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Home | CivicMakers, MusicMakers | Kathleen Bertrand
Color: Purple
Food: Pizza
Quote: Do Unto Others...
Season: Autumn
Vacation Destination: Martha's Vineyard
Atlanta, Georgia
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 10/3/2016

Jazz singer and nonprofit executive Kathleen Bertrand was born in 1952. Growing up with two older brothers who were jazz enthusiasts, Bertrand began singing when she was eleven years old. Bertrand earned her B.S. degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1973.

In 1983, Bertrand became membership account executive for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), a private, non-profit organization founded to augment Atlanta’s economy through conventions and tourism. Later, she became the organization’s advertising and membership manager before becoming ACVB’s vice president of membership and community affairs in 1990. In this position, Bertrand founded a number of projects in Atlanta, including: Diversity in the Hospitality Industry Summit, the Hospitality Student Summit and ACVB’s Diversity Marketing Advisory Council, designed to provide input and direction for programs in minority communities. She also developed Atlanta Heritage, an annual visitor’s guide targeted to African American tourists.

Bertrand is also an accomplished singer, performing at the 1992, 1994 and 1996 Olympic Games. In 1999, she independently released her first jazz album, All of Me. Then, in 2002, she penned the national theme song, “What They See is What They’ll Be” for the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. That same year, Bertrand recorded her second album, No Regrets, which was released by Gold Circle Records, followed by her third album, Reasons for the Season. In 2006, she recorded her fourth album, New Standards. Bertrand became senior vice president of community and government affairs at ACVB, and founded Hospitality Industry Professionals, a networking organization focused on aligning individuals of diverse hospitality backgrounds, in 2007. Then, in 2009, Bertrand co-founded the BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta that is dedicated, in part, to promoting Atlanta as a film mecca for people of color. BronzeLens was a founding partner of Ava DuVernay’s African American Film Festival Releasing Movement. Several years after releasing her fifth album, Katharsis, Bertrand retired from ACVB, following thirty-two years of service with the organization.

Bertrand has served on the Grady Hospitality Academy Industry Advisory Board, the MACOC Education Committee, the Advisory Board for North Atlanta High School Hospitality Program, the Tourism and Hospitality Advisory Committee of Atlanta Technical College, the Black Women’s Film Network, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. She has been recognized as the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top Hospitality Industry Leader, one of Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence by the Atlanta Business League and as the Most Influential African Americans in the Meetings & Tourism Industry by Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine. In addition to her civic activities, Bertrand has opened for a number of performers, including: Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Rachelle Ferrell and Roy Ayers. Additionally, she performed the National Anthem for several of Atlanta’s professional sports teams and former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Bertrand is married to Andre Bertrand, an administrator at Morehouse College, and the couple has five children.

Kathleen Bertrand was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 3, 2016.

Speaker Bureau Notes: