From wedding toasts to celebrity roasts, we’ve all had the misfortune of sitting through an uninspiring speech or presentation at someone else’s event. To avoid that unhappy scenario at your retreat, steer clear of sub-par, garden-variety motivational speakers and focus on blue-chip personalities and deep thinkers. It goes without saying that exclusive speakers command higher fees; expect to pay upward of $40,000-$75,000 for the A-list names like Alan Greenspan, Lou Gerstner, Clayton Christensen, Lance Armstrong and Niall Ferguson that the agencies listed below can arrange.
Greater Talent Network (www.greatertalent.com) offers a wide range of athletes, journalists, authors and experts ranging from Jeffrey Toobin, Gore Vidal, Meredith Whitney and Seth Godin.
The Lavin Agency (www.thelavinagency.com) handles a roster from across arts, entertainment, politics and industry—think Margaret Atwood to Anderson Cooper.
Leading Authorities (www.leadingauthorities.com) delivers influential business leaders, such as A.G. Lafley, Gordon Bethune and Lee Scott.
The Leigh Bureau (www.leighbureau.com) boasts a
roster of prominent business leaders, academics and journalists like Malcolm Gladwell and Paul Krugman.
The Harry Walker Agency (www.harrywalker.com) represents former heads of state, cabinet officers and Nobel laureates, including former President Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and Gloria Steinem.
Washington Speakers Bureau (www.washingtonspeakers.com) specializes in political leaders like Madeline Albright, Ted Koppel, Chris Dodd and Condoleeza Rice.