San Francisco, CA- Can you name some influential mentors in your life? Mentors have been essential in helping me move past my limits to achieve my goals as a trade show presenter, and they’ve inspired me to seek out ways to share my experience with others. I’m deeply grateful, and I hope this post inspires you to seek mentoring opportunities as well.


Luke and Yoda


In general, a mentor provides a protege three things: support, wisdom and experience. Support consists of patient listening and unconditional encouragement. Wisdom can be seen as helping the protege solidify his or her own vision and values, as well as knowing when to offer and when not to offer advice. And finally, experience consists of imparting the knowledge gleaned from years in the business.

In my career as a professional trade show presenter, I’ve been blessed with many mentors, but I’d like to focus on three great guys. While each is spectacular in his own way, the overarching quality shared by each is generosity. When I reached out for advice, each responded with a “how can I be of service?” attitude, showing a true abundance rather than scarcity mentality: a great life lesson. While each of these great guys exemplifies all three mentor attributes, I’ll focus on one attribute for each. Three of my trade show presenter mentors are Brian Taylor, Steve Multer and Andy Saks.


motivational speaker Brian Taylor


Brian Robert Taylor at TaylorSpeak was my first introduction into the world of trade show presenting, and he exemplifies the true meaning of support. A deeply accomplished, professional and positive master of the craft, Brian led the ear prompter workshop that gave me the tools to begin my journey. He provided agency relationship suggestions, equipment tips, demo reel notes and unlimited check-ins, which I absolutely utilized (probably too much)! During those calls and meetings, Brian patiently listened to my early freak-outs, supported me unconditionally and gave me the unending encouragement to keep going. Plus, he’s an impeccable example of a pro on the expo floor. I would not be where I am today were it not for this guy. Thanks Brian!


Steve Muller


Steve Multer at SKM Creative is the first business person I’ve ever met in any field that I would consider purely vision and values-based. He has generously shared his wisdom with me in the time we’ve known each other. Steve first introduced himself to me at my first Dell EMC World Expo, where he graciously complimented me by saying I was “in rarified air” as a presenter on that show floor. Not only was I included as one of the ‘crew’. I was also ‘rare!’ That did more for me than he’ll ever know! Steve and his company offer turn-key solutions for events, and from the moment I met him, it was clear he placed customer service first. Steve has been incredibly insightful in helping me navigate the sticky and often gray-area marketing and contract quandaries that I’ve come across as an entrepreneur. Steve can always see through the fog to elegant, mutually beneficial solutions, and always encourages me to keep my values first and foremost. Thanks Steve!

I was actually very intimidated to first reach out to Andy Saks at Spark Presentations. His perfectly executed website and renown on the show floor preceded him. However, once we connected, Andy has been a profoundly helpful source of experience. If you can imagine pretty much any marketing tactic out there, Andy has already implemented it flawlessly. His contracts and fee structures are crystal clear, easy to understand and utterly professional. He just makes everything so easy: a great example of thinking from the customer’s point of view. Andy’s input has totally upped my game in terms of thinking of my trade show presentation services as a business. Thanks Andy!


Andy Saks


So to summarize, these three fantastic gentlemen have each had a profound effect on my trade show presenting business through their support, wisdom and experience. I look up to each of them as mentors, and I’m inspired to mentor those less experienced than myself in the same generous, abundant spirit. I encourage you to consider where in your life you can offer support, wisdom and experience to those making their way along a path you’ve previously traveled. These guys have made a huge difference in my life, and I hope to get a chance to pay it forward once again. I’m eternally grateful. Thanks guys!


Don Colliver

Don Colliver is a professional trade show presenter, writer and booth staff trainer. Don helps teams surpass their event marketing goals through next-level engagement thanks to his background as a clown with Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group. He can be reached at