Gap-fillers

‘We build events around things we’re pas­sion­ate about’

Finweek English Edition - - PEOPLE -

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

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