How can executives use their strengths to become better leaders? What does it take to reshape an industry? How can we engineer change to redefine the level of service we provide to our clients? These are the questions we sought to answer when we created Worldwide Speakers Group and assembled our leadership team.
BOB THOMAS, PRESIDENT & CEO
Bob Thomas is widely recognized as a leader in the global lecture industry. His stellar reputation for outstanding service and strategic counsel has endeared him to clients and speakers alike. He has over two decades of diverse domestic and international experience serving a wide range of client industries, including financial services, transportation, technology, association, education, and defense. As such, Mr. Thomas has established solid relationships with past and present leaders in government, business, the economy and media.
Prior to founding Worldwide Speakers Group, Mr. Thomas helped lead a prominent global lecture agency, where he was recruited to execute an aggressive growth strategy, expanding the agency’s worldwide presence and market share. In his eight years with this agency, he specialized in building a global brand, recruiting speakers, and developing an international client base.
Mr. Thomas has led the recruitment of exclusive speakers and managed the day-to-day relationships with many of them. He has assisted former heads of state, captains of industry and global media personalities with their communications strategies as well as their lecture goals and agendas to provide the greatest impact on audiences.
Mr. Thomas has initiated sales team education programs and has helped craft effective marketing campaigns that place an emphasis on product positioning of speakers. Throughout his lecture industry career, he has focused on establishing long-term client account relationships with multi-national and Fortune 1000 companies, trade associations, college/universities and international forums.
Prior to entering the lecture industry, Mr. Thomas served as a member of the senior management team for two service consulting companies in the travel management and energy industries. During his tenure, he successfully transformed key business and management strategies and practices, as well as secured
new alliances with strategic business partners, all resulting in significant growth and profitability.
Mr. Thomas started his professional career in 1984 with IBM where he accomplished a record of significant achievement in sales, marketing and executive positions in multiple IBM businesses.
Mr. Thomas is a graduate of the College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He serves as the Advisory Board Co-chair at Berkshire School, a college preparatory school, in Sheffield, MA.
DAN SIMS, PRINCIPAL
Dan Sims is renowned in the talent, association, academic and corporate communities as a trusted partner and outstanding leader. Throughout his notable career, he has consistently booked and recruited former heads of state, sports Hall-of-Famers, business-thought leaders, industry captains, Hollywood celebrities,
government and military officials and top industry experts for a wide range of organizations. Mr. Sims brings a wealth and depth of professional relationships and innovative marketing ideas to the WWSG team.
An esteemed industry veteran, Mr. Sims’ achievements and accolades are many. His career highlights include:
- A former founder and president of THE AGENCY Speakers, LLC which managed speaker engagements on four continents for clients such as Barclays, Merrill Lynch, Marriott, Novartis, MTV and ESPN
- A past managing director at one of the country’s leading speaker bureaus
- Handled the exclusive lecture management of nearly 20 star athletes, Hall-of-Fame speakers, distinguished authors and leading politicians
- Founded the Sims Management Group where he provided exclusive management for a stellar group of U.S. speakers including the first American woman to summit Mt. Everest, Stacy Allison
- Co-founded The All Star Agency, a staffing-recruiting company for convention and meeting professionals
In 2005, he earned the coveted Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification, the Convention Industry Council’s foremost certification program for meetings, conventions and exhibitions. A featured thought-leader at the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Springtime Conferences and a continuing lecturer at George Mason University on leadership and entrepreneurship, Mr. Sims conveys unequaled first-hand experiences and a depth of expertise to the industry.
Mr. Sims has published articles in national and trade publications on sales, management and leadership, which have appeared in The Meeting Professional and Meeting & Conventions. He’s been featured in several local, regional and national media. A fervent supporter of the profession, Mr. Sims has personally led sponsorships for The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the CMP Conclave, Convention Industry Council (CIC), American Student Government Association and many other professional groups.
Some top regional and national associations Mr. Sims has worked with include the National Association of Realtors, American Nurses Association, Society for Human Resource Management and National Automobile Dealers Association. Government organizations include the U.S. Army, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the General Services Administration. He’s also worked with numerous educational institutions—colleges, universities and education-related associations.
Mr. Sims earned a B.S. in Marketing from Pennsylvania State University. His M.B.A. is from George Mason University, where he guest lectures on leadership & entrepreneurship. He was awarded the Most Outstanding Entering Student by GMU’s School of Management Alumni Association. Mr. Sims is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle; they reside outside of Washington, D.C. with their three children.
A firm believer that people grow through adversity and challenge, Mr. Sims has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, hiked the Great Wall of China, cave-dived in the Yucatan Peninsula, run marathons, competed in adventure races, skydived, bungee-jumped and whitewater rafted just to stay sharp.
NICOLE FREDERICK, COO/CFO
Nicole Frederick is a respected strategic operational and finance leader. She has spent her career in service organizations helping grow revenues, recruit excellent talent, and increase engagement. Ms. Frederick is the backbone of Worldwide Speakers Group, overseeing the day-to-day operations and working closely with the WWSG team, clients, and speakers to ensure everyone meets their goals successful events.
SENIOR SPEAKER AGENTS
After 21 years of managing top contract sales districts for a Fortune 200 company, Kelley Copeland found her way to the speaking industry and realized she had found her perfect fit. With an established foundation of building long-lasting relationships, she quickly builds trust with her clients through quick responses, clear communication, and meeting and exceeding their expectations.
Kelley’s greatest joy is connecting a speaker and a client to create a spark and watch it ignite the hearts and minds of an audience as a result of that perfect match.
Kelley’s Texas roots run deep. After graduating from Texas A&M University (Gig’em!), Kelley moved to Dallas and has never left. She lives with Ruby the Schnauzer and Daisy the Cockapoo. On weekends, Kelley enjoys a good flea market search for art and cowboy boots to add to her collection.
Bill Hart has spent thirty years representing talent at the highest levels, delivering breakthrough ideas to customers and implementing impactful events around the world. As Vice President of Sales at Worldwide Speakers Group, he works with Fortune 500 clients and major trade associations to secure thought leaders for their most important conferences and meetings. Prior to joining WWSG in 2015, Bill held leadership positions at global sports marketing agency Octagon, generating revenue across their athlete representation and event businesses. Bill has established himself as a trusted advisor to his customers and an invaluable resource inside and outside WWSG. He is a graduate of Hobart College and proud member of the Bills Mafia. Bill and his family live in Arlington, VA where they can usually be found on a field, court or sideline competing, coaching or cheering.
Kristy Kalo is a lecture industry professional with over 25 years of experience representing thought leaders such as world and political leaders, award-winning journalists, sports figures, and celebrities; expertly matching them with clients from universities and colleges, Fortune 500 corporations, trade associations, and non-profit organizations for worldwide speaking engagements.
Kristy volunteers for the Alexandria Carpenter’s Shelter and the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria which raises funds to provide local students with scholarships through all four years of college. Kristy lives in Virginia with her husband, two kids, and yellow lab. She loves to travel, read, and garden.
Whether leading a front-line sales organization for a Fortune 5 company or working one-on-one with clients to craft creative solutions for their speaker needs, Shelly Sharer get results. Her extraordinary success stems from the belief that good business is rooted in four simple yet critical concepts: Outstanding customer service, effective strategy and problem-solving, practical creativity, and trusted relationships. Shelly’s diverse experience encompassing traditional corporations as well as focused start-ups has built upon these core tenets and provided her with a unique skill set, exceptional knowledge, and deep understanding of a wide range of industries and issues.
After a successful career in corporate life and a founder of her own marketing firm, Shelly discovered her passion in the global lecture industry. Now a veteran and recognized leader in the field, she has successfully partnered with many of the world’s most-respected organizations and top-level speakers.
Shelly is a graduate of Ohio University with a B.S. in Marketing. She and her husband of 30 years reside in Virginia, have two grown sons and an active Goldendoodle. She is a native Washingtonian and loves the Nationals, Capitals, and The Washington Football Team.
Vana Thayu has been in the business of booking keynote and celebrity speakers for over 20 years and enjoys collaborating with clients to develop and execute the most inspiring and unforgettable events. Joining Worldwide Speakers Group on the heels as a senior lecture agent at the Harry Walker Agency, and prior to that IMG Speakers, Vana has a wealth of experience representing and working with speakers from all walks of life: world-renowned political luminaries, CEOs, sports icons, and more. Vana is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her B.A. in English and Film Studies, and she originally hails from Sugar Land, Texas, y’all! After residing on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for nearly 15 years, Vana now calls downtown Chicago home. In her free time, she is an avid foodie, stays active on the museum donor circuit, loves traveling the world, and–in the glorious Chicago summer months–enjoys her backyard garden and boating on Lake Michigan.
Nanette Town is Vice President of Sales at Worldwide Speakers Group where she secures the perfect speakers and entertainers for corporate clients, associations, and community lecture series. Working at the highest levels of the lecture industry for the past decade and a half, Nanette has represented thought leaders from former Presidents and Prime Ministers to business visionaries and adventurers. Nanette’s career began in politics, so firstly, she is a connector of people and a lover of ideas. She knows that a keynote presentation is much more than an ordinary hour–it’s an opportunity to impart wisdom that makes organizations and people more successful. Nanette resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where she leads WWSG’s southern office. She also sits on the board of the St. Elizabeth Foundation and happily plays chauffer to her three daughters and their standard poodle.