Understanding NSA’s Legendary CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

What do top speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, and Colin Powell have in common?

Not only are they captivating and inspiring public speakers who have mastered their craft and changed the lives of many, they are also some of the only professional speakers to have ever landed a spot in the prestigious CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame.

To be nominated, you must be in the top 1% of speakers.

It doesn’t matter how famous you are, how many speeches you have given, or how much money you’ve earned speaking.

This award is only given to the best of the best who have ever stepped on stage. Those who have mastered their craft, put in the hours, and have a message that resonates with those who have the pleasure of hearing them speak.

Read on to learn more about the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, what it takes to be nominated, and meet three of our 2020 award recipients.


Learn The Background of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

So, what exactly is the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame?

The CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame is a prestigious lifetime award for speaking excellence and professionalism.

It is the highest public speaking award given ONLY to professional speakers who have reached the top echelon of on-stage success.

The first group of CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame winners was inducted way back in 1977.

Ever since, the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame selection committee, made up of current award winners, selects up to five recipients each year to receive this award (during the National Speakers Association Annual Convention).


Do You Have What It Takes to Make the Cut?

Since 1977, less than 250 public speakers have ever been inducted into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame.

How does one get nominated?

You must be selected by a current CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame member and be evaluated by their CPAE peers.

This is a careful, meticulous, and demanding process.

For you to be even considered as a candidate, you must be a master in the 5 following categories:

  • Message
  • Presentation
  • Experience
  • Professionalism
  • Collateral material

More so, those who are considered as worthy candidates must bring that “wowfactor every time they perform on stage.

They must captivate and engage their audience on a whole other level.

Every time these professional speakers show up, they use their full array of skills and share their life experiences and greatest lessons with their audience.

If you can consistently deliver this type of high-quality performance, you may be considered as a candidate to receive this prestigious award.


Hear from 3 recent CPAE Award Winners

Barry Banther, CSP, CPAE

“When I joined the NSA Central Florida chapter 22 years ago, that’s when my speaking career really began to develop.”

Barry uses his southern storytelling charm to deliver engaging and motivating speeches that teach and inspire leadership.

Since the start of his professional speaking career at 23, he has given over 5,000 public speeches. Including, motivational speeches to MLB and NFL athletes.


Mary Kelly, Ph.D., CSP, CPAE

Mary is a high-energy keynote speaker with a relatable, no-nonsense approach that inspires audiences to embrace their roles, achieve their goals, and plan for the future.

She discovered her passion for public speaking back in 1987.

After giving a speech, she was approached by an NSA member who encouraged her to consider public speaking as a full-time career.

Since then, Mary has been an NSA Colorado chapter member and influential public speaker.


Jason Dorsey, CSP, CPAE

“NSA changed my life. I felt that for the first time, people understood me and what I was trying to do.”

Jason joined NSA when he was just 18 years old and decided he wanted to use his gift of public speaking to make the world a better place.

Ever since, he has spent his time solving generational challenges for businesses through his keynote presentations, strategic advisory work, and unique behavioral research.



All of these honored public speakers have grown their careers to extraordinary levels with the help and support of our community.

You too have the resources and support to take your public speaking to the next level and use your powers for good, to change people’s lives and make the world a better place.

Who knows, one day you too could be a part of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame.