Deedre Daniel: Founder, President & Secretary
Deedre Daniel is the founder of The Big Fat Tip, Inc. and The Interesting Conversations Company®.
Deedre spent nearly two decades in corporate America. Although she had a very successful career, she began to feel stuck in a vat of peanut butter – personally and professionally. She craved change and thought she needed to switch careers. So, she took a leap of faith and left her “safe job” for a smaller company.
She was fired nine months later.
And that was the turning point, which led her to make some bigger changes. Deedre knew she wanted to live a life that was aligned with her values. One of those was giving back.
Read the “About” page for more information on how and why Deedre started her passion project, The Big Fat Tip, Inc.
She also began working on herself. She cultivated stronger relationships, explored new ideas, developed new skills, and created new products and services, which attracted fascinating people to her world.
She founded The Interesting Conversations Company® to help you attract more opportunities in your life and business, too. Her core philosophy is that we often slip into ruts driven by dull routines, daily distractions, and a lack of real connections with others. Deedre’s approach to fixing that is helping people think more creatively, embrace humor, and build stronger bonds with others.
Before starting The Interesting Conversations Company, Deedre spent nearly two decades at GEICO. She rose from call center sales associate to head of the Affinity Marketing and Corporate Partnerships division. She directed the marketing strategy targeting millions of members belonging to more than 800 associations, businesses, and organizations. This portfolio generated $6 BILLION a year in annual written auto premiums. (No, she was not paid a commission or bonus on that revenue!) The frequent travel to conferences in cities across the United States and Canada, plus the required attendance at hundreds of networking events annually, turned her into a “paid professional schmoozer.”
Eleven years of that intensive networking (and witnessing thousands of the same old boring conversations) inspired her to create a corporate training course and signature keynote, How to be More Interesting Than a Cell Phone®. She invented The Very Interesting Game (which is five games in one) to go with this signature talk and reinforce the principles taught in the course. It is a card game for sale on Amazon. More editions are planned in the near future!
When COVID-19 arrived, her speaking business, which was supposed to be her main source of income, dried up when in-person events were canceled globally – for two years. She turned her card game into a fun and interactive online experience for remote team building and virtual networking events – helping others boost optimism and get closer despite social distancing! She hosted hundreds of episodes of The Very Interesting Game Show® on Zoom and other virtual platforms during COVID-era event shutdowns. It has become one of her most requested services from conferences and corporate clients.
She has a book coming out in 2023.
Deedre has degrees from Florida State University and Florida Southern College. She lives in Lakeland, Florida, with her husband, Robert, their dog, Spartacus, and her active imagination. When she isn’t busy making life more interesting, she hosts her podcast, writes jokes or new cards for other editions of her game, and works on her next creative project. She has served on The Polk Theatre and Imperial Symphony Orchestra boards, helping to promote their events and concerts in the community. Deedre has extensive experience speaking at conferences and training in corporate environments. And she has earned a reputation for having a wild and zany sense of humor and producing powerful events that help people think creatively, laugh, and build stronger bonds with others. Check out some of her videos on YouTube.
Awkward Family Photo 2021
Nick Kraus: Vice President
Nick Kraus was born on August 26th, 1971 in The Hamptons while his father fore tellingly celebrated Nick’s birth at Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett (a legendary music venue which Nick has now managed for over 25 years – Nick was also recently crowned, ‘Mr. Amagansett’). Raised between NYC and East Hampton, Nick was dispatched to boarding school for high school in Litchfield, CT where he fostered his penchant for community involvement and over-scheduling himself, graduating as a school secretary, school president, newspaper editor, yearbook editor, a member of library staff, the varsity cross country team and a video team which produced a weekly show for a local cable station. Nick went on to attend New York University and Southampton College where he doesn’t remember receiving as many merits.
After college, Nick moved to East Hampton where he worked in a tennis club as a jack-of-all-trades, eventually tapping into the club’s exclusive client list to start a successful landscaping company at 24 years old. While landscaping (and partying), Nick began developing a reputation for putting together some of the best beach/club parties in the Hamptons. By the age of 30, it became clear Nick’s true passion and life-calling had less to do with horticulture and more to do with organizing parties and concerts, so Nick sold the landscaping business and began booking bands at Stephen Talkhouse as a side gig. 17 years later, Nick is now one of Stephen Talkhouse’s head concert bookers, solo night manager and solo promoter. Nick takes credit for boosting the club’s popularity, revenue and keeping Stephen Talkhouse relevant to all (legal-drinking) generations over the years while retaining its original and authentic character, being the long-standing Hampton’s institution it is, first opened in the 1970s. In recent years Nick has brought bands such as ColdPlay, The Killers, Mumford and Sons, Jimmy Buffett, Jimmy Fallon, Gary Clark Jr and a host of other big-name talents to the venue.
Later, in his early 30’s, Nick read about an injured marine from Long island who’d lost both his legs. Deeply moved by the story, Nick and some friends decided they’d host a concert as a fundraiser for this particular veteran and his family. However, Nick was worried the concert wouldn’t raise enough money for this wounded soldier to survive, so while sharing his concerns with a bartender friend at the Talkhouse the bartender offered to ride his bike across the country to raise additional awareness and funds for this man, and for other injured veterans. This small-scale cross-country cycling fundraiser is now an internationally recognized and registered public event where civilians and veterans ride together known as, ‘Soldier Ride’. Solder Ride would later grow into just one of the 16 programs commandeered by, ‘Wounded Warrior Project‘ (WWP). Since helping found WWP, Nick has seen the non-profit grow from a modest group of 15 volunteers to over 500 employees with over a dozen offices, from an annual budget of $12 thousand in 2003 to having collected close to 1 Billion dollars in donations by 2018. At a luncheon at The White House honoring a group of Wounded Warriors, WWP supporter, President Obama quipped that the idea for WWP came out of a bar in Long Island and that’s better than most of the ideas that come out of bars, in his experience. Soldier Ride has been honored each year at the White House from President Bush to President Trump.
Nick now oversees Soldier Rides each year in NYC, Jones Beach, The Hamptons, The Northfork, Miami, Key West, Boston, Cape Cod, U.K., France and Israel. He also assists in PR and fund-raising efforts, such as WWP’s annual Gala Dinner (which raises over $2 million each year). Nick is also involved in many local charities including his sister’s non-profit, ‘Row New York’ which is based in Queens and Harlem.
In 2017 after completing a documentary about Soldier Ride called Welcome to Soldier Ride Nick and his film partner Matt Hindra saw the power in having wounded Veterans share their story and have since launched USA Warrior Stories. This program has since completed 30 Warrior Profiles and is in the process of teaching veterans to record and share their own stories. Please look at www.usawarriorstories.org to learn more.
Nick spends his summers managing Stephen Talkhouse full-time and organizing miscellaneous ‘Nick Nite’ promotions at local hot spots and various charity events. He divides the rest of the year between The Hamptons, New York City and travelling the world with WWP and recording profiles for USA Warrior Stories.
In his spare time Nick generally worries about not having enough time, but also enjoys the ocean and tennis aerobics with much older people so he can feel better about himself. Nick resides in East Hampton with his wife Aubrey, 3-year-old daughter Veronica, newborn son Kieran and an old cat named Izzy.
Second Vice President: George McCorkell
George is a man who doesn’t talk as much as Nick. He is more of a listener, which balances out our board.
George doesn’t like sharing information about himself on the “nets,” so we had to make up a bio for him:
George McCorkell is a perfect example of a human being. Beautiful to look at, yet charmingly disarming. He has a few disposable dollars to commit to our jam because he used to dance for tips. Not really, but this is what you get when we have to make up a bio for someone. He wanted to lead by example, so he was the first person to donate after Deedre’s initial investment. This part is true. (Thanks for the $1,000, George!) While not avoiding the spotlight, George is working as an Account Director for Impact XM, an experiential marketing agency. He also loves snowboarding and getting into shenanigans that are not photographed.
Treasurer: Chuck Brinton
Charles H. Brinton, Jr. (Chuck) graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in December 2002. While at UF he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and worked for the University Athletic Association. In January 2003, Chuck began working part-time at Brinton & Associates, P.A. while attending the University of South Florida to complete the additional education required to sit for the certified public accountant exam. Chuck became certified in November 2004 and began working full-time in January 2005.
Chuck is the past Chair of the Polk County Chapter of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) and is a member of the Lakeland South Rotary Club where he has served as club Treasurer. In his spare time, Chuck enjoys playing golf, barbecuing, and watching Gator football.
Chuck was born and raised in Lakeland, FL. He first met his wife, Mindy, in middle school, and the two began dating while in college (she was at Florida State). They were married in October of 2005. Their daughter, Avery, was born in May 2008, and their son Carter was born in February 2011.
Your Name and Bio Could Be Here!
We are looking for other members to add to our volunteer board. We need people who can donate their skills and expertise in the following industries: Information Technology and Web Design, Film and Entertainment, Food and Service, Travel and Tourism, and Law. Please fill out the contact form if you are interested in getting involved.