Meet Our Team

The people that help define Premiere's excellence.

We don't take anything for granted. We work hard day in and day out for event planners ― experienced and newcomers, domestic and international, from big companies and from small ones ― just like you. And we have a good time doing it.

Executives
Agents
Travel & Advance
Accounting
Support
Marketing & IT
  • Duane
    Founder and CEO
    Duane Ward
    (615) 261-4000 X1015 | 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 five grandsons who have the full attention of their doting grandparents!


    Get to know Duane
  • Shawnh
    President
    Shawn Hanks
    (615) 261-4000 X1011 | 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 and non-profit events. In addition, he provides direction to speakers on the Premiere roster. Shawn is an avid football and basketball fan. He is a frequent reader and a musician, and he actively serves the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB) as Education Committee co-chair. 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 (12), Ethan (10), Ella Kate (8) and Ava (6.)


    Get to know Shawn
  • Sherry
    Chief Financial Officer
    Sherry Olson
    (615) 261-4000 X1014 | 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.


  • Chris
    Chief Information Officer
    Chris Yount
    (615) 261-4000 X1016 | 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).


  • Shawnh
    President
    Shawn Hanks
    Association & Political
    (615) 261-4000 X1011 | 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 and non-profit events. In addition, he provides direction to speakers on the Premiere roster. Shawn is an avid football and basketball fan. He is a frequent reader and a musician, and he actively serves the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB) as Education Committee co-chair. 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 (12), Ethan (10), Ella Kate (8) and Ava (6.)


    Get to know Shawn
  • Brian
    Senior Vice President, Director of Sales
    Brian Lord
    Corporate
    (615) 261-4000 X1005 | EMAIL

    Since January 2000, Brian has served as Senior Vice President. Prior to PSB, Brian was with the William Morris Agency. He's been interviewed on the BBC, quoted in the Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, and was chosen for Nashville's 40 Under 40. He and his wife Krista and daughters Brooklyn and Sydney live in Franklin. Brian coaches girls softball, competes in triathlons and runs NonBoardBoard.org, whose leaders serve people in 32 countries. Brian has a political science degree from DePauw University.


    Get to know Brian
  • Rgiffen
    Ryan Giffen
    K-12 & University
    (615) 261-4000 X1018 | EMAIL

    I was born and raised in Dallas, TX... enough said. Danica and I have THREE amazing sons: Will (8), Eli (3), and Jad (2). My best days will likely include wrestling with the boys, eating Chicago style pizza (or any pizza) and seeing what deals American Pickers can find next. An interesting fact about myself is that I have traveled to 25 countries and once lived in a thatched roof mud hut for 3 weeks... on purpose.


    Get to know Ryan
  • Brianelliott
    Brian Elliott
    Faith, Government & Chamber of Commerce
    (615) 261-4000 X1010 | 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.


    Get to know Brian
  • Carl
    Carl Ware
    Non-profit
    (615) 261-4000 X1045 | EMAIL

    Carl began his time at Premiere in 2009 and enjoys growing his relationships with professional event planners and non-profit organizations to better assist them in finding the perfect speaker for their event. With a love for food and real estate, he also assists groups in these industries with finding speakers for their annual conferences. He married his childhood sweetheart and is the proud father to an adventurous toddler. When outside the office, Carl is often found doing home renovation projects.


    Get to know Carl
  • Jordan
    Jordan Smallwood
    (615) 261-4000 X1030 | 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
    Brandon Edmonson
    (615) 261-4000 X1002 | 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.


  • Aaron
    Agent Associate
    Aaron Gray
    (615) 261-4000 X1041 | EMAIL

    Aaron joins Premiere after previously working in management, sales, and marketing. He was born in southern Indiana and moved to Nashville in 2009 (No, not to start a music career). In 2014, he married his lovely wife Hannah, they dream of traveling the world together. In his free time Aaron enjoys playing basketball, going to rivers and lakes, and playing with his dog Moose. Aaron’s #1 goal as an agent is to create relationships based on trust and transparency, followed by high quality experiences.


  • Lisa
    Event Guru
    Lisa Borquez
    (615) 261-4000 X1007 | 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.


    Get to know Lisa
  • Heatherb
    Event Guru
    Heather Brett
    (615) 261-4000 X1013 | 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
    (615) 261-4000 X1017 | 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.


    Get to know Heather
  • Sherry
    Chief Financial Officer
    Sherry Olson
    (615) 261-4000 X1014 | 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
    (615) 261-4000 X1008 | 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.


  • Milly
    Accounting Assistant
    Milly Quillin
    (615) 261-4000 X1008 | EMAIL

    Milly came to Premiere Speakers in 2011 after working 10 years for her previous company. Milly is now the Accounting Assistant for Premiere Speakers. Orginally from Kentucky, Milly spends her free time with her husband and daughter on a golfcart. Not playing golf, just riding on the golfcart.


  • Marsha
    Accounting Assistant
    Marsha Owen
    (615) 261-4000 X | EMAIL

    I attended the University of Southern MS in Hattiesburg, MS. I moved to Nashville in 2001 and managed a company in the music industry for seven years. After having my daughter in 2005, I returned to my background in Healthcare Accounting. I left the Healthcare Industry again and began my Accounting position with Premiere Marketing and Collectibles in April 2015. I live in Nolensville,TN with my daughter who attends Nolensville Elementary.


  • Krista
    Operations Manager
    Krista Albright
    (615) 261-4000 X2009 | EMAIL

    Krista has taken hobnobbery to an art form of the highest calling (so she tells herself...). Her old fashioned southern roots means everyone is a friend, and her often-used imagination grants her the power to turn any routine into an adventure. Her current favorites? Sending out emails to Premiere’s Agents styled as though they came straight from the desk of James Bond’s beloved M, and past-bedtime pajama dance parties with her two boys, Miles and Simon. Krista is a lifelong fan of goofy laughs and creating positive environments wherever she can. The dessert-loving reader may be pleased to know that her first word was “Bee Bo”, for Blue Bell’s ice cream.


  • Lisa.gorman
    Lisa Gorman
    (615) 261-4000 X | EMAIL

    Lisa came to Premiere Speakers in June of 2015. She enjoys living the "help me to help you" mantra as office manager. In her free time she often spends time with her husband a three young adult kiddos when they are in town. She stays busy gardening, cooking, baking, as well as a few painting, illustrating, designing, and repurposing projects.


  • Chris
    Chief Information Officer
    Chris Yount
    (615) 261-4000 X1016 | 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
    Director of Marketing
    Travis Franklin
    (615) 261-4000 X1024 | 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
    (615) 261-4000 X | 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.


  • Woodie
    Marketing Manager
    Eric Woodie
    (615) 261-4000 X | EMAIL

    Eric hails from the land of crab cakes and football (Maryland for those who may not know) but made the move down to Nashville at the tender age of 17 to study marketing in the music business. He received his degree and decided to wait to use it once his band in a van life finally hit the wall, which go figure, it did. Eric then gathered experience working in social media and youth ministry leading up to his nuptials with Premiere Speakers Bureau in 2014. Now he finally gets to put that marketing degree to good use.


  • Meridian
    Meridian Pratt
    (615) 261-4000 X1000 | EMAIL

    Meridian was born and raised in New England. Growing up in close proximity to both the ocean and the mountains, she became an avid boater and downhill skier. She holds a degree in Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and spends her free time reading, traveling, and finding new adventures outdoors.


  • Shruthi
    Marketing Coordinator
    Shruthi Lapp
    (615) 261-4000 X | EMAIL

    Shruthi joined the Premiere family in 2014, bringing her creativity and a penchant for all things visual and social to the marketing team. When she isn’t engaging the multitude of Premiere’s fans via Twitter or Facebook, she’s most likely styling her home, drooling over a food blog, or lost in a travel magazine.