J.B. Bernstein

Chef Jeff Henderson

LaDonna Gatlin

Conferences and MeetingsNBEA 2016 Annual Convention

Keynote Speakers

Wednesday, March 22
Opening General Session: J.B. Bernstein

Sometimes to Win, You Have to Change the Game
J.B. Bernstein is one of the most respected marketing experts in the world of sports. A few years ago, inspired by the increasing popularity of reality television in the United States and the global phenomena that NBA player, Yao Ming generated, J.B. saw an untapped opportunity to change the game. He then traveled to India, motivated to find the first Indian born player in professional baseball history and created The Million Dollar Arm contest that would reward one lucky contestant with $1 million and a chance to play for a professional baseball team in the U.S.

Prior to his career in sports, J.B. worked as a Brand Manager for Proctor & Gamble, where he helped increase consumer demand and market share for a number of their key product lines. It was in his next role, as the Director of Development for The Upper Deck Company, that he was able to marry his marketing expertise with his passion for sports. Bernstein’s successful marketing initiatives, including creating record chasing campaigns for Wayne Gretzky and Dan Marino, securely established him as an expert in the field. As the President & CEO of Access Group of Miami, LLC and the Managing Director & Cofounder of Seven Figures Management, Bernstein has represented some of the greatest athletes of all time, including Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, and Barry Bonds.

A firm believer in education, loyalty, integrity, and the power of relationships, J.B. will captivate you with valuable insights on overcoming adversity, both inside and outside the classroom, as well as ways to create a proactive and ethical learning environment for your students and yourself.

Thursday, March 24
Second General Session: Chef Jeff Henderson

If You Can See It, You Can Be It
Chef Jeff Henderson discovered his passion and gift for cooking in a most unlikely place—prison. Now an award-winning chef, bestselling author and Food Network television star, he is one of today’s most influential role models. Drawing from his personal journey of redemption, Jeff provides audiences with inspiration, real life strategies, and unique life lessons to help others reboot their own dreams, expand their perspective, and gain a new foothold on the ladder to success.

Jeff started his culinary career in 1996 working for his mentor Chef Robert Gadsby as a dishwasher. With his foot in the door, Jeff was determined to make the most of it by working harder than anyone else in the kitchen. Under Gadsby's tutelage, Jeff soon moved from dishwashing, to the prep station, and then to desserts. Jeff was focused on the job. He was always the first person into work and the last to leave. When he got paid, he bought the latest tools and books and studied so he could further his career.

When Jeff went out on his own, he worked as sous chef at the Coronado Island Marriott and banquet chef at Los Angeles’ Hotel Bel-Air. Hearing about the booming restaurant scene in Las Vegas, he left Los Angeles and headed for Las Vegas to seek an opportunity to work at one of the top hotels on the strip. He was eventually hired at Caesars Palace, as the Chef de Cuisine to run restaurants at the hotel. In 2001, the American Tasting Institute named Jeff “Las Vegas Chef of the Year”. He took advantage of his exposure and started a catering company in Los Angeles called Posh Urban Cuisine. A year later he returned to Las Vegas where he worked as the first African-American executive chef at the world-renowned Bellagio.

Chef Jeff is the creator of the Food Network's reality series, The Chef Jeff Project, which followed Jeff as he brought a group of disadvantaged young adults to work for his private dining company to teach them cooking and life skills. He is also the host of Family Style with Chef Jeff, and the star of the popular current series, Flip My Food with Chef Jeff, in which he meets with guests from across the country and teaches them how to "flip" their favorite dishes and guilty food pleasures into healthier culinary masterpieces.

The bestselling author of two books, his most recent, If You Can See It, You Can Be It, outlines his 12 street-smart recipes for success, helping readers discover their hidden business aptitudes and how to make life-changing decisions and strive for new levels of personal and professional success.


Saturday, March 26
Closing General Session: LaDonna Gatlin

Tune Up Your Life
LaDonna Gatlin grew up on stage performing with her brothers, the legendary Gatlin Brothers. In the mid 1970’s, this “gutsy” Texas native chose to follow her heart and “sing a different song” apart from her famous family. That “song” has taken her from corporate powerhouses…to the prison cells of death row…and just about everywhere in between. LaDonna’s presentations resonate with audiences all over the country.

As a performer, LaDonna has excelled in the world of gospel and country music. She performed with Johnny Cash, June Carter, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, and countless others. She has written and recorded her own songs and also performed on both Grammy and Dove Award-winning records. LaDonna is the author of The Song in You: Finding Your Voice, Redefining Your Life. She is also a contributing writer to the best-selling book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Weaving her own personal story, music, and humor throughout, LaDonna provides an unforgettable experience that inspires audiences to achieve their absolute best by tuning up their lives, so that their success becomes music to their ears.