An artist rendering of me trying to speak!

My Real Experience with Thought-Leader

Cameron Lee Cowan
5 min readNov 8, 2023

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If you have been in the public speaking space and trying to get your public speaking career off the ground, you’ve probably seen the flashy ads with Taylor Conroy talking about how you can get on a TEDx stage. If you google Thought-Leader you won’t find much beyond a single Better Business Bureau listing with a reasonable complaint and a reasonable reply. If you’re thinking about joining their program, here are my thoughts.

Cost and Time

The first thing you should know is that joining the Thought-Leader program is not cheap. I paid $6,800 to join the program and the price has gone up since 2022 when I joined. This is not something to be taken lightly. It is probably the most expensive program I’ve ever joined that didn’t have a degree attached to it.

The other thing is the matter of time. This is a huge commitment. There are 4 trainings that start you off in the program. There are two sessions to develop your TEDx application and two sessions to develop your talk and your one minute pitch video. For me, these sessions were incredibly inconvenient because I was living on the West Coast at the time and with the time zones, it mean that the sessions started at 7:30 or 8:30 in the morning. Can I get a cup of coffee first?

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Cameron Lee Cowan

Creative Director of The Cameron Journal. Culture, political commentary, and much more!