No, professional speaking might not have been predicted when Jeanne was in the seventh grade in Graham, North Carolina, when and where she would have been voted most likely to make the basketball team and least likely to be a contestant in the Miss America Pageant. She did make the team—averaging more than thirty points per game in her junior and senior years—but as Miss North Carolina 1963 she also competed in the Miss America Pageant where she was named Miss Congeniality.
It was her participation in and perhaps even her losing of the Miss America title that turned Jeanne’s life into a succession of events which led her to be one of the funniest, busiest and most popular professional speakers in America today. Because she was asked to speak every day as Miss North Carolina, Jeanne traveled her native state for one year speaking at pageants and addressing civic clubs and corporations. When that time was over, she found that people were willing to pay her to come and address their groups and conventions and loving every laughing minute of it. They wanted Jeanne-not just a title holder-and they wanted her because she made them laugh.
At that point, Jeanne still viewed speaking as a way to make a little money while continuing her education. She received her degree at Auburn University and taught physical education in high school and college, a career she enjoyed for nine years. But throughout those years, the requests continued to pour in for her to speak. In 1976, she stopped teaching and entered professional speaking full time. (from her official bio http://jeannerobertson.com/bio.htm)
She found her true calling – standup comedy!
Feature photo from her MP3 album Talkin’ Funny