders. I truly learn something new every day, and that’s not a bad thing... keeps the brain cells functioning as they say....Todd Buchholz is one of my favorite speakers; he makes economics interesting and really fun with his quick wit and clever banter. Another is Mike Walsh. He’s amazing. I spent some time with him in San Diego. He is so great, engaging and mystifying.

What advice do you have for customers looking to book speakers?

First and foremost, decide what your primary objective is in bringing in the speaker. What do you want to achieve? It’s important to communicate this to your bureau agent so they can help you select the right speaker for the best return on investment.

What other interesting information about your background should we know?

My father was in the military so we spent a lot of time traveling. He loved history and geography. He would always make sure we’d see the major landmarks in the U.S. so we drove all the way to Alaska and back with four kids and stopped at all the landmarks along the way. I am blessed to have an amazing and supportive family. Bruce, my husband, is a financial advisor; our daughter, Lexie, is a clinical social worker and saving the world, one child at a time; and, our son, Alex, is a stock broker in training.

Keith Lambert
Keith Lambert

How did you first get involved in the speaking industry?

I got a call from a former colleague, whom I had worked with a few years prior at a talent agency. She suggested I come in and take a look around and meet some people. I immediately fell in love with the idea. As a lifelong political, business, and news junkie, working with some of the thought leaders in those fields really appealed to me. It was a completely different dynamic than I was used to, but the idea of connecting these great thinkers with my customers’ audiences felt like a neat and worthwhile opportunity.

As a respected figure in the speaking industry, you must have seen a lot of keynotes. Do you have any favorite speakers? Why?

There are too many to count. For me, those that stand out are the ones who are really passionate about what they do. I remember early on, the first time that I met Newt Gingrich. We were around a small conference room table. He is a political figure—oftentimes either loved or hated. But I remember thinking: wow, no matter what your political persuasion, this guy is the smartest guy in the room. So that fascinated me, because I was expecting a partisan kind of discussion, but I what I found was someone who was incredibly smart and passionate on an array of topics.

The beauty of my job is that I am constantly exposed to people much smarter than me, and I get to experience ideas, first hand, from such a wide variety of disciplines. It’s incredible, really.

What aspect of transitioning to WWSG are you most excited about?
What appealed to me most [about WWSG] was the energy of a real startup but the experience of people who had been in this industry for a long time. So we all came with a collective history that made for a really dynamic team, and that’s what’s really appealed to me.

What advice do you have for customers looking to book speakers?
Don’t be afraid of new ideas. Share what your real goals are for a particular conference you’re managing. Think about what message you are looking for and who your audience is, then share that with your agent. Be open and don’t be afraid to speak up and say “this particular idea doesn’t work,” because there are so many resources we can leverage. Be open and honest. Don’t be afraid to look at people who may not be superstars, because there are just a lot of really incredible speakers, and we can find a great fit.

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Topics: Worldwide Speakers Group, speakers bureaus

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