Chef Jeff Henderson

Inspiring Celebrity Chef, Star of Flip My Food with Chef Jeff & Author of If You Can See It, You Can Be It

Opening General Session, Thursday, April 4, 8:00 pm

Jeff Henderson inspires with his emotional journey of redemption from the streets to the stove, sharing real-life strategies to help you achieve your dreams, no matter your stage of life.

From humble beginnings in South Central Los Angeles, to life as an imprisoned drug dealer, and then as an award-winning celebrity chef and best-selling author, Jeff is a role model for anyone who needs the encouragement to reinvent their life. Since he discovered his passion and gift for cooking in the unlikeliest of places – prison – Jeff has completely turned his life around, and today serves as a popular and powerful voice for self-transformation.

The creator of Food Network's reality series, The Chef Jeff Project, host of “Family Style with Chef Jeff,” and the star of the nationally syndicated series, Flip My Food with Chef Jeff, he is also the best-selling author of two books.

From overcoming hardship to identifying one’s personal talents, Jeff reveals his hard-knock yet transformative life lessons and the secrets to rising above and realizing your potential. His dynamic and engaging presentations help audiences discover their hidden business aptitudes, make life-changing decisions, and gain a new foothold on the ladder to success.




Elda Pere

Phi Theta Kappa International President

Opening General Session, Thursday, April 4, 8:00 pm

Elda Pere was born in New Jersey but moved with her family to Albania when she was 10, where she worked on an aid project for villagers near her town. Back in her home state, she developed a new type of trigonometry based on the Fibonacci spiral, which she calls “Trigonacci.” She is an aspiring researcher and mathematician.

At Bergen Community College, Elda leads a STEM project to create free prosthetic hands using a 3D printer. She has also written two novels.

“Growing up, I created a culture of doing more than was necessary, and it has always paid off,” she said. “Being a Phi Theta Kappan gives you a great background of diverse experiences and a sense of confidence that follows you long after you complete your degrees, pushing you forward with a handful of grit and great memories.”




Mel Robbins

Social Media Influencer, Entrepreneur, Audible Show Host and Author of The 5 Second Rule

General Session 3, Friday, April 5, 2:30 pm

Mel Robbins is a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, internationally recognized social media influencer, and one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the world.

Her digital platform inspires more than 20 million people a month with transformative videos, articles, positive psychology research, and inspiring content. Mel’s latest book, The 5 Second Rule, has been translated into 29 languages, was last year’s #1 audiobook in the world, and is one of the top five most read books on Amazon. Her TEDx talk about change has more than 14 million views. She’s the host of an original, new advice show on Audible, Kick Ass with Mel Robbins.

Mel’s media company, The Confidence Project, Inc., produces personal development programming and on-line courses for her global student body and corporate partners - taken by more than 50,000 people a year.

On stage, Mel is a riveting, fun, and unforgettable speaker - teaching audiences a wide range of science-backed strategies with life-changing impact. Mel has spoken to executives at some of the world’s leading brands, including Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, Optum, Cisco, and AT&T. She was also an award-winning opinion columnist and legal analyst for CNN and a Dr. Oz Healthline Expert.

A graduate of Dartmouth College and Boston College Law School, Mel is married, mother of three and lives in the Boston area, but remains a Midwesterner at heart.




Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner

President and CEO, Phi Theta Kappa

General Session 4, Saturday, April 6, 11:00 am

As the President and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa, Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner spends her time connecting many of the nation’s hardest-working college students to life-changing scholarships and family-sustaining employment. She tells her children that it’s “the best job on the planet.” On most days, you’ll find Lynn serving as the champion of both community colleges and community college students, using data collected from her innovative research to tell their stories and to advocate for the support of remarkable students and quality institutions of higher learning.

A self-described “steminist,” her educational background includes a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership from Mississippi State University and both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Lynn’s unique perspective might also be traced back to what she refers to as “an advanced degree from the school of hard knocks.” Long before promotion into her current role, Lynn began as a waitress at Shoney’s, followed by upgrades as a high school teacher; graduate assistant; community college math, chemistry, and physics instructor; computer programmer; database administrator; institutional researcher; and university faculty member for mathematics and operations research.

Lynn believes the Society’s hallmark of service extends to the Headquarters staff as well as PTK members, so she is honored to serve on the national Boards for the College Promise Campaign and the Center for Community College Student Engagement. She is a member of the Commission on Academic, Student and Community Development of the American Association of Community Colleges and serves on the advisory board for the Woodward Hines Education Foundation.