Louie Gravance

  • ESOS_Ep_4_Louie_Gravance

    Speaker 1: Coming to you live from Chatterbox Studios in downtown Memphis, this is Stephen Kirkpatrick with Executive Speakers On Speakers. I have got former Disney Institute professor, professional comedian, customer service extraordinaire, Louie Gravance with me. We are going to talk about customer experience, why every business is show business, and of course we are going to tell some Disney stories. It is Mickey, it is Minnie, it is Louie, let’s bring some of our New Year’s resolutions, come at the table, cause we may learn something. We are so fortunate to have Louie Gravance with us today. Louie is a former Disney Institute professor, professional comedian, and customer experience consultant focused on creating the happiest workplace on Earth. Louie, how are you this morning?

    Speaker 2: I am doing great Stephen, thank you. It is always a pleasure to talk to you anyway, so, this ought to be a double pleasure.

    Speaker 1: Well, I appreciate you saying that, and we are really, really excited. Okay, let’s start off with this, Louie, I know you watch a lot of movies over the course of the year, so I have to ask your opinion on one.

    Speaker 2: Oh wow.

    Speaker 1: Do you think La La Land is worth all the Oscar nominations that it got?

    Speaker 2: Oh, I think this is sort of a trap you are laying, but I am going to say.

    Speaker 1: It is not a trap, it is just.

    Speaker 2: Yes.

    Speaker 1: It is an honest opinion.

    Speaker 2: No, I am going to say yes, and I will tell you why.

    Speaker 1: Okay.

    Speaker 2: It is, you know that I write movie reviews.

    Speaker 1: Sure.

    Speaker 2: For a pop culture website, and yes, I am nuts for the movie, and I know that there are certain things that are not perfect about it, and I know that it is not everybody’s cup of tea. But, in the same way that The Artist, a few years back, the silent movie, was very special and unique, and I was just so happy that someone bothered to do it. That is how I feel about La La Land, and it is the first time in many years that someone has done a musical in Hollywood, that is not a play on itself, or a self referential, or a camp, that it is just absolutely sincere, and without irony. And, and I, so yeah, I love it.

    Speaker 1: So, let me ask you this. Do you think that it is the truth of the movie that allows it to resonate with today’s audience? Cause I think a lot of people look at musicals and say, you know, musical movies, that was really big in the thirties and forties, but it does not really resonate. But obviously this one has, had long legs and resonated with a lot of audiences. Do you think it is because of its sincerity?

    Speaker 2: You know I, what I think, that is part of it, and the other thing is in the same way that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies, you look at it, you know, neither one of them were good singers, neither one of them were particularly good actors, they were great dancers, but you wanted to see them in movies, there was something about watching them that was pleasant and fun. And, I think what grounds the film is Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and the fact that it absolutely looks like they dig each other. You buy that a 100 percent, and I think it is one of the things that makes that movie sort of honest, and sincere, don’t you?

    Speaker 1: I think so, you and I have had conversations before, Emma Stone is, I think she is phenomenal in almost anything she is in. She just comes across as such a unique person, but has such a, just a, there is a goodness about her that really resonates. I think she makes, she does a very good job, and Ryan Gosling does a great job as well. I think they were both very well cast, and you know, it serves as something for all of us who are in entertainment fields, or information sharing fields, like speaking, that if you come from a place of truth, it is going to resonate with people.

    Speaker 2: I agree, and it did not hurt that, you know, I grew up in Los Angeles in show business, I was a young person, I remember falling in love at that age in Hollywood, and that is what Hollywood looks like to you. When you are very young, you are very emotional, and you know, you are falling in love with the city, and it is just, and the whole thing is great.

    Speaker 1: So, let me.

    Speaker 2: However.

    Speaker 1: Go ahead.

    Speaker 2: It is not my choice for best film.

    Speaker 1: Oh.

    Speaker 2: Not my choice for best film.

    Speaker 1: Do you want to reveal it.

    Speaker 2: Yes.

    Speaker 1: On the Executive Speakers on Speakers Podcast, or do you need to wait?

    Speaker 2: Yes, I do, I think I would have to give that award to Moonlight.

    Speaker 1: Oh, interesting, okay. Well look, I have got to ask, why Moonlight, Louie?

    Speaker 2: It is, it replicates 3 stages of growing up in an interestingly, dreamy fashion, in a way that I have not seen a movie work in a long time. And another reason is if I tell you what the movie is about, you will not want to see it. There is no way to explain the narrative without it sounding either trite, or, oh my God, I do not want to see that. And yet, you love it, you love the experience, and that in and of itself, something that you would not feel you had a relationship to, or a connection to, and yet you walk away from it feeling changed. It is so, I think it is a great film.

    Speaker 1: So, lets kind of piggy back on this talking about movies in show business, and your early start in Los Angeles. Now, the thing that you talk about, your, 1 of your main speech topics is, there is no business like show business, and all of our business is show business. Talk to me.

    Speaker 2: It is actually, no business but show business.

    Speaker 1: But show business.

    Speaker 2: There is no business but show business, yes, and.

    Speaker 1: So talk to me about where that concept came from, and how it has kind of grown with you over the years.

    Speaker 2: I will tell you the moment it first dawned on me. I was in my mid-teens, and I was filming a commercial for Knotts Berry Farm, they were opening a couple of new thrill rides and I was to sit in this roller coaster with a camera based on the front for hours screaming at a time while they shot this commercial, from various angles. And during 1 of the breaks, I will never forget, this passionate discussion going on between the director and the ad executive. And it was imperative to the ad executive that 1 seat in the roller coaster remain empty, and even though it was going to be not visible to the naked eye for most people, they felt that it sent a message subliminally that, this ride and this place were extremely popular, but there was still a place for you. And I remember thinking, whoa, I, just the head trip and the way to wrap cerebrally your mind around that, then as I went on and did everything from soft drink commercials, to McDonald’s commercials, to clothes commercials, cars commercials, I saw this thread, and I saw how these things were thought out. So then when I ended up at Walt Disney World, first as an entertainer then a trainer, and then part of the launch of the business programs through the Institute. This language, was something I already innately knew it, this was, I had no problem with show business and commerce, the connection, both in profitability, and emotional that every transaction was an emotional transaction, it involved every sense, what it looks like, sounds like, smells like, and feels like. So I think I had a leg up there because of my eccentric, and unique, growing up on television sets, and movie sets, and mostly commercial sets.

    Speaker 1: Yeah, that is interesting though, commercials are such an interesting art form because you are definitely selling a product, but it is an art form, and you need to sell that emotional interaction. Why don’t we talk a little bit about the Disney Institute Louie? A lot of our listeners probably have heard of the Institute before and Disney University, but they are not really quite sure what it does, and the more I have read into it, the more fascinating idea it is, I mean, the concept that Disney came up with. So, I mean, please share with us kind of the background on Disney Institute.

    Speaker 2: Well initially, Michael Eisner’s dream, he was the CEO at the time, was for it to be like Chautauqua, which is a learning center for people to vacation and learn. And, at the beginning, none of the classes were really Disney oriented, there was a couple of drawing classes, but none of them were about the business of Disney, they were about Mandarin cooking, they were about city planning, they were about flower design, really eclectic, storytelling, poetry. Really eclectic subjects, and you did not grab an audience, it did not grab an audience. And those of us that were working at the Disney University, that were doing business programs already teaching the qualities and the values of Disney training, we were really anxious to send these programs to the Disney Institute. Where we thought, it could really launch, and we could open up to a whole new audience, and in fact, I believe it was the 3rd year, that the Institute was open, and that is in fact what happened. And then eventually, it became exclusively about business programs and customer service.

    Speaker 1: So, everyone has got a Disney story, about going to Disney World, and how great the customer service is, how they think of things. Why is customer service so embedded in the cast members at Disney, in their DNA?

    Speaker 2: Because of the emotional connection that is drawn, and from the very first day, from the very first moment. That, they call it traditions, and from the first moment, there is an attempt to draw an emotional connection from your first Disney experience to the kinds of experiences that you will be providing from this date forward. And whether that is your connection to the movies, your own connections to the park as a child, your, if you are old enough, your connection to Walt Disney, and your memories of that, any way we could make that connection with the cast that would. And this is true now in any business that I work with, any way that we could draw that emotional connection. And do what, this is my phrase that I coined, get everyone to come on board with the concept that, great service serves the server first. And, that every magical moment, and yes we use those terms, every magical moment that you help facilitate, is one you participate in, and one that you also retain value from. And that is the crux of keeping people emotionally engaged. And so the first part of the training has nothing to do with your task. Whether you are going to be making pizzas, or whether you are going to, good example, if you are going to be one of those trainers, you spend weeks being cross-utilized in training so you will know what you are talking about. And you clean hotel rooms, and you portray characters, all kinds of things. And one day it was my job, task, to create hundreds of pizzas with this lady that had worked backstage for 19 years doing nothing but making pizzas.

    Speaker 1: Wow.

    Speaker 2: And she had a system, yeah, and she taught me this system, by this point.

    Speaker 1: She must have been really good at making pizzas after 19 years.

    Speaker 2: Well, I will tell you, so at this point I had been through a lot of the cross training. I mean I had been cleaning toilets and hotel rooms, I had been, you know, I had been working security, so this pizza thing seemed like a walk in the park to me.

    Speaker 1: Seemed mild.

    Speaker 2: Right, so this was the consciousness that I stupidly brought to it. So, she shows me the task and I think I get it, and so the, you know, the pizzas come and you would take a pink brush, and you would put the tomato sauce on, and you toss the cheese around, and if it was pepperoni it would go to the right, if it was cheese it would go to the left on this sort of conveyor belt. Not terribly unlike that Lucy and Ethel scene, you know, with the candy.

    Speaker 1: I was just thinking that, it was like the candy thing with Lucy and Ethel, you know, except it was Disney World and pizzas.

    Speaker 2: Much slower, much slower but it was the same concept basically. So these pizzas are coming and I thought, well, this is not too hard, and I remember tossing the cheese around and sort of humming to myself, and enjoying this task. And this sweet woman is watching me, and I guess after a while she just cannot take it, and she goes, honey, honey, oh honey no, she goes, baby, you have got to get that cheese all the way around that pizza even cause if you do not, it is not going to be good show for my guests.

    Speaker 1: Wow.

    Speaker 2: This lady never interfaced with a guest in 19 years, and yet she was still able to be back stage, and know that she was not just rationing out pizzas, she was an integral part in the person’s day that they were going to have there at Walt Disney World. And that, that was, that wiped the smirk off my face I can tell you, right there.

    Speaker 1: That is amazing, I would just sit here and think, so many CEOs across the country would love for their employees to have that kind of ownership over their product. I mean, that just goes to show.

    Speaker 2: You must.

    Speaker 1: I mean, but that just goes to show you the magic of Disney and the connection that they make, I mean, God bless this woman for having that sense of excellence over her job that you would, I mean most of us would just think is just kind of meaningless work, but that is, wow. Blows me away.

    Speaker 2: Well then she thought job first, job first and task second. Now, I have worked with a great, I have spoken with, worked with a great many claims adjusters. So imagine, okay so you are making pizzas, and not to make light of that, but some of the folks I deal with have this constant attack of different kinds of tasks that are competing for that emotion. They are competing for that drive, they are competing for that commitment, and so that becomes then a real, you have to really be able to speak to somebody literally, convincingly, rationally, and believably about how you remember what it is you are doing. Not just what you are doing, but what you are doing. And that is also a real part of the thrust of my talks, and my work is to keep people on point, because so much of what we do is about remembering. So much of great training is about remembering, because when I go into say a casino, or a hospital to work with the folks, or a retail outlets, or you know, or an insurance company, and I sit with the team members, or the task members, or the employees that are making everything work. Almost invariably, almost to a person, that employee can explain to me what a perfect service moment would look like in their industry. I mean, from all angles, so but yet, many of them are not performing in that, with many of them are not creating those moments on a consistent basis. So if they know what that moment looks like, and they are not providing that moment, there are 2 things that either happen is, either there is either a training barrier, or some sort of, some internal [UNKNOWN], you know it could be technical, it could be machinery, or most likely, and this is hard for employers to hear, for some reason they do not want to bad enough.

    Speaker 1: You know it interesting, whenever we were talking about the Disney Institute and the connection made from the first day, and just how that comes down. My thoughts immediately went, immediately went to leadership has to be brought into this concept. And I think it comes through with what you just said.

    Speaker 2: Well, that is interesting that you mention it because the hierarchy is flattened the first day. And so in other words, when you are looking in that room and you might have 100 people in that first training room, you could have a vice president sitting right next to somebody that was going to be working custodial. And everybody had the same name tag, everybody sat at the same table, and occasionally someone would come in that did not necessarily think that it was aimed at them really, and they would bring in their assistant. And they were shocked, some of them, when it was conveyed to them, that no, we were not messing around, you have got to leave the assistant outside, and your phones, and yeah, you are just like everybody today, you are just like Snow White today, so hunker down, you are in the for the ride.

    Speaker 1: Louie so, 1 of the things that separates you from other former Disney Institute professors, Disney U teachers, is that you have actually taken the Disney Institute training, and totally recreated it in another industry, it has nothing to do with theme parks. And you have been able to replicate it successfully, please talk to us about your Bank of America experience and how you did that.

    Speaker 2: Well, you know, it was so much luck and fortune, and baptism by fire as they say. I had 2 weeks left, I was going to go out on my own, I had decided that I was going to go solo, and I had 2 weeks left with the Walt Disney Company. And our client for a week was Bank of America. And, it would be my, what my function was by in large, was to try and recreate what that training might look like to a first day cast member, to really demonstrate what our program looked like for people that were being on boarded. So, at the end of the week they asked me if I would like to come and work for them, and work on a project that they basically wanted to create, you know something that they did not want to steal from Disney, but they wanted to create something that would live in their culture, that could start people and inspire people in the same way. So, it was one of those, be careful what you wish for because you know, I was hoping it would get a big client, but in no time I found myself in North Carolina. You know, locked in a room with a technical writer, and he was trying to make this happen. And the culture at Bank of America at the time, they were closing a bank account for every one they were opening every day. And we were lucky it was a culture that was open to, ready for, and knew that they needed a culture shift. So, what we did was, I went to the foundation in the same way that we did at traditions, I knew that our power was to really emotionally connect people with Walt Disney and his dream, and the way that began. And what I found is, many of the people that work for Bank of America had no emotional connection to the amazing things that that company and organization had done for almost a century, none, they had no idea of their involvement in the Golden Gate Bridge. And they had no idea that thanks to them, Disney Land was completed. They had no idea that their bank was literally founded by a gentleman, who would give you a loan based on the calluses of your hands, or whether or not you could be trusted to work.

    Speaker 1: I did not know that. Bob, did you know that? Bob did not know that, that is amazing.

    Speaker 2: It was first done at the Bank of Italy, and operated I believe in California. And yeah, it was small and, that was 1 of the criteria to find out if you were really a hard working person and you could be trusted. And that was something they bragged about a long time, we want to see the calluses of your hand. So this was a way of thinking that was very foreign to people that were in banking at the time, and I will tell you what we did. We did this for practically every banking associate in the United States of America that worked for them at the time. And they wanted to do it in huge ballrooms in these cities, and I said no, let’s do it theaters, let’s rent theaters, and let’s work this the same way we would work an attraction. We would have the right movie, music playing in the lobbies, and it would set them up that this was going to be a very different experience. We would load them in all at the same time, the same way a theater, or the parks are loaded in. Suddenly the lights would go down, there was music, and suddenly with special effects and everything, you would see various bank associates start to be lit slowly, and tell their personal stories about their connection with working for that bank. And at this point, everybody’s head would be spun around, that this was not the bank meeting that they were anticipating at all. And we dared to go emotional, and we called it the Bank of America Spirit. We wanted to call it, The Spirit To Serve, but Marriott had already owned, had already trademarked that.

    Speaker 1: The trademark, trademark battles.

    Speaker 2: Right, so we went with the Bank of America Spirit. Now I want, if you could imagine, what the word spirit on a piece training data, text, material, you could just imagine it first, the wide eyes about that, that that had to be sold. That we were literally, we were going to be bold enough to talk about the spirit of delivering customer excellence, service excellence in the banking industry, and we weren’t going to be ashamed about it. And I must tell you that about 3 months into this, it took me a couple of years, about 3 months into this process, a gentleman, a high ranking official with the bank in North Carolina comes up to me, thanks me for my efforts, and says that he is leaving the bank in a couple of weeks. And I go, why, why is that, why are you leaving? You seem like you are a vital part of this team. And he looks at me and he goes, really you see, I, I, I do not want to be nice.

    Speaker 1: I do not want to be nice.

    Speaker 2: I do not want to be nice. He goes.

    Speaker 1: That had to be an answer you were not expecting Louie, that probably caught you out of left field.

    Speaker 2: It did really.

    Speaker 1: It is like, what?

    Speaker 2: I do not want to be nice. He goes, I know how to do this, I know how to do this the way I have known how to do it for many years, I am successful at it, you may consider me an old dog, but I just do not have the niceness in me. And so he chose to.

    Speaker 1: I feel bad for his wife.

    Speaker 2: Yeah, so he chose to hop on another narrative, and you know, well done for everyone. Well done for everyone, well done for setting the expectation.

    Speaker 1: Yeah.

    Speaker 2: Well done for maintaining the expectation, and well done for saying, maybe not for me. You know, that when you go to the casting center at Walt Disney World, and you can go in, it is open 7 days a week, even if they can take you immediately, you sit in a lobby and there is this video playing on a loop with various people. And it starts, hi and welcome to the most magical place on Earth, where you will be creating memories that will last a lifetime. He is so over the top with pixie dust, it is this bazooka of pixie dust that comes off the screen. So 1 of the main reasons for this is, at least 10 percent of the people looked at that video and go, oh heck no, I am out of here, and they turn around and they leave. So if you see that at the training, an expectation is set from the first moment you touch the door knob that looks like the door knob that talks in Alice In Wonderland, you are, you know, are you getting on board or not?

    Speaker 1: Yeah, that is amazing. You know, and that is so great too, because I really think it makes companies take a hard look at what kind of expectations they want to set in the beginning for their trainees. And whenever you have a well thought out training program, it is going to save you a lot of heartache on the end by not having someone that is with your bank, or your corporation, or you company for 2 or 3 years that has not bought into that corporate culture that you want to.

    Speaker 2: You know Stephen, it is easier, it is easier to think your way into a new way of acting than it is to act your way into a new way of thinking. And this is why I never attack the behaviors first. I never attack behaviors first. Language is always something monumental to deal with before you ever get to behaviors because, language inspires behavior.

    Speaker 1: That is interesting. Louie, I have got time for 1 more quick question. One of the things that you do that really sticks out, is you use storytelling to make your points. You know, today we live in a world where there is so many facts, and figures, and spreadsheets, and power points, and so many speakers go with hard facts, hard data, and trends, but you use storytelling. Why is storytelling such a powerful medium for making points and illustrating things that you want the audience to see?

    Speaker 2: Again, I think it helps when you are listening to an anecdote, and if it is, if you are telling a story well, you are telling a story that is not only coming from your point of view, but it is 1 that is inviting other people to bring their experience to the story as well so that they feel that you know what you are talking about. And as you know, I am, I do not work with a lot of power point. For example, it was really important that safety was the first thing I would teach people in my training in any of the theme parks. Now, I could have run a tape, and shown a spread sheet, and run a power point that would show statistically the dangers and the hazards of our safety challenges, but I would tell them this story about something that actually happened, where a lady fell down in the middle of the street, and everyone involved did everything wrong. Every one of us involved made a bad choice. And I would tell that story, and I was, through that story I was able to connect how, at every single point we could have made a better choice and did not. And for years, people would run into me and come up to me and go, oh my gosh, something happened to me the other day and you know what I remembered? The old lady falling down story.

    Speaker 1: Oh gosh.

    Speaker 2: Now.

    Speaker 1: The old lady falling down.

    Speaker 2: Would they have remembered a slide? Would they have remembered those talking points? If I had handed them some behavioral guidelines? I mean, not that we do not cover that as well, but what they remembered was the way they were able to connect emotionally to a situation that they had either been in, or could be in.

    Speaker 1: Very, very good answer.

    Speaker 2: And the other reason is, it is just a lot more entertaining in our job as speakers, is to educate. At least that is what I have to offer, and the way of doing that is to convey the stories to people, the characters that we meet, the way that we, the experiences that we have, and that we get what they look like, sound like, smell like, and feel like. And that is best done in storytelling, and that is one of the things I do, is work with executives who are about to give presentations, and can get them off the power points, and to convey their point in something real that happened to them that other people can understand.

    Speaker 1: Very good, good answer. All right everyone, it is time for your favorite part of the show, it is time for 3 random questions.

    Speaker 2: Oh no.

    Speaker 1: We got theme music this time. All right Louie, this is how it works, I have got 3 random questions for you, if you answer all 3 right, you get to go to the bonus question. Since you.

    Speaker 2: I do not know why I am horrified.

    Speaker 1: Oh, you should be.

    Speaker 2: But, let’s go.

    Speaker 1: This is going to be fun.

    Speaker 2: All right.

    Speaker 1: So of course, our 3 random questions are about Disney World in Orlando. So.

    Speaker 2: Okay.

    Speaker 1: Let’s test your Disney knowledge. Question number 1.

    Speaker 2: First of all, first of all it is Walt Disney World, so there you go okay.

    Speaker 1: Oh excuse me.

    Speaker 2: Yeah, there we go.

    Speaker 1: Walt Disney World.

    Speaker 2: There you go, there you go.

    Speaker 1: All right, I guess it is, that is a mark against me just starting out. Okay.

    Speaker 2: No worries, it is all right.

    Speaker 1: First question, what does Epcot stand for?

    Speaker 2: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or it can also stand for every person comes out tired.

    Speaker 1: All right, that is good, that is good, we got that, we got a bonus question too, I should have made that harder. Okay, all right, this is multiple choice. How many people visit Disney, excuse me, Walt Disney World, annually? Is it A, over 37 million, B over 52 million, or C, over 65 million?

    Speaker 2: I am going to say over 37 million.

    Speaker 1: Oh, Louie I am sorry.

    Speaker 2: Really?

    Speaker 1: It is over 52 million.

    Speaker 2: Really?

    Speaker 1: Annually.

    Speaker 2: Wow, that is more than I thought.

    Speaker 1: Yeah, that is a lot of people.

    Speaker 2: Wow, I am going to keep the stock.

    Speaker 1: Yeah, you need to.

    Speaker 2: Yeah.

    Speaker 1: You should, it is good stock.

    Speaker 2: Yeah.

    Speaker 1: All right question number 3, there are 27 resort themed hotels on the property, 27. I did not realize that Bob, that is a lot of themed hotels.

    Speaker 2: That is a lot, yeah.

    Speaker 1: Which were the first 2 hotels built?

    Speaker 2: They were the Contemporary Resort, which by the way was famous because it worked as shelves, those rooms were put in there like drawers, and the idea was that they could pull them out again except that the place settled, and they were stuck there. And the other 1 was the Polynesian Resort.

    Speaker 1: We are correct, and he even, so in 1971, the first phase was 5 hotels, and those were the first 2 built of the first 5. Louie, since you gave us additional information on the Contemporary hotel, I am going to give you the bonus question, are you ready for it?

    Speaker 2: Okay good, yes, yes.

    Speaker 1: Who is my daughter’s favorite Disney Princess?

    Speaker 2: Oh wow, oh wow. I am going to say, this is completely out of nowhere, but I am going to say Ariel, The Little Mermaid.

    Speaker 1: Oh, I am sorry, it is Jasmine.

    Speaker 2: Really?

    Speaker 1: Her favorite Princess is Jasmine, yes.

    Speaker 2: [UNKNOWN].

    Speaker 1: Quick Disney story that I am going to tell. We had 15 minutes to get from our hotel to Contemporary, to Epcot, and then see Jasmine and Aladdin before they went away. My daughter and I ran, probably about a mile in the rain so she could see Princess Jasmine. That is the magic of Disney people, magic of Disney.

    Speaker 2: That is it, yes, and I am glad you had that experience, and I am glad that your daughter has a good taste, she picked Jasmine from 1 of my favorite movies, so.

    Speaker 1: Well, very good. Listen Louie.

    Speaker 2: You are doing a great job Stephen.

    Speaker 1: Trying to.

    Speaker 2: Not only here but in your home it seems, so good for you.

    Speaker 1: Louie, thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all the time, and being a good sport, we really do appreciate it. For more information on Louie, go to www.executivespeakers.com/louiegravance, we have got bio, picture, speech topics, and many videos that you can see Louie making his wonderful points, and showing how he is entertaining to a crowd. He is a hilarious man, and we are so happy to have him on board. Louie, thank you so much for being with us.

    Speaker 2: It has been my pleasure Stephen, thank you so much.

    Speaker 1: We want to thank you again for joining us on our podcast, I am your host Stephen Kirkpatrick, special thanks to our guest Louie Gravance. For more information on him you can go to our website, www.executivespeakers.com/louiegravance. Louie is spelled, Louie, Gravance, Gravance. Special thanks also to Chatterbox Audio Theater, producer Bob Arnold, and our music selections from Ryan Sheeler, and Podington Bear.




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  • "We not only went 3 for 3 but I'd say they were all home runs! Thanks for your help on the speakers. It was a key and very positive component of our c...
  • Thank you to both of you for everything surrounding Mr. Will as our special guest. I suspect, soon, I will be in touch regarding our next event. 
    Oxford Financial
  • "I wanted to share with you feedback of my experience in working with Executive Speakers Bureau.. Very responsive and detail oriented.  When I wa...
  • "My mind was very much at ease knowing that Jack Uldrich was so well prepped.  I will definitely use your agency again."  
  • Thanks to Richard and Jo for all the coordination. Another homerun from Executive Speakers Bureau!  
    Wisconsin Hospital Association
  • We truly appreciate the excellent support and attention to detail we have received from Executive Speakers Bureau.  They have provided us with so...
  • "I will be sure that all involved know what a wonderful resource you have been. The universe smiled on me when I discovered Executive Speakers and you...
    Ocala Eye
  • "This year’s speaker line-up at our Summer Meeting was the best yet. We knocked it out of the park. Thanks for all your help securing such excel...
    North Carolina Hospital Association
  • "Let me tell you that the ESB team and Christine's responsiveness, follow up, proactivity, industry knowledge, and overall customer service was phenom...
    Clear Link
  • Our bank has held an annual business and economic conference for the past 9 years.  We have worked with Executive Speakers every year and I have ...
    First Midwest Bank
  • "My entire team has enjoyed the experience of working with you and ESB more than words can express. Everything was handled in a professional and timel...
    Cregger Company
  • "Let me just say again, what a pleasure it is to work with you and ESB. You really make it harder for others to reach the bar."
  • "It was a great pleasure to work with you in making this event a success. Your professionalism, attention to detail and response to all my questions a...
    Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • "Thanks to you and Jo for all your efforts.  Connie Podesta and Roger Dow were great!"   
    National Apartment Association
  • "Your tenacity and persistence in staying in touch with us is a model example of good salesmanship and partnering.  I will be using you as an exa...
    Schneider Electric
  • We could not have done it without you.  Thank you for the outstanding suggestions.  The speakers were by far the best we have ever had.
  • "Everyone loved Bob and he was so nice on site. Thank you for all you did. The process was so easy and we will definitely work with you again next yea...
  • "As I mentioned before, your engagement model was incredibly easy to work with, and I know we came to you on short notice!  I would highly recomm...
    Capitol One
  • Thanks to you, Jo and the rest of your team.  You are the BEST.  Knowing you are behind a speaker allows us the luxury of concentrating on o...
    Ohio Hospital Association
  • "Richard, Your ability to put me in front of just the right group again and again, is nothing short of amazing. You work your tail off, you sweat the ...
    Alan Hobson
  • You ladies really are the BEST!  After this event I am going to be on the hunt for keynote speakers in May.  I really want to work with you ...
  • The Nebraska Hospital Association along with numerous other state hospital associations have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Executive Speak...
    The Nebraska Hospital Association
  • As always, you deliver excellent service. Thanks!
    Camden National Bank
  • "WOW, is all I have to say and thank you!  Our event was a huge success and you never steer me wrong, both David Cottrell and Ryan Estis were exc...
  • The event was EASY Cake! and it went over very very well.  Thank you so much for the help and organization, it made my life very easy. 
    Boys & Girls Club
  • "You made my job so much easier! You are the only bureau I will use."     
    Sigma Systems
  • "I LOVE this list that you sent me! I emailed several different places on Tuesday an...
  • "I appreciate your recommendations.  In addition, you are always a pleasure to work with and understand the pains of an over worked meeting plann...
  • Everything went really well and we really enjoyed having Jack Uldrich as our speaker!  He was entertaining and funny and provided great examples....
    Novo Nordisk
  • "OMG Richard! As always you make me look like a rock star. Every single speaker we selected hit it out of the park. Thank you again. Can't even say wh...
    Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Assn.
  • "The group that I work with to obtain all of my keynote speakers is Executive Speakers Bureau and I can tell you that I don’t like working with ...
    Indiana Youth Institute
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