We started in a garage.  Things have gotten a bit better since then.


The Premiere Difference

You have a lot of options, and we don't take your business for granted. Premiere Speakers is the constant pursuit of ways to make your event smoother, easier and better. Here are just a few things that set Premiere apart:

  • Full Service ― at No Cost to You!

    We provide our "turn-key" service to you at no charge because we are paid by the speakers. Why would speakers pay us rather than take your call directly? Speakers do it because it's good business ― we handle all the details. It is very difficult for a busy speaker to return your calls when traveling between speaking engagements. It is even harder for them to promptly mail demo tapes and press kits. They know if they are a good speaker, we will recommend them to our other valued clients.

  • We Specialize in Speed

    One thing that we at Premiere pride ourselves on is our speed and efficiency to handle all last-minute needs. Need a speaker for a last-minute event? No problem. Our online proposals, access to speaker calendars and efficient staff give us an edge to solve your needs as soon as they arise.

    Want to learn more about our commitment to speed? Check out our video on The Four-Minute Booking.

  • We Handle Emergencies

    Because the speed and efficiency that we just mentioned, we are always ready to resolve emergencies. The thought of a speaker's plane being delayed, a traffic jam on the way to the convention center or, even worse, a speaker who cancels at the last minute, haunts meeting planners. Flights do get canceled (our speakers always have back-up flights), roads do get iced and a speaker could get sick. However, this is when we really shine. All of our resources, our knowledge and our contacts can be put together to find a replacement speaker ASAP.

  • We Do All the Dirty Work

    At Premiere Speakers Bureau®, we first listen to your needs and objectives. We then provide you a proposal with bios, photos, topics and fee information for the best candidates that meet those needs. You only have to look through one packet to find just the right speaker. And then once you make your choice, we will check availability, take care of pre-event details ― EVERYTHING! We will send you a Premiere Flight Plan, which contains all of details that you need to ensure a stress-free event.

  • Online Access to Everything

    We understand the you're busy, and we want to provide you the best information whenever and wherever you are. Our online tools such as our digital catalog and online proposals ― both of which are iPhone compatible ― allow you access to Premiere in the manner that works best for you. We even offer web events for event planners looking for something less traditional. Of course, if you prefer to do business the old-fashion way, pick up the phone and give us a call!

  • Exclusive Access to World-Class Speakers

    Although Premiere can book an event with nearly any speaker you want, we are the exclusive bureau for some of world's best, most compelling speaker. From politicians like Mike Huckabee to education gurus like Ron Clark to best-selling authors like Andy Andrews, Premiere is your exclusive bureau for world-class speakers of all kinds. View all of our exclusive speakers.

20 Years: Constant Innovation
Our Story

Meet Our Team

The people that help define Premiere's excellence.

Duane
Founder and CEO
Duane Ward
Founder and CEO
Duane Ward
(615) 261-4000 1015 | EMAIL

Duane Ward, founder of Premiere Speakers Bureau comes to this profession from many years in public relations and marketing. Raised in Florida, schooled in Missouri, and holding positions in Michigan, Texas, and Virginia before moving to Nashville to begin Premiere, Duane loves the challenge of building a loyal client base for the bureau. "Great Speakers and Customer Service are the keys," he says of the future of Premiere and the industry. Duane and Kathy have two children and four grandsons who have the full attention of their doting grandparents!

Shawnh
President
Shawn Hanks
President
Shawn Hanks
(615) 261-4000 1011 | EMAIL

Shawn Hanks, President of Premiere Speakers Bureau, brings experience in various fields. Over the course of fifteen years in the event industry, he has gained valuable experience advising corporate, association non-profit events. In addition, he provides direction to speakers in the Premiere roster. Shawn is an avid football and basketball fan. He is a frequent reader and a musician, and he is active in the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB). As native Texans, Shawn and Heather have enjoyed living in Southeast and Central Texas and, currently, Middle Tennessee. They are the proud parents of Mia (11), Ethan (9), Ella Kate (7) and Ava (5.)

Brian
Senior Vice President, Director of Sales
Brian Lord
Senior Vice President, Director of Sales
Brian Lord
(615) 261-4000 1005 | EMAIL

Since January, 2000, Brian has served as Senior Vice President. Prior to Premiere, Brian was with the William Morris Agency as well as his own agency. In 2015, he was selected as one of Nashville Business Journal's 40 Under 40. He has been interviewed on the BBC, been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and multiple industry publications, and has presented at the National Speakers Association Annual Conference. Brian has been a member of both the Technology Committee (07-09) and Continuing Education Committee (06-07) for the International Association of Speakers Bureaus. He married his wife Krista in April, 2001, and they have enjoyed establishing their home in Franklin, Tennessee with their two daughters Brooklyn and Sydney. In his free time, Brian competes in triathlons and marathons, and enjoys art, reading and history quite a bit, too. Brian graduated with a degree in political science from DePauw University. Are you still reading this? Impressive! If so, make sure to connect at www.linkedin.com/in/brianlord

Rgiffen
Vice President
Ryan Giffen
Vice President
Ryan Giffen
(615) 261-4000 1018 | EMAIL

I was born and raised in Dallas, TX... enough said. Danica and I have THREE amazing sons: Will (7), Eli (3), and Jad (1). My best days will likely include wrestling with the boys, eating Chicago style pizza (or any pizza) and enjoying some good ESPN highlights. An interesting fact about myself is that I have traveled to 24 countries and once lived in a thatched roof mud hut for 3 weeks... on purpose.

Brianelliott
Vice President
Brian Elliott
Vice President
Brian Elliott
(615) 261-4000 1010 | EMAIL

Brian comes to Premiere Speakers Bureau after spending twelve years in the entertainment industry in Nashville. His experience as an event planner for a major music industry trade association as well as a booking agent for national touring artists & bands, gives him a unique ability to relate with clients, having been on both sides of the booking process.

Carl
Vice President
Carl Ware
Vice President
Carl Ware
(615) 261-4000 1045 | EMAIL

Carl first started at Premiere in the Advance Department with the responsibility of handling speakers’ travel and event logistics. A couple of years and hundreds of successful events later, he has assumed the role of Agent in which he helps professional event planners and non-profit organizations find the ideal speaker for their special event.

Jordan
Vice President
Jordan Smallwood
Vice President
Jordan Smallwood
(615) 261-4000 1030 | EMAIL

Jordan comes to Premiere having previously worked in politics, public accounting, and business development. Jordan graduated cum laude from The University of Tennessee where he studied accounting and finance. Jordan sits on the Communications Committee for International Association of Speakers Bureaus. In his free time Jordan enjoys playing golf, finishing middle of the pack in local 5k's, and spending time exploring New York City with his wife.

Brandon.edmondson
Vice President
Brandon Edmonson
Vice President
Brandon Edmonson
(615) 261-4000 1002 | EMAIL

Brandon joins Premiere with 6 years of experience as a Booking Agent in the music market. He specializes in finding clients the perfect speaker or talent for their event. Before he became an Agent, he was a Sales Director for a technology company. Brandon was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas and lived there until 2000 when he moved to Nashville on a college soccer scholarship. He and his wife Becka reside in Franklin, TN with their three children Brooklyn, Gabriel, and Ethan. Brandon enjoys staying active by playing golf, soccer, basketball, running, and keeping up with three kids.

Lisa
Event Guru
Lisa Borquez
Event Guru
Lisa Borquez
(615) 261-4000 1007 | EMAIL

As an Event Guru, Lisa works with both clients and speakers in handling the details and logistics of their events, helping to ensure that each event booked will be a success for everyone involved. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys spending time with her husband and their kids, reading, playing board games, and traveling as often as she can.

Heatherb
Event Guru
Heather Brett
Event Guru
Heather Brett
(615) 261-4000 1013 | EMAIL

Heather comes to Premiere Speakers Bureau with over ten years in the event planning industry. She has worked for venues helping clients coordinate their event logistics as well as booking and executing events for Dave Ramsey. In her free time, Heather enjoys running, reading, playing with her dog and time in the great outdoors.

Heather
Event Guru
Heather Edwards
Event Guru
Heather Edwards
(615) 261-4000 1017 | EMAIL

Heather has been praised by many top CEOs, Presidents of Universities, and industry leading meeting planners around the world for her dedication toward making sure each event is a success and every expectation of both speaker and client are accurately communicated to every party involved.

Josh
Josh Smallbone
Josh Smallbone
(615) 261-4000 1040 | EMAIL

Josh has been traveling for many years domestically and internationally. His traveling experience helps Premiere Speakers when planning logistics for speakers. Josh's expertise in book publishing also assists in making books a part of most speakers events.

Sherry
Chief Financial Officer
Sherry Olson
Chief Financial Officer
Sherry Olson
(615) 261-4000 1014 | EMAIL

Sherry came to Premiere Speakers in 2004 after working for 16 years in the entertainment industry. Originally from Michigan, Sherry has also lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and Los Angeles, California. She now oversees all accounting functions for Premiere. Sherry and her husband, Steve, live in Franklin, Tennessee. They have two sons, Eric and Craig.

Jeanne
Accounts Manager
Jeanne Bergstrom
Accounts Manager
Jeanne Bergstrom
(615) 261-4000 1008 | EMAIL

Jeanne came to Premiere Speakers in August of 2005. She brings several years of accounting experience in the convention, exhibit & health care industry with her. She loves outdoor activities,traveling and being with family & friends. She is a Nashville native and now lives in Franklin.

Josh
Josh Smallbone
Josh Smallbone
(615) 261-4000 1040 | EMAIL

Josh has been traveling for many years domestically and internationally. His traveling experience helps Premiere Speakers when planning logistics for speakers. Josh's expertise in book publishing also assists in making books a part of most speakers events.

Chris
Chief Information Officer
Chris Yount
Chief Information Officer
Chris Yount
(615) 261-4000 1016 | EMAIL

Chris was born on the East Coast of the US, traveled extensively, saved a puppy from a runaway train and then (the only obvious follow up to saving a puppy) joined the Premiere family as a designer and developer. Chris runs the Creative and IT/Development departments, and spends his free time searching for new adventures with his wife Chrystal (and yes, they are well aware of how confusing it is being Chris and Chrys Yount).

Travis
Graphic Designer
Travis Franklin
Graphic Designer
Travis Franklin
(615) 261-4000 1024 | EMAIL

Travis was born and raised in Nashville, TN, and briefly sojourned to Chattanooga where he studied Advertising and Communication at Lee University. Travis' parents were missionaries traveling and speaking in all 50 states and over 35 foreign countries, so it only makes sense that he joined Premiere Speakers Bureau with its many national and international connections.

Rclark
Web Developer
Ryan Clark
Web Developer
Ryan Clark
(615) 261-4000 | EMAIL

Ryan was born and raised in Franklin, Tennessee, and is proud to be a part of the Premiere team. He spends his free time reading, listening to and playing music, learning how to draw, and being married to his wonderful wife, Tiana.