Record-Breaking Paralympian, Leader in the Next Generation of Prosthetics, Actor, Model and Speaker
Aimee Mullins is currently on the hugely successful, Emmy-nominated Netflix series Stranger Things, which is now the most-searched for title in Netflix history. 8.2 million people watched the entire series in the first sixteen days.
Aimée has also acted in a varied range of film and television roles alongside such talent as Rupert Friend, Vera Farmiga, Michael Shannon and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Aimée’s film debut was a starring role in the highly acclaimed film Cremaster 3, by contemporary artist Matthew Barney, first presented in the US at the Guggenheim Museum in 2003. The Guardian called it “one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema.”
She continued her work with Barney in River of Fundament, an adaptation of Norman Mailer’s novel ‘Ancient Evenings’, in which she starred as Isis. Chronicling the seven stages of a soul’s journey from death to rebirth, each filmed chapter is also accompanied by a one-time only live performance. The work, a six-hour operatic epic, premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music in February 2014.
Aimée first received worldwide media attention as an athlete. Born without fibulae in both legs, Aimée’s medical prognosis was discouraging; she was told she would never walk and would likely spend the rest of her life using a wheelchair. In an attempt for an outside chance at independent mobility, doctors amputated both her legs below the knee on her first birthday. The decision paid off. By age two, she had learned to walk on prosthetic legs, and spent her childhood swimming, biking, skiing, playing softball and soccer with everyone else.
After graduating high school with honors, Aimée was one of three students in the US chosen for a full academic scholarship from the Department of Defense, and at age 17 became the youngest person to hold a top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon, where she worked as an intelligence analyst.
While a Dean’s list student at the prestigious School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, she set her sights on making the US Team for the 1996 Atlanta Games. She enlisted the expertise of Frank Gagliano, one of the country’s most respected track coaches. Through this partnership, she became the first woman with a “disability” to compete in the NCAA, doing so on Georgetown’s nationally-ranked Division I track team.
Aimée set her sights on becoming the fastest woman in the world on prosthetic legs, and began to wonder why legs made for sprinting wouldn’t be modeled on those of the fastest land animal, rather than just those of a human. Working in collaboration with a cutting-edge biomedical engineer and a visionary prosthetist she went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump, outfitted with woven carbon-fiber prostheses that were modeled after the hind legs of a cheetah.
These legs, which Aimée was the first to wear, are now the international standard for amputee runners.
After a profile in Life magazine showcased her in the starting blocks at Atlanta, the world took notice. Aimée soon landed a 10-page feature in the inaugural issue of Sports Illustrated for Women, which led to her accepting numerous invitations to speak at international design conferences.
The discourse regarding aesthetic principles sparked Aimée’s interest in issues relating to body image and how fashion advertising impacted standard notions of femininity and beauty. In 1998, Aimée made her runway debut in London at the invitation of one of the world’s most celebrated fashion designers, Alexander McQueen. Walking alongside the supermodels of the world, Aimée’s groundbreaking, triumphant turn propelled her onto the magazine covers of ID and Dazed and Confused.
After then making her mark in the highest echelons of the fashion press (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Glamour, and Elle), she was also named as one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World”, Esquire’s “Women We Love,” Jane magazine’s “10 Gutsiest Women,” Sports Illustrated’s “Coolest Girls in Sport,” and was celebrated as the “Hottest Muse” in Rolling Stone’s annual Hot List. In 2011, she was named as the new Global Brand Ambassador to the world’s largest beauty brand L’Oréal Paris, another cultural milestone.
An influential voice in today’s culture, she is regularly invited to share her ideas at global conferences, such as the world-famous TED conferences, where she is one of their most popular speakers and was named a TED All-Star. Her talks have been translated into 41 languages and have been seen by millions of viewers worldwide.
In 2012 she was designated a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In 2017, Aimée was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame joining fellow honorees “whose leadership and achievements have changed the course of American history.”
Aimée serves on the boards of various non-profit organizations, most notably the Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, of which Aimée was elected President from 2007 to 2009. Aimée also had four years as Vice-President for the nation’s oldest non-profit employment service for persons with disabilities, ‘Just One Break’. She was the first woman on the board since the organization was founded in 1947 by Eleanor Roosevelt. As Secretary of State in 2012, Hillary Clinton appointed her to the State Department’s ‘Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports’.
Aimée’s impact on modern society and her influence on future generations is undeniable.
Her likeness has been immortalized in exhibits at institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the NCAA Hall of Fame, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Modern, the Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the Women’s Museum, where she is honored for her contribution to sport among the “Greatest American Women of the 20th Century.” She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017.
Inspiring Speaker on Leadership, Entrepreneurship & Visionary Thinking and Co-Founder of The Second Cup.
Frank O'Dea inspires people to achieve inspiring results. His story of triumph over adversity in business and his personal life inspires audiences around the world. Against all odds, O’Dea went from being a homeless panhandler to a successful international entrepreneur and humanitarian. He is a founder of The Second Cup chain of coffee stores and is the founder of an international document security service (now a division of Iron Mountain). He has also launched several other innovative and successful businesses and international not-for-profit organizations. His motivational message resonates with audiences who are looking for hope for a better future or want to learn from his experiences.
Along side the success of his businesses, Frank co-founded Street Kids International, helping homeless children in third world countries, and the Canadian Landmine Foundation, an organization that raises funds for the dismantling of minefields around the world. Together with the United Nations and world figures like Colin Powell and Sir Paul McCartney, he led the international fundraising event “Night of A Thousand Dinners” that was taken up in 29 countries around the world.
Currently, Frank is a member of the Advisory Committee of World Financial Group and is the Chair of Cuso International, an international development agency operating in 22 countries. He holds honorary degrees from two universities, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. This incredibly inspiring story of resilience and triumph in the face of adversity is retold in his captivating autobiography, which is in its fifth printing by Penguin Books, “When All You Have Is Hope”.
Extreme Adventurer, Award- Winning Author, Motivating Thought Leader.
Neal Petersen draws from extraordinary life experiences. Delivering a strong and timely message of adaptability, focus and perseverance. In his captivating and empowering No Barriers, Only Solutions keynote, Neal demonstrates how success is realized -- through leadership, balancing risk against return, innovation and being flexible enough to adapt to constantly shifting winds. Neal has “wowed” international audiences with his keynote and how he relates and connects story to their challenges.
Transform your business by turning set-backs and barriers into opportunities. How do you navigate forward, deal with constant wind shifts, sudden storms, conquer fear, isolation, while dealing with an ever present changing world? Neal takes audiences on a captivating journey around the world, using his remarkable life-story and shows, by example, that you can achieve your goals by turning set-backs and barriers into opportunities -- with the right attitude and ability to foster innovation, build stronger teams, adapt under pressure, and cultivate a mind-set that focuses on no barriers -- only solutions!
Neal shares how he overcame the formidable barriers of a childhood physical disability, poverty and the humiliation of the harsh Apartheid era in South Africa to compete in one of the most dangerous of all sports: solo yacht racing around the globe -- 27,000 miles, 9 months at sea -- alone, around Cape Horn, and in the smallest yacht he designed and built himself.
Neal is a natural storyteller, riveting, engaging and highly entertaining. In these challenging times of uncertainty, many feel like solo sailors -- adrift, grasping for survival. He challenges audiences to find their treasures, to use their experiences to navigate these challenging times to their advantage. Attendees are guaranteed to hang on the edges of their seats as he challenges them to think about the choices they make and the consequences they may have.
Neal Petersen is famous for his contagious energy, subtle humor and flexibility. He seamlessly customizes every keynote to fit audience challenges or themes. Neal delivers an extraordinary overall experience using a treasure chest (no podium), stunning imagery and lightening, thunder and (fog optional). Audiences are riveted the moment he steps on stage and remain glued until he exits.
Neal Petersen has delivered keynotes at multiple events for IBM, AIG, Cisco, Mars, Microsoft, Intel, Mass Mutual, Prudential, Citigroup and MasterCard and MDRT.
At the age of 13, Chantal Petitclerc lost the use of her legs following an accident. Convincing her to take up swimming in order to develop her strength and stamina, her high school physical education teacher, Gaston Jacques, would have a decisive impact on her life. For Chantal, that was her first contact with sport and training. Four years later, she would discover wheelchair athletics, paving the way for a long and very successful career which would take her to the Barcelona Games in 1992, and ultimately, to the Beijing Games in 2008.
Chantal Petitclerc returned from the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games with 5 gold medals, 2 new world records and 1 new Paralympic record, making her the most celebrated track athlete in history as well as the only Canadian athlete to have won gold medals at the Olympics, Paralympics and Commonwealth Games.
Her career in numbers:
- Five Paralympic Games (Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing)
- 21 Paralympic medals (including 14 gold medals)
- 3 world records (200m, 400m and 800m)
- Paralympic records (200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m)
- 1 Olympic gold medal in the 800m (demonstration sport)
Chantal has received several recognitions for her sporting career, including being appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre du Quebec (2005), being named Personality of the Year by La Presse newspaper (2004) and receiving the Laureus international award (2005). Other recognition:
- Companion of the Order of Canada
- Lou Marsh Trophy as Canadian athlete of the year
- Star on Canada's Walk of Fame
- International Paralympic Committee Female athlete of the year
- La Presse Sports personality of the year
- Honorary Doctorate, University of Ottawa
- 2010 United States Sports Academy's (USSA) Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC Disabled Athlete Award.
While the Beijing Games would be the last time she would be participating in track competitions, Chantal Petitclerc nevertheless continues to train as she intends to take part in road marathons over the next few years. In 2012, she tried for the first time what could be a new career path as coach and mentor of the UK track and field team at the London Paralympic Games. After her return to Canada, she was named Chef de Mission for the Glascow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Chantal Petitclerc is a highly sought after speaker, and shares her story with dozens of groups each year, both throughout Canada and abroad. She participates in projects by various Paralympic athletics and sports organizations, in addition to working as a spokesperson for Défi Sportif in Montréal and as an ambassador for the international Right to Play organization.
Inspiring Captain who landed Air Transat Flight 236 over the Azores with no fuel.
Those who knew Captain Robert Piché instantly reacted the same way when they heard radio and TV reports that the pilot of an Air Transat Airbus A330 had just made an emergency landing in the Azores after running out of fuel - and that all 291 passengers and 13 crew members were safe and sound.
Captain Robert Piché is no stranger to turbulence and he is the first to wonder if the ups and downs of his life were a necessary prelude to the supreme test he would face on August 24, 2001. As a keynote speaker his story of adventure inspires and motivates audiences everywhere. He presents in both English and French.
The tale begins in Quebec on the snow-covered runways of the Gaspé, James Bay and the lower North Shore, and weaves its way to Vietnam and the stormy skies over Ho Chi Minh City, back to the American South and a Georgia prison, then into the pulsating night jungle of Montreal, and on the roads of Iqaluit. Until that unforgettable moment when Captain PichÃ© finds himself at the controls of an aircraft whose engines have run out of fuel 39,000 feet up at night in the mid-Atlantic. A moment that will leave you breathless and help you understand the real meaning of courage under pressure and Leadership when it counts.
In August 2002, Captain Piché and First Officer De Jager received the Superior Airmanship Award from the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) in Washington. The Air Line Pilots Association is composed of 66,000 members in North America and 300,000 members in the world. This award acknowledged Piché and De Jagers extraordinary piloting abilities as well as the professionalism they demonstrated in extreme adversity. That November of same year Captain Piché was honored by Quebec Premier Bernard Landry at the National Assembly. He also published his biography, Robert Piché: Hands on Destiny with journalist Pierre Cayouette.
Captain Piché also received The Trans-Canada (or "McKee") Trophy, the oldest aviation award in Canada, by the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute in April 2003. The Trophy is awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of air operations.
Joe Piscatella is one of the world's most respected experts on how to live a healthy lifestyle in the real world. He knows the science of balanced living, but uniquely understands the practical application of such science from his own experience.
Picture this: you are 32 years old with a young family and a successful career. One day while playing tennis, you feel some pressure in your chest. Two days later you are having cardiac bypass surgery for aggressive coronary disease.
That's what happened to Joe. The prognosis was not good. One doctor even predicted that he would not live to age 40. But Joe didn't accept that opinion. His philosophy is You can't change the cards you were dealt, but you can change the way you play them. He concentrated on eating healthier, managing stress, exercising effectively and keeping a positive attitude. And it's worked. Joe recently celebrated the 36th anniversary of that surgery, making him one of the longest-lived survivors of cardiac bypass in the world. He is living proof of the effectiveness of healthy habits.
A high-energyspeaker, Joe is a man with a visionary message and the extraordinary skill to tell it. He uses the art of storytelling, contagious humor and decades of experience to deliver a powerful, practical message that inspires audiences to live healthier lives. Over 2 million people have attended Joe's powerful keynote speeches and breakout sessions steeped in humor, insight and practical how to tools. With his energy, sense of humor and decades of experience, Joe captivates and motivates audiences, inspiring them to take steps toward healthier living. The effectiveness and practicality of Joe's healthy-living advice is recognized nationally. He is a frequent guest on The Today Show, CNN, Good Morning America and Fox News, and is a guest expert on WebMD.
He has hosted three PBS television specials on lifestyle and health, and is in pre-production for a program on the health of children. He has served as the only non-medical member of the National Institutes of Health Expert Panel on Cardiac Rehabilitation, and is member of the Legislative Task Force on Youth Health, charged with improving fitness in children in Washington State.
Joe's work includes Don't Eat Your Heart Out and 12 other best-selling books. His most recent are Positive Mind, Healthy Heart, a book to motivate and inspire health lifestyle habits, The Healthy Heart Cookbook, straight information on healthy diet and Prevent, Halt & Reverse Heart Disease, a cutting-edge book on stress, diet and exercise.
Joe is the Founder and President of the Institute for Fitness & Health. His community and corporate wellness program - 6 Weeks to a Healthier You - is hailed as one of the most effective in the country. In one program, 650 people lost 4,200 pounds. Joe engages audiences with humor, anecdotes, the latest science and a personal perspective that makes them listen and take action.
Captain Charlie Plumb has lived what he believes to be the American Dream. As a farm kid from Kansas, he fantasized about airplanes although he felt certain he would never have the opportunity to pilot one. It would be the United States Navy who afforded Plumb the opportunity to live out that dream.
After graduating from the Naval Academy, Plumb completed Navy Flight Training and reported to Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego where he flew the first adversarial flights in the development of what would be called The Navy Fighter Weapons School, currently known as TOP GUN. The next year, Plumb's squadron the Aardvarks launched on the Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk with Fighter Squadron 114 to fly the Navy's hottest airplane, the F-4 Phantom Jet. Code named
Plumber, Charlie Plumb flew 74 successful combat missions over North Viet Nam and made over 100 carrier landings. On his 75th mission, just five days before the end of his tour, Plumb was shot down over Hanoi, taken prisoner, tortured, and spent the next 2,103 days as a Prisoner Of War.
Following his repatriation, Plumb continued his Navy flying career in Reserve Squadrons where he flew A-4 Sky Hawks, A-7 Corsairs and FA-18 Hornets. His last two commands as a Naval Reservist were the on the Aircraft Carrier Corral Sea, and at a Fighter Air Wing in California. He retired from the United States Navy after 28 years of service.
To this day, Captain Plumb continues to fly left-seat at every opportunity. He has personally owned 8 airplanes, the most treasured being a World War II PT-19 Open-Cockpit Antique. He currently owns a Rutan-designed experimental single-engine Long-Eze.
She is the Founder of Hello Fears, a social movement empowering millions to step outside of the comfort zone and tap into their full potential. She has spoken at TEDx, Google, INBOUND, Facebook, ESPN, Netflix, Procter and Gamble, Microsoft, Toyota, World Domination Summit, Festival of Media Global, and many more.
In April 2015, Michelle embarked on a 100-day project that would change the course of her life. Born to a family of Holocaust survivors, Michelle was accustomed to living with fear. But when she moved to New York, she quickly realized that the “big apple” was not for the fearful. In order to rewrite her definition of fear and change her approach to life, Michelle decided to face 100 of her fears in a period of 100 days, uploading every experience to Youtube sharing them with the world.
At around day 40, the project was discovered by the media, becoming a viral phenomenon. Her work has been featured on CBS, CNN, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Fox News, Telemundo, Glamour, Elle, The Rachael Ray Show, Refinery29, and Daily Mail among many others. Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Sofia Vergara, Zoey Deschanel, Lil Wayne and George Takei also shared Michelle’s project, generating millions of views.
In 2017 Michelle started speaking to the younger generation. Since then, she has empowered over 20,000 students at schools and universities around the world to live with courage, find their authenticity and embrace their growth paths.
Cheryl Pounder brings her high energy and effervescent personality to each and every event, large or small. With her warmth and friendliness, Cheryl immediately makes guests feel like they have a new friend. For fundraising events, Cheryl encourages giving and supports the cause with inspirational personal stories. With galas and award presentations, Cheryl is professional, yet down to earth. There’s never a dull moment with Cheryl. With her experience as a sports commentator, radio host and motivational keynote speaker, Cheryl keeps the energy moving while focusing on the goal of the event she’s at.
Success in one field doesn’t necessarily translate to another area. In the case of former Canadian Women’s hockey player, Cheryl Pounder, who has made the transition from ice to stage, the move has been a triumph.
In the sports world where accomplishments are measured by medals and titles, there aren’t many who can claim a list of achievements as glowing as Cheryl’s.
Her run of success began early in the 1990s when her ice hockey team won the Under-18 Canadian National championship. In 1994, she won Gold for the first time at the 1994 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship, and during her illustrious career with the National Women’s team, Cheryl won two Olympic Gold medals (2002 and 2006) and was crowned IIHF World Champion six times.
The shining on-ice achievements aside, it’s been Cheryl’s varied experiences on international stages that have made her an in-demand speaker, with keynote clients such as Tim Hortons, Maple Leaf Foods, CIBC, TD Bank, Manulife, Women in Leadership Groups, Girl Guides of Canada, Western-Ivey-Executive MBA and the City of Toronto, to name a few. She believes that her approach, one that is interactive, passionate and positive, has a lot to do with her ability to cross over to diverse audiences.
“When I speak to people, I want them to connect with material that they can identify with, that stimulates a thought process,” she says.
For Cheryl, everything is rooted in self-confidence, something that was instilled in her as a child. ”My family had a huge impact on my personal goals as an athlete. My grandfather was the GM of the Montreal Junior Canadiens and my grandmother was a prominent softball player in the 1940’s. Along with my parents, they taught me to ‘believe’, ‘finish something you start’, and persevere through adversity.” Adversity can be a learning experience and according to Cheryl, “It is important that we learn not only from our successes but also from our failures. Change is the key to ultimately staying on the path toward excellence.”
It is all part of a journey that we must be willing to take – a journey that must be inspired to take for ourselves and those we work with...our TEAM. To this point, she adds, “When the team goal is met, the individual goals take care of themselves. Seize the opportunities, get outside your comfort zone, trust yourself, and engage in your life, don’t just participate. Most importantly, listen to your strong side, even when your weak side is louder.”
The journey continues for Cheryl – her varied background and knowledge were major factors for TSN & CBC choosing her as a colour commentator for the coverage of the women's hockey tournament at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics. In her sporting life and in her life off the ice, Cheryl continues to motivate with a passion that comes across in all her worlds.
Cheryl’s keynotes are perfect for: non-profits, corporations, youth, women.
Lewis Pugh is the only person to have completed a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world.
Over a period of 30 years he has pioneered swims in the most challenging environments on earth including the Antarctic, the North Pole and the Himalayas and developed an understanding of the beauty and fragility of life and its many ecosystems.
In 2007 he undertook the first long-distance swim across the North Pole, equipped just in a Speedo swimming costume, to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice. He followed this up with a swim across a glacial lake on Mt Everest to draw attention to the melting glaciers in the Himalayas and the impact the reduced water supply will have on the region.
In 2013 the United Nations appointed him as the first UN Patron of the Oceans. Last year he played a pivotal role in creating the largest protected area in the world in the Ross Sea off Antarctica. The media coined the term “Speedo Diplomacy” to describe his efforts swimming in the icy waters of Antarctica and shutting between the USA and Russia to help negotiate the final agreement.
Lewis is also one of the world’s leading business speakers and the author of the bestseller “Achieving the Impossible”. He gives approximately 100 speeches a year to companies such as Barclays, Ernst & Young, BMW, Unilever and Microsoft. He speaks on leadership, teamwork, change, and achieving the “impossible”. TED describes him as a “master story-teller” and his speech at the 2008 Business Innovation Forum in Rhode Island was voted as one of the “7 Most Inspiring Speeches on the Web”.
In 2010 Lewis was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. And most recently he was chosen as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year.
Former CEO of Southwest Airlines. Inspirational leadership speaker.
Howard Putnam led the visioning process at Southwest as well as further developing the
fun culture and excellent customer service that Southwest is still known for today. Southwest has been profitable every year for over thirty years, a record unsurpassed by any other airline.
Howard was raised on an Iowa farm and learned to fly out of a pasture in his Father's J-3 Piper Cub. He entered the airline business as a baggage handler at Midway Airport in Chicago for Capital Airlines at age 17. Capital was soon merged into United and Howard held thirteen different positions in sales, services and staff assignments in several cities, before being named Group Vice President of Marketing for United Airlines, the world's largest airline, in 1976.
In 1978 he was recruited to become President and CEO of fledgling Southwest Airlines in Dallas, TX. While at Southwest Howard and his team tripled the revenues and tripled profitability in three years. They also successfully guided Southwest through airline deregulation and Southwest was the first air carrier to order the Boeing 737-300, which later became the largest selling aircraft ever for Boeing.
In 1981, Howard was recruited by the board of directors of Braniff International to come aboard as CEO and save and/or restructure the financially failing airline. He was the first airline CEO to successfully take a major carrier into, through and out of chapter 11. Braniff flew again in 1984.
He is the author of The Winds of Turbulence on leadership and ethics. Harvard University wrote a case study on his experiences at Braniff, The Ethics of Bankruptcy as a model as to how to handle stakeholders in crisis.
Former Pro Football Wide Receiver, U.S. Bobsled Olympian, and Inspirational Speaker on Change
Johnny Quinn is a professional speaker who travels the globe to inspire audiences by delivering thought-provoking and action-packed messages to businesses, teams and organizations. He digs-in deep on the lessons learned in pro football and what it took to become a U.S. Olympian. He dives-in to the knowledge shared by mentors of uber successful businesses and the daily decision making of leaders and winners. Johnny equips us to embrace change, accept risk to live life on purpose.
Johnny has an athletic background which opened the door to many opportunities. He is a U.S. Olympian in the sport of bobsled and competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He traveled the world with Team USA and competition took him to Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Switzerland. Competing, living and interacting within different cultures around the world has provided a unique perspective, and ability, to connect with today’s diverse workforce.
Johnny declared for the NFL Draft in 2007 and was ranked in the Top 10 at the wide receiver position in career receptions, career yards and career touchdowns at the collegiate level. Thirty-five wide receivers went on to be selected in the 2007 NFL Draft, and Johnny was not one of them. Shortly after the draft concluded, he signed his first free-agent contract with the Buffalo Bills. In 2008 he signed his second free-agent contract with the Green Bay Packers. After bouncing around the NFL for two years, Johnny went on to play in the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 2009 as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He played the Montreal Alouettes in the 97th Grey Cup and lost 28-27 on a 33-yard field goal as time ran out.
Johnny was cut three times, lost $2.6 million in NFL contracts and blew out his knee. He then became a U.S. Olympian. From an NFL failure to a U.S. Olympian, his “what’s next” attitude led to success he never imagined.
It was a long-time goal of Johnny's to write and publish a book. His dream came true as his first book was released in February 2018, PUSH: Breaking through the Barriers. After the first 12 hours on Amazon.com, the book was temporarily out of stock which was a pleasant surprise to see as a first time author.
He has been featured on ABC, CNN, CBS, Good Morning America, NBC Olympics, Fox Sports, TIME, USA Today and many other media and news outlets around the world. He even earned a spot to compete on the popular TV show, American Ninja Warrior!
Johnny graduated with a Pre-Law degree in 2006. In 2011, he was inducted into the University of North Texas Hall of Fame as a first ballot candidate. In 2013, he was selected as one of two receivers to the University of North Texas All-Century Team. When not globe-trotting for speaking engagements, he lives north of Dallas with his lovely wife Amanda and beautiful baby daughter Amelia Rose.
Inspiring speaker with remarkable story of overcoming adversity. Author of A Stroke of Luck.
In the last 2 years Dr. Howard Rocket has started four new businesses. That is an amazing accomplishment in itself but even more amazing when you realize that a few years ago a stroke nearly killed him. For Dr. Rocket passionately believes that your attitude is everything especially in these challenging times. Howard was a successful dentist-turned-entrepreneur when he suffered a massive stroke on the morning of October 27, 1995. By that evening Howard was a dying man, a blood clot lodged deep in his brain, his body barely responding to medical intervention. There had been warning signs for days prior, but he did not understand their cause, nor the crisis that they foreshadowed.
With valiant medical attention and good fortune Howard survived and made a stunning recovery, but the experience changed his life forever both in body and in attitude. He has since co-authored A Stroke of Luck, his personal story of how recovery from a stroke changed his life and his outlook. A powerful speaker, Dr. Rocket helps people understand that they can overcome any obstacle.
Inspirational speaker, renowned explorer, anthropologist, author and TV personality.
Dr. Jeff Salz has translated over 30 years of personal exploration and expedition leadership into lively, inspirational keynotes and seminars that instill audience members with fresh strategies and enthusiasm for life and career. With a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and a Masters in experiential education Jeff spent 10 years as a university professor. For the last 15 years, he has been safely guiding organizations through the turbulent seas of change and facilitating enhanced teamwork in organizations by helping them build
cultures of authenticity. Jeff's best selling book, The Way of Adventure: Transforming Your Life and Work with Spirit and Vision, is a manual that assists organizations to keep the flame of adventure alive every day.
On stage, Jeff's humorous style combined with solid content and proven professionalism guarantee your organization an outstanding event every time. Jeff creates the foundation for adventurous thinking in any organization by presenting a unique perspective on taking risks. It's not the adventure that only occurs at rarefied air that he talks about
it's the adventure that occurs everywhere, everyday. Jeff shows audiences that our life must consist of adventure for a truly meaningful life. He gives audiences clear instructions that enable them to put the passion and commitment of adventure to work in their organizations and daily life.
Critically Acclaimed Film Director and Producer, Author, Speaker and Storyteller
Eric Saperston is a critically acclaimed film director and producer, successful author, as well as an award-winning speaker and storyteller. A prolific public speaker, Eric has inspired people the world over.
Eric is Chief Creative Officer of Live In Wonder, a global lifestyle company on the cutting-edge of communication, film and interactive events designed to cause and create wonder in the world. Live In Wonder celebrates eco-friendly practices, social entrepreneurism and global citizenship.
Eric's audiences include Nike, Million Dollar Round Table, Coca-Cola, Wachovia, General Mills, Kaiser Permanente, Hilton, Toyota, as well as Harvard, MIT, Emory, Georgia Tech, Duke, Stanford, UCLA, Miami of Ohio, San Diego State and Notre Dame.
He has been a featured guest on The Today Show, CNN, CNN Headline News, PBS and has been interviewed and published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Spin Magazine, Fast Company and National Geographic.
British Adventurer, Television Presenter, Author and Motivational Speaker
Debra Searle MVO, MBE is a truly inspirational woman; a professional adventurer, author, BBC presenter and gender equality advocate, Debra is also a keynote speaker par excellence who is trusted by the world’s top organisations such as IBM, Unilever, HSBC, UBS, Microsoft, Google and Pfizer. She has over 12 years’ experience and has addressed more than 800 corporate audiences, so you can be confident that your audience will be in safe hands.
Debra first hit the headlines when she set out to row across the Atlantic with her husband. Unfortunately he had to be rescued so Debra, a novice rower, continued alone and rowed 3000 miles from Tenerife to Barbados. It should have taken them six weeks but, to achieve her goal, Debra ended up spending 3 ½ months at sea alone, encountering 30' waves, sharks, and force 8 squalls in her 23 foot plywood boat. Since returning from this adventure, Debra has gone on to undertake solo & team expeditions across the globe, including canoeing the Yukon River for a BBC documentary with Bruce Parry, sailing the Southern Ocean, and racing in the Monte Carlo Rally in a 1957 Alfa Romeo.
Yet Debra is more than your usual sports speaker. She graduated from university with 1st Class Honours, starting her first company, a dot-com, at the age of 23 and second at 27. More recently Debra founded a diversity consultancy and training company, which specialises in innovative corporate programmes, such as the LeasePlan Women’s Arctic Challenge. She is a founding member of the Women’s Business Network Forum, which gathers together Heads of Women’s Networks from across major corporations in order to share best practice in D&I.
Debra’s spirit of adventure gained her an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen and she was delighted to be appointed a trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in 2003, the youngest and only female trustee working alongside His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex. Debra has been appointed a Member of the Victorian Order (MVO) for her services to the Award.
Debra is renowned for her ability to tailor her speeches to clients’ needs. Having spoken across every major industry including banking, consultancy, direct sales, education, healthcare, franchises and retail she has the expertise to understand the specifics of your industry and to craft her speech accordingly. Debra powerfully illustrates her message with slides and stunning video footage, leaving her audience in no doubt of their own ability to achieve the extraordinary.
Founder of 'because I said I would', a humanitarian, social entrepreneur, leadership and TEDx Speaker
Alex Sheen is the founder of because I said I would, an international social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Sparked by a tragedy in his life, Alex created a concept called the Promise Card, and began mailing cards to anyone who requested them at no cost. Since 2012, over 9.81 MILLION Promise Cards have been distributed to over 153 countries. In 2013, Alex left his Corporate Strategy Lead position at a leading software company to dedicate himself entirely to the nonprofit.
Alex is author of the upcoming book “because I said I would,” due for release in January 2019.
Alex’s unique perspective on accountability, leadership, commitment, and self-control developed both from his responsibilities in leading a global effort about keeping promises and his personal experience fulfilling his own promises.
Alex’s personal promises include:
- Walking 245 miles across the entire state of Ohio in under 10 days to fulfill a promise to the three Cleveland women who were held captive for 10 years
- Volunteering at 52 different nonprofit organizations in a single year
- Promising children with cancer trips to Disneyland and personally delivering 100 tickets.
Alex’s work has been featured on CNN, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, TODAY Show, Good Morning America, NPR, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, CBS Nightly News, and many other programs. He has been featured on the cover of Spirit Magazine, and honored as a Steve Harvey “Harvey’s Hero”. Alex’s efforts in social media have been featured in BuzzFeed’s annual “Most Important Viral Videos”, and his viral posts have made the #1 spot on the front page of Reddit.com over 10 times. As a nationally respected thought-leader who has been featured at multiple TEDx conferences, Alex has spoken at over 527 events since 2013.
Meet Jay Shetty the British-born, former monk & award-winning digital strategist turned captivating host, storyteller and viral trend content creator. Since launching his video channel in 2016, Jay’s viral wisdom videos have garnered over 4 billion views and he has gained over 25 million social media followers globally.
Jay was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 for being a game-changer and influencer in the world of Media. Jay aims to deliver educational and insightful content in an entertaining, uplifting format -- with the mission of making wisdom go viral. His inspirational video reach is known to skyrocket upwards of 100 million views within days of launch. He has created content for and partnered with the likes of Snapchat & Facebook and serves on the National Geographic Chasing Genius Council.
After meeting a monk at the age of 18, Jay sought to redefine personal success. He was inspired by a life of service, impact and passion as opposed to money, fame and power. After graduating with a first-class BSc (Hons) Degree in Behavioral Science from Cass Business School, he turned down lucrative job offers from prestigious companies, moved to India and lived as a monk. He traded his suits for robes, shaved his head, slept on the floor and lived out of a gym locker. Jay meditated for 4-8 hours a day and studied ancient philosophy. Half the day was spent on personal growth and the other on helping others. This included everything from personal and collective meditation, study and reflection to teaching and philanthropy. For three years, Jay helped build sustainable villages, food programs distributing over one million meals per day and coached Millennials throughout India and Europe.
Jay received a proposal from his guru who believed he could share what he had learnt if he left the path. Jay moved back to London with his parents, in massive debt with no recognizable skills on his resume. Fortunately, his friends, now working for the largest organizations in the world yet experiencing tremendous stress and pressure, invited Jay to coach them on well-being, purpose and mindfulness. Jay began sharing his experiences as a monk in the world's largest corporations including EY and Nasdaq.
Driven by a desire to share his learnings with as many people as possible, he re-engaged with the world and dove head first into learning about the tools and techniques that might allow knowledge to spread as fast as entertainment. He joined Accenture, helping them build their digital division while learning about the forces shaping the new digital landscape. He quickly became their #1 social media influencer, having advised over 150 executives on their personal brands, which provided a very broad base with which to test theories. He leveraged his findings to launch his own Facebook page in 2016.
Jay’s videos were spotted by Arianna Huffington, who asked him to create a series for HuffPost. His first four videos hit over 50 million views -- the highest HuffPost had ever received. Arianna invited Jay to New York to be a Senior Host & Producer for HuffPost Live where he created #FollowTheReader. The Facebook Live Daily Talk Show, featuring authors and life changing ideas, became #1 for audience engagement -- with themes that include passion, purpose, mindfulness, resilience, failure and communication.
These days, Jay continues to expand his brand through his viral video agency, group coaching & workshops.
First Canadian to climb Everest, inspirational and motivating speaker on commitment and teamwork.
Laurie Skreslet captivates, inspires, and entertains as he imparts his remarkable wisdom, gained from a lifetime of adventure and achievement. Enhanced with spectacular multimedia visuals, his presentations convey the importance of personal commitment, teamwork, preparation, and dedication to excellence -- keys to success on Mount Everest, and keys to success in business.
On October 5, 1982, Laurie Skreslet became the first Canadian to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest. Since then, he has revisited the challenge again and again, continuing to climb from various directions and with alternate equipment. Building upon his life as an adventurer, he has also become renowned for his spectacular presentations to corporate and professional groups. Helping individuals and organizations to uncover and explore the parallels between their business environment and that of high-risk adventure and exploration comes naturally to Laurie.
In order to attempt climbing Everest, Laurie and his team spent over five years planning and raised more than three million dollars. Still dealing with the horror of four team members deaths in the infamous Khumbu Icefall, Laurie personally had to recover from three cracked ribs incurred in a fall early in the climb. Despite these and countless other adversities he had accomplished mountaineering's ultimate achievement - and made history in the process.
Laurie brings to life the principles of personal best and beating fear of failure that enabled him to reach his Everest goals, and which can be applied by anyone trying to achieve difficult goals of their own. Participants learn that achievement is not a matter of luck or destiny, but a philosophy and a process that can be applied to any situation.
Harvard Physician, Mentor, Runner, International Humanitarian; Runner Turned First Responder in the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing
Dr. Natalie Stavas shares her inspiring story as she takes you back to April 15, 2013 - when approaching the finish line of her fifth Boston marathon - just blocks away heard explosions, and she ran towards them. Arriving at the scene she went to work administering CPR, applying tourniquets, and triaging the wounded.
What led her to make that fateful decision to run into a terrorist attack? An expert on chaos, Natalie Stavas attacks every obstacle with the same attitude: “You run towards that which you fear, that which challenges you, that which is oppositional.” Running toward chaos actually makes chaos more manageable.
Following these actions President Barack Obama, Katie Couric, and Anderson Cooper honored Natalie for her role as a first responder. Improper Bostonian magazine named Dr. Stavas one of “Boston’s Best" and The Boston Globe awarded her with “2013 Bostonian of the Year” - an honor bestowed upon those that shape the biggest story of the year in a remarkable way.
After the bombings Dr. Stavas was so motivated that she increased her efforts in preventing childhood violence and improving the health of urban communities. She is a mentor for Sole Train - a non-profit organization guiding inner-city youth on a path towards their full potential through running. She is also the Medical Advisor for the Appalachian Mountain Club, helping improve the health of children by getting them outside.
Dr. Stavas’ work goes beyond borders - traveling to Haiti throughout the year, she provides medical care to children and helps strengthen the fragile medical infrastructure. A documentary featuring this work as a medical pioneer premiered at the 2014 South by Southwest film festival.
Dr. Stavas has written for multiple outlets including the Huffington Post, the Center for Disease Control, Self Magazine and the Medical Bag.
She has been featured in Runners World, The New York Times, LA Times, The Boston Globe, The New Yorker, Time and People Magazine. Described as a healer, educator, and community leader she received the 2012 Change Maker award from The Boston Foundation.
Dr. Natalie Stavas is currently a physician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Trained and educated at Harvard University, Natalie’s area of experience is in childhood trauma, decreasing youth violence and researching how we can better protect and serve high-risk children.
She is pursuing fellowship training in Child Protection pediatrics and obtaining a Masters in Health Science and Public Policy at The University of Pennsylvania. She was recently named The Wellbeing/Work-Life Integration Specialist for the Department of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Keep an eye out for her upcoming book, Sole to Soul, about the transformative power that running has on high-risk youth, a simple solution to the complicated problem of childhood poverty and violence.
Physician, Entrepreneur, Longevity Expert and Visionary Culture Warrior
Dr. Bill Thomas is a humanitarian who advocates that “What we need is a radical reinterpretation of longevity that makes elders (and their needs) central to our collective pursuit of happiness and well-being.” He is an author, entrepreneur, musician, teacher, farmer and physician whose wide-ranging work explores the terrain of human aging. Best known for his health care system innovations, Dr. Thomas is the founder of a global non-profit (The Eden Alternative) which works to improve the care provided to older people. He is the creator of The Green House® which Provider Magazine has called the “Pinnacle of Culture Change.” Dr. Thomas also developed the Senior ER Model of Care and is now working to transform the acute care services provided to elders.
His synthesis of inspiration, imagination and action led the Wall Street Journal to highlight Dr. Thomas as one of the nation’s “Top 10 Innovators” changing the future of retirement in America and U.S. News and World Report to name him as one of “America’s Best Leaders.” The magazine noted his “startling commonsense ideas and his ability to persuade others to take a risk,” and concluded that “this creative and wildly exuberant country doctor has become something of a culture changer -- re-imagining how Americans will approach aging in the 21st century.”
Dr. Thomas recently starred in the Sundance award-winning documentary Alive Inside. He has been traveling the country since 2014 starring in what he calls his ChangingAging tour, a traveling pro-aging festival featuring “non-fiction theater" stage performances, workshops and community expos. “People hear that a doctor is coming to town to talk about aging and they expect me to show up wearing a white coat with PowerPoint slides. I show up with a guitar, a bass player, a theater set, costumes, music, art, mythology, storytelling, biography, and neuroscience all mixed up. It’s kind of like a TED Talk on steroids.” The ChangingAging tour has visited more than 130 communities in the U.S. and Canada.
A firm believer in data, Dr. Thomas made the most of his 130+ city tour to ask thousands of elders the question, “What is the biggest challenge facing you as you age?” The data pointed overwhelmingly to the lack of housing options that allow people to age in the place and manner of their choosing. This led Dr. Thomas to his newest innovation, Minka Homes and Communities. Minka is an innovative production system to rapidly print compact houses optimized for elder-living and designed around universal accessibility. Dr. Thomas and his team are currently developing a number of pocket Minka neighboorhoods in the United States.
Dr. Thomas’ books include Principia Senescentis; Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper and More Connected Life; Tribes of Eden; and What Are Old People For? How Elders Will Save the World. He blogs regularly at ChangingAging.org and lives in Ithaca, New York.
Steve Uzzell is an inspirational speaker and one of the top advertising and corporate photographers in the United States. He started in the photography business 40 years ago as assistant to the editor of National Geographic magazine and a member of their photographic staff.
Steve now shoots for a roster of clients that include airlines, automobile manufacturers; travel, shelter and fashion magazines in the U.S. and numerous overseas countries. After hundreds of requests for a book that would highlight the key points and most memorable images from Steve’s talk Open Roads Open Minds: An Exploration of Creative Problem Solving, his book by the same name was released in 2014 by DAM Useful Publishing (1st edition.) Steve has given the presentation that became his book to over 460 organizations in all 50 American states, as well as three Canadian provinces and five other countries, including India and China - to a combined audience of more than half a million people.
Steve's work has garnered international acclaim and won numerous awards, including ten from Communication Arts. Steve has also photographed two books, Maryland, and The View From Sterling Bluff , as well as published editorial work in over 100 publications including Newsweek, Smithsonian, Time, and U.S. News.
Steve spends six months of the year traveling the world for his clients; the remainder teaching and delivering his signature presentation
Open Roads Open Minds: An Exploration of Creative Problem Solving.
Avid Polar explorer and mountaineer, inspiring keynote speaker.
Bernard Voyer is a well-known polar explorer and mountaineer. For over thirty years now, this extraordinary individual has been seeking out the most amazing faces of nature. Bernard Voyer has stood at all three poles of the Earth, a feat that very few people have achieved. He reached the North Pole, the South Pole and the roof of the world, Mount Everest (8,850 metres). Now he has realized his dream of completing a World Tour by climbing the highest peaks on every continent. He has scaled mounts Elbrus (Europe), Aconcagua (South America), Kilimanjaro (Africa), Carstenz (Oceania), Everest (Asia), McKinley (North America) and Vinson (Antarctica). He is one of the rare modern explorers, if not the only one, to have managed this historic exploit, including the two poles.
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society presented Bernard Voyer with its highest distinction, the Gold Medal, for his remarkable personal accomplishments and his great contribution to the exploration, development and promotion of Canadian geography.
In 2002 he was recognized by the Governor General of Canada as one of the 50 greatest Canadians of the past 50 years. That same year, Canada Post issued a series of stamps celebrating mountains, and paid tribute to him. In 2003, he was decorated by the Prince of Nepal with the honour medal given to each climber who had reached the top of Mount Everest. In November of that year, Bernard was honoured by his hero, Sir Edmund Hillary, for his 'Adventure Grand Slam,' recognizing his exceptional career as a polar explorer and mountain climber.
In 2007, he was named Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour by presidential decree and, in 2008, was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2nd Group of the Canadian Rangers Patrol. In 2009, he was among the prominent Canadians selected to carry the Olympic torch during its cross-Canada relay.
His commitment to youth and environment remains one of his priorities. Ambassador of the Offices jeunesse internationaux du Quèbec and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, he is also Vice President of the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue, the Ordre National du Quèbec and governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Bernard Voyer has given more than 750 inspirational presentations in English and French, in Canada, the United States, Europe, China and Japan. To date he has met more than 250,000 business people. His communication skills never fail to captivate his audience.
Bill Walton has a passion - for his work, for family & friends, for music, for life and for greatness! Bill brings his outsized passion to the stage and inspires audiences with tales from an improbable life in sport and beyond. Walton speaks about the secrets of world-class performance, personal and organizational excellence, and how he overcame nearly impossible odds – on the court and off – to persevere and win. As entertaining and motivating as he is insightful, Walton is widely considered one of the best speakers from the world of sports.
The lessons Bill learned on the basketball court became life lessons that served him well throughout his sports, broadcasting and business careers. No lesson was more important than the words from the legendary John Wooden, Bill’s basketball coach at UCLA, who simply said “Do your best.” Wooden never asked players to go out and win – simply to do their best and not beat themselves. Walton never forgot those words which helped him throughout his extraordinary career.
Following a celebrated college basketball career, Walton went on to have a Hall of Fame NBA career. After basketball, Walton pursued his dream job as a sports broadcaster – but first had to overcome the lifelong stuttering affliction. And then, in 2008, Walton endured risky back surgery to repair damage done early in his basketball career. Through it all, Walton’s determination carried him through.
Bill Walton is an authentic and true original who personifies greatness, and is one of the most compassionate figures in sport with an extraordinary record of giving back through his work with numerous charities and non-profits.
Walton is active with many organizations and charities. For his efforts, in 2002 he received the NBA Retired Players Association Humanitarian Award. His activities include his current role as the executive chairman of Connect SD Sport Innovators (SDSI), a non-profit, business-accelerating, trade organization that connects and drives the growth of Southern California's vibrant sports economy by offering innovative programs and services for startups, mature companies and service providers. SDSI offers mentoring, education and capital funding opportunities for start-ups; best practice collaboration, access to new technology, and public policy advocacy for mature companies; as well as deal flow to our service providers and the Southern California Investment Community. Walton is also a board member for the Junior Seau foundation.
Walton is also involved in numerous Internet ventures, providing content and business acumen. He is also the author of Back from the Dead (March, 2016) and Nothing But Net (Feb, 1994).
Walton currently resides in his hometown of San Diego with his wife Lori. They are the proud parents of four sons: Adam, Nathan, Luke and Chris, and the lucky grandparents of Olivia, Chase, Parker, Avery, Patrick, Lawson and Wilhelmina.
Former Walt Disney Executive & Speaker on Innovation and Creativity
Duncan Wardle worked for The Walt Disney Company for some 25 years, and now serves as an independent innovation and design thinking consultant, helping to inspire companies to embed a culture of innovation and creativity across their entire organization. Leveraging a unique Design Thinking strategy and process, Duncan’s clients include Coca Cola, Disney, Forbes, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey and the NBA.
Most recently Duncan was Vice President of Innovation & Creativity for The Walt Disney Company. The Creativity Team works across Disney’s Theme Parks, Pixar, Marvel, Lucas Films, ESPN, Animation and Imagineering, as "creative ideation consultants” and “cultural change agents” using a creative problem solving process that captures unlikely connections, leading to both fresh thinking and revolutionary ideas.
Prior to heading up Creative Inc., Duncan held the posts of Vice President, Global PR and Vice President International Marketing & Sales for Disney. Over the last three decades, Duncan has served in an executive role for The Walt Disney Company in London, Paris, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Mumbai and most recently Shanghai.
In 2008, he was honored with the “Outstanding American Citizen Award" at the White House, and in 2014 he was awarded an Hons. Doctorate from Edinburgh University. He also holds the Duke of Edinburgh Award, presented by Her Majesty the Queen.
John Wood is the founder of Room to Read®, an organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children. From its humble origins as a cash strapped and unknown organization, Room to Read has now reached over 10 million children in developing countries with a focus on literacy and gender equality in education.
At age 35, John left an executive career track at Microsoft to follow his passion that “no child should ever again be told they were born in the wrong place at the wrong time and therefore will not get educated.” The business acumen honed in the fast paced world of technology, combined with his passion to change the world, makes John a unique and inspiring speaker with broad appeal.
John’s award-winning memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World tells how he raised over $400 million from a “standing start” to develop one of the fastest growing nonprofits in history. The book was described by Publishers’ Weekly as “an infectiously inspiring read.” Translated into 23 languages, it is popular with entrepreneurs, philanthropists and educators. Amazon named it one of the Top Ten Business Narratives of 2006 and Hudson Booksellers voted it to their Top Ten Nonfiction list. John’s author interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show raised over $3 million from viewers.
John’s latest book is entitled Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy. Kirkus Reviews called it “an absorbing personal account of a remarkable achievement”. It was endorsed by Bill Clinton, Melinda Gates and Sheryl Sandberg.
John is a five time winner of Fast Company Magazine’s Social Capitalist Award and is one of Goldman Sachs’ 25 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs. He was named an Asian Hero by Time Magazine, selected as in the inaugural class of Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum and is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. Bill and Melinda Gates presented him with the first ever Microsoft Alumnus of the Year medal. Barron’s twice named John to their list of the 25 Best Givers. In 2014, John was awarded by Queen Silvia of Sweden with the World’s Children’s Prize. The WCP is often called the Children’s Nobel Prize, and in the same year Malala Yousafzai was a fellow honoree. He has also won the Asia Society’s “Service to Society” award and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tribeca Film Festival.
Room to Read has been voted by the Young Presidents Association as their Social Enterprise of the Year, was awarded the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, and was chosen as the inaugural winner of the Library of Congress David Rubenstein International Literacy Prize.
John holds a MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in finance from the University of Colorado, and honorary doctorates from McGill University, Westminster College, Wofford College and the University of San Francisco. At the invitation of former President Bill Clinton, he served three years on the Advisory Board of the Clinton Global Initiative. John is a frequent lecturer at Harvard Business School, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Policy. He is a former Board member of the College Advising Corps, Net Impact and the One Acre Fund, and serves on the Advisory Boards of Global Citizen Year, Possible Health, and the “Getting to Carnegie” competition.
Inspiring Speaker and Adventurer - the First Woman in North America to Summit Mount Everest
Sharon Wood has never considered herself a hero. But in 1986, she became the first woman in North America to climb Mount Everest, the world's highest peak. It was an astonishing personal and team accomplishment under conditions of extreme physical and mental duress. It was an example of ordinary people achieving extraordinary results - audiences love Sharon's awesome story and always leave motivated to take on their own challenges. Her climb of Everest was only one facet of a more than 20 year experience being a professional and elite mountaineer, with numerous ascents of summits over 20,000 feet to her credit.
Sharon has shared her inspirational story of achievement with hundreds of organizations throughout North America. She skillfully connects the powerful metaphor of Mount Everest to the challenges faced by individuals and teams striving for excellence in their own endeavors. Sharon Wood has been to the top of the world and back. For anyone wanting to be more effective in their life, her powerful story will leave you exhilarated.
Founder and Chairperson of a private school in her community, President of her own company Adventure Dynamics Inc., the first North American woman to summit Mount Everest, a professional mountaineer and a mother of two sons - Sharon is leading a life rich with risk, challenge and change.
Marc Woods competed internationally as a swimmer for 17 years; winning 12 Paralympic medals from 5 Games and a further 21 from either World or European Championships. In the past he has held world records for 200m, 400m, 1500m Freestyle and as well as being part of the team that held the world record for 4 x 100m Freestyle. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games worked for the BBC as a commentator and presenter, as well as performing in the opening ceremony.
Marc now spends his time presenting at business conference around the world. His speech takes you on an inspirational journey - giving insights into personal responsibility, leadership, teamwork and motivation. It is a journey that took him from cancer patient to multiple Gold medallist. Along with some of the personnel now working with British Cycling he was a pioneer of the notion of marginal gains.
Marc has written three books. Most notably Personal Best, a combination of his inspirational life story and personal development advice, and more recently Beyond the Call, which supported by research from New York University, looks at how to create conditions within an organisation that make discretionary effort more likely.
Amongst other things he is an ambassador of Teenage Cancer Trust, a director of the Youth Sport Trust and ambassador for CANSA (South Africa's Cancer Charity) and patron for Bone Cancer Research Trust.
His clients come from all business sectors and include IBM, Pfizer, Sainsbury, O2 and Santander.
"The Woz" - Co-Founder of Apple Computer, Inc., Chief Scientist at Primary Data
A Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for more than thirty years, Steve Wozniak has helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products the Apple I and II and influenced the popular Macintosh. In 1976, Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. with Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. The following year, he introduced his Apple II personal computer, featuring a central processing unit, a keyboard, color graphics, and a floppy disk drive. The Apple II was integral in launching the personal computer industry.
In 1981, he went back to UC Berkeley and finished his degree in electrical engineering/computer science. For his achievements at Apple, Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States in 1985, the highest honor bestowed on America’s leading innovators.
In 2000, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers.
Through the years, Wozniak has been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on learning and encouraging creativity for students. Making significant investments of both his time and resources in education, he adopted the Los Gatos School District, providing students and teachers with hands-on teaching and donations of state-of-the-art technology equipment. He founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.
Wozniak is Chief Scientist at Primary Data and is a published author with the release of his New York Times best selling autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon by Norton Publishing. His television appearances include reality shows Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and The Big Bang Theory. In 2014, he was awarded the Hoover Medal, a prestigious honor given for “outstanding extra-career services by engineers to humanity,” and was inducted into the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame.
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