A Training & Development veteran for 30+ years, Jim Knight facilitates on a variety of interactive topics, including sessions around organizational culture, world-class service, building rock star teams, employee branding & engagement, performance management, philanthropy and facilitation training.
Jim cut his teeth in the training field through the Hospitality industry, starting out as a restaurant staff-level employee for Olive Garden and Hard Rock Cafe. He eventually became the head of the School of Hard Rocks, running point on all training & development functions for Hard Rock International.
Although part of a small training group that supported all cafe, hotel and casino properties, Jim Knight’s role at Hard Rock involved many facets of organizational training, including creating/managing all staff and management training materials & programs, facilitating its corporate university, overseeing management training locations, producing training DVD’s, directing company e-Learning initiatives, facilitating leadership transitions and traveling to property locations 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 21 years with the Hard Rock brand, his team won coveted Telly Awards in 2000 for their guest service video, took top honors in 2007 for their menu rollout video, 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 recognized by Training Magazine as representing one of the Top 125 training companies in the world out of all industries & businesses and he has been featured in Forbes Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine and Fox Small 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 long-time member of CHART (The Council of Hotel & Restaurant Trainers) and People Report, previously sat on the Certification Governing Board of the National Restaurant Association and started a regional training forum & networking group with over 100 active members in Central Florida, to share best practices and discuss common issues with other industry professionals. Networking is a big part of his success.
Currently, Jim is the Owner/Founder of Knight Speaker, which positions him to facilitate at any association or company event as a keynote or breakout speaker. Additionally, Jim is the Owner/Founder of Rock-N-Grow, an online monthly business report created and distributed with his business partner and industry icon, Kathleen Wood. Jim is also a Managing Founder in CareersForward, a recruiting & placement business to effectively and inexpensively connect Hospitality managers and brands. Finally, Jim is the Author of Culture That Rocks: How to Revolutionize Your Company’s Culture, a how-to business book designed to amp up a brand in any industry.
A portion of Jim Knight’s book sales proceeds goes to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to eliminate childhood hunger in the U.S, while a portion of his speaking fees and monthly business report goes to the LEAP Foundation, which supports victims of severe trauma through wilderness and whitewater therapy.