SPEAKING FEE RANGE ** Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.
$10,000 to $15,000
BOOK AARON BEAM
SPEAKING FEE RANGE*
$10,000 to $15,000
Book Aaron Beam
- Aaron Beam’s experience with Healthsouth and the research he’s done about ethics in American business helps him deliver a compelling story about the value of ethical behavior and the process of achieving it.
- Everyone loves an intriguing story, especially when the story involves unlikeable people, bad choices, and the downfall of the rich. Beam’s real-life story about his experience with bank fraud while at Healthsouth is a story to which everyone can relate.
- Beam offers his audience methods for identifying when they’re crossing ethical lines and tools on how to stand up to people who encourage them to cross those lines.
Aaron Beam was the co-founder of and first CFO at Healthsouth Corporation, the nation's largest provider of outpatient surgery and rehabilitative services. The company was growing, and life was good for him personally, with multiple houses, lots of expensive toys, and a good salary. But then earnings came up short of projections, and suddenly, Beam found himself in the middle of a corporate scandal, and then in prison.
According to Beam, one quarter in 1996, HealthSouth was just 5-10% short of its projected earnings. The CEO convinced his team to cover up the deficit so the company would look like it had made its numbers, and assured them they’d make it up in the next quarter. Unfortunately, the next quarter was down, and the next quarter after that. Beam admits that for four quarters—a year—he “fudged” the numbers so it didn’t appear they weren’t meeting goals. When he couldn’t live with the guilt anymore, he resigned from the company in 1997.
The fraud continued until 2003, when it was made public by one of Beam's successors. By the time Beam and other staffers were arrested, the fraud had become a 2 billion scandal. Beam pled guilty to bank fraud, and eventually served three months in federal prison for his part in the fraud. He lost his CPA credentials, as well as most of his material possessions.
Even though it was rough for awhile, Beam said that everything that happened helped him realize what was really, truly important—his family and his health. Today, HealthSouth remains a viable company and the largest in its field.
Beam is the author of two books: Ethics Playbook, a practical guide to why people and companies behave unethically, and how to build a strong ethical culture in your work place, and HealthSouth, The Wagon to Disaster, which tells the history of the HealthSouth accounting fraud and why it happened. He also is the creator of “Ethics playing cards,” reminders that help people stay ethically on track.
"Aaron Beam's real life, rubber meets the road experience with healthcare fraud and abuse and financial irregularities is important for you to hear. The pressure of falsifying documents, in a publicly traded company is an intriguing story of how one man can bring a very successful organization and its people to the brink of financial ruin. Aaron Beam's matter of fact approach doesn't embellish, sugar coat, or hide his own participation in the fraud. He tells of his time in prison and the debt he has paid in a manner that causes all in attendance to take notice. Aaron has spoke for two of our events and his evaluations were stellar."
— Warren Hebert, RN, CAE
CEO HomeCare Association of Louisiana
RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow '06-'09
"...His presentation is professional and compelling. He is very effective at "painting the picture" for students... The reactions of students are always the same. They sit spellbound while Aaron speaks. They are captivated by his story and by his message. They are stimulated to ask many questions and to reflect on what they should be learning for their own lives and business practice."
— Barbara G. Danos, J.D.
Ourso College of Business Louisiana State University
"Our students benefited from hearing Aaron Beam speak on campus. Seeing and speaking with him as a real human being, not just as a figure on the many documentaries on HealthSouth, made our students realize that they may face the same ethical dilemmas that he faced during his tenure with HealthSouth. His message was clear and genuine --- think before you act. By hearing Mr. Beam's message, students are able to see that they need to be prepared for the consequences of ethical lapses."
— Dr. Sarah Dunn Stanwick
Taylor Associate Professor of Accountancy Auburn University
Aaron Beam travels the country warning audiences about the heights of success, and the ethical temptations of being there. He talks honestly about the unethical and illegal mistakes that led to his professional downfall. Serving three months in federal prison for his role in approving fraudulent quarterly numbers led Beam to his current speaking career, which focuses on educating audiences about the pitfalls of unethical business practices.
Beam hopes that by sharing his perspective as a key player in one of the biggest corporate frauds in recent history, he can help future business leaders avoid making the same mistakes that he and others made. According to Beam, the pressure to make earnings for the company and make money for yourself can lead you down a path that you could forever regret.
Through his Ethics First message, Beam identifies early warning signs, influences and the bad choices he and others made at Healthsouth. In his presentation, helps the audience apply what they learn to their business practices and the organization's culture and environment.
Mr. Beam uses his unique experience and candid manner to deliver “Ethics First,” a compelling story and message to any organization, group, or classroom that values ethical behavior, and the process of achieving it.
Mr. Beam’s story is “the untold story of HealthSouth”, one of America’s most successful health care companies and subsequently the perpetrator of a $2.8 B accounting fraud, one of the largest in American history.
Mr. Beam speaks to University students, business and management groups and conventions; including Healthcare Companies, Financial Managers, Internal Auditors and Securities Training seminars. His client’s and corresponding testimonials (link to C&T Page) from University ethics professors, the Institute of Internal Auditors (iiA) and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), along with video samples of his interviews and speeches are evidence of Mr. Beam’s effectiveness in communicating warnings about bad business behavior and pitfalls that led to a monumental corporate fraud.
As a founder and the first CFO, Mr. Beam takes an audience from HealthSouth’s humble beginnings, through its meteoric rise to its disastrous revelation; the subsequent trial of Richard Scrushy and Mr. Beam’s three-month incarceration in a Federal prison.
Moreover, Mr. Beam reveals the nature and specifics of the fraud and the twisted personality of the driving force behind HealthSouth – Richard Scrushy. Scrushy was a hard-charging, unscrupulous visionary whose caustic, selfish motives and manipulation of Wall Street led to his fall from grace and the expulsion from the company he created.
Healthsouth: The Wagon to Disaster
The Wagon to Disaster, told by former co-founder and CFO Aaron Beam, is the untold story of HealthSouth, one of America's most successful health care companies and consequently, the perpetrator of one of its biggest frauds in history. How big was the fraud? In 2003, just before news of the crime broke in the mainstream media, HealthSouth paid more money in taxes to the Federal Government than it legitimately earned the previous year. Beam takes the reader from HealthSouth's humble beginnings, through its meteoric rise and to its disastrous revelation, subsequent trial and his three-month incarceration in a federal prison. Moreover, he reveals the nature of the fraud and the true personality of the driving force behind HealthSouth Richard Marin Scrushy, one of the most enigmatic, nefarious characters the State of Alabama has ever produced a hard-charging, unscrupulous visionary whose caustic, Machiavellian approach ensured HealthSouth's success, and oddly, his predictable fall as the company's benevolent dictator.