044: 3 Presidents, 4 Prime Ministers, 5 Secretaries of State. Meet Bernie Swain, co-founder and Chairman of Washington Speakers Bureau



In this episode I Meet Bernie Swain – co-founder and Chairman of Washington Speakers Bureau and today’s foremost authority on the lecture industry.

Over the past 35 years, he has represented former US Presidents, American and world leaders, journalists, authors, business visionaries, and sports legends

In this fascinating conversation with Bernie we talk about his experiences working shoulder to shoulder with the world’s leaders.

We talk about passion, determination and defining moments, and how that passion can be unlocked in the turning points of your life.

Find out how Bernie risked everything, starting in the stationery cupboard in a friend’s office, and how, with dedication, passion and pure dogged determination, he built his business to be the best and most respected agency in the country.

1:12 – Introducing Bernie Swain, the co-founder and CEO of the Washington Speakers Bureau.


2:25 – The difficulty of breaking through the public personas of world class interviewees.


5:00 – How he approached the interviews for his book and his expectations.


6:34 – Bernie’s focus on turning points and the big turning points in his life.


8:51 – The process of leaving his dream job to start a speakers bureau with no experience at all.


11:08 – The 14 months of failing in starting the business and recognizing your turning points.


13:43 – How important it can be to fully commit and burn the bridges.


15:15 – The importance of both passion and dogged determination.


17:09 – Starting a speakers bureau with no experience and the role of the small wins.


19:50 – Connecting authentically with clients through identifying with their challenges to tell their stories.


21:56 – Starting the process of his interviews by having a trusting relationship between the interviewee and himself.


23:05 – Advice for recognizing your turning points when they’re presented to you.


24:51 – How important it can be to trust your intuition.


27:40 – Challenges from early on in Bernie’s experience with the speakers bureau.


29:09 – Dangers of being derailed from your goals by outside voices.


31:23 – Advice for people feeling buried in social media.


33:16 – Breaking down the stories of world class people into relatable paths.


34:47 – How Bernie sees his business changing – or not – in the near future.


36:30 – What the people Bernie works with are like, on a personal level, and the role of trust in all relationships today.


39:12 – Living with abundance versus scarcity and how that has affected people Bernie has worked with.


41:36 – The simplicity and interconnectedness of the traits that create great people.


42:42 – The questionnaire.


46:32 – Getting in touch with Bernie and finding his book, What Made Me Who I Am.


Resources and Links Mentioned:


Washington Speakers Bureau


What Made Me Who I Am by Bernie Swain


Bob Woodward


Fortune Magazine


Lou Holtz


Yogi Berra


Liz Murray