How Defining Moments Can Change Your Future


A true American success story, is embodied in the person of Bernie Swain. He started with very little and built a massive fortune by revolutionizing the speaking industry. He set the standard for commitment, trust and care by serving his clients and customers with a spirit of excellence.

He began as an assistant athletic director at George Washington University, with only a modest income. One day, Bernie received a note from a friend about starting a professional speaker’s bureau.

Let me note here, that the purpose of a professional speaker’s bureau is to excel in matching the right professional speaker, motivational speaker, celebrity, conference facilitator, trainer, industry speaker, etc. with the organization, company or event who is seeking the prefect individual to give their audience an impressive, over the top, experience!

Bernie and his young new wife, Paula liked the bureau idea and ventured out with Harry Rhoads, to start Washington Speakers Bureau (WSB) in 1980. Initially, it was a complete flop! There was not a single booking the first year! They had spent all of their money and were looking at the last of their life savings…then they finally got their first booking.

They worked diligently to make that relationship between the speaker and the client a success. The word spread about their positive attitude, their honesty, and their integrity; and they started to grow.

Today, after more than thirty years and over 50,000 engagements later, Washington Speakers Bureau is the preeminent speaker’s bureau in America! WSB has represented former U.S. presidents, American and world leaders, business visionaries, journalists, authors and sports legends. Their clients have included President Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, General Colin Powell, Tom Brokaw, President George W. Bush, Lou Holtz and Terry Bradshaw.

Bernie’s new book, What Made Me What I Am, is inspiring people around the world. He captures the leadership transformations of 34 of WSB’s speakers –with their secrets of how to succeed in business and in life!

In this dynamic interview for my SiriusXM Radio Show, Bernie shares:

  • Those who succeed at the highest levels make a commitment to always exceed expectations.
  • Commit to excellence
  • There is no short cut to long term success
  • Wealth is built over time, so be patient and keep working hard. Never stop growing or trying.
  • Decide to get mentors; learn from the wise.
  • Make the most of those who share wisdom. When a wise person dies, it’s like a library burning down
  • You are your brand. Your actions speak louder over time more than your words
  • Selling is a key part of all successful ventures. You must sell your vision to your team and sell your product to the world.
  • Great belief in your product or service is essential to be effective at any selling.
  • Great selling means being so comfortable with your product, that you influence others to give it a try; like sharing your favorite restaurant with a friend!
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Dr. Willie Jolley has achieved remarkable heights in the speaking industry, having come from humble beginnings of being a fired singer, who was replaced by a karaoke machine! He has gone on to be named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” by the 175,000 members of Toastmasters International. He has also been inducted into the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame as well as achieving the distinction of Certified Speaker Professional by the National Speakers Association. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Ron Brown Distinguished Leadership Award. In 2013 he was named, “One of the Top 5 Leadership Speakers” by and Business Leader of The Year by The African American Chambers of Commerce. Dr. Willie Jolley uses his public platform to pursue his mission of empowering and encouraging people to rise above their circumstances and maximize their God given potential! Many know him as the speaker Ford Motors called on in 2006 when they were on the brink of bankruptcy, and he worked with them in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and in 2009 they were able to reject a government bailout and go on to Billion Dollar profits. No matter the venue, from his exciting television appearances to his Sirius/XM radio show, to corporate audiences like Wal-Mart, GM, Comcast, Verizon, Marriott or The Million Dollar Round Table … Dr. Willie Jolley keeps it moving with high energy and enthusiasm, as he delivers nuggets on how every person can live a better life, one day at a time! Dr. Willie Jolley is the author of several international best-selling books including It Only Takes A Minute To Change Your Life, A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback, Turn Setbacks Into Greenbacks and An Attitude of Excellence, which was endorsed by Dr. Stephen Covey. Dr. Jolley holds a Doctorate of Ministry Degree in Faith Driven Achievement from the California Graduate School of Theology, a Master Degree in Theology from Wesley Theological seminary and a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from The American University.