‘We build events around things we’re passionate about’
DEAN CARLSON is a driven man. He understands motivation and success. In his line of work motivation and success are commodities: he packages them, he markets them and he sells them. And who’s buying them? Well, last year more than 1 500 South Africans paid over R6 000/ticket to attend the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg – a first of its kind event in the country featuring live addresses by the likes of Virgin boss Richard Branson, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell and local heavyweights, such as politician and businessman Mathews Phosa.
The summit was born from the mind of 33-year-old Carlson, who has a long-stand- ing love affair with personal improvement literature and spotted a gap in the South African market for live, multi-speaker events featuring high-profile speakers. In 2008, Carlson and business partner Frank van den Berg left their corporate jobs to start an events and marketing agency called Synchronised. Its goal was to make Carlson’s vision a reality. Planning the seven-speaker conference – held at the Sandton Convention Centre in July last year – took them the better part of a year.
“We took care of the entire event – from booking the speakers and venue to all the operational details on the day,” says Carlson. “We then approached corporate clients to sponsor the summit. By that stage we had a concrete event planned, not just an idea.” Discovery Invest – the personal