Keynote Speaker for UNLV Lee Business School 

Hi there, reader, Jeff Civillico here! Most people who visit my website know me as a professional entertainer—I serve as a keynote speaker, professional emcee, and corporate entertainer at events across the country. What might surprise you is the other roles that I spearhead daily… like founder and chairman of a non-profit and spokesman for the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.

Do you know who is in the loop about all of my separate business ventures? The Executive MBA cohort at UNLV Lee Business School! Each year, I visit the EMBA class at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to speak about the business side of what I do—and it’s quickly become one of my all-time favorite annual events as a keynote speaker. 

Take a look at a recap of the talk I gave to this year’s class as well as the interactive workshop (and a lil’ bit of juggling!) we dove into this weekend. 

The Business Side of Your Keynote Speaker

Anyone who knows me well knows that I absolutely love talking about the business side of my company, Jeff Civillico Inc. However, most of my clients who hire me for entertainment purposes, like the keynote speaker at Iowa SHRM, care more about my actual abilities than how I handle my business—and truthfully, I can’t blame them!

While I can occasionally pull from my personal business experience, like I did when I was the professional emcee for the Entrepreneurs’​ Organization, I’m often paid for my time and creativity, not background knowledge. So, you can imagine how much of a treat it is to visit the UNLV Lee Business School. I get to finally pull the curtain back and explain how I run my business!

I am so grateful to John Osborn, Assistant Dean for External Relations and Administrative Faculty for the EMBA Program, for giving me this opportunity each year. There’s truly nothing like taking my 18+ years of experience on the Las Vegas Strip and 10+ years of experience as a nonprofit founder and chairman and distilling them to the next generation of business leaders.

Challenges Everyone in Business (Who is the Biz) Should Know 

You might be wondering, “Jeff, what did you and the EMBA class chat about?” Great question! We talked about the challenges that come from “being the product”—in other words, the unique issues that accompany a business that centers solely on you. Though navigating these challenges is key for those who “are the product,” they’re valuable to everyone in business. 

Some of the challenges we discussed in my interactive workshop included: 

  1. Learning how and when to scale your business
  2. Demonstrating value and developing unique selling propositions
  3. Understanding that “quality” is subjective and you can’t please everyone
  4. Remaining authentic (even when you can’t please everyone!)
  5. Navigating a career lifecycle and how your business can evolve
  6. Following a career map (or lack thereof!) 
  7. Maintaining your physical and mental health (so, so important!) 

And of course, what would an interactive workshop be without a little juggling? I had to go back to my roots and show the class what put me on the map in the first place with a quick juggling workshop. Juggling perfectly exemplified how business can have its own ups and downs and, of course, come at you fast. 

Why These Challenges Are Important to Growth  

Something I mentioned to the UNLV students and will reiterate today is that each challenge listed above comes with its own inherent positives. As a keynote speaker and self-made business owner, I’ve had to take it upon myself to learn when and how to scale and if it would be financially secure for me. I’ve had to learn how to sell myself to clients—and constantly advocate for my worth.

If there’s one thing I hope I distilled in this weekend’s group of students is that your worth might be subjective to some people. In my line of work, not everyone values entertainment the same way… but that doesn’t impact the value I know I provide! The opinion of others cannot and should never impact your authenticity. Remain true to who you are, always.

Something you might not want to remain true to? Your career map! A ton of people (particularly business students with a lot to prove) think that career growth has to be linear—that you must always be climbing higher to achieve something. Let me tell you, growth is NEVER linear! Focus on learning and advancing your goals, not climbing any type of ladder. 

Learn More from a Professional Emcee and Keynote Speaker

I had a total blast this weekend highlighting the business side of Jeff Civillico… so much, in fact, that I may make a habit out of it! I may or may not have an online course in the works that details all the elements of a self-made business, starting from the ground up, and it may or may not be coming to you in the New Year. 

Don’t just take my word for it—stay tuned on the Jeff Civillico blog to learn more! And while you’re here, check out other informational guides I’ve provided in recent weeks, like 10 Lessons for a Virtual Emcee and How to Enhance Creativity in Hybrid Events. Have a question I haven’t answered on the blog yet? Connect with me on LinkedIn! I can’t wait to share my knowledge with you. 🙂

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