Considered a modern day business “Renaissance Man,” Ira Blumenthal is the founder and president of CO-OPPORTUNITIES, Inc., an Atlanta-based consulting company that has counseled world class clients such as Coca-Cola, Nestle, Kroger, McDonald’s, Harrah’s, American Airlines, Disney, United Artists, Marriott, Exxon, Walmart and others in areas related to “branding,” “strategic alliances,” “change management,” “re-invention,” and “business development.” Noteworthy, Ira has the proud distinction of being the single longest continually retained consultant in The Coca-Cola Company’s history (26 years).
Ira is a published author. His successful first book, Ready, Blame, Fire! (Myths and Misses in Marketing) was followed by the nationally acclaimed Managing Brand You, published by The American Management Association and printed in two languages and audio (www.ManagingBrandYou.com). It focuses on personal branding. Ira is the recipient of the prestigious “George Washington Honor Medal for Literary Excellence” (The Freedoms Foundation).
The former host of a popular radio talk show, “Success Talk,” Ira has interviewed “success stories” such as General Colin Powell, Mario Andretti, Tommy Lasorda, Debbi Fields, Dr. Richard Carlson and other notables. He has been a visiting professor at The University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University and was the inaugural Executive-In-Residence at Georgia State University’s School of Hospitality. Before founding CO-OPPORTUNITIES, Inc., Ira was a division CMO at The Sara Lee Corporation and then served as President of Rymer Foods, a NYSE public corporation he led to quantum leap growth from $90-million to well over $250-million in three-plus years. He is the recipient of one of the highest honors in the food business, “The Key Person Award,” and has been honored with numerous civic and professional awards… and has been on a number of boards.
These days, Ira delivers over 40 speeches annually and has delivered over 2000 in his career… to well over 1-million people on five continents. He has served as the “speaking opener” for the likes of President George Bush Sr., General Colin Powell, Lech Walesa, the late Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto, Henry Kissinger, Tommy Lasorda, Cal Ripken Jr., Bob Dole and others… Highly respected as a business development and branding expert, to include “personal branding,” Ira has been quoted and featured as a “subject matter expert” in numerous media sources such as “The Wall Street Journal,” “USA Today,” “CNN,” “BrandWeek,” “Entrepreneur Magazine,” “Executive Excellence,” “Marketing News” and more.
He has also done work with and for high profile icons such as Zsa Zsa Gabor, Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), the estate of the late Pat Summitt, media mogul Ted Turner and others.
Concurrent to leading his consulting company, Ira was the co-founder of The Resource Center for Workforce Solutions… the architect of the CAFÉ (Center for Achieving Foodservice Excellence)… one of the co-founders of The Branding Institute… the co-founder and inaugural Managing Director of The Restaurant Industry Executive Council, a stellar group comprised of the CEO’s (no substitutions) of the top 35 restaurant chains in the U.S. With his friend Steven Tyler, in collaboration with Youth Villages, Ira was one of the co-founders of “Janie’s Fund” (www.janiesfund.org), a philanthropic organization that provides help to “at risk girls”.
Ira also sits on the board of BLAZE Sports, the legacy Paralympic organization as well as on the advisory council of the Global Restaurant Leadership Conference (Dubai). He is also the “Head Coach” (CEO) of The Pat Summitt Leadership Group.
On a personal note, Ira is a tireless community activist and youth coach (coached both state and national championship teams). He was a highly acclaimed collegiate athlete and also competed internationally. Early in his career, Ira coached Football and Lacrosse at Towson University. Originally from New York, Ira lives in Atlanta, GA with his red-head Missouri bride, Kim. He is the father of two daughters, three sons and has seven grandchildren. He and Kim are avid hikers and recently started their piece-by-piece trek of The Appalachian Trail.
Ira’s two favorite quotations are “The true measure of a man is how many lifetimes he can cram into one…” and “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you found out why.”
There is one constant in life (and business)… change! Yet, change is not new. What is new is the incredible speed of change. Industries, companies and careers have gone from “distinction” to “extinction” because of their inability to adapt, adjust and master change. This session offers a high-content, high-energy, “hands on” approach to embracing, as well as capitalizing on change in business building. After all, change is to business what oxygen is to life.
Call it business development synergies, joint ventures, partnering, or strategic alliances… there is truly “strength in numbers!” This highly interactive keynote educates and motivates companies of all sizes (entrepreneurial, second tier, mid-size, multi-national) on the importance, power and viability of alliances. After all, we are fast-moving into “The Age of Collaboration.” Collaborative advantage leads to competitive advantage.
Products are consumed. Brands are purchased. In our branded world, we make Xerox copies, blow our nose in Kleenex, snack on Jell-O, relax in the Jacuzzi and cover wounds with Band-Aids. From Nike on our hats to Tommy on our shirts to Swatch on our watches and Starbucks in our cups, branding is critical to business development. This session focuses on the philosophy, strategy, guiding principles and “best practices” to create, build, maintain and manage brand success. After all, regardless of what your title is, everyone’s a brand manager… Great examples, provocative anecdotes and purposeful humor make this a great session, especially when customized for the industry, client and event. Everyone’s a brand manager!
What if you thought of yourself as a brand? Everyone struggles with what they stand for… or what they’d like to stand for… Each one of us is a brand. This speech focuses on the disciplines of business branding and applies them to the process of crafting, developing, extending, managing and protecting your most important brand… “Brand You!” Ideal for business executives, sales professionals, even non-business audiences… this is an interactive, high-energy, fun-filled educational (and inspirational) speech (and workshop) experience. What if you thought of yourself as a brand?
Based on Ira’s book, “Ready, Blame, Fire!”, this energetic speech (or workshop) focuses on challenging conventional wisdom. Targeting the fourteen greatest “myths” in marketing (i.e. “Bigger Is Better!”, “Close Enough Is Good Enough,” “The First One In Wins,” “It Won’t Happen Here!,” etc.), participants learn from history (the “misses”) and gain a well-defined understanding of the “compelling imperatives” for success in a complex, highly competitive business climate. The focus of this session is on business development, quantum leap growth, alternative channels of distribution and marketing success.
In the words of Bill Gates, “Technology is a tool, an enhancement, an enabler. It can be an enormously helpful servant but a dangerous master…” Although the benefits of technology are vast, we depend too much on “high tech” communication with employees, customers, consumers, suppliers and distributors and depend too little on “high touch” communication. This interactive, action-packed, fun-filled, highly relevant speech is focused on strategies, tactics, tips and techniques designed to help business professionals connect, engage and grow mutually beneficial enterprise through dynamic interpersonal relationships.
“Here it is ten days later and I am still energized by your presentation. How the heck do you do that on a regular basis? What kind of vitamins are you taking? I think you could tell by the extended ovation that you were well received by the footwear executives.
Your seminar on co-branding was definitely a hit, and helped make this year’s conference our biggest and best ever. We have had tremendous comments about your presentation from our distributors and employees alike.
Ira Blumenthal is a man from the future. Some people recommend out-of-the-box thinking and positioning. Ira lives out-of-the-box and is an expert in challenging conventional wisdom in both his counseling and presenting.
Ira was awesome. He got a standing ovation at the end. Ira was fantastic! He was wonderful. Everyone loved him and his style was perfect for the audience, time and theme.
Ira has a unique knack for engaging an audience. And while the audience is engaged, he educates them. One thing you can be guaranteed with Ira is that you never know what he’s going to do next. He is an incredibly dynamic and knowledgeable speaker.
Your energy and practical life examples really captivated the audience. I appreciate that you took the time to educate yourself about the Group Insurance business so that you could relate your presentation to the realities we are facing. You dealt with the topic of change in a humorous yet meaningful way and your remarks set the tone for the remainder of the conference. We received excellent feedback from your program.