Bertice Berry Speaker Profile:
No one defies stereotypes, generalizations or clichés more than Dr. Bertice Berry. Growing up poor in Wilmington, Delaware, the sixth of seven children, Bertice was told by a high school teacher that she was "not college material". Fortunately, there was another teacher who believed that she was destined for more. Berry applied to several schools without any idea how she would pay the tuition if she were accepted. The day her application arrived at Jacksonville University in Florida, a wealthy benefactor called the Admissions Department looking for a potential student "who could swim if they had the right backing," and might sink without it.
Bertice Berry not only graduated magna cum laude from Jacksonville where she was awarded the President's Cup for leadership, she subsequently earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Kent State University at the age of 26. Dr. Berry taught sociology and statistics at Kent, and demonstrated that she knew a few things about humor, as well. She became one of the most popular teachers at the university; so popular, in fact, larger lecture halls had to be found to accommodate the ever-increasing number of students. "A colleague said to me, 'You're funny’, and I said, 'No I'm not, I'm a scholar," recounts Dr. Berry. It was then that she realized by using humor in her lectures to address such difficult subjects as racisms and sexism she was making a more profound impact.
Shortly thereafter, Berry left Kent to become an award-winning entertainer, lecturer and comedienne. From 1991 through 1994 she won the coveted national Comedian of the Year Award, and was also named Campus Lecturer of the Year and Campus Entertainer of the Year. She had created a niche as both a gifted speaker with a comic edge and a comic with a serious message. Her busy schedule included over 200 appearances a year.
Berry was the host and co-executive producer of her own nationally syndicated talk show, "The Bertice Berry Show," and hosted "USA Live," a four-hour live interview and entertainment show on the USA Cable Network. She's been featured on numerous other television programs, including appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," ABC’s "20/20" and more recently on NPR’s “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin.
Dr. Bertice Berry is also the best-selling author of an inspirational memoir, I'm On My Way, But Your Foot Is On My Head, and the hilarious bestsellers Sckraight From the Ghetto, You Might Be Ghetto If and the sequel You STILL Ghetto. Her first work of fiction, Redemption Song, published by Double Day in 2000, is also a Best-seller and has been praised by critics for its’ ability to entertain, inspire and educate. Berry followed Redemption Song, with another bestseller, The Haunting of Hip Hop and took her readers on a journey to the other side. In August 2002, she released her most passionate work ever with Jim & Louella Homemade Heart-fix Remedy, a tantalizing yet spiritual tale that has won several awards. Berry’s wit and wisdom shine through in her novel about looking for love in all the wrong places---and with all the wrong people, "When Love Calls, You Better Answer"; released the summer of 2005. Her book, “The Ties That Bind”, bridges the past with the future and is more personal---tracing the history of her family--- and was released January 2009.
Her latest book, “A Year to Wellness and Other Weight Loss Secrets” is a personal journey of healing and wellness that resulted in a weight loss of 150 lbs. “Those who care a lot, carry a lot,” says Berry. A Year to Wellness and Other Wellness Secrets was released in May 2011.
In 2011, Savannah Technical College President Dr. Kathy Love along with Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Ron Jackson dedicated a new Student Enrichment Facility and presented Dr. Berry with the Bertice Berry Change & Transformation Classrooms.
Dr. Berry believes that community involvement is not limited to just "writing a check" and has taken a very active role in supporting organizations that benefit those in need. She has graciously donated all of the royalties from the sales of her books to organizations that help families in transition, raise funds for scholarships and provide resource information to low-income families.
Despite all of her honors and achievements, Dr. Berry is most proud of becoming the "instant mother" to her five children. She lives in Savannah, GA where she is active in the community. "When you walk with purpose," Berry says, "you collide with destiny!"
Executive Speakers Bureau is proud to represent Dr. Bertice Berry. To have Dr. Berry at your next event call our office at 901-754-9404.
Purpose Begins with You
Sociologist, best-selling author and lecturer, Bertice Berry, PhD. believes that her own life work was put in place because of an educator who believed in her, and an admission’s professional who thought outside of the box.
“When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny,” Berry says.
In this presentation, Berry will illustrate the importance of admissions professionals for helping college students and potential graduates realize their life purpose.
By identifying the right student for the right programs and universities, the audience is not only giving opportunity to students, they are helping to shape the workforce, culture and landscape of the future.
- To define purpose and provide an outline for assisting others in finding and living their purpose
- To help reengage admissions professionals in the passion and belief in the power of their profession
- To provide tools and inspiration for diversity/critical thinking for these critical times
You will laugh, think and be inspired but most importantly you will realize your capacity to change your world.
An engaged person has been defined as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests. (Wikipedia 2014)
Sociologist and best-selling author, Bertice Berry, PhD, believes that in order for a person to be fully engaged at work, they must also be engaged in their life outside of work. Most people have been engaged at some point of their life; even if only for a moment. However, a recent Gallup poll showed that 82% of Americans feel that they are not engaged in their work or life. (Gallup 2012)
In this presentation, Berry will provide tools and information for reconnecting the audience with their life and work.
“A fully engaged person is an effective, productive creative person,” Berry says. “They are also capable of illuminating and leading others.”
With her unique blend of humor, inspirational story-telling and wisdom that is both homespun and research oriented, Berry will have you laughing, feeling and ready for change.
Embracing Diversity to Move Towards Inclusion
Diversity Thinking is crucial for success in your business, your community and even your family. In this presentation, sociologist, bestselling author and award winning lecturer Dr. Bertice Berry illustrates the power of diversity for your life in general. Using her unique blend of humor, research and storytelling, Berry points out that the more diverse the environment (mind, workplace and community) the greater the possibility for more stable, creative and productive outcomes.
- To move away from quotas and discussions of tolerance to a definition that is holistic, incorporating a self analysis approach.
- To provide tools for being more diverse in thinking and therefore more productive and creative
- To illustrate the more diverse the individual is in thinking, the better the environment they live in.
Berry will keep you laughing as you learn to look at yourself and your world through a wider more perceptive lens.
Finding Your Purpose
In this presentation, sociologist, and author Bertice Berry, Ph.D., discusses the foundation for living a purposeful life at home, at work and in the community. She combines her expertise in the areas of diversity and organization with humor to discuss the issues of doing more with less, balancing your life and staying focused on achievement even when the odds are against you.
Because “Finding Your Purpose” is finding your place to serve, Dr. Berry emphasizes the need for individuals to recognize their full potential, whatever their status or position. “When you walk in purpose, you collide with destiny”, Berry says. While purpose is personal, destiny is collective and affects everyone you encounter.
Therefore, Berry says, the alignment of individual’s purpose with that of the collective corporation, associations or small business is necessary to achieve maximum effectiveness.
Her audiences leave with a sense of renewal and commitment to life, family and work. You will laugh, think and feel but most of all you’ll leave much differently than you came.
The Space Between Life and Laughter
Have you ever noticed that some people laugh easier than others? I can’t help but notice these things I’m a sociologist turned comedian turned talk show host turned mother of five adopted children.
Most people have a bucket list of things they’d like to do before they die, I have a list of things I’d like to research.
At the top of my list is why some people hate laughter. You’ve seen these people everywhere. They attend movies that are comedies and then ask the loud laughers to keep it down. The laughter police sit next to you at church, in school or at board meetings making sure you don’t smile too widely or laugh too loudly.
I think I have found the reason behind this failure to laugh at a good joke, a humorous moment or at your own self.
The space between life and laughter is happiness.
In this presentation, I will illustrate how the three major sources of happiness: personal growth, strong relationships and community involvement help lighten the heart enabling laughter to flow.
Using humorous stories from my own life, which at times has been difficult but is always funny, I will enable the audience to find their own way to laughter and happiness.
- I got married and divorced in the same year and I had to write a country song.
- I was praying for love and I got children so I prayed again, “Hey God, I meant a man. And that’s how I got the country song.”
Laughter is a gift for those who do the work. You have to be around to get the joke.
From The Patient’s Perspective
In her presentation, sociologist, educator and best-selling author, Bertice Berry PhD. will share observations from the journey of her mother’s two year illness and up close encounter with hospital health care providers. During that time, Berry’s background as a sociologist enabled her to document the quality of care from all levels of health care professionals.
Her mother’s excellent care during life and her subsequent death in a hospital, has led Berry on a crusade of awareness and gratitude for all hospital personnel.
In her most recent book, The Ties That Bind; A Memoir of Race Memory and Redemption (Broadway, 2009), Berry writes:
“There is a tremendous problem with the health care in this country; unfortunately the hospital staff and caregivers often bear the burden of the problems they did not cause.
Poverty, unemployment, problems associated with being uninsured and underinsured, and poor health care habits all end up on the steps of America’s hospitals. Many of our inner-city and rural hospitals are in danger of being shut down. We must find a way to deal with the complex crisis associated with health care, and when we do, we must show appreciation to the men and women who tirelessly care for our health.”
- To help identify and define the unique mission/purpose, core values and services your hospital provides and outline techniques for communicating them to the community you serve.
- To identify tools for communicating with media, community leaders and businesses for being partners in improving health care.
- To understand the importance and power of the unique diversity of the hospital staff and its partners and to capitalize on the uniqueness for reaching out to the community you serve.
- To identify tools for sharing your story while educating the public to show appreciation and gratitude for the services you provide.
Bertice Berry, Ph.D, is one of the nations most sought after speakers by corporations and associations. Her lectures enable her audiences to laugh, feel and be inspired. More importantly, they report feeling empowered to change themselves and the community they live and work in.
Partial List of Clients
International Spa Association,
The Society for Human Resources,
Cal State Fullerton,
The National Association of School Business Officials,
Sam's Club/ Wal Mart,
SF Mayor's Summit,
Blue Cross/ Blue Shield,
National Educational Association,
Criminal Justice Association,
National Trainers Association,
US Coast Guard,
KU Medical Center,
SDSU & UCSD,
Jersey City Public Schools,
Texas Governor's Conference for Women,
American Publisher's Association,
Idaho Hospital Association
Attendees couldn't stop talking about Bertice. She was a HUGE hit with our members. What an amazing lady. I don't know who I'm going to find for 2011 that can top her.