Spirit of APSS

The Spirit of APSS
Asia Professional Speakers Singapore (APSS), then known as Asia Speakers Association was formed at a Board of Directors meeting on 2nd March 2004.

Founding members included; Ron Kaufman, Deborah Torres Patel, Michael Podolinsky, Benjamin Cheng, Robin Speculand, Margaret Loh, Ray Bigger, Ernest Chen, Dave Rogers, Philip Lim,  Roger Konopasek, and others.

The intention was to:
“Build a bigger pie for all in the speaking industry”
This mission or ‘Spirit of APSS’ was adopted from the founder of the USA based, National Speakers Association (NSA), Cavett Robert.
Cavett Robert was born in 1907. He always had a desire to help other people and to speak. He joined Toastmasters International and won the International Speaking Contest in his second attempt. This launched his speaking career at the age of 60. For the next 25 years he went around the country speaking. In those days the only ‘professional’ speakers were doctors, lawyers and politicians.
Realising that most professions are so filled with competition that this thinking isn’t rewarded, he set out to create an association or professional speakers, who would support each other’s growth. After a number of set-backs, NSA was formed to promote high ethical and professional standards of its members. It was never to exist for selfish, self-promotion of its members.
The NSA, inspired speaking associations in other countries such Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) and the National Speakers Association of Australia (now known as PSA Australia). Today there are 13 associations who a connected together by the Global Speakers Federation (GSF). For more information on GSF see our Global Page.

First GSF summit in Singapore

APSS really took off in 2005 with the first GSF Summit. Scott Friedman, (now CSPGlobal & Cavett Award Winner), who was then the President of the NSA, approached APSS with his vision of creating the first Global Summit in Singapore. APSS member Ron Kaufman, hosted a dinner at The Grande Copthorne Hotel, at which, Jerome Joseph, CSPGlobal and Michael Podolinsky, CSP were enlisted to help – the seeds were planted to transform the vision into reality.
APSS was invited to manage the event with a summit task force lead by Angeline Teo, Rob Salisbury, CSP volounteered to connect with Australia & New Zealand resulting in 68 people attending from ‘down under’. The Summit drew speakers from around the world and APSS was able to leverage on the event in terms of growth and expertise. This was a significant milestone in the history of the association and was a powerful step in building APSS to what it is today.

The APSS experience

You can read about our Mission and Focus on our ‘About‘ page, but this does not do justice to the experience you will have at an APSS Convention or by being mentored by Professional Members of the association. Just attending a monthly meet up can be transformational; for example, a complete stranger may offer you support, advice or insight to jump start or develop your speaking business.

This is the Spirit of APSS – to make the speaking pie bigger by making sure speakers are better!


APSS leadership

APSS is led by the members for the members. Each year a new Executive Committee (Exco), lead by a President (currently Arishta Khanna) is elected to serve the association. It is a truth that you get from the association in proportion to what you put in, and this is another aspect of the ‘Spirit of APSS’ – service, because service leads to growth.

APSS Past Presidents


Thaddeus Lawrence


Dave Rogers


Benjamin Cheng


Ray Bigger


Margaret Loh


APSS Presidents' Awards

The APSS Presidents’ Award is chosen and awarded by the Immediate Past President and the current President. It is given to a member who has exceeded all expectations in providing support over a period of time, or has worked tirelessly for APSS and its members over and above all expectations on a specific project or projects.

APSS Presidents' Awards Recipients:

Spirit of Service Awards

The APSS Spirit of Service Award is given to a member who has provided significant support or help to APSS and its members during the year, or has done substantial work on an important project during the year. The awardee is chosen by the APSS Executive Committee. More than one award may be issued if warranted.

Spirit of Service Awards Recipients:

Speaker Hall of Fame

The Speakers Hall of Fame is designed to find and put the spotlight on people who demonstrate the exemplary. These people have committed within themselves to the everyday disciplines that lead to mastery. They constantly refine and develop their ways to communicate so others may be enriched. They are raised up so that others might see what excellence looks like in action. And they themselves are encouraged to continue to be great role models sources of inspiration, points of reference and diverse images of excellence for us all. They are leading lights in our profession.

All winners are determined by a selection panel of highly regarded peers against a range of criteria, which they are required to rate highly on every criterion.

Speaker Hall of Fame Recipients: