October 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts October 2003 Current Issue
October 2003
Short Cuts:Put On a Game Face

Athletes add a memorable dimension to group events

Captain for hire: Dawn Riley
Captain for hire: Dawn Riley

Few people will ever have the opportunity to skate with an Olympic star on the ice rink at New York’s Rockefeller Center. But for an upcoming corporate event, some VIPs’ children will do just that. The event is being coordinated by the Manhattan-based All American Speakers Bureau (, owned by Greg Friedlander, a former sports agent. “An Olympian will skate with each kid,” says Friedlander, who adds, “It’s these type of events clients remember.”

Clearly, athletes can be a natural fit for meetings and events. After all, excelling at sport requires dedication and a winning attitude qualities certainly valued in the highly competitive business world.

And it doesn’t take an Olympic medal to make an impression. Pebble Beach, Calif.-based Corporate Golf Professionals ( represents approximately 120 golfers, many of whom are not household names.

“Big names charge big fees because they don’t always have the time or inclination to do events,” says Todd Southard, CGP’s director of golf. “Using those who command smaller fees means that you can book several players, perhaps having one for each four participants in your own golf tournament.”

The Women’s Sports Foundation ( has its own speakers’ bureau, and in some cases the speaker’s fee goes back to the nonprofit foundation to further support the development of sport for women. On the roster is the foundation’s president, Dawn Riley, the first American woman to captain an America’s Cup yacht.


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