As much as Hillary Clinton has declared that she was to take a break from public life, don’t expect the political superstar to remain out of the spotlight. Barely two months after stepping down as secretary of state, Clinton has announced that she will join the speaker circuit as soon as April, with representation from the Harry Walker Agency, the same firm that represents her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Experts estimate that Clinton will command around the same six-figure fee as her husband—$200,000 per speech—though National Speakers Association CEO Stacy Tetschner has been quoted as saying she will be “on the lower end” of Bill’s range.
For some, of course, Hillary's price tag will be prohibitive. The average speaker fee, according to the National Speakers Association, is $7,500, plus travel. Only the superstars—big names like Bill Cosby or motivational speaker Tony Robbins—command six figures.
None of this is keeping admirers from following the story. Said Cindy Shumate, incoming travel manager at Princeton University, “When it comes to Hillary, I think we all want to know more about her ... and Bill. As personal as she can make her speeches, the better, and the more real she will be.” Shumate says she has learned a great deal from previous keynoters at the annual Global Business Travel Association convention, such as Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice. “They shared how challenging their schedules were and the tips they had discovered to help them manage. This would be amazing to hear from Hillary, one of the most traveled women in the world (if not the most).”
At its 2012 convention in Boston, GBTA featured two former presidents—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. This has some in the industry wondering if the association will be a likely one to hire Clinton. (GBTA had no comment.)
Jim Lavold, CLU, director of meetings at Northwestern Mutual, has hired big-name speakers for two special occasions: George Bush spoke at the company’s 125th annual meeting and Colin Powell spoke at the 150th anniversary meeting. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also a six-figure speaker, headlined another of the company’s annual meetings, which are always held in July in Milwaukee (where Northwestern Mutual is based) and are open to the entire sales force, “who can attend with their families, if they choose. They pay their own travel and hotel, and many of the meeting costs are covered after they arrive.” He notes that those three occasions were over a meeting planner career spanning 33 years. Hiring a top-name speaker like Hillary Clinton “is indeed a rarity.”
Photo credit: DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley