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October 9, 2012 by Speakers' Spotlight

In Conversation with Jim Knight

Jim Knight – Service & Culture Expert

A training and development veteran for more than 35 years, Jim speaks and facilitates on a variety of topics, including organizational culture, world-class service, employee branding, performance management, philanthropy, facilitation training, personal development, leadership skills and his approach to corporate universities

Speakers’ Spotlight: Why did you become a speaker?

Jim: It was really a replacement for my first love: to be a professional singer.  I was Classically trained – went to college on a full music scholarship.  Although I can still do “Ave Maria” or “The Lord’s Prayer” at a wedding or a funeral, I discovered that to make it in the real world, you had to be good.   I was not great, so I changed careers after I got my Music degree, and instead studied History & Children’s Education and became a Middle School teacher (6 years).  During the summer break, started at the new Hard Rock Cafe as a Host, seating tables…and stayed for 21 years.

During my progression, I worked my way up to Sr. Director of Training.  Ran point on all training initiatives, including starting & facilitating their instructor-led corporate university.

Speaking became a strength for me and I started doing it on the side for other companies as an additional revenue stream for my dept, it perpetuated the brand in the public domain and fed the beast for me to speak in front of others.  I had so many request to speak at events in 2012, that I decided to make a ‘go’ of it professionally on my own

Speakers’ Spotlight: What impact would you like to have on your audiences?

I want to add value – for people to never feel like their time with me was a waste, but instead enriched their personal or professional life in some way.  I want people to be pleasantly surprised with the messages I share and the style with which I deliver.  I want them to hunger for more – that they want to take me home to their own companies/depts.  I want to make them forget their was a speaker before me, a break after me or that they had to go pee.

Speakers’ Spotlight: Tell us about a memorable event.

Jim:  I delivered the Orientation to 3,000 new Hard Rockers on a big stage in Biloxi, Mississippi the day before Hurricane Katrina hit and had to evacuate the staff…all of this 2 days before the property opened.

I spoke in a series of presos in the US for a group of select funeral directors, who always stayed at Marriott during their events, would never consider staying at a Hard Rock Hotel…until I was able to influence them to start thinking differently about their business.  They booked at a Hard Rock Hotel for their next event where the guaranteed sales in F&B and rooms before arriving onsite was $300K.  Great validation.

I just recently filled in for the opening keynote session in front of 1,800 HR professionals in Florida, because the speaker cancelled less than 24 hours before he spoke – that was a rush to pull that off.

Speakers’ Spotlight: Tell us something surprising about yourself.

Jim: My first job was at a gator farm – I sold fish, drove a miniature train, took pictures with boa constrictors & worked on an alligator insemination program.

I once worked as a Housekeeper for 4 hours.

I have an ongoing fear of being shocked (static electricity).

I’m a huge Star Trek fan – my home office is decked out in authentic Trek memorabilia.

I’ve got wheels – I can run pretty fast.

I can do great impressions of a cricket, a horse, a mountain lion and a baby alligator.


Speakers' Spotlight represents a wide variety of motivational speakers who present energetic talks that will inspire you and your staff to take action, be it in your personal lives, your workplace, or both. Read More

Conference Speakers

The Impact of a Speech Can Last Forever

Speakers' Spotlight represents a talented roster of some of the world's most extraordinary conference speakers. Our conference speakers' experience is as broad as it is deep, and they are all leaders in their fields, which include business, politics, sports, the media, academia, science, technology, culture and entertainment. Our conference speakers are thought-provoking and action-oriented and leave their audiences, whether speaking to a group of 10, 100, 1000 or more, enlightened and inspired.

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Speakers' Spotlight is committed to serving the diverse needs of the corporations, organizations, companies, non-profit and government groups that contact us when seeking conference speakers, and we work hard to find the conference speakers that will best meet and exceed your needs. Whatever you require are when it comes to conference speakers, Speakers' Spotlight will work had to ensure that you get the conference speakers that are right for you.

Keynote Speakers

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Speakers' Spotlight represents a vast roster of some of the world's most extraordinary keynote speakers in fields such as business, politics, sports, the media, academia, science, technology, culture and entertainment. Our keynote speakers run the gauntlet from spoken word poet Sarah Kay, to business guru Simon Sinek; from young athlete Olympic athlete Adam van Koeverden to the wrongly incarcerated former boxer Ruben Carter; from Margaret Trudeau to her son Justin Trudeau. Whatever your needs are for your keynote speakers, Speakers' Spotlight the keynote speakers that will fill them.

Our keynote speakers can adjust their talks to suit your needs, whether you're looking for an address by keynote speakers of 15, 30, or 45 minutes or more, our keynote speakers will confer with you before your engagement to ensure that their talks meet your needs. Our keynote speakers frequently adjust their speeches to include important talking points your organization or company needs emphasized, and will also often adjust content so it is individually tailored to your audience. For instance, if your audience is primarily those in the auto industry, our keynote speakers will draw on anecdotes from that industry in order to ensure their speech is relatable. Our keynote speakers are usually available in the days and weeks prior to your event to discuss your needs and go over any details (such as audio visual requirements) that arise.

Speakers' Spotlight is committed to meeting the different needs of the corporations, organizations, companies, non-profit and government groups that contact us when seeking keynote speakers, and we work hard to find the keynote speakers that will provide the best match for your event. Whatever you require are when it comes to keynote speakers, Speakers' Spotlight will work had to ensure that you get the keynote speakers that are right for you.

Motivational Speakers

Motivating the world

Speakers' Spotlight represents a wide variety of motivational speakers who present energetic talks that will inspire leaders and employees to take action, be it in their personal lives, their workplace, or both. Speakers' Spotlight's motivational speakers address everything from encouraging audiences to adapt healthy lifestyles to unifying groups to achieve professional goals. Our motivational speakers work with an astonishing range of companies in sectors such as science, technology, finance, advertising, and manufacturing, as well as professional organizations, cultural institutions, and non-profit entities and government, throughout North American and around the world.

Motivational speakers that work with Speakers' Spotlight frequently go the extra mile to be in touch with meeting planners - or even CEOs and presidents of companies and organizations themselves - in advance of their talks in order to tailor the message and hit on key points specific to the client's needs. Our motivational speakers arrive on time, work with the client in advance to ensure the proper set up of their audio/visual needs so that everything will go smoothly when they hit the stage, and often include Q&A sessions in their talks so that your staff can ask any questions of our motivational speakers that they may wish.

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Whatever your needs are when it comes to motivational speakers, Speakers' Spotlight has the motivational speakers that will both meet -- and exceed -- your expectations.

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