Jim Knight

A Training & Development veteran for 30+ years, Jim Knight facilitates on a variety of interactive topics, including sessions around amping up organizational culture, world-class differentiated service, building rock star teams and leadership.

Jim cut his teeth in the training field through the Hospitality industry, starting out in the snack bar at Gatorland Zoo, as a restaurant staff-level employee for Olive Garden and then as a host & manager at Hard Rock Cafe. He eventually became the head of the School of Hard Rocks, running point on all global learning & development functions for Hard Rock International.

Although part of a small training group that supported all cafe, hotel & casino properties, Jim Knight’s role at Hard Rock involved many facets of organizational training, including: creating/managing all staff & management training materials & programs, facilitating its corporate university, overseeing management training locations, producing training videos, directing company e-Learning initiatives, facilitating leadership transitions and traveling to properties to deliver on-site classes & measure standards.

Jim has put his experience and creativity to work, which has consistently developed cutting-edge training concepts. During his time with the Hard Rock brand, his team won coveted video Telly Awards (“Guest Service” in 2000, “Menu Rollout” in 2007, “Harassment & Discrimination Prevention” in 2008), garnered Training Directors Forum’s 1998 prize for “Reengineering Training” and won Brandon Hall’s Gold Best in Class Award for their “Service Recovery” e-Learning course. Jim Knight was also recognized by Training Magazine as representing one of the Top 125 training companies in the world out of all industries & businesses. Jim has since been featured in Forbes Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Nation’s Restaurant News, Business News Daily and Fox Business News.

Jim has a music degree in Vocal Performance & Education and taught in the Florida public school system for 6 years, before catching the “hospitality bug”. He is a lifetime member of CHART (an Association of Hospitality Trainers), previously sat on the Certification Governing Board of the National Restaurant Association and started a local networking group (The Training Summit: CHART’s 1st Regional Training Forum) with over 100 active members in Central Florida, to share best practices and discuss common issues with other industry professionals.

Jim is the Owner & CEO of Knight Speaker, which positions him to facilitate at any association or company event, in any industry, as a keynote or breakout speaker. He is also the best-selling author of Culture That Rocks: How to Revolutionize Your Company’s Culture, now in its 2nd edition, which was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “5 Books That Will Help You Transform How You Do Business”.

Along with his business partner, Brant Menswar, Jim hosts a weekly leadership podcast called, Thoughts That Rock, which includes a rock star guest and presents 2 life-changing pieces of advice in 30 minutes. Finally, Jim and Brant offer a leadership training program called, Certified Rock Star, as an edu-taining, Rock ‘n Roll-inspired experience for leaders looking to amp up their business in a variety of areas.

A portion of Jim Knight’s book sales, podcast revenue, speaking fees and training program proceeds goes to No Kid Hungry to eliminate childhood hunger in the U.S. and Cannonball Kids’ cancer, which funds innovative, accessible research for children fighting cancer with better treatments, quality of life and options for those told they have run out of options.