International conference and event speaker on rural & small town business topics

Becky McCray giving her fifth keynote for SMTulsa Conference

Hosting a conference or event? Make the most of it with interactive keynote and workshop sessions

Using my real-world perspective as a small business owner, I deliver concrete take-aways that you can use today to shape the future of your town without getting beaten down by others’ negativity. Audiences feel energized and hopeful because they know how they can make a difference in their community despite opposition.

You get down-to-earth advice, based on my current experience as a retail store owner, a cattle rancher and a life-long rural entrepreneur, including the “get your hands dirty” aspects that others gloss over. I don’t just talk about entrepreneurship and rural issues; I live them.

My programs on small business, rural trends, economic development and marketing have given practical ideas to audiences at over 150 events including entrepreneur conferences, business groups, small town conferences, tourism associations, economic development organizations and chambers of commerce in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.



Speaking events and rural conferences



You can choose programs on rural trends, small business, economic development, and marketing. All are interactive and packed with straightforward advice that can be put into practice now. Here are four of my most popular topics, and any of these can be a keynote, a breakout session, or a workshop.



Becky McCray speaking at Tennessee Rural Development Conference. Small Towns Have a Future: 10 Trends in Our Favor

All your life, you’ve been told that small towns are dying, drying up, and disappearing, and that there’s nothing you can do to change it. What you don’t ever hear is the good news. Big trends are moving in our favor: brain gain, changing retail dynamics, new travel motivations and more. Learn why we have a future and how to shape the future of your town.

Rural audiences love this topic because it is a breath of fresh air: the good news about small towns!

“We Tried That Once” and Other Myths: Making your town idea-friendly

Too often, small towns shoot down ideas with “We tried that once” or “That’s not how we do things here.” But massive changes in the economy, technology and society mean small towns must change or die. Since we can never go back to the way things were, how do we start from here and go forward? Learn the practical steps you can take to change attitudes, improve the environment and create more connections, whether any of the old guard are ready to change with you or not.

This topic shakes up old ideas about small towns. Audiences leave feeling measurably more optimistic (16.77% more optimistic in one survey) because they see exactly how they can shape a better future for their town in the face of opposition.

Becky McCray keynoting for the 5th year at SMTulsa. Photo by Tulsa Imagery, used by permission. Small Town Rules: A Refresher Course in Common Sense

Shifts in the global economy, new technology and changes in society have made the business world much more like a small town, refocused on local businesses and communities. We’re hungry for a return to business and life on a human scale. 21st Century leadership means relearning the practical principles that small town businesses have been using for years to succeed even in the worst hard times.

If you want a topic that appeals to a broad range of people, this is a terrific choice.

What Works in Rural Marketing Today: Be heard without shouting

Your messages are being lost in the ocean of information. How can you get your important communication through? How can you market, advertise or advocate when no one is listening? The answer is in this practical system for stepping up the engagement and layering the details that you can put into practice in your very next email, update or printed material. You’ll create valuable messages that get through and get remembered.

This is an excellent topic for tourism-related businesses. 



Add an interactive roundtable or Q&A session

When you book me for a keynote, adding an interactive Q&A session makes a great second way to put me to work for you. In your standard workshop time slot, a Q&A session means your attendees get answers to their most pressing questions. When your participants are the real stars, a moderated interactive session can help them share their best practices with the whole group.

Most speakers hate this kind of interactivity, because inevitably someone wants to hog the mic or dominate the discussion. I excel at keeping things on track, moving the discussion forward, offering additional ideas and examples from my treasure trove of small town stories while still keeping the spotlight on the most important people: your attendees.

This same ability to moderate the flow makes me an in-demand emcee and host for events, setting the participants up for success.

A sample of my speaking style

Highlights from All Business is Local keynote: (8 minutes)



Next steps…

The price is in the range of $5,200 to $5,900 plus basic travel expenses. A few times a year, I will agree to a lower rate for a small town that tells me their story.

To open the conversation, stop by the Contact page and tell me about what would work best for you. Because keeping in touch with my own businesses is so important to me, I limit my speaking trips to one per month. You’ll find the currently available months on the Contact page.

Next… more samples on the Video page.

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