About Us

Great Black Speakers Bureau is a speakers’ bureau that helps Universities, Corporations, and High Schools find high quality, African-American speakers for different events.

Our Story

Great Black Speakers is a tale of two brothers, Lawrence & Boyce Watkins, who decided to tread against cultural norms to build a business that uplifts & empowers the African-American Community. Since 2007, GBS’ mission of being an information & inspiration disseminator whose goal is to deliver powerful messages to the masses has been core to who we are. Since our inception, we have served thousands of organizations and speakers to help facilitate important conversations around diversity, business, motivation, and dozen’s of other topics.
The story starts with a phone conversation between Lawrence and Boyce in 2006. At the time, Lawrence was set to graduate with his engineering degree in Louisville, KY while Boyce was establishing himself as a finance professor at Syracuse University. Lawrence was deciding between rotational program job offers from two different Fortune 100 companies, but was hesitant in committing as he knew a traditional engineering job would be a good fit for sustainable long-term happiness. Ever since he was young, Lawrence knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur and the perfect opportunity to do so was right around the corner.

Lawrence moves to Syracuse, NY to help Boyce build speaking career.

Lawrence & Boyce start Great Black Speakers based off of the success of building Boyce’s career.

First GBS website is launched with 12 speakers. It looks atrocious, but still functional.

GBS books its first speaker for an event.

GBS finally comes out with a respectable website that matches the brand they want to portray.

Lawrence steps down from full time management and GBS hires its first employee.

GBS reaches it’s 100th speaker on the roster.

GBS launches its first subscription platform for up & coming speakers looking for more exposure.

GBS team expands rapidly to start serving a wider base of organizations & speakers.

Our Team


Co-Founder & CEO


Lawrence is one of America’s leading entrepreneurship and personal achievement experts. His journey has taken him from an ultra-underachiever in high school to a graduate of an Ivy League business school as well as the Owner of Great Black Speakers, Great Pro Speakers, and Co-Founder of Watkins Media Group.

After graduating from college in 2006, Lawrence stepped out on a limb and turned down job offers from two Fortune 50 companies to help grow the speaking career of his older brother, Dr. Boyce Watkins. This turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life as he was able to follow his passion for entrepreneurship. Immediately, Lawrence experienced success booking Dr. Watkins for speaking engagements. Building on this success, Great Black Speakers was born in January of 2007 and has grown from a roster of 12 speakers to one that includes over 200 of the best and well known speakers in the nation. Starting the company wasn’t easy as Lawrence experienced entrepreneurial growing pains and almost bankrupted the company within the first six months of starting it. After learning from this experience, his pain soon turned into pleasure as Lawrence continued to successfully grow his company and book speakers for over 200 organizations around the world.




Dr. Boyce is one of the most highly sought after African-American scholars in the world. Specializing in financial psychology, educational motivation, and black social commentary, Dr. Watkins has presented his message to millions, making regular appearances on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, ABC News, BET, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Black Enterprise Magazine and many more national media outlets. Brilliant, articulate, and practical, Dr. Watkins is a world-leading authority in Finance and Investing. In his fifth and most recent book, “Financial Lovemaking 101 – Merging assets with your partner in ways that feel good”, Dr. Watkins explains why millions of couples destroy their relationships with financially questionable choices. His test for FIV, the Financial Irresponsibility Virus, is one of many creative techniques used to get American couples to talk about money.


    Director of Membership & Talent Coordinator


    Early Jackson is what you would call a statistical anomaly. With a traumatic birth as a premi weighing onlyone pound and a few ounces, Early was born a fighter. His childhood began with a strong, loving mother and an entrepreneurial father which was picturesque of an average middle class family. The later separation of his mother and father sparked a life that would prove to be the exact opposite. Stepping into poverty for the first time, Early was moved from the suburbs to the projects. In the blink of an eye, he went from manicured lawns to watching drug transactions on his front steps.

    The allure of this lifestyle served as the trappings that put Early on a path of drugs. After years of addictions, a desperate relocation opened the door for freedom and discovery of both his calling and passion; empowerment.

    Fast forward to the present day and Early has emerged having pastored a successful church, established as an engaging communicator and author. With five published books to his credit, multiple appearances in publications, guest hosting radio and television shows and self-help products reaching many, Early knows that society is hungry for affirmation. His intent is to be an influential voice for the movement.


    Booking Agent & Talent Manager



    Community Support Manager



    Director of Growth & Analytics


    Jonathan is a Fortune 15 finance manager turned social entrepreneur and early childhood education advocate. His journey has taken him from growing up in a trailer park in Hazard, Kentucky to earning an M.B.A. at the age of 23.

    He began his career in Corporate America where he worked with several billion dollar brands and multinational companies. But, after 8 successful years he decided to leave corporate and use his experience to start a business that would enable him to sustainably address one of the root causes of poverty: illiteracy.

    Jonathan learned that literacy is one of the best predictors of a child’s future success, but the reality for children who are growing up in poverty is, books are scarce. In some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the country, there is only one book available for every 300 children.

    That led him to found Servonta, an apparel startup that promotes literacy and also donates a new book to a child in need with every product sold. To date, his company has given away more than 5,000 new books through nonprofit partners such as the United Way, 16Ways Foundation and the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.


    Host of The Weekly Roundup with Jeannetta Blue


    Jeannetta “Jaybee” Nickelson is a Marketingprofessional specializing in Talent Acquisition. After spending the early part of her career as a Recruiting Manager for a global BPO overseeing multiple offices and teams, Jaybee developed an interest in assisting others in the achievement of both short and long-term goals while also instilling within Professionals the courage to succeed.

    Jaybee is known for her strategic approach to success, spearheading initiatives to build her community, as well as her ability to train professionals to believe in becoming something greater than themselves. Jaybee has risen to local Celebrity by conducting workshops for career seekers, networking with both State and Local officials, having a known Radio and TV presence as well as serving on multiple boards and committees to include being the President of the Tucson Professional Recruiters Association.

    Jaybee serves as a Talent Acquisition Marketing Specialist for National Customer Operations with Comcast Corporation, is aCelebirty Bliggerfor Stardom 101 Magazine and a Motivational Speaker with the Great Black Speakers Bureau.In addition, in June of 2016 Jaybee became a sitting candidate for her professional CME Certification (Certified Marketing Expert).


    Web Developer



    Executive Director Emeritus


    Diana Atkinson is one of America’s most sought after Talent Managers and Consultants, working with some of the brightest stars in the professional speaking industry. As the Executive Director of Great Black Speakers Bureau, Diana has demonstrated in-depth expertise that catapults her clients’ speaking careers to higher levels. Her clients consider her to be a trusted advisor, deal maker, and an excellent brand strategist.


    Co-Founder of Great Pro Speakers


    Al is an award-winning youth advocate, publisher, and internationally recognized authority on soft skills who travels the world As the leading motivational speaker for at-risk youth and troubled young people, Al has delivered Duncan Nuggets®, live and in-person, to over 1 million young people around the world. He is the owner of three successful business and he is the author of four books, including My Success Journal For Young People.He has been awarded the President’s Call to Service Award and The National PTA Life Achievement Award, for his outstanding service in the field of youth development and empowerment.

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