Meet Jeff

A vibrant keynote speaker, Jeff Ponders II brings his unique experiences as a marketing executive, tech entrepreneur, and jazz musician to help organizations and individuals unlock and achieve their best performance. Using a mix of live performance, real world stories, and techniques from jazz masters, your team will develop underutilized talents, boldly overcome challenges, and collaborate more effectively to discover big ideas and achieve immediate results. 

“Every time I’m around Jeff I feel more creative and inspired to change the world.”
— Bill Henrie, Director - General Motors


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The Jazz Master’s Guide to Epic Performance

In today’s hyper-competitive business climate, professionals from all industries are forced to dig through the crates in search of insights to outshine the competition. Everyone wants to deliver winning performances, yet most professionals spend their time focused on day-to-day tasks and don’t invest in developing the skills and tools to win. Fact is, you can’t do better until you are better. 

Jazz masters understand that focused practice, collaborative rehearsal, and empathetic audience engagement are the keys for personal growth, collaborative creativity, and better performance. In this engaging keynote, Jeff Ponders will share lessons from his experiences as an entrepreneur, corporate executive, and professional jazz saxophonist to help your team develop their unique voice, enhance their skills, and outperform the competition.


  • The proven 3 stage process of jazz masters to deliver riveting performances.

  • How to leverage your personal passions for professional success.

  • How to improvise to overcome failure.

  • 7 key secrets from jazz masters to unlock better performance.

Improvise to Innovate: Overcoming Challenges with Creativity

Jazz musicians never fail. Despite facing challenges every day like most professionals, they are trained to leverage the art of improvisation to turn seemingly inevitable calamity into breathtaking performances. Pulling from more than 20 years experience as a professional jazz musician, Jeff will break down the secrets of jazz improv to help organizations break free from “how we’ve always done it.” Your leaders will be empowered to meet critical challenges with creativity, confidence, and style to create memorable moments and successful, sustainable performance.


  • Understand improvisation as a learned, disciplined skill.

  • Build the muscles and instincts to improvise.

  • How to listen to identify challenges and discover new pathways to success.

  • Techniques to get in rhythm and find harmony with your team and customers.

The Jam Session: Perform Like a World-Class Jazz Band

Teamwork makes the dream work. But what happens when the dream becomes a nightmare? Complex dynamics, oversized egos, and misaligned objectives amongst teams can destroy morale, productivity, and profitability. With experience ranging from Broadway to C-suite boardrooms, this interactive session with Jeff Ponders II will help teams learn to overcome internal conflict and competition to foster greater collaboration and co-creation. Jeff shares his lessons from the bandstand to help organizations evolve from behaving like big brands to big bands.


  • Identify what your bandleader persona.

  • Building the right band for the gig.

  • Transform teams from collaborators to co-creators to unlock audacious creativity.

  • Learn how to listen to grow, lead, and perform better.


2018 Speaker Reel


“Jeff always helps us understand the evolving landscape and discover new ways to reach our customers and grow our business.”
— Eric Cunningham - Executive Director | General Motors
“Jeff struck the right balance of being inspiring, yet very easy to understand.”
— Felipe Cabrera - SVP, Strategy | Doner Advertising
“Jeff had the perfect blend of personality, creativity, and business, marketing, & customer service experience to create among the most motivating and worthwhile training sessions we’ve had in years.”
— Dr. Michael Naylor - Professor | Washtenaw Community College