The Chair Academy

Worldwide Leadership Development For College and University Leaders

Conference Keynote Speakers

The Chair Academy's International Conference is proud to present the 2017 conference keynote speakers. This group of cutting-edge presenters represents the best in transformational leadership, and will inspire and teach leadership best-practices, during their presentations.




Ken Steele will be speaking at 8:00am, on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

About Ken Steele:

More than 25,000 higher education professionals across Canada and the US have come to rely on Ken Steele as a definitive source of breaking news, bright ideas and insight into student trends, technological innovation, strategic planning, branding and recruitment marketing.  He has consulted with hundreds of colleges and universities, helping them interpret market research, understand their competitive context, and develop distinctive institutional strategies and brand positions using his proprietary Brand Chemistry™ model. Ken brings his comprehensive perspective to a broad range of audiences hundreds of times a year, from boards and senior administration, to faculty and support staff, concerned parents, government policy analysts and Canada’s most powerful corporate CEOs.  His presentations provide dynamic “big picture” context for any conference or workshop, and are always timely, customized, dynamic and packed with data and best practices from an astounding range of sources. Clients rave about the impact of these presentations, and the conversations that result.

Ken’s unique perspective has been shaped by award-winning careers spanning 3 decades, first as a humanities computing researcher and Shakespeare instructor, then an IT consultant, ad agency creative director, and ultimately a higher education market research analyst and brand consultant. In 2003, he conceived and co-founded Academica Group, a market research firm doing some of the largest postsecondary consumer surveys in the world, and created the Top Ten, which has become Canada’s leading higher ed news daily.  Ken left Academica in 2012 to focus on his public speaking and facilitation work under the new name Eduvation. He writes a weekly newsletter The Eduvation Loop, curates an online idea bank of “bright ideas” for higher education, and produces an “almost-weekly” video podcast Ten with Ken, which explores emerging trends, bright ideas, and higher ed marketing. (You can subscribe on iTunesYouTube, orby email.)  Ken has published dozens of articles and white papers on postsecondary students and branding, and co-authored Canada’s first book on strategic enrolment management.

In recent years, Ken has delivered keynotes at more than 70 conferences, nationally and internationally, facilitated more than 50 board meetings and leadership retreats, and presented workshops and lectures at almost 100 college, university, or independent school campuses. He speaks on a wide range of topics encompassing social and demographic trends, student attitudes and perceptions, recruitment marketing and institutional branding, student retention and enrolment management, and innovations in teaching and learning. See some client testimonials.


Jane Jenkins-Herlong will be speaking at 3:30pm, on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

About Jane Jenkins-Herlong:

Jane inspires people's lives with truth and humor. There are a lot of performers who make people laugh, and there are a lot of speakers who give audiences solid principles for living. Jane does both.

Combining humor, truth and her award-winning singing, Jane adds pizzazz to her presentations with life skills helping audiences work smart, laugh often and live their dreams. She is also a Sirius XM Humorist, Amazon Best-Selling/award-winning author and professional singer.

A recent inductee into the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame, Jane is one of the 232 men and women to be awarded this honor including former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Colin L. Powell. Jane also has achieved the distinction of Certified Speaker Professional by the National Speakers Association.

In addition, she is a professional singer, songwriter and recording artist. Jane’s latest book, “Bury Me with My Pearls” was awarded the Gold Medal in the Illumination Book Awards.  Her award-winning singing and humor is featured on Sirius XM Radio and Pandora Internet Radio along with Jeff Foxworthy, Ray Romano and Jerry Seinfeld.  She criss‐crosses the country sharing her “down‐home principles delivered with uptown humor.”  Jane has also spoken in New Zealand and Germany and is fluent in four languages: English, Southern, Northern and Lowcountry Gullah (gul‐la).

Jane’s keen sense of humor evolved from being labeled Dyslexic and constantly told, “You can’t do that!”  Jane changed the word NO to NEXT and the rest is what dreams are made of. Audiences learn the healing power of humor when handling negative people and circumstances for more productive, positive living. Jane’s life stories and humor leave audiences with the message “prove people wrong and laugh while living your dreams.”

With a sense of humor and smart work, Jane traveled from the rows of her family farm to the runway of the Miss America Pageant all the way to performing at Radio City Music Hall. She graduated from college with the highest honors voted by her peers and continued on to graduate school. Her successes continued to pile up from there. Today, Jane travels around the world featured at speaking events in New Zealand and Germany as well as several venues around the United States. Jane has also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with several noteworthy people such as General Colin Powell, Rudolph Giuliana and the late Charlton Heston.

Simon & Shuster Publishing House says of Jane:
 Jane Jenkins Herlong’s blend of Southern humor and folksy wisdom is just priceless.  She deserves to be right up there with Anita Renfroe and Chonda Pierce- in some ways, she’s even better. The more suburban and bland our culture gets, the more precious genuine Southern culture like this becomes.




Meg Wheatley will be speaking at 8:00am, on Thursday, March 30, 2017

About Meg Wheatley:

Margaret Wheatley writes, teaches and speaks about how we can organize and accomplish our work in chaotic times, sustain our relationships, and willingly step forward to serve. Since 1973, Meg has taught, consulted, and advised an unusually broad variety of organizations: Her clients and audiences range from the head of the U.S. Army to twelve--‐year--‐old Girl Scouts, from CEOs and government ministers to small town ministers, from
Large universities to rural aboriginal villages. All of these organizations and people wrestle with a very difficult dilemma—how to maintain their integrity, motivation and effectiveness as they cope with the relentless upheavals and rapid shifts of this troubling

Because Meg has worked for more than 40 years with leaders on all continents and with most types of organizations and communities, she feels compelled to challenge leaders at this historic juncture with these questions:  Who do we choose to be for this time? Do we contribute to the deterioration of human capacity by our silence and compliance, or do we act bravely and use our power and influence to champion the human spirit? Can we use the resources we have available to create islands of sanity wherever possible?

Since 1992, she has published eight award--‐winning books, all published by Berrett--‐  Koehler Publishers. She began with the path--‐breaking Leadership and the New Science (1992, '99, '06 in 18 languages). In 2012, she published So  Far From Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World, describing how we ended up in a world no one wants, a harsh, destructive world that's emerged in spite of our best efforts to change it. Facing our current reality without the blinders of denial, she invites us to take on the role of warriors for the human spirit and create islands of  sanity wherever we can. In 2014, she published How Does Raven Know? A personal meditative memoir describing her experiences of working with sacred world.

Her five other books are:
Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey Into Communities Daring to Live the Future
Perseverance (2010)
Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future
Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time.(2005)
A Simpler Way (co-­author Myron Kellner-­Rogers (1996)

Meg earned her doctorate in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University, and a masters in Media Ecology from New York University. She studied at University College London, U.K. and received a B.A. in History and Literature from the University of Rochester, N.Y. She has been a global citizen since her youth, serving in the Peace Corps in Korea in the 1960s. She began her career as a public school teacher, and also has been a professor in two graduate management programs (Brigham Young University and Cambridge College Massachusetts).

She is co--‐founder and President emerita of The Berkana Institute, founded in 1991. Berkana has been a leader in experimenting with new organizational forms based on a coherent theory of how living systems adapt and change. Berkana has worked in partnership with a rich diversity of people around the world who strengthen their communities by working with the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions and environment. These pioneers do not deny or flee from our global crisis; they respond by moving courageously into the future now, experimenting with many different solutions. Berkana's most recent work is "Gathering Friends"--‐--‐supporting the creation of friendship groups so that we create the conditions to sustain ourselves as warriors for the human spirit.

Meg has received several awards and honorary doctorates. Her most recent award in 2014 is the Leadership Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement of the International Leadership  Association, where she was inducted into the Leadership Hall of Fame. (www.ila--‐ In 2002, The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) honored her for her contribution “to workplace learning and development” and dubbed her “a living legend.” In April 2005, she was elected to the Leonardo Da Vinci Society for the Study of Thinking for her contribution to the field of systems thinking. In 2010, she was appointed by the White House and the Secretary of the Interior to serve on the National Advisory Board of the National Parks System; her primary responsibility is to support the growth of a 21st century culture of adaptation and innovation throughout 401 national parks.

She returns from her frequent global travels to her home in the mountains of Utah and the true peace of wilderness. She has raised a large family now dispersed throughout the U.S. and is a very happy mother and grandmother.


Pat Williams will be speaking at 3:30pm, on Thursday, March 30, 2017

About Pat Williams:

Pat Williams is a basketball Hall-of-Famer, currently serving as co-founder and senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. As one of America’s top motivational speakers, he has addressed thousands of executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies and national associations to universities and nonprofits.  Clients include AllState, American Express, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Disney, Honeywell, IBM, ING, Lockheed Martin, Nike, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Tyson Foods to name a few.  Pat is also the author of 100 books, his most recent title highlighting the secrets to peak performance in EXTREME WINNING.

Since 1968, Pat has been in the NBA as general manager for teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia—including the 1983 World Champion 76ers—and now the Orlando Magic, which he co-founded in 1987 and helped lead to the NBA finals in 1995 and 2009. In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history by Beckett’s, a national publication. In 2012, Pat received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Pat has been an integral part of NBA history, including bringing the NBA to Orlando.  He has traded Pete Maravich as well as traded for Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Penny Hardaway. He has won four NBA draft lotteries, including back-to-back winners in 1992 and 1993. He also drafted Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Darryl Dawkins.  He signed Billy Cunningham, Chuck Daly, and Matt Guokas to their first professional coaching contracts. Nineteen of his former players have become NBA head coaches, nine have become college head coaches while seven have become assistant NBA coaches.

Additionally, Pat served for seven years in the United States Army, spent seven years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization—two as a minor league catcher and five in the front office—and has also spent three years in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Pat and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations, ranging in age from 28 to 42. For one year, 16 of his children were all teenagers at the same time. Currently, Pat has 14 grandchildren and counting. Pat and his family have been featured in Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Focus on the Family as well as all of the major network and cable television news channels.

Pat was diagnosed in February of 2011 with Multiple Myeloma.  After several rounds of chemo treatments, Pat received a bone marrow transplant where the doctors injected him with almost 5 million of his own stem cells.  Pat’s recovery from the stem cell transplant has been remarkable and the doctors are extremely pleased.  While Multiple Myeloma is incurable the goal is to get the cancer into remission (Pat’s personal slogan has been “The Mission is Remission”); Pat’s doctors have told him that they are unable to detect any myeloma in his body and have given him a clean bill of health.  Pat has accepted positions on several boards for different cancer groups, including an appointment on the Board of Directors for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Pat spends many hours each week responding to emails and phone calls of others affected by cancer, offering hope and words of encouragement.

Pat teaches an adult Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Orlando and hosts three weekly radio shows. In the last 15 years, he has completed 58 marathons—most recently, the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon—and also climbed Mt. Rainier. He is a weightlifter, Civil War buff and serious baseball fan. Every winter he plays in Major League Fantasy Camps and has caught Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Fergie Jenkins, Rollie Fingers, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro, Tom Seaver and Goose Gossage.

Pat was raised in Wilmington, Delaware, earned his bachelor’s degree at Wake Forest University, and his master’s degree at Indiana University. He is a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame after catching for the Deacon baseball team, including the 1962 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship team. He is also a member of six other hall of fames around the country.