CultureWise CEO David J. Friedman Earns Vistage Speaker of the Year Award

By Candace Coleman, CultureWise Content Manager

Vistage Worldwide Inc. is the world’s largest executive coaching and peer mentoring membership organization for CEOs, business owners, and executives of small and midsize businesses. Founded in 1957, Vistage has more than 22,000 members in twenty countries who meet regularly in peer advisory groups.

As a service to its membership, the organization has cultivated an extensive group of professional speakers who regularly make presentations to Vistage groups around the world. They launched their annual Speaker of the Year Award to recognize top speakers who bring significant value to the people who belong to their organization.

We are delighted to announce that Vistage Worldwide Inc. has named CultureWise Founder and CEO David J. Friedman as the recipient of their 2021 Speaker of the Year Award. Upon receiving this distinction, Friedman joins the pantheon of exceptional speakers who’ve had an indelible impact on Vistage members.

The award recipients are selected based on their performance, community involvement, and lifetime achievement. In addition, the organization notes that these individuals consistently deliver high-quality, relevant, actionable content, and represent a model for all Vistage speakers.

Speaker of the Year honorees are thought leaders who’ve been invited to speak at Vistage meetings for at least two consecutive years. These winners have scheduled a minimum of 100 presentations to Vistage Worldwide groups, sharing insight about topics they’ve cultivated a passion for and developed considerable expertise.

David Friedman focuses on helping executives understand the significance and technique of building and sustaining a high-performing company culture.

Audiences rate Vistage speakers after each presentation, and those considered for this award must garner an average score of at least 4.5 out of 5 in content and delivery of their talk. They also must be recommended by 95 percent of the groups they address and book at least 50 presentations in the year the award is given.

Friedman spoke to 90 Vistage groups in 2021, earning an average of 4.92 on the content of his presentations and 4.89 on delivery.

After evaluating the group of speakers who’ve met the minimum qualifications, a panel of Vistage staff members determines the winner of this prestigious award. They select the candidate who, in the past year, demonstrated the highest level of the Vistage core values: trust, caring, challenge, and growth.

After being notified about the distinction, David Friedman explained his appreciation for the award:

“There are literally thousands of Vistage speakers, and they are all very good. To be recognized among those excellent speakers is very meaningful.

I’m also rewarded every time I have the privilege to address a Vistage group. Audience members generally understand the importance of organizational culture, but most are unclear about what they can do to improve it. It’s so gratifying to help them acquire clarity about this crucial area of their businesses.”

Since Friedman’s first Vistage speaking engagement in 2012, he’s conducted over 625 three-hour presentations reaching more than 10,000 members. When asked what motivates him to maintain such a challenging schedule, Friedman explains that he considers public speaking a craft and is invigorated by continuously honing that skill.

“It’s always important for me to do what I do at a high level. With every presentation, I enjoy fine-tuning every aspect of the experience to connect with the audience more effectively.”

He believes that every great talk must have three elements. Presentations should be:

  1. Interesting and entertaining
  2. Inspiring, causing people to see things in new ways
  3. Filled with concrete take-aways that can be immediately implemented

In addition, Friedman stresses the importance of being authentic and personable instead of going into “rote mode” after presenting numerous talks on the same topic.

“When you do these engagements enough times, you know your material so well that you don’t have to think about what to say. So the experience of giving hundreds of talks has freed me up to be more natural and present at these events, making them more enjoyable for everyone involved.”

Perhaps the primary reason Friedman persists in delivering so many presentations is that sharing his insight about organizational culture is vitally important to him. And he believes his best gifts are teaching and making things easy for others to understand. As he explains,

“I feel fortunate to be able to go out every day and use these gifts to have a high impact on people. It’s deeply rewarding to do that.”

Friedman looks forward to continuing to engage groups about the power of developing a dynamic company culture and has scheduled over 100 Vistage presentations for 2022.

About David J. Friedman:

CEO, author, and speaker David J. Friedman advises business leaders about how to develop world-class organizational culture. After selling his first company, RSI, in 2008, he wrote two books about building the culture that made that enterprise so successful. Subsequently, Fundamentally Different and Culture by Design have been cited as invaluable resources for creating an exemplary company culture. In 2015, Friedman launched his second company, CultureWise, providing clients with a proven system to create and reinforce a vibrant culture in their organizations. Friedman published a second edition of Culture by Design in 2021 to address sustaining company culture with the new remote workforce. In addition, he is a frequent guest speaker, seminar leader, consultant, and the host of the “Culture Architects” podcast.

About CultureWise:  

CultureWise is an end-to-end operating system that provides everything clients need to create, drive, and sustain a high-performing company culture. Business leaders representing a wide range of industries across North America have used CultureWise to empower their teams and maintain ongoing success in their organizations.

About Vistage Worldwide Inc.:

Vistage Worldwide Inc. is the world’s largest executive coaching organization for small and midsize businesses. For more than 60 years, they have helped CEOs, business owners, and key executives solve their toughest challenges through a comprehensive approach to success. Confidential peer advisory groups and executive coaching sessions are the core of their proven formula.

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