Saturday 21 September 2019

Motivational business 'rock stars' are smash-hits of Pendulum 2017

Pendulum Summit organiser Frankie Sheahan
Pendulum Summit organiser Frankie Sheahan

Simon Rowe

Branded by some as the 'Woodstock' of Ireland's business calendar, the annual Pendulum Summit kicks-off in Dublin next month. Founded by former rugby international and event organiser Frankie Sheahan, the business and motivation 'think-in' is the largest business summit in Ireland, attracting upwards of 6,500 delegates.

The roll-call of speakers at Pendulum 2017 reads like a roster of business 'rock stars': Robin Sharma, John Demartini, Keith Cunningham, Lisa Nichols, Jack Canfield and Keith Ferrazzi.

Each one is either a multi-million selling author, millionaire entrepreneur or motivational maestro. And all six will be under one roof, Dublin's Convention Centre, for an expanded two-day motivation and networking event from January 11-12.

Robin Sharma's self-help book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari has sold over three million copies. Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, has sold more than 100 million books. Lisa Nichols has gone from being a struggling single mother on benefits to becoming a millionaire entrepreneur and friend of US talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

Speakers at previous Pendulum summits have included mind-body healing guru Deepak Chopra, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and success coach Tony Robbins. Such names don't come cheap, however. Each speaker can command fees of upwards of $40,000 (€37,000) in the US.

Sheahan probably won't see much change from an estimated €1m spend, when speakers' fees, rental of the Convention Centre, accommodation and corporate hospitality costs, advertising and marketing spend, as well as staff costs involved in running the event, are totted up.

"The risk to reward ratio is massive," admitted Sheahan. "There is a reason that it hasn't been done on this level before and that's because if one thing goes wrong it's all over. Myself and my wife are working 16-hour days. Our delegate list is about 75pc filled at the moment. But we're still in the red despite the big numbers signing up."

But Sheahan is undaunted by the risks. Like himself, he says the speakers, "aren't doing it for the money anymore, this is their passion, this is their calling. They are trying to create a positive ripple effect".

Sheahan is a well-known business networker himself. Following his transition from sports star to businessman, he set up speaker bureau business Front Row. Now into its fourth year, Sheahan says the experience of organising previous Pendulum Summits has made him smarter about cutting costs and increasing value for delegates.

"If a Google or a blue-chip giant decided to do what we're doing in the morning it would cost them about €2m."

This year's event, entitled 'Unleash Your Warrior Mindset', should unleash significant revenues for Pendulum, given its track record.

Profits more than tripled last year at Pendulum Events and Training Limited, the company behind the event.

The firm - which is 100pc owned by Sheahan's brother Jonathan, the managing director of Compass Private Wealth - posted profits of €254,229 for the 12 months to the end of August 2015 to bring retained profits to €374,084 from €119,755 a year earlier.

Accounts show the company had cash at hand of €302,221 at the end of the reporting period, compared with €132,701 the previous year.

It's not just Pendulum that will see a boost to its bottom line if the event is successful. The capital is set for a €20m tourism boost.

"This year we will generate €20m for the local economy in Dublin, which is a huge amount of money as it's the quietest time of the tourist season," said Sheahan. "We are now the largest business summit in Ireland and we are now the world's leading self-empowerment summit. If you were trying to get the wisdom of these six speakers you would have to travel all over the world, so we're bringing the best in the world here to Ireland.''

Another major appeal of Pendulum is that it offers multinational companies an alternative to more traditional forms of corporate hospitality for clients. "The traditional corporate hospitality model is broken, especially with new regulation in industry and bribery acts. It is not cool any more to be sipping a pint in the corporate box," said Sheahan.

"Companies are thinking of new ways and new thoughtful ways to give something more substantial to a client.''

'Unleash Your Warrior Mindset' Pendulum Summit will take place at The Convention Centre Dublin on January 11 and 12, 2017. Visit for tickets

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