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 has a personal tagline: “You can tell people what to do but you can’t order excellence.” When Mike was the most-junior officer in the Pacific Fleet he took command of the near-worst performing ship. Twelve months later, the USS Benfold was the best ship in the entire Navy -- using the same crew. The story of that stunning transformation has lessons for every organization: leadership matters -- and culture is everything. Mike’s written three books -- his first, It’s Your Ship, has sold over 1 million copies. His Leadership Roadmap offers clear, battle-tested, and actionable steps. Mike shows people at every level of the organization how to engage and take incremental steps toward change that can make a dramatic difference at work. Mike is clear, “I didn’t turn the ship around -- my crew did that. What I did was to create an environment where they felt safe, empowered and supported. When you do that, anything is possible.”
In many ways, what Mike was able to do with the USS Benfold was an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today. That’s why dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company have cited Mike’s story as an inspiring lesson for business. Leaders especially identify with Mike’s being accountable for the results in an environment where he couldn’t make the rules.
“When my crew came to me with a problem, I’d say ‘It’s your ship -- how would you fix it?’.” Mike focused on the one thing he could influence: his crew’s attitude, because culture is the ultimate competitive weapon for any organization.
Mike’s established a set of management principles that he 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 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. The idea is to empower every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence.”
By every measure, these principles achieved breakthrough results: turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1%; the rate of promotions tripled; and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25%. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness. This remarkable turnaround was accomplished by the very same crew that had performed so poorly just months before.
Mike is author of three books. His first, It’s Your Ship, has a timeless message: don’t use outside forces that stand in your way as excuses -- control the things you can influence and amazing results will happen. His next books, It’s Our Ship and Get Your Ship Together, showed how these principles have been put into action by business leaders in their own organizations.
A popular keynote speaker for audiences looking to ramp up organizational performance, Mike has spoken to every industry and kind of audience -- from board retreats to front line personnel; from sales groups to universities; from Fortune 500s to startups. He inspires audiences to rethink their beliefs about leadership and organizational culture and tailors the message to focus on engagement, execution, change, safety, diversity, leadership, teamwork, innovation, accountability and more.
Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Mike 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 Aegis Performance Group, a consulting firm that works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and performance challenges within their organizations. Mike and his team prompt 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.
A Technology Visionary, Entrepreneur and Leading Speaker on Innovation & The Global Strengths Movement
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 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. She 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 brings a vast range of experiences and knowledge to her energetic and dynamic presentations. She is best known as the First American woman to summit Mt. Everest. She is also president of Stacy Allison General Contracting, a residential building company. She and her team of builders specialize in high end restorations, where they steadfastly preserve the charm and integrity of classic old homes, while achieving financial success.
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. Three of the team of seven made it to the top; after an accident to the third, in keeping with her view of teamwork and leadership, Stacy and the others descended. “In any endeavor, leaders should inspire members of the team with a passion for success,” Stacy says, “but within the framework of team effort. One of the most crucial things to realize, feel and remember is that when one team member succeeds, the entire team succeeds.”
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.
Stacy serves on the Board of Trustees of National University and is the Chairperson for The American Lung Associations fundraiser - Climb for Clean Air. Remarkably, among all of her accomplishments, she proudly is a committed mother of two.
First African American Female Combat Pilot and Motivational Speaker
Leveraging her “Breakthrough Mentality” and “Get Gutsy” mindset, Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour propelled herself from beat cop to combat pilot in a record-breaking three years - and became America’s first African American Female Combat Pilot. As featured on CNN, MSNBC, The View, FOX News, Oprah Winfrey and others - FlyGirl’s fresh, edgy style, high, contagious energy and unique, gutsy essence jump off the stage, page and screen and moves people to action. Since 2007, she has inspired countless leaders, organizations and individuals to make gutsy moves, enhance performance - and create breakthrough results.
Commanding corporate, STEM-centric and female executive and entrepreneur audiences across the globe - FlyGirl’s most requested keynotes, Zero to Breakthrough™, One Mission, One Goal, One Team™ and Get Gutsy. Live Gutsy!™ - deliver messages that resonate: “You have permission to Engage;” “Take off from where you are;” “We win or lose together;” and “In order to succeed you gotta ‘Get Gutsy!"
A Tennessee native and graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, FlyGirl holds two honourary doctorates, was a Diversity Liaison Officer to the Pentagon for Headquarters Marine Corps - and is a member of the COMCAST/NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council. She has received numerous awards as a pioneering pilot, to include her commanding role in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She was the Marine Corps’ first African American Female pilot, first African American woman on the Nashville Police Department’s motorcycle squad, a Camp Pendleton Female Athlete of the Year and two-time titleholder in their Strongest Warrior Competition - and a running back for the women’s pro football team, the San Diego ‘Sunfire.’
FlyGirl’s first signature book - Zero to Breakthrough™ was released in 2011.
FlyGirl is married and resides in the Atlanta, GA area. In 2015, she gave birth to “FlyBaby,” her gutsiest move yet!
Best-selling Author & Inspiring Speaker on Leadership, Creativity and Diversity
John U. Bacon is the New York Times best-selling 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 the 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, co-authored 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 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, fondly 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. In his early 20's, he became the youngest Moderator for the United Nations and made his first documentary about his travels to Tanzania. He now traverses the globe from Uganda to Haiti, as Host of 'Bridge the Gap,' an inspirational television series featured on PBS and the National Geographic Channel - where he discovers what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.
He has harvested buffalo with Native Americans in Pine Ridge, lived as a nomad in Mongolia, and Sumo wrestled with the 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.
Bash speaks 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.
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!
Best-Selling Author, Chartered Life Underwriter and Keynote Speaker on Courageous Conversations
As a catalyst for Courageous Conversations, Jane Blaufus uses a combination of both compelling storytelling, at times heart-wrenching, at times laugh out loud funny, and offers a wealth of knowledge and insights to deliver presentations that are sure to ignite your audience and leave them wanting more.
Jane brings to the table 25+ years of financial services expertise as a financial advisor, sales manager and executive responsible for the development, delivery and implementation of recruiting and selection processes and sales and marketing training to thousands of people in the sales force. Today she is the Principal of The Blaufus Group Inc., based in Toronto, Canada, and is a frequent guest expert on national TV/Radio.
Jane has been on both sides of the table, first, as a financial advisor delivering the cheques and later as a beneficiary receiving the cheques. In less than sixty-seconds, her life turned upside down when she became a widow with a twelve-year-old daughter, and a financial tsunami coming her way after her 39-year-old husband was killed in a tragic accident. A veteran of the financial services industry she had foolishly thought that if anything happened to her she would be better prepared than others would be -- Wrong!
Today she is the best-selling author of the book With the [Stroke] of a Pen: Claim Your Life and openly shares her story to support advisors, the financial services industry and companies in their quest to help their prospects, clients and employees to have the Courageous Conversations to get one’s personal and financial lives in order while they can. Her book and comprehensive planning binder have become acclaimed as two of the most comprehensive, actionable, personal and financial planning resources available today for families, individuals and business owners alike.
Her reputation and expertise make her an influential coach to many sales professionals and business owners. Jane believes that to excel in today's marketplace, the key to success is relationship building and she walks the walk and talks the talk.
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.
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 on CNN and Fox Business News, 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.
Kathy Buckley is a gifted comedienne, award-winning actress, accomplished author and renowned inspirational speaker - who is a force like no other. Billed as 'America's First Hearing Impaired Comedienne', Kathy 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, National Geographic Fellow, and New York Times Best-selling Author on Longevity
Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow, an inspirational speaker, and multiple New York Times best-selling 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 best-sellers, along with The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People. Be sure to mark 03-December on your calendars - the release date of Dan's latest book The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Reach 100. Likely to be his next best-seller, The Blue Zones Kitchen fuses scientific reporting, National Geographic photography and 100 recipes that may help you live to 100. It captures the way of eating that yielded the statistically longest-lived people - and explains, in some detail, why that food has enabled populations to elude the chronic disease scourge that has befallen Americans.
Dan has 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 a powerful, engaging and thought-provoking motivational keynote speaker who can set the tone for your entire conference and challenge your audience while adding takeaway value with high energy, humour and substance - or a closing speaker who can inspire and move your conference attendees into action.
Scott's story is the hero's journey. By the age of 19, he played college football at Florida State University as a walk-on wide receiver for legendary coach Bobby Bowden - and was a top-ranked kick-boxing Black Belt champion whose last fight was broadcast by ESPN. During that time, Scott's life changed dramatically on November 3, 1984, he survived a horrendous automobile accident as a passenger in a friend's car and broke cervical 6 and 7 vertebrae in his neck that left him paralyzed from the chest down - and diagnosed a quadriplegic. Told he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Scott realized his split-second decision to not wear a seat belt altered his course forever.
Despite his grim diagnosis, Scott refused to be sidelined. After graduating from college, Scott's first career was as a Financial Advisor in the Insurance and Financial Industry for Northwestern Mutual. He specialized in life and disability insurance planning - as well as retirement, estate and wealth planning. In his 5th year, he hit a huge goal and qualified for the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) - the Premiere Association of Financial Professionals, which is a 100% commission-driven sales production award that fewer than 8% of his peers qualify for annually from more than 500 companies in 70 countries.
At the pinnacle of that career, Scott experienced yet another setback - a second automobile accident. Although he was buckled in this time, new injuries forced him to RE-evaluate, RE-invent - and once again RE-ignite his life by practicing and executing what he preaches. During his recovery, Scott reminisced about the overcoming adversity speakers he heard at sales and leadership conferences. Their life-changing stories inspire you to chase your dreams regardless of obstacles or barriers. That's when Scott decided he would make the tough decision to leave an industry he had so much passion for to pursue a speaking career that has taken him around the world. He also took advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help expand his brother's multimillion-dollar golf course fertilizer, chemical and equipment business into Southeast Asia.
Scott is also the author of Vision Mindset Grit! In the Foreword, Scott's father defined those three empowering words: Vision - refers to your goals and aspirations, the endpoint you are seeking. Mindset - is the continual mental preparation and adjustment needed to meet oncoming challenges. Grit - is the day-to-day determination to persevere when you are too tired, too sore or too beleaguered to continue on.
Scott has delivered his story in 45 states and in such countries as Australia, Spain, India, Thailand, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Czech Republic and Canada - as well as to our soldiers at the Minot Air Force Base.
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.
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.
Pandit Dasa is a Mindful Leadership expert, author and motivational keynote speaker. His inspirational speeches aim to create a more mindful workplace culture which increases productivity and improves retention. He encourages leadership and co-workers to appreciate and celebrate the success and contributions of others. This attitude fosters trust, enhances teamwork and greatly impacts employee performance. He emphasizes the importance of leading without ego and highlights the importance of cultivating self-awareness and personal growth and development.
Pandit captures the audience's attention by sharing his journey on how and why he spent 15 years living as a monk in New York City, the incredible life and leadership lessons he learned from that experience and why he's no longer a monk. His story is chronicled in his book, Urban Monk.
Some key messages the audience will take away are:
- Understanding how our mind, thoughts and emotions impact our reactions and behavior
- Tools for managing one's emotions and staying calm and collected before pressing the "send" button
- The value of consistently appreciating our colleagues
- Attendees will be encouraged to lead by example by setting a proper leadership model
- Learn breathing and focusing techniques that can reduce stress, improve productivity and boost emotional intelligence
Pandit Dasa has spoken to many Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. Some of the organizations he has spoken to are: Google, Citibank, IBM, State Farm, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Nationwide Insurance, SAP, Bank of America, AMC Theatres, Intel, WeWork, Royal Bank of Canada, AMC Networks, Novartis, Comcast, TD Ameritrade, JPMorgan Chase, The World Bank, World Government Summit, SHRM National Convention, Oracle HCM Convention and many others.
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.
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.
Founder of the XPrize Foundation, Inspiring Speaker and Expert in Incentivized Innovation.
Scientist, engineer, doctor, and inspiring
speaker Dr. Peter Diamandis is the world's foremost expert in incentivized innovation and the growth of expontential technologies. The art of incentivize smart and talented people within your company or those experts around the world to focus on solving your grand challenges. He has worked with Fortune 100 companies, government leaders and captains of industry over the past 15 years. In 2010 Diamandis is the winner of the Economist
No Boundaries award for
meta-innovation - driving innovation in the way people innovate. He is also the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Innovation, the Heinlein Award, the Lindbergh Award, the Wired RAVE Award, the Neil Armstrong Award, and the World Technology Award.
Diamandis inspires and moves audiences to action. His message is clear: there is no challenge that cannot be overcome. It is a matter of having a clear objective goal, clarity of what you are measuring and incentivizing the right community to solve your challenge. Using personal, in-depth and inspirational stories, Diamandis has been called
one of the best speakers ever by numerous CEO-level audiences. He has received accolades from an impressively diverse list of listeners: Google, Microsoft, the United Nations, Facebook, TED, PhRMAs CEO Conference, Autodesk and Activision-Blizzard to name a few. Diamandis is a frequent contributor to CNN, CNBC and MSNBC.
Dr. Diamandis is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, a non-profit focused on designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight, the Foundation is now launching prizes in four groups: Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, and Education/Global Development. Today the X PRIZE has three active prizes: The $10M Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE and the $1.4M Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. Diamandis and the X PRIZE have been hired by the following groups to create incentivized innovation: Google, Cisco, Shell, Progressive Insurance, NASA, US Department of Energy, and the US Department of Transportation to name a few.
In 2008, Diamandis co-Founded the Singularity University along with Dr. Ray Kurzweil, serving as the Chairman & Vice-Chancellor of SU. Diamandis speaks dynamically and passionately explaining how the rapid growth of key exponential technologies are empowering individuals and companies to do what only governments were able to achieve in past decades. The key exponential technologies include artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, synthetic biology, embedded networks, nanotechnology/materials and human machine interfaces have the potential to transform industries and society over the next twenty years. Such technologies will drive a period of significant disruption or opportunity depending on the company's mind-set. Diamandis' ultimate message is that companies cannot remain stagnant. They must evolve or they will die.
Diamandis is the leading international figure in the commercial space arena, having founded and run many of the leading entrepreneurial companies in this sector, including: Space Adventures, the only company to have brokered the launches of private citizens to the Int'l Space Station; Zero Gravity Corporation is the only commercial provider of weightless, zero-gravity flights to the public and to NASA; and the Rocket Racing League is a cross between NASCAR and pod-racing from Star Wars.
Dr. Diamandis attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he received his undergraduate degree in molecular genetics and graduate degree in aerospace engineering. After MIT he attended Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D. In 2005 he has was also awarded an honorary Doctorate from the International Space University.
Diamandis has founded over 15 companies since his first year at MIT. Many of these are non-profits dedicated to creating change in the world. Peter's mission is to guide and inspire the transformation of humanity both on and off the Earth. His personal motto is:
The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself! In 8th grade, while living in New York, Dr. Diamandis won first place in the Estes rocket design contest.
Diamandis' book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think focuses on how exponential technologies, coupled with the DIY movement and the on-line connectivity of the
rising billion will enable an age of global abundance providing water, energy, food, shelter, education and healthcare in unprecedented availability for humanity.
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 inspirational 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 best-seller, 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.
Motivating Speaker on Using Humor as a Sales Tool, to Improve Service, Communicate and Improve Management.
Scott Friedman speaks on a variety of topics including employee and customer engagement, branded customer service, and personal branding. He's an inspirational speaker who also specializes in humor as a tool in sales, improving service, public speaking techniques and change management.
Scott's varied experience has brought him success in many industries including: hospitality, meetings, real estate, insurance, health care, education, government and just about any Association. Scott's greatest strength is his ability to customize the perfect program to fit the needs of any particular group. His improvisational comedy training, quick wit, and engaging material make Scott's valuable programs a bunch of fun to listen to.
Author of three books and co-author of four others, Scott's latest book, The Celebration Factor, is a practical handbook on how to bring more celebration into both your organization and your life. Based on Scott's extensive global research, interviews, and years of speaking around the world, this book offers strategies and examples from leading organizations that are successfully creating cultures of celebration in their workplaces.
Scott's book, Punchlines, Pitfalls and Powerful Programs - Ten Surefire Ways of Adding Humor to Your Presentations, is the perfect resource for those looking to connect with their clients. Scott outlines effective methods for engaging and educating an audience through humor and story telling. His book Using Humor for a Change is chock-full of great ideas to lighten-up the workload. The book proves to be the perfect remedy for stress and burnout.
In addition to speaking all over North America, Scott spends 20% of his time speaking throughout Asia and other locations around the globe. His international clients include Singapore Airlines, the Singapore Government, Gold Fields of South Africa, Young President's Organization, Hyatt Asia, and many of the Fortune 1000 companies. He offers to all of his clients a global and culturally sensitive perspective on how to get more out of work and out of life. He is always sure to do his homework to ensure that all groups feel at home no matter where they might be.
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 & inspirational 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, motivational, 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.
Visual Strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulson Laboratory, Artist, Creative Director and Inspirational Speaker.
Dan Goods was named “One of the Most Interesting People in LA” by LAWeekly, and he is passionate about inspiring and 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 shepherds an amazing team in 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.
Paralympic Swimming Champion, Inspiring Speaker on Achievement, Performance and Goal-Setting.
Andrew Haley, peak performance expert, is just like all of us -- he's had his share of ups and downs. As a child Andrew had cancer twice and each time was given a 35% chance to survive. Even though he lost part of his right leg, Andrew never let it dictate his life.
Andrew is a living reminder that no matter what negative things may happen in your life, you can always try and turn it into something positive. Take control of your life and always try to learn and be better next time. We each have the power to be amazing. The only question is, are you ready to take it to the next level? To control your own destiny?
Andrew’s authentic and inspiring views cover three decades of real-life in-the-trenches sport and personal experience. He appreciates and shares with his audience that being a champion and turning pressure into performance is a moment-to-moment choice -- and is able to relate and inspire each listener that success is more than title, tenure or position. Excellence is for everyone, everyday. It's how we should live our life. In his talk, Andrew’s fusion of real-life stories and his conversational techniques connect with his audience at an intimate, intense and individual level.
Andrew is a former world class World Record setting Paralympic swimmer having won, among other competitions, gold medals at the 1998 World Championships and the 2000 Paralympic games. He has served as his swim team’s captain and is a recognized leader in Paralympic sport. He continues to work with the best and brightest in the performance excellence field.
Andrew also finds time to give back to his community. He is involved with the charity RIGHT TO PLAY and also visits schools in Ontario and his native Nova Scotia. In addition, he volunteers his time working with AthletesCAN, a national group that supports athletes. He looks forward to partnering with you in the future.
Some companies that have partnered with Andrew include: HSBC, Re/Max, Manulife, Teva Pharmaceuticals, National Bank, Sun Life, Ontario Ministry of Energy, Childhood Cancer Society, Xerox Canada, Four Seasons Hotel, and various conferences to name a few.
Andrew was inducted into Swimming Canada's Circle of Excellence in March 2015.
Inspirational and motivational speaker, Co-Creator of the Best-Selling Chicken Soup For The Soul Series
Mark Victor Hansen is Co-Creator of the Best-Selling Chicken Soup For The Soul Series. Recent years have seen Mark and his business partner Jack Canfield create what TIME magazine calls
the publishing phenomenon of the decade. With more than 90 million Chicken Soup for the Soul books sold in North America alone and over 100 licensed products in the marketplace, it is one of the most successful publishing franchises in America today.
Mark's energy and exuberance travels still further through mediums such as television (Oprah, CNN and The Today Show), print (TIME, US News & World Report, USA Today, The New York Times and Entrepreneur) and countless radio and newspaper interviews as he assures our planet's people that
you can easily create the life you deserve.
Mark is also known as a passionate philanthropist and humanitarian, working tirelessly for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, March of Dimes, ChildHelp USA and many others.