Many of our attendees have seen Pep Rosenfeld, the stand-up comedian turned business event host and co-founder of Boom Chicago, on the Nordic Business Forum stage before as our host. But this year, Pep is competing to become one of our speakers with his keynote ”Leadership Lessons From 20 Years of Business Events.”
On Wednesday 10th of May, we will hear from Pep and four other contestants at the Speaker Contest Final 2023. We asked Pep to tell us more about his keynote topic and journey as a speaker in preparation for the final.
How did you start your speaker career?
“My speaker career had three mini-starts: It first began in 1995 when I started doing stand-up comedy. Nothing prepares you for speaking to an audience without anyone else to help you quite like doing stand-up. Then in 2011, I turned to more serious content when I was asked to host TEDx Amsterdam. The scheduled host was sick, and I was asked to step in at the last minute. At Boom Chicago, we say yes first, and solve the problems of what that would actually mean later, so I said yes. I’ve been hosting business events ever since. And then in 2018, I gave my first business talk, “The Future is Here, and It’s Kind of Annoying.” It was a humorous look at the state of tech, from one nerd to a room full of nerds. Since then, no one can shut me up.”
Why did you want to join the Speaker Contest, and how has your journey in the competition been so far?
“While hosting the Nordic Business Forum in 2019, I introduced the winner of the speaker contest, Anssi Rantanen. I thought to myself, “Yes, it’s a pleasure to introduce the speakers. But don’t you want to be the one introduced?” So I entered the contest in 2020, qualified for the semi-final… and then covid canceled everything. Last year I qualified for the semi-final and stopped there. So far, this year has been both exciting and daunting. I knew I wanted this year’s talk to be 100% different from last year’s. So I had to start from scratch. But if I’m honest, I’ve always wanted to share the lessons I’ve picked up from hosting other business events, so the talk was a pleasure to put together.”
Why do you think your speech is so important for business leaders to hear?
“I believe my talk is important for a few reasons. First, having been a fly on the wall at so many events where new strategies, plans, values, and ideas are launched, I’ve seen how leaders face their team’s concerns with honesty and optimism – or don’t. And I’ve talked to folks at all levels at organizations of all sizes. The forums’ audiences will benefit from knowing what the people on the ground are actually concerned with. But my overall message is most important, that leaders need to embrace the things that make them human – and steer away from trying to be guarded, defensive “leaders.” (in air quotes) Show up. Worry about the little things that define how their team experiences work. Don’t be afraid of emotion. And have a sense of humor. This is how leaders will be the change and inspire their people.”
Have you made use of the MySpeaker Rhetorich coaching? How did it benefit you?
“I had a great session with André from MySpeaker Coaching. The Rhetorich platform is a super helpful mix of AI-driven feedback on various aspects of one’s performance and some subjective, from-a-real-person feedback. While both were helpful, I got two notes from the subject side that led to my making some tweaks that I believe help me get my message across more successfully. So I’m a fan.”
Want to hear more from Pep? Join us online on 10th May at 18:00 EEST for the Speaker Contest 2023 Final! You will hear and learn from Pep and four other contestants, and you get to vote for your favorite speech.