Travels from Chicago, Illinois, USA
Corey Blake's speaking fee falls within range: $5,000 to $10,000
With over two decades of experience as a master communicator in Hollywood and the fine arts, Corey Blake’s talent for creatively and emotionally connecting with audiences is unrivaled. As the CEO of Round Table Companies, the veteran storyteller helps senior executives, entrepreneurs, and companies reach customers’ hearts and minds by letting their humanity steer their communication, branding, and leadership strategies.
As an actor, Blake won roles in over a dozen commercials for Fortune 100 and 500 companies, including one of the top-rated Super Bowl commercials in history. His television and film credits include appearances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Shield, Joan of Arcardia, and Fight Club.
Frustrated that the Hollywood acting scene offered him little creative control or connection, he ventured into writing, producing, and directing independent projects. His short films have garnered awards at the San Diego Film Festival, Worldfest Houston, and the George Sidney Independent Film Competition.
In 2007, he established Round Table Companies – a production company, storytelling company, and creative agency. Under Blake’s watch, RTC has published over 100 works in multiple countries and grown an impressive client list which includes Tony Hsieh and Zappos, Marshall Goldsmith, Chris Anderson, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, James Altucher, Tom Hopkins, and Robert Cialdini.
RTC and Blake are currently focused on showcasing how companies and leaders can leverage vulnerability to build stronger and more productive relationships between employees, business partners, and customers. Some of his recent speaking engagements include TEDxSalisbury, Concious Capitalism, Hope Global Forums, Stagen Leadership Academy, and the CEO Summit in Austin.
When Corey Blake first entered the world of the theatre as a storyteller 25 years ago, he had no idea that his days would become centered around helping companies to find their truth and build out their legacy. A successful commercial and television actor turned director and producer in the early 2000s, Corey literally cried in his Hollywood trailer when he didn’t feel his work mattered to the world. It was time to move on from an old dream that was no longer serving him.
Since then, as the CEO of Round Table Companies, Corey has focused his life on assembling teams of beautiful people to support thought leaders, CEOs, and companies by reconnecting them to their purpose and amplifying that message out into the world. His work addresses purpose, culture change, brand alignment, brand story, and legacy. RTC’s work has been featured across major newspapers, from the front page of the New York Times and the Boston Globe to the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Their work has been featured in Inc. magazine, Forbes, Barron’s, Investor’s Business Daily, the Chicago Sun-Times, and on Fox News, Bloomberg TV, Katie Couric’s show Katie, CNN, and NPR.
Corey has also dedicated himself to continual learning so that he can serve in his greatest capacity. Over the past decade Corey has worked with 10 executive coaches, been mentored by two dozen CEOs, and has trained at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland (18-month program in progress), and the Stagen Leadership Academy (12-month program in progress, recipient of the black belt leadership award). Through his commitment to personal development, Corey has learned how to deeply love his clients and his staff so they can do the work they were meant to do in this world. Now as a speaker, Corey is taking the lessons he has learned as a sherpa of world changers, and sharing them with audiences around the globe.
Round Table Companies CEO, Corey Blake explores what makes or breaks our ability to connect with the rest of the world, and how sharing our weaknesses can lead to powerful relationships and results. "We want to be seen by the world as we are seen by the eyes of the ones who love us most," Blake points out.
He takes this idea a step further, demonstrating how "the dating process" can be applied to building professional relationships. Guiding us up a metaphorical ladder, he highlights that we typically enter relationships projecting what we think the other person needs to see to like us. In the case of personal relationships, we usually progress further up the ladder, eventually revealing stories about ourselves that do not show us in the best light, yet may resonate with an experience the other person has had.
Offering a highly personal example from his own past, Blake abruptly shifts the atmosphere of the room. "When I lean into vulnerability, I give you two options. One of them might be, 'Corey I did not like that story...I don't want to be in a relationship with you,'" he says. "And then there's the other reaction, which might be, 'Corey, thank you for allowing us to see you as a human being. In hearing your story I actually see a piece of myself, and maybe I've hurt some people that I've really loved through a mistake I've made in the past, and maybe some of that shame...that I've been carrying for a long time dissipated a little."
Returning to his initial idea that we want to be seen by the world as we're seen by those who love us the most, he asks why then do we keep most of our relationships at the bottom rungs of the ladder instead of advancing to the top rungs "where so much is possible."
In a culture where conscious capitalism is king and success hinges on authenticity and transparency, vulnerability may be your greatest asset as a leader or entrepreneur. Communication speaker and master storyteller, Corey Blake demonstrates why breaking down walls in business circles and corporate culture pays off. Leading by example, Blake uses various anecdotes, including his own personal mishaps, to highlight the most common reasons we fall short of connecting with partners, employees, or consumers, along with the steps we can take to leverage our organization’s humanity, create safe spaces, and lead with love.
Vulnerability is Sexy
Business is built on relationships. We've all heard the mantra. Yet most of us in life have only a handful of people we feel close with, and then a long list of acquaintances—often including folks we do business with.
But what would our work, our time, and our relationships—both inside and outside of the business—look like if we trusted, respected, and admired everyone in our stakeholder model to the degree that we trust, respect, and admire those we are closest to?
Vulnerability is Sexy explores how communicating differently can help us more quickly achieve the kind of success we're after.
• Recognize that typical company language is likely creating confusion around your brand.
• Consider an approach to attract your tribe while repelling those who would waste your time and energy.
• Understand where you default on the vulnerability ladder.
• Experience the value and impact of extending intimacy in business.
• Raise your awareness around vulnerability as a business development strategy.
SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations?
BLAKE: I invite people into a “Holy Shit” moment of full-bodied epiphany—my wish for audiences is that they accept my invitation. For those who do, I hope they walk away feeling seen, connected, powerful, and sexy for having taken the risk.
SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?
BLAKE: The most imperative part of my preparation is connecting with the head of the event, or the CEO if I’m speaking within an organization. Vulnerability is a top-down offer, meaning that if the person in charge hasn’t bought in, no one else will feel safe to experiment.
Sometimes I fly out to meet the leader in person; other times a couple of phone calls work well. I also prefer to interview the head of the event (or company) to probe more deeply into the motivations for my participation and what the hopes are for our time together. While there are standard sections of my talks, I typically customize a portion of them relative to the goals of the event and the types of people who are likely to be in the audience.
SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?
BLAKE: I was asked to speak about love to an audience of 200 CEOs in 2016. Sharing the story of my journey with my father (who started working for me 6 years ago) was a particularly beautiful and vulnerable experience.
Early in 2017, at an event for 60 millennial CEOs, I expected the audience to resist my presentation, but instead found myself incredibly moved by the depth of their participation. Later this year, I had a similar experience with an international sales team of 70 people whom I expected to give some awesome resistance. Much to my surprise I had the privilege of watching them listen deeply to one another, cry together, and belly laugh with one another.
My most vulnerable experience was when speaking to a room of 150 CEOs in Dallas where I shared the story of loneliness in my marriage and almost having cheated on my wife. After that talk I witnessed certain people turning away from me as I would walk around the event. When I shared privately with one attendee that I noticed she wasn’t making eye contact with me and I was curious if my talk brought something up for her, she opened up about a struggle she was facing in her own marriage, and she wept with me. I was grateful to be a safe place for her to share in that moment.
In addition to the speaking I do, I also create experiences at conferences and one that is always memorable is my Being Seen Experiment where people sit across from me for as long as they like, no words are needed. It’s an eye gazing experiment to invite people into what it feels like to be seen. At a recent Conscious Capitalism event I had half a dozen people sit with me for 7 or 8 minutes and one woman who gazed with me for 30 minutes. I am still moved when I think of the journey we went on together and all the emotional twists, turns, and epiphanies that came from such depth of connection.
SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?
BLAKE: My presentations and facilitations are best received by people who have done some form of personal development in their lives, or work for a CEO who emphasizes culture. People who consider therapy, coaching, and vulnerability to be hooey booey bullshit typically prefer that I drop dead when I take the stage.
SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?
BLAKE: “Vulnerability is Sexy” is the only talk that I’m giving because it feels to me like the manifestation of my life’s purpose right now. I love offering it as a keynote; however, my greatest joy is leading longer half day and full day facilitations where I use the Vulnerability is Sexy presentation to shift the room into “real talk” and then I guide attendees into values and purpose work (either individually or on behalf of an organization). My greatest gift is in uncovering what people stand for by pulling it from their guts. I feel closest to God in those moments when I’m helping align an audience member’s language with their truth so the room can see their humanity.
SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?
BLAKE: Honestly, I get insanely bored from informational talks that broadcast from the stage like lectures. As an attendee, I want to participate, I want to risk, I want to get dirty, I want to walk away from each talk having my world rocked, yet that SO rarely happens in my experience. So I decided to take responsibility for what I want more of in the world by creating it.
SPEAKING.COM: How do you keep your audience engaged and actively listening during your keynotes? Do you use case studies, personal stories and/or in your speeches?
BLAKE: I show them what I look like naked. No, seriously.
SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients achieve?
BLAKE: a. Unprecedented growth of a public services company from $100M to $165M in three years.
b. a 37% increase in the stock price (so far!) of a publically traded company who asked for our support with their culture transformation.
c. The articulation of purpose by the head of a national magazine during the Vulnerability is Sexy presentation.
d. The restructuring of an entire marketing campaign for a $75M financial company based on work together on their values.
e. A $10M online platform finally sharing their story after experiencing Vulnerability is Sexy at an event.
f. An education platform client selling thousands of copies of their book as a lead generator for online business.
g. A Multi-billion dollar private company who asked us to capture the stories of the founding family for future generations.
h. A childhood cancer survivor who has used her books and her story to raise more than $1M for cancer research.
i. A former entrepreneur turned civic leader whose story has impacted the lives of more than 100,000 kids in Chicago.
j. The recipient of the most extensive face transplant surgery to date in 2013 whose story has impacted millions of readers.
“Thanks again for showing up so enthusiastically and wholeheartedly and for delivering so much value. We Love you!”
—Julie Van Amerongen
Director of Programs and Events, Conscious Capitalism
“We got great reviews on the night, and Corey’s presentation specifically.”
—John Tota, President, Edulence
Learning Chair, EO New York
“I am still hearing from colleagues how amazing you are. Makes my heart swell…”
—Kristie M. Williams, M.A., LPC
Career Services Supervisor, Cuyahoga County Public Library
“You are profound. You are immense. You are loved, admired, and appreciated by those that you touch. You changed my life today and I hope you know how important the work that you’re doing is and how much you inspire those around you.”
—MEGHAN FRENCH DUNBAR
Co-Founder Conscious Company Magazine
“Corey Blake’s breakout session rocked! It was rich with great content; highly creative, experiential and hugely entertaining: and it was practical and applicable to business. I can’t say enough good things about it—and we received such great feedback from everyone who was in there. Huge thanks to Corey for adding more awesomeness to our event.”
CEO, The Center for Creative Emergence
Producer, Creativity in Business Conference
“Corey personifies the qualities of enthusiasm, dedication, hard work and commitment–and did I mention enthusiasm?”
Director of Marketing and Public Relations,
Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles
“I hope I can find the words at some point to appropriately articulate how grateful I am for you and this amazing gift you have given Savage. THANK YOU!!!!!!!
Director of account services, brand strategist, Savage Brands
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