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, CMP, has been hired as president of Precision Meetings and Events, a conference and event-planning company based in Alexandria, Va.
At the 373-room Hyatt Regency Greenwich (Conn.), Shaheryar Adil
has been named general manager.
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.
Lanham, Md.-based Hargrove, the trade show, event and exhibit contractor, has named Patricia Coleman
as director, exhibitor sales.
Hospitality management company The Wilderman Group has hired Debi Harrill
as sales manager at LeGrand Center in Shelby, N.C.Jeffrey Hentz
is the new president and CEO for the Daytona Beach (Fla.) Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
At the 60-room Nantucket (Mass.) Hotel & Resort, James Holmes
has been named general manager.Justin Markle
has been named director of sales and marketing at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.
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
has been hired as general manager of the 296-room Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va.