NSA-WI Speakers Business Development Academy

Learn how to build a speaking business from the ground up

What's the Speaker's Academy?

The Academy is more than a professional speaking course. It’s also more than the model one person used to build their business. The program was designed using the collective experience of industry experts. Through the curriculum and professional guidance, as a participant you’ll:

  • Gain business knowledge and tools to help you start strong and avoid costly mistakes
  • Hone your craft of storytelling and stage presence
  • Explore your growing career in a supported, structured, fun and safe environment

Who benefits from Academy participation?

Ever seen a professional speaker on stage and wished you could do that? Are you a trainer who’s thinking about starting a business? Do you already speak in front of audiences for free and want to know how to get paid? Then Speakers Academy is for you.

The program is designed specifically for aspiring speakers who are serious about pursuing, or accelerating, a professional speaking business. You may already know how rewarding it is to share a message with an audience. Are you ready to discover it’s even more rewarding to build a profitable business around that message?

How does the Academy work?

The curriculum and guidance of the Speaker's Academy is built around the National Speaker’s Association’s Model of Service.

  • Enterprise – learning the business of professional speaking
  • Expertise – developing what you speak about and why you’re an expert
  • Eloquence – honing how you deliver your message and your skills on stage
  • Ethics – learning the expectations on how one conducts themselves as a professional and member of the National Speakers Association

Academy participants work at their own pace through the annual curriculum. You may register at any time. Elect to save money by paying upfront for an entire year. Or choose the month-by-month payment option if it fits better with your budget, needs and goals.

After completing the program requirements, participants are recognized as graduates of the program. Each year’s graduates are recognized at the NSA Wisconsin’s Annual Celebration.



    If you are an aspiring speaker who wants to learn the business side of public speaking or a professional speaker who wants to take their speaking profession to the next level, I highly recommend NSA-Wisconsin’s Speakers Academy.  When I came to the Academy, I wanted to add professional speaking to my coaching business.  I had already been giving presentations, but I felt I didn’t have the tools or the professional edge I wanted: Like knowing how where to find speaking opportunities, how to book engagements, how to draw up a speaking contract or do the tech stuff that gives your talks that professional polish. I learned all of that and so much more! 

     Here’s the thing, you don’t know what you don’t know.  NSA-Wisconsin Academy taught me what I thought I needed and what I didn’t know I needed.  It exceeded my expectations. The Academy curriculum covers everything you need to run a successful speaking business and the Speakers Lab offers an opportunity to receive feedback from professional speakers to help you perfect your presentations. An added bonus…getting to know this wonderful group of aspiring speakers and leaning into the chapter’s professional speakers through the mentorship program. The community alone is worth the investment. This organization is made up with caring and supportive individuals who truly want you to succeed. I’m proud to be a graduate of the Academy and a professional member of NSA-Wisconsin.

    Paula Houlihan, NSA-WI Board Member, Academy graduate class of 2020

    What are the benefits of participating in the Academy?

    Interactive Academy Sessions

    Offered each month, September through May, these sessions cover a range of topics and are led by professional members of the chapter as well as national guest speakers. You’ll leave each session with actions steps you can take to continue building your business.

    Connections to groups looking for speakers

    It’s not always easy to find opportunities to get paid to speak when starting out. Academy participants are provided opportunities to connect with groups looking for presenters and aspiring speakers.

    1:1 Mentorship & Coaching

    As a participant, you can connect with professional members willing to provide mentorship. Each year also includes one session devoted to platform presentation skills. Graduating participants receive feedback from professional speakers on the effectiveness of their content delivery.

    Exclusive Online Resources

    Get on-demand access to additional curriculum, templates and professional guidance designed to help you avoid costly mistakes, start out strong and accelerate the growth of your business.

    Peer Mastermind Groups

    Connect with other participants outside of scheduled sessions. Develop relationships. Get the accountability and support you need when building your business.

    Plus:

    • Codes to attend to NSA Wisconsin Virtual Education Sessions at no cost.
    • Discount codes to register for NSA Wisconsin In-Person Education Sessions and Events at the member price.
    • Access to participate in NSA Wisconsin Speakers Lab sessions.

    Ready to accelerate your career as a professional speaker?

    Get started today for only $750 (paid in advance for the full year) or $70/month
    Professional members save $250 when registering for the Academy and paying in advance

    Register Now

    Have more questions about the NSA-WI Speakers Academy?

    Reach out to one of the Academy Deans

    Jacy Imilkowski

    Academy Dean




    John Nepper

    Academy Co-Dean




    Frank Clay Jr.
    Academy Associate Dean


    NSA-Wisconsin's Speakers Academy was exactly what I needed as I was starting my professional speaking career. The support, the resources and the encouragement from the Academy Deans allowed me to try new things. I have used every template provided to us, which was extremely helpful for me. Knowing that I was not the only one having the questions I did was worth every penny I invested in my professional growth. AND, it's kinda cool to say that you're a Speakers Academy graduate from NSA-WI. Thank you, NSA-WI for this tremendous opportunity!

    Lisa Koenecke, NSA WI Board Member, Academy graduate class of 2020

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I need to be a member of the National Speakers Association to participate?

    No. But if you’re working full-time on building your speaking business, membership is encouraged.  With a national membership, you’ll also get access to:

    • Members-only benefits including health care and liability insurance
    • Exclusive discounts on related services such as Zoom and eSpeakers
    • Special member pricing at all national events
    • Subscriptions to Speaker magazine, monthly webinars and the NSA Digital Vault

    Learn More

    Do I need to be a Professional Member of NSA Wisconsin to participate?

    No. But if you have a national membership and do not already belong to another local chapter, it makes sense. As a professional member of the chapter, you’ll get:

    • A discount on Academy registration that’s more than the chapter’s annual membership investment (in other words, you don’t have to spend more money to be a chapter member)
    • Access to NSA Wisconsin Community Sessions
    • Visibility of your eSpeakers profile in the Chapter’s speaker directory

    Learn More

    Do I need to be in Wisconsin to participate?

    No. All Academy sessions and programs, except for the graduation celebration, are offered virtually. The Academy currently draws people primarily from the greater Midwest, including Wisconsin. But no matter where you are located, you are welcome.

    Learn how to build a profitable speaking business

    Register Now

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