Famous Speakers through Convention History

From political figures to sports superstars to entertainers, we’ve seen it all through our decades of hosting Convention. In celebration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of GBTA Convention, today’s Throwback Thursday (#TBT) post delves into a range of famous speakers we’ve welcomed over the years.

Starting with political figures, we’ve hosted three U.S. presidents: George H. W. Bush in 2006, Bill Clinton on two separate occasions in 2009 and 2012, and George W. Bush in 2012. Keeping in line with the Bush-Clinton theme, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush joined us the following year in 2013.

In 2002, we hosted former Vice President Al Gore alongside former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, and Colin Powell have also graced our stage in the past.

For the sports fans out there, we’ve had our fair share of high performing athletes too. Most recently, gold medalist and world champion Michael Phelps spoke at GBTA Convention 2017 in Boston. The year prior, former quarterback Peyton Manning took the stage to share leadership advice with our attendees. In 1994, we welcomed Pat Riley, former coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat.

Swimming champion Dara Torres, who became the oldest swimmer to compete at the Beijing Games in 2008, addressed attendees in 2009. A year later, Lance Armstrong delivered an inspirational speech about confronting life’s challenges and overcoming cancer.   

Of course, we can’t forget all the entertainers and TV personalities we’ve hosted. Nearly 25 years ago in 1994, Little Richard closed out our show in Los Angeles. Many years later, Cyndi Lauper performed our opening concert in 2008 and Jewel performed for our attendees in 2013.

As for comedians, Jay Leno, Alec Baldwin, The Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson, Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers, and Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander have all cracked jokes at past Conventions. Adding to the list of TV personalities, Wolf Blitzer made an appearance in 1994, as did NBC News’ Megyn Kelly in 2015.

And last but certainly not least, we’ve welcomed a handful of innovators in the technology space. Xanga founder and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone took the stage in 2014. A year later, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was a featured speaker at our Convention in Orlando. We also had former eBay President and CEO Meg Whitman as a speaker in 2011.


We’re still working out the details on who will be speaking at GBTA Convention 2018, so stay tuned for the big reveals over the coming months!

Visit the GBTA Blog every Thursday for more throwback posts, and share your Convention memories with us on Twitter using #TBT and tagging @GlobalBTA.

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