Your Next Speaker

Miss America contestants fly into Edmond from around the country for sessions with Jonathan Smith, a conference presenter and marketing image consultant.

"I meet with the contestants in the morning and evening and usually do a mock interview in front of the cameras," said Smith, who has coached hundreds of women from at least thirty-five states. He began judging within the Miss America Organization when he was twenty-two years old, the youngest individual to judge a state competition.

"Many of our out-of-state clients fly in to ‘do the Oklahoma circuit,' shopping at places like Serendipity and similar Oklahoma boutiques known nationally within the industry," said Smith.

"I worked with Miss America 2006, Jennifer Berry, for two years," said Smith. "The interview competition is high pressure. You have to learn to stick to your guns, to make your statement. I see contestants about seventy percent of the time in person. Other times I travel to areas like Kansas City for training workshops."

Smith met Lauren Nelson, Miss America 2007, when she was sixteen years old. "She was new to presenting to a group. Her first speech with us was to a 3rd grade class in Tuttle where she caught the fever for speaking," said Smith. Lauren became Miss America when she was twenty, the first time since 1960 that one state produced back-to-back winners. In addition to recent Miss America wins, three of Smith's clients captured crowns on a single night this June-Makenna Smith became Miss Oklahoma, Diana Reed was named the new Miss Iowa and Miss Nebraska went to Ashley Bauer.

Jonathan Smith of J. Edward Smith & Co. and Rhett Laubach of Your Next Speaker, LLC, have joined their skills to offer the best in motivational speakers and corporate training. Smith and Laubach first met at Oklahoma State University where Smith was pursuing a degree and Laubach was heading up Alumni efforts.

This nationwide company, headquartered in Edmond, offers leadership programs, communications training, motivational speaking and leadership development. The entrepreneurs know the key points to getting a message across.

"Whether you have a platform or a cause, customize it to fit you," said Laubach, who is an inspirational speaker, author, and leadership expert with fifteen years of experience, presenting programs to over five hundred thousand people across America. He works with student organizations, associations and corporations that want to develop the leadership abilities of all their people.

"One key word is authenticity," said Laubach. "In addition to that, credibility, and being the right person for that message." A member of the National Speakers Association, Laubach presents over two hundred programs a year.

"We've worked in at least forty states," said Laubach. "But because of my family, I prefer to work in Oklahoma."

Smith and Laubach enjoy working with organizations or individuals that have a cause. "One woman lost a child to cancer and wanted to take the message out to others. It was rewarding to help her. That's the heart and soul, developing a personal message."

An expert in your own backyard can be an advantage to local firms. Smith explains how they can easily come to your office and give immediate feedback. "We help set clear goals, teach life skills and then follow up. As fulltime speakers, it's our job to not only be entertaining but to also get results," said Smith.

"We streamline training for our clients and build relationships with them. Citizen's Bank has been a client since the year 2000. They frequently send management over to our office for meetings." The company has built a special podcasting center and plans to produce short training sessions for clients to download. The "pod room" can be leased out.

"Many great ideas start with employees. Businesses get more out of the process by engaging workers in the training program," said Laubach. "We take the suggestion box and turn it into a formal training program, teaching tools like how to communicate with customers."

"We ask the question, ‘What can you do on Monday morning to promote your goals?'" said Smith. "Our Monday morning strategy brings goals down to a concrete level. Much of what we teach has been around for years, but we use terms and methods people can understand."

"One of the spins I put on language for our Miss America contestants is ‘Quit talking like a girl, use strong, active language that focuses the point.'" said Smith. "Ask yourself, how can I communicate my feelings and thoughts so they become memorable?" This idea applies to businesses as well.

Jonathan Smith and Rhett Laubach are available for one-on-one presentations or leadership coaching, corporate training and event keynote speakers. Their office is located in downtown Edmond, Oklahoma, and they can be reached at (405)216-5050 or through the websites: and

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