Shows / Your Store

‘Happy’ Talk With Keynote Speaker Henry Winkler


The Venetian’s San Polo ballroom was packed at 8 a.m. on May 30, an indication of the enduring appeal of Luxury keynote breakfast speaker Henry Winkler, the beloved American actor best known for playing Fonzie on the iconic TV show Happy Days. (Other, perhaps younger, attendees may associate him with his Emmy-winning turn on the critically acclaimed HBO series Barry.)

The De Beers Group–sponsored event during Las Vegas Jewelry Week unfolded much like a comedy routine, with Winkler recounting his childhood and career plot points with perfectly timed jokes and punchlines that were met with hearty laughter from the audience.

Winkler structured his remarks around a general theme of resilience and self-empowerment in response to naysaying and negativity. When Winkler was in school, his parents and teachers were not aware he had dyslexia, a diagnosis he wouldn’t receive until he was in his 30s, “I was told I was stupid, lazy, not living up to my potential,” he said. “I was told that I would never achieve. I wanted to be an actor, and they said, ‘There is no way you can do that.’ And I said, ‘There’s got to be a way.’”

Winkler attributes his subsequent achievements not just in acting but also directing, producing, and writing—he’s authored both a memoir and a best-selling children’s book series—to his ability to persevere and live in the moment. “There is no other time but right this minute,” he said. “Every single one of you in this room is powerful. And there is nothing you can’t do.”

Later, tipping his hat to the philosophers George Gurdjieff and Pyotr Ouspensky, Winkler offered the following: “Let’s say you’re walking to your job, you’re walking toward your dream, and all of a sudden, a negative thought comes into your mind. Your shoulders drop, you slow down. And then that negative thought starts to grow. Your head drops, you stop walking altogether. Don’t put a period on the end of that negative thought. Instead, say out loud, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve got no time for you.’

“People will look at you very strangely. But you have to say it out loud. You take that negative out of your brain and you move a positive in. For me, it’s a Bundt cake—moist, no icing, and mushy chocolate chips. Move the positive in, and you’re sitting there thinking about a Bundt cake. Your shoulders fly up, your head flies back, and you continue on toward your dream.” Sweet advice!

(Photo by Camilla Sjodin)

Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine
Amy Elliott

By: Amy Elliott

Log Out

Are you sure you want to log out?

CancelLog out