Our Mission - Anchored in a Great Legacy
McKinney Speakers is a trusted source for professional speakers, trainers and entertainers
across the world. What began as the booking office for an up-and-coming Southern
humorist named Grady Nutt has evolved to be a full-service speakers bureau committed
to ensuring quality presentations at corporate, associational, government and church
gatherings worldwide. We have not abandoned the values and mission of Grady Nutt
or Michael McKinney (founder of McKinney Associates): treat everyone like your neighbor,
be even-handed with recommending the best speakers or entertainers for your meeting
or event, and offer the best service possible in an efficient manner. We listen
to your goals and help you achieve your winning outcomes, all with the friendly,
"front-porch" way that has been the McKinney hallmark.
In 1969, Michael McKinney, then an assistant to nationally respected newspaper magnate
Barry Bingham Sr. in Louisville, accepted the invitation by Grady Nutt to be his
booking contact. Their relationship and the ensuing success of this preacher-cum-comedian
launched a perfect environment for developing the early careers of speaking greats
such as Scott McKain, Liz Curtis Higgs and Carl Hurley. Over the past several decades
McKinney has represented authors Keith Miller and Robert Benson, singer Cynthia
Clawson, the great Minnie Pearl, and a longstanding stable of speakers who have
become our best resources and closest friends, including Bryan Townsend, CPAE and
Cavett Award-winner Jeanne Robertson, CPAE.
Since Grady's untimely death in 1982, we have been the home office for "America's
Funniest Professor" Carl Hurley, Ed.D. Carl has become an icon for humorists and
motivational speakers, elected into the Speakers Hall of Fame, and played on the
XM/Sirius radio satellites and in households across the world with his 15 comedy
recordings in circulation.
In February 2009, McKinney Associates Speakers Bureau officially became McKinney
Speakers under the new ownership of Jim Rittenhouse, principal agent and director
of the bureau for more than 6 years.
About Our President
Jim Rittenhouse has worked as production coordinator and booking agent for Dr. Hurley
since 1993, and has directed bureau operations since 2002 when Janet Rittenhouse,
his wife and mentor in the industry, left to pursue her career in social work and
counseling. Jim Rittenhouse has been a member of the KY Bluegrass Chapter of Meeting
Professionals International since 2003, and has been awarded the Rising Star Award,
Gene Metzler Supplier of the Year Award, and in 2009, the President’s Award for
exemplary leadership. He serves as the Chapter’s current President. Jim has also
been active in the International Association of Speakers Bureaus as a past coordinator
of the Speaker Showcase and on its Award Committee, receiving the Above and Beyond
Award in 2007.
Today, McKinney Speakers is poised to meet the needs of a growing clientele in the
region, and across the globe. We understand that the bottomline of any organization
is its capacities to inspire, motivate and engage its stakeholders. McKinney Speakers
can be a part of your team that creates that engagement – and delivers exemplary
Not Just Talk. Impact!