2017 Serious Business Keynote Speakers Anders Ericsson, Kimberly Snyder, Caleb Maddix, Charles...
2017 Serious Business Keynote Speakers Anders Ericsson, Kimberly Snyder, Caleb Maddix, Charles Duhigg and Vishen Lakhiani.

While Neill Corporation’s Debra Neill Baker and Carol Augusto are busy making plans for Serious Business 2017—which will be held in New Orleans, January 15-16—they took a quick break to sit down with SALON TODAY and share an exclusive preview.

ST: How did the “Will You?” theme come about?

Neill Baker: We are self-development junkies, and saw this as a way to challenge owners and managers. We want them to think about what “Will You?” means to them. We want people to question their own thinking in their lives and businesses, and ask themselves, “What are you willing to do … to be who you want to be?”

Augusto:  We take the theme very seriously. We carefully choose every speaker with the theme in mind. This year, not only will we help you develop the will, we’ll also give you the tools to execute.

Q: How do you hope to inspire owners?

Augusto: This is going to be a very action-oriented event. There will be a lot of focus on execution and self awareness.

Neill Baker: Will is the strong desire to do something, it’s action oriented. Everything boils down to will power, self mastery and the power to control your own actions. The past two events were about getting “Naked” or vulnerable, and then “Intimacy.” These have led us to action. You can’t just think about it anymore. You have to do something.

I recently had a conversation with Van Council, who shares everything he does with everyone. He told me the one thing he always notices is that while he keeps telling people the same thing, there are very few who are actually willing to do what it takes. 

ST: One of your speakers, Caleb Maddix is only 14 years old. How did you find him?

Neill Baker:  always talking and listening to people. So when a salon owner showed me a YouTube video of Caleb, I immediately sent it to Carol. He’s over confident and a perfect example of will. He’s only 14 years old. He doesn’t have a lot of experience or wisdom. So when you listen to him speak, it’s pure will.

Augusto: He’s brilliant. He has written a book, Keys to Success for Kids, and he’s already an entrepreneur.  His vision is to provide kids with the tools to create a life and think much bigger than getting out of school and having a job.

ST: Tell us about the other keynote speakers.

Neill Baker: Charles Duhigg does all his research on will and wrote, The Power of Habit. He recently worked with Starbucks to help them create a training program that evokes the will of the baristas.

Augusto: Debra and I learned about Anders Ericsson through Brian Johnson’s PhilsophersNotes blog. Ericsson did the research behind the 10,000 hours concept in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. Ericsson’s latest book, Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, is all about using your gift and becoming an expert.

Neill Baker: Kimberly Snyder will relate to the younger segment of our audience. She’s a nutritionist and author who focuses on beauty from within and the mind, body and soul.

In the past, we’ve been very proud to find speakers before they get so hot we can’t afford them. This year, that speaker is Vishen Lakhiani. He questions everything and has worked with leaders like Richard Branson on company culture. He’ll be the closing speaker.

ST: How can attendees implement what they learn at Serious Business?

Neill Baker: The breakout sessions will provide the tools. Kimberly Snyder is doing a breakout as well as some of favorite salon owners, including Heath Smith, Gayle Fulbright, Frank and Jana Westerbeke, and many more. They’re coming back by popular demand because they’re continually successful and thriving. They are willing to do the work, and their businesses are examples of that.

The mainstage is going to provoke the questions, “What are you willing to do?” and “Will you?” Then when you get to the breakout, the action will be shared and you have to decide what you’re willing to do. When you engage your will, it creates this momentum and gets you jump started. You can just keep riding that. The vision is not enough.

To purchase tickets for Serious Business, visit seriousbusiness.net.

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