Former Major League Baseball Pitcher & Gold Medal Winner in the 1988 Olympics
Born without a right hand, Jim Abbott is a former MLB pitcher who led Team USA to a Gold Medal in the 1988 Olympics. He was an All-America hurler at Michigan and won the Sullivan Award in 1987. Jim threw a 4-0 no-hitter for the New York Yankees versus Cleveland on September 4, 1993. He played for 10 seasons on 4 different teams and ended his big league playing career in 1999.
Abbott has worked with The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) on several initiatives encouraging businesses to hire people with disabilities.
Today, in addition to often being a Guest Pitching Instructor during Spring Training for the Los Angeles Angels, Jim Abbott is a motivational speaker who shares his incredible story of overcoming adversity and achieving ultimate goal.
Inspiring story of leadership from former Commander of USS Benfold
Mike Abrashoff's inspiring speeches challenge people to re-imagine their own leadership thinking and instill a renewed responsibility for results and success. At the age of 36, the Navy selected Abrashoff to become Commander of USS Benfold, at the time the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet. The immediate challenges that faced him on this under performing Naval war ship were staggering: exceptionally low morale, high turnover and unacceptably low performance evaluations. Few thought that this ship could improve. In many ways, the USS Benfold was actually an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today.
The solution was to establish a system of management techniques that Abrashoff calls The Leadership Roadmap. At the core of his leadership approach on Benfold was a process of replacing command and control with commitment and cohesion, and by engaging the hearts, minds, and loyalties of workers, with conviction and humility.
The most important thing that a captain can do is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. According to Abrashoff, The Leadership Roadmap is a practice that empowers every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence. "
It's your ship", he was known to say. His former sailors to this day still remind him of it.
By every measure, these principles were able to achieve breakthrough results. Personnel turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1 percent. The rate of military promotions tripled, and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25 percent. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness. Most important this transformation took place with the same crew. What had changed was the ship's culture and Abrashoff's leadership style.
Abrashoff recounted the leadership lessons from the turnaround of USS Benfold in It's Your Ship, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, with over 800,000 copies sold to date. This extraordinary interest in Abrashoff's leadership journey and Benfold's organizational lessons led to two follow-up books - Get Your Ship Together and It's Our Ship. These books took readers deeper into ways these principles have been put into action by business leaders in their own organizations.
Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Abrashoff served as the Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. He also helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, coinciding with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait; and served as the Executive Officer of the Cruiser Shiloh, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
Mike Abrashoff is the founder of GLS Worldwide, a consulting firm which works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and business challenges within their organization. The firm challenges leaders at all levels to re-imagine their leadership thinking and create new ways to elevate individual, team and organizational performance.
For Jeff Adams, a wheelchair is a vehicle for success. This five-time Paralympian and six-time World Champion in wheelchair sports is living proof that focus, determination, and spirit are the keys to achieving “gold medal” dreams. Combining his unique understanding of life’s challenges with his experience as a world-class athlete, Jeff synthesises his experience in sport, government, and business into messages that show how the path to success is often the same, regardless of the goal that is being pursued.
A rare breed of athlete, Jeff successfully transitioned from sport to business. Over the last decade, he founded and sold two companies, Marvel Wheelchairs and Icon Wheelchairs, raising over $6 million dollars in private equity funding for the startups. Marvel underwent an acquisition in 2010, and Icon was acquired in 2015. Jeff is currently the Executive Director of the ArtsGames Foundation.
Jeff started using a wheelchair at nine years old; the radiation therapy that saved his life while battling cancer in infancy had, by nine, permanently damaged his spinal cord. Since then, he has faced this monumental challenge admirably, competed in six consecutive Summer Paralympics, from 1988 to 2008, and winning a total of three gold, four silver, and six bronze medals.
Jeff has appeared in television commercials, acted as a global spokesperson for multinational corporations, and worked as a journalist and commentator for media. He served as Chair of the Accessibility Committee for the Toronto 2008 Olympic Bid Committee, and is Chair of the Ontarians with Disability Advisory Council. He is a recent inductee into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame.
Paul Allen is a mission-driven entrepreneur, tech visionary, and lecturer on entrepreneurship and innovation, technology, strengths psychology, workplace culture, and human potential. Paul has founded 8 companies in his 29-year career in tech.
He is best known for co-founding Ancestry.com in 1997. He was its original CEO and he created the content subscription business model and marketing strategies. He served in many executive roles as Ancestry became the leading genealogy company in the world.
From 2012-2017 Paul was Global Strengths Evangelist for Gallup, helping lead a worldwide movement to bring strengths psychology into schools and workplaces. The StrengthsFinder 2.0 customer base grew from 7 million to 16 million during that time.
Paul taught entrepreneurship and marketing at the university level for 4 years. He serves on the National Advisory Board for the Utah Valley University School of Business. He is a director of the Human Justice Foundation, which aims to change the emphasis in the criminal justice system from punishment and retribution to compassion and rehabilitation.
Paul has travelled extensively and has spoken around the world about how to unlock potential in individuals and build positive, strengths-based cultures. From Canada to China, Hong Kong to Hawaii, and in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia, Paul has spoken to CEOs, global HRDs, entrepreneurs, educators, managers, and students.
Paul was the keynote speaker for Gallup at the inaugural CliftonStrengths Summit in Omaha, Nebraska in July 2016. In 2017, he was a main stage presenter at the CliftonStrengths Summit, along with keynote speakers Deepak Chopra and best-selling author Tom Rath.
First American woman to climb Mt. Everest, author and inspirational speaker.
Stacy Allison has climbed the world's most famous mountain. Now she's helping organizations across the globe scale their own monumental challenges. Stacy understands mountains: she has been climbing mountains and leading expeditions for more than 20 years in remote regions around the world, including Tibet, Pakistan, and Russia. She also understands business: Stacy is president of Allison Construction, a residential building company in Portland, Oregon.
At the age of 21, Stacy began major alpine climbing in earnest and achieved rapid success. Within a year, Stacy reached the top of Alaska's Mt. McKinley, the highest point in North America, and was part of the first successful women's ascent of Ama Dablam, the 22,495 foot peak known as Nepal's Matterhorn. These accomplishments provided the groundwork for much greater accomplishments.
Stacy was the first American woman to top Pik Communism (now known as Ismoil Somoni Peak), at 24,600 feet, the tallest peak in the Russian Pamir Range. On her first attempt on Mt Everest, Stacy did not summit, but she returned to Mt. Everest with the Northwest American Everest Expedition. On September 29, 1988, after twenty-nine days on the mountain, Stacy became the first American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain at 29,028 feet. Stacy then went on to become the leader of a successful K2 expedition, the world's second highest mountain, considered to be the most difficult peak on Earth to climb.
Stacy combines her business acumen and her spirit for adventure to show her audiences how to thrive in their organizations through courage, leadership, vision, teamwork, risk taking, and personal accountability. Stacy's high content, tailored, dynamic presentations will encourage and inspire you to take a visionary look at opportunities and move beyond your limits. The future will never look the same!
Stacy's first book, Beyond the Limits: a Woman's Triumph on Everest, is a suspenseful, triumphant adventure story. Her second, Many Mountains to Climb; Reflections on Competence, Courage and Commitment, is an exciting anecdotal account of climbing challenges practically applied to help you plot your way more surely to professional and personal success. Stacy also contributed a chapter on Leadership in the book, Upward Bound.
Best-selling Author & Inspiring Speaker on Leadership, Creativity and Diversity
John U. Bacon is the New York Times bestselling author of ten books on sports, business leadership, health, and history. He free-lances for The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, and others, appears often on TV, including HBO, ESPN, Fox Business, MSNBC, and the Big Ten Network, and delivers weekly essays for Michigan Radio and occasionally NPR, which awarded him the PRNDI prize for nation's best commentary in 2014.
His books include Walgreens: America’s Corner Store, Cirque du Soleil: The Spark, Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership, which hit The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal’s Business Best Seller lists. He then researched and wrote a trio of books covering big time college football from the inside out: Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football, Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football. All three were New York Times best sellers.
His book, Playing Hurt: My Journey from Despair to Hope, coauthored with ESPN’s John Saunders, tells Saunders’ life story in dramatic detail.
John delivers speeches on the themes in his books — including leadership, creativity, and diversity — to corporations, universities and other groups around the country and the world. In 2011, the Michigan Chapter of Meeting Planners International (MMPI) named him “Speaker of the Year.” In addition to writing and speaking, he teaches at the University of Michigan, where the students awarded him the Golden Apple in 2009.
John is also a decent Spanish speaker, an average hockey player, and a poor piano player, but he still enjoys all three! He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and son.
Inspiring adventure speaker, deep sea explorer who discovered the RMS Titanic.
Best known for his 1985 discovery of the TITANIC, Dr. Robert Ballard has succeeded in tracking down numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship BISMARCK, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier YORKTOWN (sunk in the World War II Battle of Midway), and John F. Kennedy boat, PT-109.
While those discoveries have captured the imagination of the public, Dr. Ballard believes his most important discoveries were of hydrothermal vents and black smokers in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise in 1977 and 1979 along with their exotic life forms living off the energy of the Earth through a process now called chemosynthesis.
In addition to being a National Geographic Society Explorer-In-Residence and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Dr. Ballard is the president of the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET).
Ballard was born June 30, 1942, in Wichita, KS but moved to California at a very young age and grew up exploring the shore in San Diego. Dr. Ballard has a Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island. He spent 30 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he helped develop telecommunications technology to create "tele-presence" for his education initiative, which allows hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to accompany him from afar on undersea explorations around the globe each year. In 2001, he returned to the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island where he is presently a tenured Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Ocean Exploration.
Dr. Ballard has 21 honorary degrees and six military awards. He was also a Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, serving in the Navy from 1967 to 1997. He received the National Geographic Society's prestigious Hubbard Medal in 1996 for extraordinary accomplishments in coaxing secrets from the world's oceans and engaging students in the wonder of science. In 2014, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Ballard has published numerous books, scientific papers, and a dozen articles in National Geographic magazine. Dr. Ballard also has been featured in several National Geographic television programs, including the record-breaking Secrets of the TITANIC.
His discoveries also include sunken remains of ships along ancient trade routes in the Mediterranean Sea; two ancient Phoenician ships off Israel, the oldest shipwrecks ever found in deep water; and four 1,500-year-old wooden ships, one almost perfectly preserved in the Black Sea. Dr. Ballard's Black Sea project seeks evidence of a great flood that may have struck the region thousands of years ago.
His 1997 best-selling book, Lost Liners, tells the story of the great transatlantic liners through memorable wrecks he has visited. Dr. Ballard was also a special advisor on Steven Spielberg's futuristic Sea Quest, DSV television show.
An explorer, discoverer and historian, Dr. Ballard's fascinating journeys can teach us a great deal about our past, and they have encouraged others to take tremendous strides in the survey of the undiscovered mysteries of the deep sea.
Chris Bashinelli, also known as, “Bash”, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. After a decade long acting career including an appearance on the HBO hit television show The Sopranos, Bash decided to follow his real passion- using media to build bridges between cultures. At 20 years old he traveled to Tanzania to make his first documentary. He now traverses the globe from Uganda to Haiti, as Host of Bridge the Gap, a new television series featured on PBS and the National Geographic Channel, where he discovers what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.
Bash has spoken around the world- from TEDx, to Abu Dhabi, to Azerbaijan- at multi-million dollar corporations, Ivy League Universities, and in the United Nations General Assembly Hall. He has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Dr. Jane Goodall and the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
He has harvested buffalo with Native Americans in Pine Ridge, lived as a nomad in Mongolia, and Sumo Wrestled heaviest Japanese human being in recorded history. He is a Moderator for the United Nations, an Eagle Scout, a National Geographic Explorer, and has interviewed some of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People on the Planet.
Grammy Award-winning guitarist & National Security Consultant
Jeffrey "Skunk" Baxter is currently a consultant/contractor for a number of US Government agencies and advises top military, government and civilian groups on missile defense, terrorism & counter-terrorism, cyber-warfare, intelligence, virtual reality, war gaming, next-generation technology and unconventional strategies.
He is a Senior Fellow and member of the Board of Regents at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, a member of the Director's Strategic Red Team at MIT/ Lincoln Laboratories, a consultant for the Global Security Sector of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a Senior Thinker for the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, as well as holding consulting agreements with SAIC, Northrop-Grumman, Parsons, RadiantBlue Technologies and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He was a Specialist Reserve Officer with the Anti-Terrorist Division of the Los Angeles Police Dept. for 15 years and a founding member of the Terrorism Early Warning Group, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Baxter has appeared on CNN and Fox News and written on the subjects of national security and technology for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Wired, and Money Magazines.
He has also had a long and successful career, (18 Gold & Platinum Albums, 2 Grammys), in the music and entertainment field as a founding member of the group Steely Dan, Grammy winning guitarist with the Doobie Brothers, as a record producer for such artists as Carl Wilson, Nazareth and The Stray Cats and studio musician for hundreds of recordings.
Ever wonder why certain teams win consistently, whereas others come up short? Ross Bernstein explains why - in an engaging and visually entertaining style that's designed to improve your organization's productivity, morale and bottom-line profitability...
The best-selling author of nearly 50 sports books, Ross Bernstein is an award-winning business speaker who helps companies and organizations perform more like champions. Ross and his books have been featured on thousands of television and radio programs over the past 20 years, including CNN, MSNBC, CBS This Morning, FOX News, Bloomberg, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and the CBC, as well as in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, USA Today, and Maxim Magazine.
Ross' signature program,
The Champion's Code: Life Lessons of Ethics & Accountability from the Sports World to the Business World, is based on more than six years of research that resulted in two critically acclaimed series of sports-business books. The first examines how and why certain teams win world championships; while the other chronicles the unwritten and unspoken rules in the world of sports, or
codes as they are known, which explores the fine line between cheating and gamesmanship - and the consequences involved when that line is crossed.
Ross interviewed more than 1,000 professional athletes and coaches for the six books and along the way he saw some fascinating patterns, metrics and trends develop among certain individuals who possessed a very unique DNA. For these unique individuals, or
champions, it wasn't always about winning, it was about following their moral compass in order to play the game the right way - with respect and integrity - in order to achieve success. In his presentation, Ross identifies upwards of 100 unique characteristics and traits that are common among champions, which he then ties into poignant life lessons and inspirational stories that relate back to his client's event theme and desired learner outcomes.
Based largely on the
Good to Great ideology of how the best companies are able to separate them- selves from the rest of the pack through dynamic leadership and extraordinary customer service, Ross' program reinforces the concept that individuals win games, but TEAMS win championships. Momentum, roles, buy-in, motivation, consistency, sacrifice, trust, chemistry, work-ethic, innovation, karma, and being humble - they're all a part of what it takes to become the best of the best - a champion both on and off the field.
So... who are the champions in your organization? Ross speaks about 100 dates a year and he'd love to customize a keynote (from one to six hours) for your next annual conference, corporate event, or sales meeting - his passion and energy is contagious and he'd be honored to be a member of YOUR team for the day!
Rocky Bleier’s story - a gripping tale of courage on both the football fields of America and the battle fields of Vietnam - has held audiences in rapt attention for years. Yet, the motivational message behind it, detailing how ordinary people can become extraordinary achievers, defines success in the new American century.
With the same optimism, sense of humor and steadfast determination that were his trademarks as a Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Rocky Bleier takes audiences from his early years through his professional career and talks about the lessons he learned along the way….lessons that we can all benefit from.
Not falling within the ideal of what a running back should look like, Bleier had to run harder and play smarter to be able to stand out. Despite his drive and ability to make the big play, the Pittsburgh Steelers only considered him a late round pick. But before the season ended that first year, he was drafted again - this time by the United States Army. At the height of the Vietnam War, Bleier was thrust into combat early and was seriously wounded when his platoon ran into an ambush. Receiving wounds from both rifle fire and grenade fragments in his legs, he was barely able to walk and his professional football career seemed to have ended before it began.
For more than two years, he drove himself. Little by little, he overcame obstacles and fought his way back. He not only made the Pittsburgh Steelers, but also eventually became a starting running back on a team that won four Super Bowls and became the greatest football team of the 20th century.
The hard lessons Rocky Bleier learned early in his life, and that helped him overcome adversity and reach his goals, have paid off after football. These lessons are seen between the lines in the popular book on his life, Fighting Back.
Mr. Accountabilitybecause of his ability to inspire, engage and entertain audiences with his stories that will touch every emotion.
Walter has catapulted as one of the world's most preeminent thought leaders on personal and corporate accountability with a presentation style that is in a class all by itself. Through his keynotes, training systems and product resources, he travels the world transforming organizations into a culture of accountability. Walter teaches how accountability creates engagement, assists in teamwork, and increases productivity which ultimately drives results.
Walter is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP). Walter has received many accolades within the professional speaking industry such as: Speaker of the Year by Minnesota Meetings and Events Magazine, Program of the Year by Meeting Professionals International's Dallas/Ft. Worth Chapter and more recently listed by Meetings & Conventions Magazine as one of meeting planners' favorite speakers listed alongside speaking legends such as: Colin Powell, the late Stephen Covey and the late Zig Ziglar to name a few. Speaking.com listed Mr. Accountability in their top 5 for motivation.
In 2013 Walter appeared as the host on The Food Network's Giving You the Business. This franchise competition show was broadcast in the United States and Canada.
Before developing a training and development company, Walter enjoyed an 8 year career in professional basketball. Walter played college basketball at The University of Minnesota and professionally for the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz and Detroit Pistons. He also enjoyed stints throughout Europe in Greece, Italy and Germany.
Walter's vast life experiences have made him an expert in the development of strong teams and personal success and development. Walter lives with his wife and business partner Antoinette and their 3 children, Wesley, Kendall and Cori. Their family splits time between Minneapolis, MN and Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
Leading Expert on Stress, Spirituality, and the Mind/body Connection
Dr. Joan Borysenko is a distinguished pioneer in integrative medicine and a world-renowned expert in the mind/body connection. Her work has been foundational in an international health-care revolution that recognizes the role of meaning, and the spiritual dimensions of life, as an integral part of health and healing. Eloquent and inspiring in settings that range from hospitals to hospices, from theaters to conference venues, and from boardrooms to houses of worship, she is a credible bridge between faith and reason. Her brilliance, humor, and authenticity—in combination with the latest research—make her a compelling and inspiring speaker and writer.
After graduating magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College in 1967, Dr. Borysenko earned her doctorate in Medical Sciences from the Harvard Medical School, where she completed post-doctoral training in cancer cell biology. Her first faculty position was at the Tufts University College of Medicine in Boston. But after the death of her father from cancer, she became more interested in the person with the illness than in the disease itself, and returned to Harvard Medical School to complete a second postdoctoral fellowship, this time in the new field of behavioral medicine. Under the tutelage of Herbert Benson, M.D., who first identified the relaxation response and brought meditation into medicine, she was awarded a Medical Foundation Fellowship and completed her third post-doctoral fellowship in psychoneuroimmunology.
In the early 1980’s Dr. Borysenko co-founded a Mind/Body clinic with Dr. Benson and Dr. Ilan Kutz, became licensed as a psychologist, and was appointed instructor in medicine at the Harvard Medical School. Her years of clinical experience and research culminated in the 1987 publication of the New York Times best seller, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, which sold over 400,000 copies. The 20th anniversary edition, newly revised, was published in 2007. Author or co-author of 13 other books and numerous audio and video programs, including the Public Television special Inner Peace for Busy People, she is the Founding Partner of Mind/Body Health Sciences, LLC located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Dr. Borysenko’s warmth and credibility—plus her lively sense of humor—create a compelling presence. Her inspirational reflections are featured frequently on Hallmark Channel’s New Morning program, and she also hosts a weekly Internet radio show, Your Soul’s Compass, for Hay House. One of the most popular and sought after speakers in the field of health, healing, and spirituality, her engaging and well researched presentations are perfect both for professionals and for the general public.
Inspiring Speaker on Motivating and Building a High Performance Team
Cara Brookins is best known for being the mom who built her own house using YouTube tutorials. She is also a best-selling author who has been entertaining, educating, and inspiring audiences with her keynotes and presentations since 2004.
She’s the author of eight books, including Rise, How a House Built a family, which tells the story of building her 3500 square foot house with the help of her four children by watching YouTube tutorials and googling things like foundation work, plumbing, and gas lines. News of Cara's family story went viral in more than 75 countries and was viewed over two billion times. Rise, has now been optioned to become a major motion picture.
Cara’s biggest passion is motivating audiences to stop procrastinating and take a massive leap forward to build bigger lives.
As a renowned author, speaker, television and radio personality, Les Brown has risen to national prominence by inspiring others to shake off mediocrity and live up to their full potential. With no formal education beyond high school, Les has distinguished himself as an international authority on harnessing human potential.
Born a twin in low-income Liberty City in Miami, Florida, Les and his twin brother were adopted when they were six weeks old by Miss Mamie Brown. As a single woman with a big heart, Miss Brown had very little education or financial means. With young Les' inattention to school work, his restless energy, and the failure of his teachers to recognize his potential, Les was misdiagnosed as educable mentally retarded. Suffering for years by the label and the stigma, Les was nevertheless driven by his passion to learn and his hunger to achieve his goal as a radio disc jockey.
In a humorous twist of fate and cunning, Les rose from a hip-talkin' morning DJ to a broadcast manager; from voracious reader to author; from community activist to community leader; from political commentator to three-term state legislator; from a banquet and nightclub emcee to a premier keynote speaker for Fortune 100 companies.
In 1986, Les entered the public speaking arena on a full-time basis and formed his own company, Les Brown Enterprises Inc., aimed at individuals and organizations, the company provides motivational products, personal development programs, speaker development workshops, keynote presentations and interactive business trainings.
In 1989, Les received the National Speakers Association's highest honor: The Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE). In addition, he was selected one of the World's Top Five Speakers in 1992 by Toastmasters International and became the recipient of the Golden Gavel Award.
Commencing in 1990 and recording the first in a series of six PBS specials, Les launched You Deserve which was awarded a Chicago-area Emmy. It became the leading fundraiser for pledges to PBS stations nationwide.
In 1993, Les became the host of his own nationally syndicated daily television talk show, The Les Brown Show, in which he focused on solutions to the day's challenges rather than the problems.
Recognized internationally, Les is the author of three bestselling books: Up Thoughts for Down Times, Live Your Dreams, and It's Not Over Until You Win. With his Sunday morning radio talk show, Chicago Speaks with Les Brown, Les' outreach embraces the homeless and the world's most powerful leaders.
A leading authority in understanding and stimulating human potential, Les' electric and powerful delivery, stage presence and personal insights have built his international brand of "What's Possible". Les' customized presentation is driven by his approach to each unique audience. Before he gives a speech, he builds a speech. The end result is that Les teaches and inspires each audience to new levels of awareness and achievement.
Inspiring story of adventure from Captain of the Coast Guard ship that performed two dramatic rescues during the real Perfect Storm
Captain Larry Brudnicki is the Captain of the Coast Guard ship that performed two dramatic rescues during the real Perfect Storm. These unbelievable rescues are a small part of a thirty-year career assessing risks, making decisions and inspiring teamwork.
Captain Brudnicki retired from the Coast Guard in March 2002 after thirty years of active duty. He reported to his last assignment as the Chief of Operations, 11th Coast Guard District, Alameda, CA in August 1997 where he supervised more than 15,000 Search and Rescue cases, which saved 1,600 lives. He also supervised the search for survivors of the Alaska Air Flight #261 tragedy. He had tactical control of ships and aircraft that seized more than 150 tons of cocaine, including the ten largest cocaine seizures in the year 2000 and again in 2001.
Using experience gained from leading successful high-risk missions with international visibility to deliver messages of leadership, teamwork and risk management, Captain Brudnicki shows how to achieve success. Looking at what he learned investigating accidents of others who were not so successful, he also demonstrated how to avoid pitfalls.
Brudnicki has been featured as commentator and guest expert on ABC, the History Channel, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and a myriad of other programs. As a contributor to Real World Management Strategies That Work, he details the 7 Steps to Making the Right Decision Every Time.
Hearing-impaired comedienne, inspiring and entertaining speaker and author.
Gifted comedienne, award-winning actress, accomplished author, and renowned inspirational speaker Kathy Buckley is a force like no other. Billed as 'America's First Hearing Impaired Comedienne', Kathy Buckley is also a five-time American Comedy Award Nominee as Best Stand-Up Female Comedienne. As an actress, she is known for her guest starring roles on shows such as Touched by an Angel, and for her critically acclaimed one woman Off-Broadway show, Don't Buck with Me/Now Hear This!. As a motivational speaker, she inspires hundreds of thousands of people around the world, sharing her story of overcoming some of the most difficult obstacles one can imagine in life, and how she met those challenges with dignity, courage, and laughter.
Kathy's book, If You Could Hear What I See, will have you laughing and crying as you experience the amazing story of her life. She has received thousands of letters and emails of thanks and praise, regarding both her book and her original PBS special, No Labels, No Limits! She was awarded the CINE Golden Eagle Award as the writer and executive producer of the special, and the Media Access Award for Outstanding Television Special. Her highly acclaimed autobiographical theater play, Now Hear This! had its Off-Broadway premiere at New York's Lamb's Theater, and not only brought the comic actress a legion of faithful new fans, but a wealth of critical praise from New York media.
In record time, she became one of the most popular comediennes in the country with material based on, among others things, her hearing loss. That impairment, however, is only one of the many hurdles Kathy has encountered in her life. Her poor performance in second grade landed her in a school for mentally and physically impaired children. It took school administrators, psychologists, and audiologists nearly a year to discover it was just a hearing loss and not a lack of mental acuity that was impeding her speech and language development. Today, Kathy shakes her head as she quips to amazed audiences, '... And they called me slow?'
She was featured in the HBO Television Special, 'Women of the Night', shot on location at the U.S. Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colorado. She was included in the E! Entertainment Television Special, The World's Most Intriguing Women. Kathy was also the focus of I Can Hear the Laughter, an Emmy award-winning documentary.
Internationally recognized researcher, explorer, and New York Times bestselling author on longevity and National Geographic Fellow.
Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow and multiple New York Times bestselling author. He has discovered, through multiple expeditions with teams of research scientists specializing in population studies, the five places in the world – dubbed Blue Zones – where people live the longest, and are healthiest and happiest. His New York Times Sunday Magazine article about these places, “The Island Where People Forget to Die,” was one of the Times’ most popular, as was his National Geographic cover story on longevity, “The Secrets of Living Longer.” A chord was struck, and thus subsequent books and a company which seeks to share the distilled wisdom of Blue Zones cultures with American cities and corporations were born.
Blue Zones, LLC, puts the world’s best practices of longevity and well-being to work in people’s lives at the community level. Buettner works in partnership with Healthways, municipal governments, and various insurance companies to implement the program in more than 20 cities so far, and has dramatically improved the health of more than 5 million Americans to date. Their strategy focuses on optimizing the local environment – walkability for citizens and kids, availability of healthy food options, social connectivity, pursuit of life purpose, and ongoing coaching and support for creating homes which effortlessly bring forth wellness and happiness.
Writing in Newsweek, Harvard University’s Walter Willet called the results “stunning.” In one project alone, Buettner and his then partner, AARP, applied principles of Blue Zones to Albert Lea, Minnesota, and lowered health care costs by 40%.
His books The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest and Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way have remained bestsellers, along with his new book THE BLUE ZONES SOLUTION: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People, and have appeared on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, NPR, and Oprah.
Voted a top 50 Influencer in Aging by PBS, Dan also holds three Guinness Book of world records in distance cycling (and is possibly the only person to have cycled through the Sahara desert without sunscreen!) and has won an Emmy Award for television production. He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is particularly proud to be the father of three (nearly) grown children.
Uses his powerful success formula: Vision, Mindset and Grit to inspire and motivate audiences.
Scott Burrows is living proof your life can change in an instant. By the age of 19, he was playing college football at Florida State University as a Wide receiver and a top-ranked kick-boxing champion, with his last fight broadcast by ESPN.
On November 3, 1984, Scott’s life took a dramatic and irreversible turn. He was involved in a serious automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down and diagnosed a quadriplegic.
Despite his grim diagnosis, Scott refused to be sidelined. He made the decision to take action, to focus on the positives of the experience as opposed to dwelling on the obvious and overwhelming negatives.
With the tremendous clarity provided by his singular focus, Scott resolved to thrive in his life by using three principles:
Scott’s application of these innovative concepts boosted and enhanced his recovery, and he achieved results that astonished doctors, therapists, family and friends alike. After graduating from college, he qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table in the insurance and financial industry, a 100% commission-driven award achieved by fewer than 8% of agents worldwide. He also developed into a wheelchair athlete and became a best-selling author with his book, Vision Mindset Grit: How to Stand Up When Life Paralyzes You.
Employing his paralysis as a visual metaphor, Scott encourages his audiences to stand up to their challenges—regardless of circumstances—using the dynamic principles of Vision, Mindset and Grit. His presentations are inspirational, focused and enthusiastically received.
Scott has presented to hundreds of associations and corporations in the U.S. and around the globe. He has also shared the stage with iconic celebrities such as Rudolph Giuliani, Terry Bradshaw and Neil Armstrong. Speaking to more than 100,000 people a year, he influences the lives of millions as well through his keynote speeches, books, CDs and DVDs.
A pioneer in the frontier of commercial space sector, former astronaut and International Space Station commander Leroy Chiao captivates audience with his amazing stories on space exploration and brings unparalleled insights on leadership, innovation and technology trends .
A veteran of four space missions and a fifteen-year career with NASA, Dr. Chiao most recently served as Commander and NASA Science Officer of Expedition 10 aboard the International Space Station. He has logged over 229 days in space – over 36 hours of which were spent in Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA, or spacewalks). From June through September 2009, he served as a member of the White House appointed Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, and currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council.
Leroy holds appointments at Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine, and is the special advisor for human spaceflight to the Space Foundation. He has worked extensively in both government and commercial space programs, and has held leadership positions in commercial ventures and NASA. Chiao has extensive experience as a NASA Astronaut and prior to that, as a Research Engineer. Dr. Chiao is a fellow of the Explorers Club, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and the Committee of 100. Chiao also serves in various capacities to further space education,
A native English speaker, Dr. Chiao also speaks Mandarin Chinese and Russian. He has flown space missions and worked closely with Russian, Japanese and European Astronauts and their affiliated space agencies. Dr. Chiao is uniquely qualified to speak about the United States, Russian, Japanese, European and Chinese Space Programs. A Space Station Commander and Space Shuttle Mission Specialist, Dr. Chiao was also a certified Co-Pilot of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He is an expert in all facets of U.S. and Russian EVA hardware and operations and is EVA certified in U.S. and Russian spacesuits, tools, and training programs. In September 2006, Chiao became the first American to visit the Astronaut Research and Training Center of China. There, he met the first two national Chinese astronauts, Yang Liwei and Fei Junlong.
Dr. Chiao studied Chemical Engineering, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1983. He continued his studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, earning his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 1985 and 1987. Prior to joining NASA in 1990, he worked as a Research Engineer at Hexcel Corporation. and then at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Inspiring speaker, once a Vietnam Prisoner of War, and author of Beyond Survival.
Captian Gerald Coffee is an inspiring example of the power of the human spirit to survive and triumph over the most adverse circumstances. Captain Coffee is a former Vietnam POW and author of Beyond Survival: Building on Hard Times. His speeches tell a story of human survival, focusing on the hero inside all of us and showing how each of us can overcome the obstacles to our success.
In February of 1966, while flying combat missions over North Vietnam, Gerald Coffee's reconnaissance jet was downed by enemy fire. He parachuted safely but was captured immediately. For the next seven years he was held as a POW in the Communist prisons of North Vietnam. After his repatriation in February, 1973, Jerry returned to operation duties. He retired from active duty in the Navy after 28 years of service.
His military decorations include the Silver Star, two awards of the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars, the Air Medal, two Purple Hearts, and the Vietnam Service Medal with 13 stars.
In his message of going Beyond Survival, Jerry draws not only from insights derived from the prison experience, but also from the perspective of his experiences since then: earning a Masters Degree in political science from Cal-Berkeley, studying at the prestigious National Defense University in Washington, D.C., Navy command and staff assignments, authoring books, writing a weekly political column, and his continuing interaction with hundreds of America's corporations and associations, military units, civic groups and schools as a professional speaker.
Million Dollar Round Table selected him as one of its top twelve most popular, highest-rated, main platform speakers for the past 20 years. His numerous civilian awards include the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge.
Captain Coffee is a highly respected commentator on current political, economic, and social issues, seeing most in terms of opportunities yet to be seized by heroic leadership. He has appeared on Larry King Live (twice), Talk Back Live, NBC news, and numerous radio and TV talk shows. His book, Beyond Survival, condensed by Readers Digest, is on audio-cassette by Nightingale-Conant, and was made into an award-winning play called
Iconic Winter Olympic goaltender, and inspirational speaker on Teamwork & Leadership
Jim Craig is best remembered for his outstanding goaltending in the 1980 winter Olympics where the United States team beat the heavily favored Russians and went on to win the Olympic gold medal in what’s has been labeled the greatest sports moment of the 20th century. The picture of Jim with the American flag on his shoulders looking for his father is one of the most iconic images of all time.
Currently president of Gold Medal Strategies, Jim is this Boston-area based motivational speaking and sales training company. Over the past 30 years, Jim has inspired, instructed, and provided strategic and winning direction for employees and associates from more than 500 organizations and some of the world’s most recognized brands in the country.
Jim is in demand from coast to coast and internationally as a motivational speaker, spokesperson, marketing and sales strategist, and master storyteller.
Jim’s unique life experiences as an All-American goalie and NCAA Champion at Boston University, Olympic gold medalist, professional athlete, actor and highly successful business consultant enables him to provide his audience with insightful real life experiences like no other.
Jim is the author of recent business book, Gold Medal Strategies, Business Lessons from Americas Miracle Team, which focuses on his Gold Medal Strategies for Success.
Inspirational speaker, meditation teacher, and well-being expert
Pandit Dasa is a Mindful Leadership Expert. He has spoken on Mindful Leadership and conducted workshops at Google, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, State Farm, Bank of America, Comcast, Nationwide, Intel, Novartis, The World Bank, UBS, Royal Bank of Canada, UNICEF, Bank of Montreal, TD Ameritrade, Harvard, Columbia University, and many other institutions.
He has also presented at the World Government Summit in Dubai, the national SHRM convention, SHRM Arkansas, Oracle HCM conference, LEAD2017 and the WorkHuman Conferences. At these workshops, Pandit presents the research on Mindfulness and explains the importance of leading by example, appreciation, communicating mindfully and managing one’s emotions. He also engages the audiences in various breathing and focusing exercises that individuals will be able to implement at work and at home. Through these workshops, Pandit helps individuals develop positive leadership qualities, lower stress and anxiety, increase focus and productivity, and boost emotional intelligence.
Pandit has spoken at a TEDx conference and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, PBS, NPR, The New York Times, Psychology Today and writes for The Huffington Post. In his book, Urban Monk, Pandit writes about the turning point in his life that came after his family lost their multimillion-dollar business, which ultimately led him to living as a monk for 15 years in New York City. He uses his training and experiences to help corporate and student audiences manage stress and develop a work-life balance.
Emergency Medicine Physician, New York Times Best-selling Author, and Frequent Medical Expert on TODAY and CNN
Dr. Sampson Davis was raised as the fifth of six children in Newark, one of New Jersey’s poorest cities. As a child Dr. Davis grew-up in cramped living quarters, surrounded by fragmented families, crime, and drugs. Still, he was a good student, able to strike the fragile balance between being smart yet socially acceptable on the streets. It was this combination of skills, Dr. Davis says, that were most critical to his survival.
While attending University High School in Newark, Dr. Davis met Dr. Rameck Hunt and Dr. George Jenkins, two fellow students who together made a promise to become doctors. Dr. Davis and his two childhood friends each successfully fulfilled their pact and today Dr. Davis is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician.
In February 2013 Dr. Davis released his newest book, Living & Dying in Brick City–An E.R. Doctor Returns Home In addition to discussing Dr. Davis’ riveting experiences as an ER physician, the book also offers preventative guidance as a means of supporting healthier communities.
Dr. Davis has appeared on numerous talk and radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Oz, The Today Show, The View, PBS News Hour, Tavis Smiley and NPR as well as print publications including but not limited to Readers Digest, O Magazine, People, Washington Post, NY Times, USA Today, Vibe and Black Enterprise.
Ms. Winfrey also delivered the highest honor naming Dr. Davis, “One of The Premiere Role Models of the World.”
Dr. Davis was honored in 2000 with the Essence Lifetime Achievement Award and also named one of their forty most inspirational African Americans in the country. He is the youngest physician to receive the National Medical Association’s highest honor, The Scroll of Merit, and was previously honored on the 2009 BET Awards.
Today Dr. Davis spends his time practicing medicine and traveling the country delivering keynote speeches with timely messages. Dr. Davis believes it is important to give education a sense of style and fashion. To glorify and glamorize education is the key. A face must be present, a concrete image that all individuals across America can draw inspiration from. Dr. Davis considers his 3 D’s, Dedication, Determination and Discipline, as the necessary ingredients to success.
Graduating with honors, Dr. Davis received his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, his medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at the same hospital where he was born, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
Today, Dr. Davis is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician at St. Michaels Medical Center in Newark NJ. He has been a weekly correspondent on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and a frequent guest on CNN where he focuses on prevalent and life-changing medical topics. Dr. Davis has also co-authored New York Times best-selling books, The Pact, We Beat the Street and The Bond.
In 2000 during his residency, Dr. Davis along with his best friends felt the burning need to give back to communities in need, and together created The Three Doctors Foundation. This non-profit organization offers a series of free public programs focused upon health, education, leadership and mentoring.
Anthropologist and adventurer, a powerful storyteller who takes audiences on inspiring journey.
Wade Davis is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker whose work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, Africa to Australia, Polynesia to the Arctic.
Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society from 1999 to 2013, he is currently Professor of Anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Author of 22 books, including One River, The Wayfinders and Into the Silence, winner of the 2012 Samuel Johnson prize, the top nonfiction prize in the English language, he holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series written and produced for the NGS.
Davis, one of 20 Honorary Members of the Explorers Club, is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees, as well as the 2009 Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the 2011 Explorers Medal, the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for botanical exploration, the 2015 Centennial Medal of Harvard University, the 2017 Roy Chapman Andrews Society’s Distinguished Explorer Award, and the 2017 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration. In 2016, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2018 he became an Honorary Citizen of Colombia.
Sahara Desert Adventurer, Change Leadership and Engagement Expert
Change your narrative and you can change anything. That’s why Steve Donahue is in global demand as a speaker, consultant and thought leader. He has worked with over 500 organizations to accelerate change, transform culture and energize teams from the inside out.
Steve is a pioneer in the emerging field of Narrative Intelligence and its application for individual and organizational renaissance. He has delivered over 1,000 presentations on 4 continents. Some of his clients include AT&T, Boeing, Pepsico, UPS, Ford, Hilton Hotels and The World Bank.
Steve’s first book, Shifting Sands, has sold over 100,000 copies. An international bestseller, it uses his harrowing journey across the Sahara Desert as a metaphor for personal growth and corporate change. He also co-produced the highly acclaimed documentary film, Take My Advice, I Can’t. The film chronicles his 3 year-72,000 mile search for a new story and a reason to tell it. It was on this quest that Steve discovered how narratives drive change and revitalize engagement.
Donahue is known for insightful presentations that are both heart touching and hilarious. He is a spellbinding storyteller with a special gift for inspiring international audiences. All of Steve’s presentations are deeply researched to be industry specific, immediately relevant and packed with actionable content.
As a history-making mountain climber, business executive and author, Susan Ershler inspires audiences to challenge their perceived limitations and reach new heights of business and personal success.
Susan has won worldwide renown for climbing the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on every continent—while leading sales organizations at some of the nation's largest corporations. For more than a decade, she has been inspiring professionals and executives at Fortune 500 companies to reach peak performance by striving for their personal and professional best. In her popular keynotes, Susan shares her Project · Prepare · Persevere® methodology, which can transform any business organization into a dynamic force for revenue growth. Having risen through the ranks to corporate leadership, Susan keenly appreciates the challenges business professionals experience at every stage in their careers. She “walks the talk,” explaining the Seven Summits principles that everyone must master to reach Peak Performance and illustrating how to apply these techniques to overcome real-world work/life challenges. Whether focusing on leadership, achievement, sales performance or meeting personal goals, Susan inspires her audiences to take the next step in achieving their own vision of success.
In her first acclaimed book, Together on Top of the World; The Remarkable Story of the First Couple to Climb the Fabled Seven Summits, Susan shared her remarkable Everest adventure and the life lessons she learned on the mountain. Now, in her latest book, Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales: From Everest to Every Business, Achieving Peak Performance (published by HarperCollins), Susan examines the habits of success anyone can master to achieve peak performance in selling, business and leadership, using the same techniques and determination that empowered her to climb the world’s highest mountains.
Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Speaker, and the inspiration for the film The Pursuit of Happyness
Chris Gardner is an Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist, and single parent whose work has been recognized by many esteemed organization.
Gardner is the author of the 2006 autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, a New York Times and Washington Post #1 bestseller that has been translated into over forty languages. Gardner is also the inspiration for the acclaimed movie The Pursuit of Happyness for which Will Smith, starring as Gardner, received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations for his performance. Gardner’s second bestselling book, Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, was published in May 2009.
In the fall of 2010, Gardner was named the Ambassador of Pursuit and Happyness for AARP, which has nearly 40 million members worldwide. Always hard working and tenacious, a series of adverse circumstances in the early 1980’s left Gardner homeless in San Francisco and the sole guardian of his toddler son. Unwilling to give up Chris Jr. or his dreams of success, Gardner climbed the financial industry ladder from the very bottom. He worked at Dean Witter Reynolds and Bear Stearns & Co before founding the brokerage firm Gardner Rich in Chicago in 1987.
Chris Gardner’s aim, through his speaking engagements and media projects, is to help others achieve their full potential. He is a passionate philanthropist committed to organizations combating violence against women, homelessness, financial illiteracy and providing access to medical care and treatment; issues of the utmost importance to Gardner.
Chris Gardner resides in Chicago.
Inspiring speaker with a story of adventure, survival and overcoming extreme adversity.
Yossi Ghinsberg’s business adventures include: a tech entrepreneur in the heart of Silicon Valley, VP of a groundbreaking medical corporation and the visionary behind Chalalan the most celebrated eco-resort in the Bolivian Amazon. A world explorer and epic storyteller, he is a graduate of philosophy and business administration from Tel Aviv University.
His book ‘Jungle’ has sold millions of copies globally, aired as a docudrama on Discovery Channel and has been produced as a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe, entitled Jungle.
Yossi has met with world leaders, bringing his Amazon survival skills to institutes and organizations worldwide. He knows survival like no one else, and he knows why it is important for businesses to learn and embed these survival principles. Yossi advises leaders and teams worldwide on how to awaken their ‘Day to Day Hero,’ following a set of natural survival skills we have all forgotten that we possess. His unique insights are counter-intuitive, mind-bending and nothing short of transformational for individuals and organizations today.
Yossi knows that the old Darwinian approach is wrong, limiting and dated, and yet so prevalent. There is a new way of thinking about leadership and business with new science behind it. Fascinating and enlightening, Yossi is an epic storyteller who has shared the stage with luminaries such as Bill Clinton, Richard Branson and Wayne Dyer.
Named “One of the Most Interesting People in LA” by the LAWeekly, Dan Goods is passionate about creating moments in people’s lives where they are reminded of the gift and privilege of being alive.
As the “Visual Strategist” for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Dan has created installations about finding planets around other stars, including one where he drilled a hole into a grain of sand.
Dan shepherd an amazing team developing creative ways of communicating, and working to transform complex concepts into meaningful stories that can be universally understood. His work is seen in public spaces, art museums, and is in outer space.
In 2002 Dan graduated valedictorian from the graphic design program at Art Center College of Design. He was given a silver “International Design Excellence Award” for the eCLOUD sculpture at the San Jose Airport.
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