Big thanks to the Chronicle Herald for featuring us in their business section this morning!

Speaker booking agent Tara Berthier stands next to one of her company’s banners in Halifax on Tuesday. (PETER PARSONS / Staff)


Speaker specialist goes solo

Tara Berthier’s first brush with the speaking industry started with booking Talk Sex with Sue Johanson.

As Dalhousie University’s vice-president of student life, Berthier arranged for the sexual educator to speak on campus.

“We went out for dinner after her engagement and she was looking for a new representative,” Berthier said in an interview Tuesday. “It took off from there.”

After graduation, the Cape Breton native moved to Toronto and cut her teeth at the National Speaker’s Bureau, Speakers’ Spotlight and S.L. Feldman & Associates, three of Canada’s top entertainment agencies.

Now Berthier has returned to Halifax and launched Speakers Boutique, a startup entertainment booking agency.

“What differentiates me from my competitors is that I keep a small roster of between 30 and 50 speakers that I know inside and out. I focus on speakers that entertain and educate audiences.”

The 28-year-old said her company’s discerning boutique approach takes the guesswork out of booking speakers.

Berthier said she books speakers for events organized by universities, conferences, and various associations.

Speakers Boutique’s current clients include CTV National News correspondent Seamus O’Regan, Barenaked Ladies lead singer and songwriter Steven Page, medical doctor and founder of War Child Canada Samantha Nutt and Kyle MacDonald, the man who traded one red paper-clip for a house.

“I focus on speakers who have had really incredible experiences and want to share them. I’ve heard a lot of speakers over the last six years and I seek out people who have a unique story.”

Berthier said she hones in on speakers with fresh ideas on a range of topics, including technology, entrepreneurship, the environment, education, anti-bullying and mental health.

Although her fledgling company has only operated for a month, Speakers Boutique is looking to hire within the next six months, Berthier said.

While booking a speaker through her company doesn’t cost the organization anything extra, Berthier said speakers pay her for finding engagements.

“A lot of these speakers are too busy to book speaking engagements and they find it awkward to talk about money, so I do the negotiations on their behalf.”

Berthier said she finds new speakers to represent often through referrals and word of mouth.

“If I see someone is picking up somewhat of a profile I’ll go see them speak or sit down with them to get a sense of what they are like. A lot of people are open to speaking engagement opportunities. It brings them a higher profile and it’s some extra revenue.”


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