Elevating high-stakes events for TIAA

A woman delivering a keynote talk.
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Twice a year TIAA, Fortune 500 financial services organization and leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural, and governmental fields, hosts an event called TIAA TMRW. Focused on retirement challenges and security, the event draws clients and consultants for several days of thought leadership keynotes, workshops, and insights all with the goal of driving meaningful change in the retirement space. Since the inception of these events, TIAA has partnered with Duarte for content consulting and speaker coaching to ensure TIAA achieves their goal of engaging, thought-provoking, TED-style leadership events.

Founded in 1918, their legacy is strong, but TIAA recently underwent a transformation, updating their approach and identity in the market. Duarte has been partnering with TIAA since 2013, training hundreds of TIAA employees in our workshops from Duarte DataStory®, to Resonate®, to VisualStory®. In recent years, as TIAA shifted their positioning, they’ve leaned into high-profile events to demonstrate their thought leadership and build relationships with customers and partners to help drive better retirement outcomes.



The big challenge

A VIP experience for a VIP speaker roster

TIAA’s marketing and events leaders approached us with a challenge. They were creating an event intended to make an impact, inviting thought leaders and celebrity speakers to keynote alongside academics, data analysts, and key TIAA leadership. With a mix of subject matter experts and seasoned speakers like Abby Wambach, Eli Manning, Jay Shetty, and Lily Tomlin, they tapped us to ensure all event speakers would have an opportunity to shine.

With so much at stake, they wanted to offer their speakers a “VIP experience,” giving them the chance to level up their talks and speaking skills to ensure their message would resonate with the event audience. With a speaker roster ranging from celebrities and influencers to C-suite execs, scholars, business school deans, and university presidents, they also needed to be respectful of the speakers’ time and busy schedules. The solution was short on speaker time-commitment and high on impact …

A custom-made solution

We developed a bespoke solution to address TIAA’s unique needs. It’s a solution that’s proven effective across the three events we’ve partnered with them on so far, with more in the works for the future. Part content recommendations and part delivery coaching, this solution is two-fold. For the first part of the engagement, speakers worked with a Duarte content developer. The content developer gives recommendations on the content, ensuring the speaker’s expertise is conveyed in the most compelling, audience-centric way.

A partner to both the invited speaker and TIAA marketing and events stakeholder, Duarte’s experts also make sure the content is best aligned with TIAA’s goals for the event and connected to (while distinct from) the other speakers’ content.

Our process

Once the content is locked, rehearsals begin as speakers take advantage of virtual speaker coaching. While most are confident and frequent public speakers, this gives them an opportunity to hone their message and delivery. Even after only two coaching sessions, speakers have come away noting very positive outcomes.

Our insights

When schedules and budget have allowed, the cherry on top of this engagement has been on-site coaching. Our content and coaching experts have an established relationship with the speaker, are deeply familiar with the content, and equipped with insight into delivery style and areas for growth. This is the ideal foundation on which to maximize on-site rehearsals. The coach is a trusted partner, there to deliver immediate and applicable feedback in the space itself.

Our approach

For the TMRW event, on-site coaching helped ensure strong stage presence and audience connection. And when last minute content changes and timing issues arose, our coach was there to help make adjustments on-the-spot, reducing stress for the speaker and ensuring they’d be ready when it counted.

The results

A trusted partnership formed

What started as a creative idea has become a much anticipated bi-annual event and a great partnership between Duarte and TIAA. We look forward to these engagements and our clients value an offering with low time commitment and big impact. The success of the first event has led to several more, with Duarte there along the way to deliver the experience TIAA has come to know.

“This was an exceptional experience … you helped me find my voice, gain confidence, and that ultimately led to the creation of an impactful talk that resonated with the audience. It’s been an instrumental experience that I will cherish for years to come.”

“I feel like once people go through a process like this … on something that they actually have to deliver, that’s where real progress happens.”

“We definitely need more of our leaders to be able to think this way, edit this way, plan their throughline this way.”

“You’ve made me a better speaker permanently, not just for this session. So I am grateful.”

“Thrilled with the coaching, you knocked it out of the park.”