How It All Began
As submitted by the late Arnold “Nick” Carter – one of our original and most giving members.
We began as the Professional Speakers of Illinois (PSI) and retained that name until July 1, 2000, when we became National Speakers Association-Illinois Chapter.
PSI came into being in the early 70s when a small group of professional speakers got together each month, usually at the Como Inn in Chicago, for lunch. Around that lunch table, you would have found Jim Munton, Sam Lilly, Nick Carter, Bill Hayden, Carl Winters, Howard Bonnell and Carl Huffman. They informally discussed ways to improve their performance and their promotion.
Looking back on the experience, I can see nothing that could have been better for us as established and aspiring presenters.
Socrates was right when he said: ‘The only way we learn anything is to dialogue about it.” That is precisely what we were doing. It helped those of us who were going strong and those who were just getting underway with this aspect of their careers – to bring great truth and great ideas to people – to lift them to new heights of success and happiness.
In 1973, a national organization – National Speakers Association – was formed. In a few years the call went out to local groups like ours to become part of this national – and now – international, speakers organization.
We answered that call and became NSA’s chapter for Illinois. There are now 40 chapters throughout the United States, and new chapters are being formed throughout the world.
The spirit of those luncheons at the Como Inn still lives on. When NSA-IL members gather, they do exactly as Socrates advised. Today, instead of informal monthly luncheons, a full calendar of professional educational and networking events provides any serious professional speaker the opportunity to grow and develop. Events throughout the year give each member the opportunity to tailor a perfect educational experience from the flagship Fabulous Fridays, to Speaker University, Special Events and Seasons of Speaking.
We move forward with gratitude to the many who have served and shared their time, talent and ideas throughout these years so that NSA-IL speakers, and ultimately their audiences, could reap the benefits of excellence.
Today our vision, as one of NSA’s most active chapters, is to be the recognized voice of the speaking profession, setting the benchmark for platform excellence worldwide, impacting how people work and live. Although the format and content may have grown significantly since our humble beginnings, the focus and purpose have remained the same: to improve performance and promotion for one reason – to help our audiences soar … precisely as each human being on earth was meant to!