Every once in a while as an entertainer you have what we in the biz call a “statement gig.” It’s a performance that for whatever reason cements itself in your career, and in your head, as a milestone marker… as different. It could be because someone special was in the audience that night to see you, it could be because you had a creative breakthrough on stage, or it could be because you “owned it” in a way that you never had until that moment. I was fortunate to have one of those pivotal on-stage experiences this summer – one that really falls under all 3 of those categories for me – performing and speaking at The NSA Foundation Event for the National Speakers Association Influence 2015 Conference in Washington, D.C.
The NSA Foundation is the NSA’s philanthropic arm of the National Speakers Association and exists to help members of our NSA community, as well as those in need throughout the world. I was selected as the evening’s presenter, largely off a referral from last year’s Foundation Event presenter, rockstar performer / speaker, fellow See Agency roster-mate, and friend Jason Hewlett. Jason saw this event as a perfect fit for me, and encouraged me to go beyond entertaining, and speak about how I have turned my Vegas show into a platform for my philanthropy work – with Give Back Sundays, Showbiz Academy, and Win-Win Entertainment – and I’m so glad I did. It truly was life-changing.
“Civillico rocks! He not only entertained, he inspired us – the perfect combination of entertainment and motivation.”
– Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE, 2014-2015 President of the National Speakers
Leading up to the event, the speaking portion after my entertainment set was what I was most nervous about – after all, I’ve done countless shows under pretty much any circumstance you can think of. But I had never spoken about my philanthropy work, my career path, and really my life in a formal setting like this. And adding to my anxiety, I’ve been a member or The National Speakers Association for almost 10 years now, so these were my peers in the audience, many of whom know me as “Jeff the entertainer.” And yet in the moment, the speaking is what came easily and naturally, and I felt like that is where I connected with the audience, where my message resonated.
It felt good. It felt right. It felt like the next logical step in my career. I’ve already booked several events from this presentation that require me to provide not just entertainment, but to offer “entertainment with a message.” I’ve been asked to speak to community organizations including Leadership Las Vegas, to companies including Realty One Group, etc. Next month, I am hosting / moderating UNLV R.I.S.E.S. with keynote speakers Rehan Choudhry, Founder of the Life Is Beautiful festival, and Ronnie Vannucci, from the band The Killers. It’s all very exciting! See – look how excited I am…
I posted a quick 3-minute clip on my blog of that 15-minute talk. Take a look! If you’re interested in seeing the whole keynote, please contact my corporate booking agent Donna Buttice with See Agency, and she will gladly send you the link. I’m looking forward to getting out there and speaking a bit more at events, in addition to entertaining!