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The Speaker - Speak Smart... LIVE BIG team is made up of award winning speaking professionals, all with NLP training and a major passion for sharing the art and joy of communicating.  We are based in Australia, and have community members from all around the world.

Verity Robins _______________________________________

As owner of 'The Speaker - Speak Smart... LIVE BIG', Verity Robins is behind the dream to help as many entrepreneurs as possible 'Speak Smart and LIVE BIG'.

Verity brings passion, humour and some cheeky sass to business speaking.  Her experience and expertise, coupled with understanding and warmth, help all her clients to surpass their dreams. 


Verity has been in the speaking industry since 1995.  In that time she has learnt at the hands of some of the best speakers, trainers and presenters that Australia and the UK have to offer.


With her love of speaking established, thanks to Toastmasters International, Verity pursued a career in speaking and training.  In 1998 she achieved NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner qualifications and in 1999 she travelled to the UK and Wales where she achieved prestigious NLP Trainers certification.


  When she returned to Australia she created
'Preferred Futures - Coaching, Training and Public Speaking'.  In 2003 Verity studied with Results Coaching and added coaching to her compliment of skills.  Achieving success with a multitude of coaching clients she sat on a coaching panel and became a New Coach Assessor.  Verity set up a training studio in North Balwyn Victoria until 2005.


In 2004 Verity became the Australian Champion of Public Speaking, winning the Toastmasters District 73 Australian Final.  Proceeding to the United States, she defeated all other Australian Representatives in the International Final of the International Speech Competition.  Verity again won the Australian title for District 73 in 2007 and won a sensational second place in the International Interdistrict Final in Phoenix, United States of America. 


In 2006 determined to work smarter with greater work/life balance Verity changed her focus from Preferred Futures and streamlined her business to create 'Argent Star - Speaking Brilliance (now The Corporate Speaker)'.  Argent Star focused solely on exceptional speaking skills for executives and corporations.


As an Associate with National Speakers Association in 2008 Verity attended their speakers academy and has since studied with Matt Church 2009, Joanna Martin 2010/11 and Mark Hunter (2009 World Champion of Public Speaking) in 2012 and Taki Moore 2013/14, further developing her speaking, business and training skills.


In 2012 Verity published her book, 'Public Speaking is Sexy - Kiss goodbye the 10 Major Mistakes and take your speaking from fizzle to sizzle!'.  Having so much fun working with entrepreneurs and business speakers she decided it was time to create a new business as a keynote developer, helping entrepreneurs speak and sell from stage.  The Speaker - Speak Smart... LIVE BIG was created to run alongside Argent Star which she re-branded to 'The Corporate Speaker' in 2019.


In 2013 Verity won the Australian Speech Coaching (evaluation) Competition for Toastmasters D73, which she thought was perfect as coaching other speakers to success is her passion in life.  In May 2015 she placed second in the district 73 national final of the International Speech Competition and decided to hang up her competing shoes and focus on business speakers and the secrets for dynamic, successful speaking from stage.


Verity is the 'Keynote Coach', it's the sole focus of her business.  She works with established business owners who speak and sell from the stage... professional speakers, coaches, authors, trainers and corporate workers so they can speak smart and truly LIVE BIG.  She absolutely loves what she does, and her passion, experience, competence, enthusiasm, drive and understanding shine through all her work.


Mark Smith  _____________________________________________

Mark's background is in marketing and sales with a degree in Business Administration.  He's worked in South Africa, the UK and Australia.  


Mark has trained and coached customers and sales staff.  This training showed him the need for not only improving his own skills in communication, but also that many others were in need of improving their skills.  


In 2005 Mark joined Toastmasters to begin this process of learning and improving and has since attended many other communication seminars and training sessions.  


Here is a pic of Mark in 2006 at Handorf South Australia for the Toastmasters District 73 competitions.  Yes he is holding 2 awards!  First in the Impromptu speaking competition (that's thinking on your feet) and 3rd in the International Speech Competition.  



In 2008 mark came 2nd in the Australian Final of the International Speech Comp. and 2nd in the Humorous Comp.  He has made it to the finals multiple times for humorous and impromptu speaking.  


Mark fits in well with our core values and beliefs at The Speaker, and he's fun to work with!  He brings energy, enthusiasm, humour and experience from other countries and cultures.  He's a powerful speaker with dedication to helping others love speaking as much as he does.  


Mark said 'for me, whether I'm communicating with my wife and children, work colleagues or a Board of Directors, clear communication enables me to have my ideas heard and allows me to understand others' points of view'.



Fiona Knox-Johnson _____________________________________________

Fiona is our Communications Consultant and Office Manager extraordinaire.  She is welcoming with her bright presence on reception and focused when co-ordinating back of house. 


Fiona brings her strong background in Internal Communications, Business Writing and Office Management to The Speaker - Speak Smart... LIVE BIG.


She worked in Internal Communications for Telstra Ltd. (1994 - 1999), and enjoyed her role as Internal Communications Manager for Equitas Ltd. (1999 - 2004), whilst living in the UK. Fiona has a BA Hons in Literature. She worked in Internal Communications for Telstra Ltd. (1994 - 1999), and enjoyed her role as Internal Communications Manager for Equitas Ltd. (1999 - 2004), whilst living in the UK. Fiona has a BA Hons in Literature.


I love having Fiona on our team as she is diligent, hard working, honest, trustworthy and fun. She keeps me in line (not an easy task), calls things as she sees them (never mind my ego!) and takes over the jobs that I am particularly ordinary at... such as co-ordinating my schedule and accounts!!  Fiona also manages our team of virtual assistants.


You will find Fiona deeply involved in all event management tasks, warmly and efficiently organising both participants and me 🙂


We are so lucky to have Fiona as part of our team. She is highly valued, intelligent and incredibly talented. I feel we have but scratched the surface of her talents and look forward to growing our skills together.