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Five years ago, Gary Vaynerchuk and I embarked on a mission to disrupt the speaking industry. Our collaboration led to the creation of VaynerSpeakers, where innovation in deal-making, customer service, and marketing sets us apart. Recognizing the stagnant nature of the industry, we envisioned a new path, one that diverged from traditional methods and fostered a culture of change and progress.

My college experience and early career immersion taught me the value of hands-on learning over traditional “grunt” work. This insight was the catalyst for VaynerSpeakers’ thoughtful approach to talent development: The Sales Apprentice. Instead of hiring industry veterans set in their ways, we chose to nurture talent from within, aligning them with our innovative culture and methodologies.

The Sales Apprentice role at VaynerSpeakers is more than a position; it’s a journey met with opportunity. This program offers a dual benefit – it’s a gateway for those aspiring to excel in sales and a comprehensive learning experience tailored to the speaking industry. Unlike conventional sales roles focused solely on deal closure, our apprenticeship emphasizes a holistic approach to skill-building.

Apprentices are mentored by seasoned professionals and immersed in the dynamics of speaker representation, negotiation strategies, and client management. This hands-on approach provides more than basic knowledge; it offers real-world experience in understanding all aspects of booking speakers. From participating in client meetings to engaging in sales activities, apprentices gain invaluable insights and skills.

Furthermore, this role is a crucible for personal and professional growth. We encourage our apprentices to embrace challenges and extend beyond their comfort zones. Whether it’s refining communication skills, mastering persuasion, or developing resilience, our program equips individuals with the tools to thrive in a competitive landscape.

The unique blend of mentorship and autonomy in our program fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment. Apprentices are entrusted with significant responsibilities, allowing them to navigate their learning journey and contribute meaningfully to the organization. This balance instills confidence as they undertake challenging tasks and projects.

At VaynerSpeakers, the Sales Apprentice role is integral to our organizational success. Apprentices bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, challenging the entire team towards excellence. They play a crucial role in building relationships with stakeholders, including speakers, corporate clients, and event organizers. These connections are vital for immediate business success and form a network that apprentices can leverage throughout their careers.

I’m proud of our work at VaynerSpeakers, but none more so than the work of our first Apprentice graduate, Lindsey Bauer, who came to us without any industry experience and now navigates our world with confidence and success on a daily basis.

I hope she’d agree, but the goal is creating an investment in the future, shaping the industry’s leaders of tomorrow. By focusing on diversity and long-term talent development, we are not just contributing to our business today, but actively shaping its future.