Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gene Simmons To Speak At Saskatoon Business Luncheon

Photograph by: Getty Images File Photo, The StarPhoenix

He'll spend a night in KISS and then tell a Saskatoon audience about his success in business.

Saskatchewan Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (SYPE) has landed Gene Simmons as a luncheon speaker the day after his band's concert in Saskatoon.

"We're pretty pumped about it," SYPE's Saskatoon president Janea Bellay said Tuesday.

"He knows business. He knows marketing. He's an entrepreneurial icon of our time."

The organization had Simmons on the wish list for its Leadership Series, then learned of the Saskatoon concert on Nov. 10.

"We thought, 'Now's our chance to do it,' " said Bellay.

SYPE got the booking with the help of tinePublic Inc. of Calgary, the same company that brokered the recent visit of George W. Bush. It's also handled Bill Clinton, Lance Armstrong, Donald Trump and the Dalai Lama.

"This is a real coup for them to have Gene Simmons at their event," said Andy McCreath, co-founder of tinePublic and a University of Saskatchewan alumnus.

"He's become an extremely successful businessman. He kind of covers all realms," McCreath added.

Simmons will speak on the power of creativity and branding.

McCreath and partner Christian Darbyshire have developed a connection with the long-tongued bass player, to the point where they were guests at his home in Los Angeles.

"It was pretty neat. We spent the day with him and it was lots of fun. He's a really down-to-earth, nice guy."

Bellay couldn't get tickets to the sold-out concert but will be part of a VIP meet-and-greet with board members and sponsors before the luncheon.

"It's going to be very exciting," she said.

Local business sponsors pitched in to reduce the expenses for the organization, Bellay noted.

"The Saskatoon business community is fantastic when we put on events of this calibre."

In honour of Remembrance Day, the event will include a special tribute to Saskatoon's war veterans. Bellay expects to sell all 1,200 tickets.

"We've had phone calls from people I didn't even know were involved with SYPE saying, 'I can't believe there's tickets available.' "

The business luncheon runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. at TCU Place, with doors opening at 11:30 p.m. The event includes a question-and-answer session with Simmons. Tickets cost $75 plus GST. They can be purchased at