Many of those that read this blog are clients and employees of the awesome companies I have had the chance over the past year to speak to, perform for, and play master of ceremonies. On behalf of my family, both the one at home, and the one at work with JHE, we are so grateful for your business and the incredible, unforgettable experiences.
In years past I have done a Top Ten list of my favorite events. Instead of that today, here are some of the memories that will always be associated with 2017 (not all events listed):
- Houston Safari Club (January 14) in Houston, TX, where I had to follow the President of the NRA and one of my opening lines were, “In this room of gun toting folks, I don’t know whether to feel safe or just plain terrified.”
- RootsTech (February 8-11) in SLC, UT, the largest family history/genealogy conference in the world (10,000 in attendance, 100,000+ livestream), this was where I played Master of Ceremonies as well as Showman, introducing dear friends such as Hank Smith, and performing with VocalPoint and Noteworthy. I also received many tweets saying how much I looked like Al Franken (before the allegations that led to his resignation in November) due to my new glasses. Thus the beard became a permanent fixture for the remainder of my career, or until people forget about Al. Grateful RootsTech will have me back in 2018 as Emcee once again.
- Carecraft (February 20) at Dana Point, CA, had me return as the only speaker they’ve had back in a long time. Apparently the year before they had a speaker who was a former military hero who had no arms or legs, said people were crying and emotionally so touched by his presentation that everyone asked how they were going to find a speaker to follow that? “We thought the only person who could follow him is to have Jason Hewlett back!” they said. What an honor to be thought of that way. Sorry I couldn’t top it, but I tried! They treated my wife and I to a wonderful trip for her birthday in California.
- TopGolf (February 28) in Dallas, TX, this event came about by my speaker friends at SkyeTeam who graciously referred me, and our family has enjoyed screaming every time we see TopGolf locations in our travels around the country ever since. We love that place, it is perfect for families and private parties.
- American Society of Military Comptrollers (March 15) in Layton, UT, for a local branch and one of the best small conferences I’ve seen with such a limited budget. This event led to the National event when the CEO in military uniform walked up to me back stage, handed me his card and said, “I need you to do that same presentation at our national event June 1, please tell me you’re available”. Next thing I knew I’m giving “The Promise” message for 4,000 attendees in San Diego, CA on June 1.
- The Team Training Institute (April 22) SLC, UT, a last minute need came up when their opening keynote speaker had a family member pass away, this was the second time I’ve spoken to this group, and it was a turning point in the delivery and effectiveness of “The Promise” keynote. Anytime I can get in front of a room full of dentists and their teams that is a great thing. And then raced to the airport to go perform for…
- Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (April 22) in Scottsdale, AZ, where my dear friends, Kirk Weisler and family, were in the audience to see me wow the crowd, only to have my iPhone freeze up on stage, rendering my music inoperable and one of the most terrifying 10 minutes on stage of my career, as I unexpectedly had to fill the time with comedy and stories until the phone decided to come back on and save the day. Standing ovation! Yay! All is right again in the world. Wrote about The Promise of the Work Family HERE regarding this story.
- National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (May the 4th be with you) in Tampa, FL, that saw my best speech of the year. Fortunately they led into my speech with a promotional video of their location for next year, my hometown in Utah, which highlighted only partying and the copious amounts of beer available in Utah (as that has been an issue for conventions for years worried about coming here), so my opening line was, “Man, who’s excited for Utah?!? That’s where I’m from and I had NO IDEA we had so much BEER! We’re just a bunch of crazy drunk people running through the streets in ski boots…” Crowd went bonkers. From there it was the best speech I gave all year and has led to numerous requests throughout the country from Electric Coops.
- Nanaimo Child Development Center (May 23) Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It took me nearly 2 days to get there, on real planes and then sea planes (never again!), and as I’m getting ready to go on stage the power goes out. Not just in the theater, but half the town. Never in my career have I had to walk out on stage, in the mostly dark, lit only with emergency lights, and said to the crowd I’m sorry we are being told to evacuate the building, and that I promised to return later in the year if they would as well, and then I did a quick few comedy routines. Of the 400 or so in the audience, nearly 1,000 decided to come upon my return later in the year (August 24), apparently my little 5 minutes on stage in May was talked about all summer. The show was amazing, very few audiences get my humor like Canadians.
- Sam’s Club/Walmart (June 1) in Bentonville, AR, was one of the unforgettable events of my career. To fly to this little town that is HQ to the largest employer in the world, was so fascinating. Touring the old Sam Walton original store where it all began for Walmart, to watching thousands of hand picked Sam’s Club managers see the facilities for the first time and freaking out like Oprah had given stuff away, it was surreal. I was contracted to do 11 minutes on stage. Yes, 11.
- Young Living Essential Oils (June 15) SLC, UT, this is a company whose products I have used since I was a child, I even took them on my mission for two years to Brazil and got in trouble for helping people with them. To finally get to meet the founders, to hear thousands of distributors scream laughing at my oils jokes, it was one of a few lifelong companies I’d hoped to perform for. The next day our family left on our cross-country RV trip, and once in Kansas stayed at a quiet little KOA. Camping resort pools are the only place I’ll remove my shirt in public (you’re welcome), since I know no one will know me. As I jumped in the pool with my kids we noticed two large Amish families in the pool with us. They looked at us, we looked at them. Then one of them said, “Hey, you were at our convention!” I said, “No, I’ve never done an Amish convention.” To which they said, “No! Young Living! You were the Emcee just the other day in Utah! We will trade you dinner if you’ll come do your show in our RV for our brother’s family who wasn’t there.” Yes, this was a real conversation, yes, it made my kids think I really am famous, and yes, I did perform a show for the 19 of them packed in one RV, however I turned the food away.
- RainSoft (July 6) Orlando, FL. This awesome company has had me perform for their events in NYC (2016) and Chicago (2014), but this year asked if I’d do Carpool Karaoke with them. Since we were on our RV cross country road trip I said I couldn’t. They said they’d fly to me. So 6 of their executives flew from Chicago to Orlando, where we were just arriving for the NSA Influence Conference we attend every year, and for most of a humid, crazy hot day, we crammed into a convertible with top on, barely a back seat, and sang Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, and Tom Petty with GoPros all over the car. 6 hours of filming, singing and sweating, and I was spent. What a cool group of guys to have me for such a crazy, creative gig.
- Scentsy (July 20) Kansas City, KS. It had been almost a decade since my last performance with them and, if I remember right, 8,000 distributors in an arena where they screamed and laughed and about blew up my free email sign-up system. Our family had to be strategic to make this event work with our RV trip, so we camped in San Antonio, TX, I flew away the next morning, did the Scentsy event, and made my way back before they were even awake the next day. Amazing we were able to fit about 4 big events within the RV trip.
- Paparazzi (August 2-4) Las Vegas, NV. I have done 3 events for them in less than a decade, and this once little company founded by two beautiful couples from Southern Utah has turned into a company worth millions and a conference room in Las Vegas full of thousands of fun, amazing, happy women selling $5 jewelry. As Emcee I went from guy no one knew in the halls to being unable to get to the bathroom from the back stage (a 20 foot walk) in under an hour due to the amount of selfies being taken. It is these types of events where your bucket is filled, you feel like a celebrity – adored, talked about, doted over – for a fleeting moment, and are equally grateful the second no one notices you again the next day. This was my overall favorite event of the year.
- Hurricanes Harvey & Irma (August-September): While these two took turns pummeling islands and then coming on land, I was wondering if two very important events were still going to happen for me. International Rotary was having their worldwide meeting in Houston, TX on September 14, as we watched in horror 2 weeks prior as Houston and surrounding areas were decimated. Upon learning the hotel where the event was being held was underwater and ruined, along with other tragic news from Rotary, the event was obviously canceled even as I had flights booked and was ready to go. A week earlier Hurricane Irma was expected to do the same amount of damage as Harvey had, but in Florida. With this threat, my flight and event to Jacksonville, FL for September 8 was cancelled with the Florida RV Association. Luckily Florida wasn’t hit as hard as expected, although still very scary, and thankfully these events kept their people safe. However, it was devastating for us twofold: to think we had driven through these two cities just a month removed in our RV, as well as financially made us feel the effects of natural disasters far and wide can have on any of us, whether we are there or not. This was a very tough summer even with all the fun we had.
- PERS (September 28) Park City, UT. This was a special event as I finally met one of my heroes of the outdoors, Aron Ralston, who inspired me to begin hiking, climbing, exploring, even after seeing the movie about his harrowing escape in the Hollywood movie, 127 Hours, where he had to cut off his own arm. We met the night before the event, and he was so gracious that he actually woke up early enough for my 8 AM keynote and started my standing ovation. He spoke later after lunch and it was one of the highlights of my career to meet him and have him say, “I never knew anyone could make a room full of people laugh like that before they’re even awake.”
- The Bobby Resciniti Healing Hearts Foundation (October 28) in Coral Springs, FL. For this event we took our son, Romney, for his special trip with Mommy and Daddy, which we do annually with each child once they turn 8. Visiting Florida following the hurricane season was very interesting. The resilience of these people is what amazes me. The CEO of the event, Bob Resciniti, called me to see what I thought he should do – cancel the event because of the hurricane devastation, or continue forward? I said probably should cancel, as I assumed people wouldn’t be able to donate to any more causes and just try it next year. He said he felt it more important to bring everyone together, celebrate life, love, and laugh a lot. The show went on. It was my second year in a row with this amazing group, and what an event it always is. Bob is one of my heroes.
- Mountain America Credit Union (November 2-3) SLC, UT. Not only are they taking Utah by storm, but they are smashing records for growth nationwide in the credit union industry. I jumped ship from another financial institution once I saw a few years ago how on the cutting edge this company was, and they have proven me right. In less than a decade we have also done nearly one dozen events together, including two this year, and they were one of the companies I knew I could count on to help me with filming my NEW PROMO VIDEO. As I am also on the Board at Hale Centre Theatre, MACU has recently helped to make a sizable enough donation to have the brand new, world-class theatre named after it, so I just love this company and their amazing people. If you need a credit union this is the place.
- Stampin’ Up! (November 9 & 11) SLC, UT – Another local product and company I’ve enjoyed my whole life, my Mom used to have stamp days with my friends and I where we made cards and nice crafts for our classmates & teachers. Stampin’ Up! wanted my show the first night, and then Keynote of The Promise to close out the conference. This company’s HQ is within walking distance of my home, made these events very special for me. What a great company and amazing women (I think 6 men were there out of a couple thousand gals).
- Utah Technology Council (November 10) SLC, UT. This was our first time working together and hopefully not the last. The honor of introducing to stage a lifelong friend in Utah’s U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, and to be Emcee in my recently purchased tuxedo in front of the “Silicon Slopes” crowd, a room of nearly 1,000 technology and developers of the next and greatest trends in the world. Have already landed much business from this event, grateful it is here in my state.
- December Parties – For those that have followed my career, you may recall that from 2001-2013, it was December when I would make my living, and the rest of the year try to hang on til the next December. I used to average 25 parties in Utah from Dec. 1-23, no Sundays, thus missing every child’s performances, every family party, and any holiday cheer on my part. This year was my lowest amount of holiday parties ever, equalling 3. However, since we aren’t promoting “The Show” much anymore, compared to the preferred “Promise Speech with show mixed in” Keynote, December is now a month of rest, family, and renewal. We are very grateful for this change. And in 2017 we grossed more than ever before throughout the year, despite a slow December, while doing less events than ever before. That’s a good thing.
Despite all of these, and many more, incredible events we are so grateful for, 2017 will be remembered mostly for our family’s Summer Southern States RV Trip. Yes, it was costly. Yes, it was mostly disappointing. Yes, I was injured daily. But, it was epic and will never be forgotten and I am so grateful we didn’t wait until “someday” that may never come to do something most never get to do.
In pondering the New Year, our future plans and hopes, it is important to reflect on an amazing past year. If you haven’t already, go back through your calendar, check some old emails, and relive your year as we cross into the next one. Perhaps send some notes of appreciation to those who helped along the way. Without you, my friends, we would have never had such a wonderful year, and I thank you for coming along the journey with us.
Special thanks to my incredibly supportive family, my CMI Speaker Management family, my JHE Team, and every friend and relative I love so much.
Our greatest wishes to you for 2018.
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.