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Jeanne Robertson

Roberts Academy Mother's Day Luncheon with Humorist and Author Jeanne Robertson

May 15, 2019

Sharing a wide range of Southern-style observations while displaying a charmingly revved-up comic persona, professional speaker Jeanne Robertson entertained a large, receptive crowd at the sixth annual Roberts Academy Mother’s Day Luncheon in May. 

At the start of her talk, Robertson paused to acknowledge the important work of The Roberts Academy, Florida’s only transitional school for children with dyslexia. “Not everywhere has a community that will make sure you have what you need,” she said.

Since 2010, the Academy has been helping elementary-level and middle-school students who experience reading, writing, and spelling challenges to master the skills necessary to succeed in a traditional school setting.

A professional speaker with a long history of accolades and awards (and an unmistakably tall stage presence), Robertson delivered on her central message that a humorous attitude can be a winning strategy for success.

Dr. Tracey Tedder, dean of the School of Education and head of The Roberts Academy at Florida Southern College, introduced Robertson at the benefit event, with the help of Academy students who presented the speaker with flowers. Originally from North Carolina, and a 1967 graduate of Auburn University, Robertson taught physical education and coached basketball for nine years before becoming a full-time speaker. During her talk in the George W. Jenkins Field House, her humorous approach was quickly apparent as she claimed to be fluent in two languages, “both English and Southern.”

Robertson shared her thoughts on a wide range of topics, from online shopping and tiny houses to the quirkiness of families, including several anecdotes about her husband, “Left Brain.” She noted a big difference between her own right-brained nature and the analytical tendencies of left-brained people, who “want their lives in order, and they want your lives in order,” she said. “Right-brained people hear the word ‘order,” and we think ‘food.’ We just don’t think the same way.”

On the topic of family dynamics, “The very best place to find a sense of humor is in the mirror,” Robertson explained. “Every family has a ‘character,’ so the next time you’re at a family gathering, just take a little step back and look at them. If you don’t see a ‘character,’ it’s you.”

Throughout her career as a speaker and author, Robertson has been awarded many top honors, such as the 1989 Cavett Award and Toastmasters International’s Golden Gavel Award. A past president of the National Speakers Association, she received that group’s Council of Peers Award for Excellence upon her induction into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame. She was also named the NCAA Southeastern Conference/Auburn University’s Women Entrepreneur of the Year and the North Carolina Press Association’s North Carolinian of the Year. Her books include Don’t Let the Funny Stuff Get Away, Mayberry Humor Across the USA, and Humor: The Magic of Genie: Seven Potions for Developing a Sense of Humor.