For San Diego businessman turned performance painter Erik Wahl, making art is more than the physical act of taking brush in hand.
Wahl believes that painting, and sharing his creative process with the public through interactive, motivational speeches like the one he’ll deliver Thursday during the General Session Opening of the 35th annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies is a catalyst for next-level innovation.
“I am a storyteller and my artwork is part of my narrative,” says Wahl, an author and entrepreneur who is known for his portraiture of culture icons, as well as for sparking enthusiasm and action in those who have been fortunate enough to catch him during a TED Talk, or during one of his appearances at corporate events for the likes of AT&T, the London School of Business or Ernst & Young.
Last week, while flying to Miami after a three-stop speaking tour in Europe, Wahl took time to answer questions from LifeHealthPro about what attendees can expect from his upcoming appearance at NAILBA 35.
LifeHealthPro: Describe an Erik Wahl keynote address for those who may be unfamiliar with your work and career.
Wahl: I am an artist, author and entrepreneur. My presentations are designed to challenge organizations to leverage creativity and embrace authenticity to achieve superior levels of performance.
LHP: How will you tailor your message to appeal to the unique NAILBA audience?
Wahl: Customization is my competitive advantage as an artist as well as a keynote speaker. I love research. I love the grind of rolling up my sleeves to understand and connect with my audience. In addition to a wealth of personal experience researching, studying and speaking to independent and wholesale distributors of life insurance, I have conducted several conference calls with key executives and past presenters of NAILBA to ensure that my message is tailored to meet the current post-election challenges and opportunities in the life insurance industry.
Erik Wahl uses on-stage speed-painting to inspire creativity of all kinds. He says one key to successful innovation is learning to accept and move past failure. (Photos provided by The Wahl Group)
LHP: How would you characterize your personal experience with or impressions of life insurance products?
Wahl: Life insurance is the nexus where our money intersects with our life. It is the art and science of providing financial security for our communities. For me personally, it is the peace of mind (of knowing) that has my family’s financial wellbeing already secured.
LHP: Insurance is an industry that has struggled to innovate. How has innovation helped to boost your own career?