November 1, 2018

How to Hire Me as a Speaker & What to Expect

by Corrina Thurston


As an artist and a writer, I know how to express a message in a way that grabs the audience’s attention. I have an appreciation for words, but also know that cadence and movement, humor and storytelling, are what make a speech truly memorable. 

Like you, I’ve been witness to presentations that have left me wondering what they were about, ones where I was bored and watching the clock. 

That’s why I aim to engage with my audience and leave them with information they can take away and put to use immediately


I appreciate you considering me for your event. Please contact me here with any questions! 

Working with Corrina was a joy. She helped us draw a great crowd for her presentation and delivered an insightful and informative talk.”

– Rob Hunter, Executive Director of Frog Hollow

More About Me

Back in 2008, at the age of 18, I was a freshman in college. I was planning to double-major in Anthropology and Biology, but after only a few months into my first semester, my life changed. 

Suddenly I was sick. Very sick. I struggled to stay in school as long as I could, but I had to medically withdraw partway through my second semester.

Being the type-A personality I was, a three-sport athlete and 4.0 student, I refused to give up. I tried going back to school the next Fall, and my illness once again overwhelmed me. It wasn’t long before my parents had to come collect me from my room and take me back home, where I was mostly bedridden for a number of years following. 

I was overwhelmed with a 24/7 migraine (if you can imagine), extreme fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and more. Light made my eyes ache and noises made me wince in pain. I couldn’t even read or watch more than a few minutes of television.

I felt hopeless, useless, and like a burden on my family. 

Despite all the doctors I was seeing, no one could diagnose me or figure out what was wrong. Many turned me away.

Two years into my illness, I picked up a pencil and began drawing. I don’t know what compelled me to do so, but it was a turning point in my depression. It helped me focus on something other than the pain. It helped me feel like I was at least able to do something, I was at least able to be productive in some way.

Over the next few years I taught myself to draw from the confines of my bed, alone in my darkened room, just a little at a time as my migraine would allow. 

In 2014 I was finally diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, Bartonella, malfunctioning adrenal glands, two types of pneumonia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, IBS, Endometriosis, and more. I’m on long-term treatment that is challenging, frustratingly slow, and yet thankfully has shown significant improvement over the last few years. 

Now my artwork, which began as a therapeutic outlet, has turned into a rewarding career. I’m now a professional wildlife artist, entrepreneur, business consultant, and author of the books, How To Build Your Art Business: With Limited Time Or Energy, and How To Communicate Effectively – For Artists & Creatives. 

(Check out the event page for an art reception and double book launch party on December 5th, 2018 here!)

“As the Vice President of the Swanton Arts Council and freelance artist, I found Corrina Thurston’s Workshops on “Creating your best artist statement” and “Social Media Marketing for Artists,” to be extremely resourceful and informative. Her workshop provided me with clear, easy to follow insight on how to promote my own art and help other artists do the same when I curate shows.  I love her suggestion to create multiple artist statements, written for specific purposes. I have never thought of using more than one. Brilliant! She is full of wisdom that is shared in such a humble way. Her ideas and advice can be easily applied immediately after her workshops.”

– Nicole Gadouas, Vice President of Swanton Arts Council

Where I Usually Speak

I usually speak at art galleries, high schools, colleges and universities, for organizations, non-profits, businesses, churches/religious organizations, etc. 

Different places tend to have different interests in what I speak about, so see below for what might be best for your event/organization. 

My Most Popular Speech Topics

  • What it’s really like to be a full-time working artist

This speech is typically geared toward art students in college, but can be tweaked to be used elsewhere. It uses humor and my experience as a full-time working artist to talk about what a lot of art schools don’t, which is if you’re a professional artist, you’re also an entrepreneur. It uses anecdotes and more than a pinch of sarcasm to talk about the business side of being an artist.

  • My story

Sometimes the best inspiration comes from people who have been through the worst experiences, and came through the other side in some way better than before. I’ve been chronically ill since 2008, including over six years undiagnosed and with no light at the end of the tunnel. My life was flipped and I was forced to adapt to my circumstances, despite how terrible they were, and make the best of them. And somehow, I came out the other side of the hell I was in, happier than I was before, a better person than I was before, and more grateful for what I have than I ever could have been before. 

  • How to maintain happiness, despite negative circumstances

I’ve been through hell. It took me time and research and experience to figure out ways to not let my circumstances drag me straight down to the full depths of depression. Now I know how to keep my spirits up even when life continues to throw me curveballs. I think it’s my job to make sure others know how to do the same.

I’m writing a book that will be released in 2019 that will address some of these topics called, How To Crush Self-Doubt & Gain Real Confidence

“I’m so delighted that I attended all three of Corrina’s workshops sponsored by the Swanton Arts Council. As an author of several series, I’m faced with not only having to market my work but also myself. Corrina offered fantastic tips and practice advice that showed me ways to get past self-doubt, gain confidence, and have a clear path forward. Thank you so much, Corrina!

-Pat Esden, author of the Dark Heart and Northern Circle Coven series

  • Productivity

I’ve started and now run a business despite being chronically ill. I can’t work consistently, because I never know when I’m going to feel well and when I’m not, so I’ve learned techniques to be as productive as possible when I can work. This speech is directly coordinated with my book, How To Build Your Art Business: With Limited Time Or Energy, which has a focus on ways to make yourself extra productive with art and business (and everything else in life). 

  • The key to success – the ability to adapt

Sometimes you think you know what path your life is going to take. In reality, you have no control over what life is going to throw you, you can only control how you handle it. This one is especially good for high schools and colleges. 

  • How to conquer self-doubt and gain real confidence

I have severe anxiety. I used to have panic attacks every day. I was chronically ill and a burden on my family for many years, with no social circle. And I had a voice in my head that was constantly putting me down and doubting everything about myself. Trust me when I say, if I can learn to overcome my own self-doubt, fear, train myself to work with and calm my anxiety, and build back my self-confidence, you can too. This speech goes into detail with practical, easy takeaways for you to start building yourself up too, to become the confident, inspired person you want to be. 

I’m writing a book that will be released in 2019 that will address these topics called, How To Crush Self-Doubt & Gain Real Confidence

  • Goal-setting 

Most people have trouble meeting their goals. That’s because most people don’t know how to create the right goals for themselves. I’ve written blog posts and a chapter in my book about this topic as well. I go into detail about creating the right goals, goals that are measurable, the difference between what I call Summit and Step goals, how to not get overwhelmed, and more.

  • Artist topics like: how to create effective artist statements, how to talk about your creative work, email marketing, art marketing, social media tips, how to create an effective business plan, how to think like an entrepreneur, and more. 

I regularly speak on a number of topics that relate to my consulting and books about art business. How to communicate effectively, marketing tips and techniques, and more. This can be a one-time workshop/speech, or you can hire me for a series! 


“Corrina Thurston’s workshop on Creating An Effective Business Plan for artists at the SEABA Gallery was so worth the time. We learned about small steps and what to figure out. We left feeling: “Yea, we can do this.” We were photographers, ceramic artists, fiber artists, painters, cartoonists, jewelry makers, and more.”

                           – James Valastro, HenArt Cartoonist

What You Can Expect

Here’s what you can expect from me as you hire me to speak for your event or organization. 

  • Responsiveness: I respond quickly to any emails or phone calls and get back to you myself.
  • Professionalism: You can also expect full professionalism and timeliness throughout the entire process.
  • Consultation: I want to speak directly with you before the speech to make sure I know exactly what you’re hoping for with the talk or lecture.
  • Promotion: I will promote your event across my social media channels and on my website.
  • Good Delivery: Mixed with humor and full of practical takeaways, each speech is tailored for your audience and presented in a conversational tone.
  • Follow-Up: I always follow up afterwards for feedback and to make sure you’re satisfied with how everything went.

What To Do

Interested in hiring me for a speech? Please reach out to me here and ask about my availability, tell me a little about your organization and event, and what you’re hoping for from a speech. Once I know more about what you’re looking for, we can discuss the speaking fee.

Hire Me To Speak


If you’re not looking for a speaker but know someone who might be or whom you think could benefit, feel free to pass this blog post along to them or reach out to me directly! 

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