Opening General Session
Tuesday, September 19
8:45 AM - 10:15 AM (PT)
This session is sponsored by:
Joel Zeff creates energy. He is a dynamic speaker, improvisational humorist, and author. His interactive performances invite members of the audience to participate in hilarious improvisational exercises that illustrate Joel's central message: That organizations and individuals should CELEBRATE every day successes to increase collaboration, productivity, passion, and innovation.
Since 1997, Joel has inspired audiences from Wells Fargo to Samsung to KPMG and even the IRS. Yes, the IRS. Joel is a masterful public speaker and a nationally renowned motivator, lifelong humorist, and improvisational actor.
His career is a search for fun and passion. He quickly realized the importance of both at his first jobs delivering the hometown newspaper and cleaning up trash at a suburban movie theater.
He started his professional career as a newspaper journalist and public relations executive. In 1994, Joel went out on his own as a corporate communications specialist. He helped clients with their employee communications, media relations, strategy, and customer marketing. Throughout the consulting process, Joel realized his clients – many of them high-level technology and telecommunications firms – needed more than marketing and public relations strategy. Many of his client’s employees were starving for fun, passion and a new perspective on finding success.
At the time, Joel was having fun on the weekends as a comedian. Through friends, he discovered improvisational comedy. One of his clients (a large technology company) knew Joel performed comedy on the weekend. The client asked him to play some improvisational games before dinner for a group of high-level executives. He brought a fellow comedian and a corporate speaking career was born.
He connects to his audience with humor that has them laughing so uncontrollably that their mascara runs, their cheeks hurt, and their bellies ache. And he doesn't do it alone. Volunteers from the audience join him on stage and play an integral role in an improvisation game in front of hundreds or thousands of people—something the audience members have never done. He expects nothing less than their success. He expects the volunteers to focus and work together as a team; communicate effectively; positively support each other; and take responsibility.
Joel makes his audience laugh so hard that they forget about the corporate nonsense of conference calls, "strategic deliverables," PowerPoint presentations with upside-down triangles, or "paradigm shifts in a cross-functional organization." Make the Right Choice is conversational, funny, and very informative. Yes, Joel will make you laugh, but he'll also make you think. This presentation delivers a combination of inspiration, essential business knowledge, and significant ideas to help audience members reconnect with their own passion and success.
As discussed in his book, Make the Right Choice, Joel believes that we all encounter choices in our careers. We always have the opportunity to make the right choice to live a more creative, passionate, and productive life. How do you “make the right choice”? You can choose to provide opportunities. You can choose to provide positive support. And along the way, you can choose to have fun. It’s really that simple. Joel teaches us just how easy it is to make these choices.
When he is not speaking, Joel expresses his creativity as an actor, writer, and comedian. He started performing professionally in 1992. In Dallas, he was co-host of The Movie Zone on UPN 21. He has appeared in dozens of commercials for numerous clients, including the Dallas Cowboys, Harrah's Casino, Mydiscountbroker.com, Time Warner Cable, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Eagle Country Markets, and Extraco Bank. He has appeared in hundreds of corporate videos. He has also appeared on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. He has been featured in The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, The Kansas City Star, and many other media outlets.
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