. Quick Chat With Don Epstein | Meetings & Conventions

Quick Chat With Don Epstein

Don Epstein 

Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Talent Network Inc.

Don Epstein's interest in seeking talented performers and presenters began at the University of Florida, where he booked concerts and speakers for the student body. After graduation, he ran the speakers division for New Line Cinema and, in 1982, started the New York City-based Greater Talent Network, which has grown into a leading bureau representing clients such as Chaz Bono, Lara Logan, Conan O'Brien, Shaquille O'Neal and Paula Zahn.

What led you to start GTN? Back in 1982, most of the bureaus concentrated mostly on politicians. I felt there was a need for more diversity in issues of interest to audiences. I also sensed that audiences were craving less canned speeches and more extemporaneous storytelling.

Who is the most unusual or notorious speaker you've represented? Probably the late "gonzo journalist" Hunter Thompson. I remember the night he called me at 3 a.m. to tell me he had just shot a peacock that was keeping him awake.

What should a planner most keep in mind when considering a speaker? Your goal should be to enlighten, educate and entertain your audience. Your delegates should leave the presentation more excited than when they came in.

What common mistake should planners avoid with speakers?
Remember: The later in the day the speech takes place, the harder it is to deliver content. The audience has had a long day.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I watch a lot of speeches. I'm always looking for the best of the best when it comes to presenters. I try to fit a little golf in on the side, as well.    




On the Move


Tina Wehmeir

Tina Wehmeir, CMP, has been hired as president of Precision Meet­ings and Events, a conference and event-planning company based in Alexandria, Va.


Shaheryar Adil

At the 373-room Hyatt Regency Greenwich (Conn.), Shaheryar Adil has been named general manager.

Marco Bloemen­daal

The Seattle Con­vention and Visi­tors Bureau has appointed Marco Bloemen­daal senior vice president, convention sales and services.

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has named Chris Cahill to the post of executive vice president of global operations.

Amy Colan­gelo has been appointed spa and recreation director at the 212-room Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla.

Patri­cia Cole­man

Lanham, Md.-based Hargrove, the trade show, event and exhibit contractor, has named Patri­cia Cole­man as director, exhibitor sales.

Debi Harrill

Hospitality management company The Wilderman Group has hired Debi Harrill as sales manager at LeGrand Center in Shelby, N.C.

Jeffrey Hentz

Jeffrey Hentz is the new president and CEO for the Daytona Beach (Fla.) Area Conven­tion and Visi­tors Bureau.

James Holmes

At the 60-room Nantucket (Mass.) Hotel & Resort, James Holmes has been named general manager.

Justin Markle

Justin Markle has been named director of sales and marketing at the Duke Energy Con­vention Center in Cincinnati.

Andrew Neubauer III

At the 251-room Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Planta­tion, in Greens­boro, Ga., Andrew Neubauer III has been hired as director of sales and marketing.

At the 415-room Fairmont Wash­ington, D.C., Georgetown, Lino Rodrigues has been hired as director of food and beverage.

Eduardo Segura has been named executive director of the Los Cabos (Mexico) Convention & Visitors Bureau.

At the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sonia Stor­beck has been appointed national sales manager of corporate accounts.

Lloyd Williams

Lloyd Williams has been hired as general manager of the 296-room Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va.