John Foley


About John Foley - Former Blue Angels Pilot and Speaker on Leadership & Teamwork:

John Foley is a former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels, a Sloan Fellow at Stanford School of Business, a gratitude guru and an expert in the "how" of high performance teams. His exciting, rare journey inspires awe, triggering audiences to take action and rethink what they believe is possible. John employs those intense realities as a metaphor to motivate teams and individuals to reach their highest potential while empowering organizations to sustain excellence under dynamic change.

John consistently performed in an extreme, high-stakes environment, flying at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour and in formations as close as 18 inches apart. To survive in those circumstances, he relied on a culture of high trust and leadership that turns inherently unforgiving flight into extraordinary experiences.

John’s post-Naval experiences as an entrepreneur and a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business put him in a unique position to reverse-engineer the culture of excellence and teamwork found in the Blue Angels. He has created a framework and a mythology that inspires greatness while propelling others on their own journey toward higher performance. To further engage on this, John's recent book Fearless Success - Beyond High Performance was released March 2019.

In 2015, John "Gucci" Foley was recognized as one of the top 10 most in demand speakers. John has spoken to some of the highest performing organizations such as, Microsoft, Hitachi, Intel, Cisco, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Goodyear, Chevron, Lowe’s, Marriott, Wyndham Hotels, Hilton, Penske Racing, Rawlings, LA Kings, Sprint, Motorola, Merrill Lynch, Mass Mutual, Capital Group, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, GE Capital, American Hospital Association, Merck, Reach Air, Adecco, Gillette, McDonalds, and Million Dollar Round Table.

John graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also was a defensive back for the Midshipmen, playing in two bowl games and helping the Navy to one of the best four-year records in its football history. As a pilot, John was a “Top Ten Carrier Pilot” six times before becoming a Marine instructor pilot and a Blue Angel. He holds master’s degrees in business management, from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (as a Sloan Fellow); in international policy studies, from Stanford University; and in strategic studies, from the Naval War College.

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What John Foley Talks About:

What separates the best from the best? Talent, Culture, Teamwork? Those are essential variables. But elite teams perform because of leadership, a commitment to excellence, and a proven process.

John works with organizations to expand limits and to push boundaries and belief levels. To inspire people to perform around a cause bigger than themselves and helps them embrace the idea of achievement. He will empower teams to reach their personal best and define a process that enables them to close the performance gap and transform energy into focused action. 

Topics Include:

  • Building High Performance Teams
  • Creating a Culture of Excellence
  • Team Communication, Accountability and Trust
  • Leadership and Transformation

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 Recent Publications

John was phenomenal. It was really exciting to see him use that debrief session and his expertise as a speaker to tailor the presentation to our audience, it was very powerful.

General Dynamics

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