Willy Theisen

Jeanne Robertson

Conferences and MeetingsNBEA 2019 Annual Convention

Keynote Speakers

Wednesday, March 28
Opening General Session: Willy Theisen

"The Secret Sauce"

Revolutionizing the restaurant business since 1973, Willy Theisen is an entrepreneur whose impressive resume includes Godfather’s Pizza and Pitch Pizzeria, among others.

Godfather’s was Willy’s first success, becoming the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country from 1977-1979. GB Foods Corporation blossomed under Willy’s visionary dual-concept strategy in the 1990s while the 2000s saw Willy’s Barbecue Ventures, LLC, expand the Famous Dave’s franchise across the Midwest. Willy created Pitch Pizzeria, a successful Omaha-based venture since 2009, and his latest venture called Paragon, opened in August of 2016.

All of Willy’s successes are a result of identifying a high growth category and developing it using revolutionary techniques, while always staying true to his values. This approach has even inspired some of Willy’s own employees to become entrepreneurs, which Willy believes is his greatest success.

Willy’s message will be inspiring and energizing as he shares his journey, his values and ethics, and his belief that doing the right thing and being able to curate trust is the foundation for any relationship or business opportunity in your life.

Saturday, March 31
Closing General Session: Jeanne Robertson

“Humor: A Strategy for Success”

Jeanne Robertson is a funny speaker, and she utilizes her positively funny style to illustrate how a sense of humor can be an integral part of a strategy for success for every educator. Her message is that a sense of humor is an attitude; an approach toward working with people. She believes that this attitude can be developed and improved, and she suggests ways to do so.

Jeanne was recently asked how she would describe her job. Her response was “I would say that I make people laugh. I may not be saving the world, but someone comes to hear you that’s lost a loved one or going through a difficult time, and they say, ‘I haven’t laughed since then, and this felt good!’ Everyone’s split up—religion and politics—I don’t get into any of that. When I look at the audience and see people of various religions, ages, races, backgrounds, and they’re all laughing at the same thing, there’s a bond. When you make eye contact with someone who is different from you, and you’re laughing at the same thing, you know you’ve found the common ground.”

Using original hilarious stories from everyday life, she will show us how to laugh at ourselves and accept the things that cannot be changed about us and the people around us. Six-foot-two Jeanne is a former teacher and is the recipient of every top honor in the speaking profession. You'll learn why audiences across the nation say, "The meeting ain't over 'til the tall lady speaks."