- Exploits on the first Jamaican bobsled team inspired the Disney blockbuster movie Cool Runnings
- Competed in and was captain of the 1992 & 1998 Olympic teams
- Founder of the Keep on Pushing Foundation
Travels from: New York City
Keynote Fee: Contact Forte Speakers
As an original member of the 1988 Jamaican Bobsled team and captain of the 1992 and 1998 teams, 3-time Olympian Devon Harris achieved his grand dream. His current dream is to inspire others to achieve theirs. His real-life story of perseverance and persistence combined with his powerful presence and persuasive ideas have positively impacted thousands at Fortune 100 companies, non-profits, governmental organizations, schools and universities.
At the heart of his message are the lessons he has learned of the power of persistence over all sorts of obstacles in order to live one’s best life. Whether he is speaking to a large audience, or just interacting one-on-one, his mission is the same – to bring this message of how everyone can “keep on pushing” and working for their dreams every day of their professional as well as personal lives.
Encouraged by his commanding officer, Devon tried out for and was selected to the first Jamaican bobsled team which competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada. Their exploits inspired the Disney blockbuster movie Cool Runnings.
A graduate of the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England, Devon received a Queen’s Commission in December 1985 and served in the officer corps of the Jamaica Defense Force until December 1992 when he retired as a Captain.
The Keep On Pushing Foundation which he founded in 2006 aims to support and enhance the education of kids in disadvantaged communities around the globe by providing practical solutions to the challenges that are preventing them from getting educated.
As an ex-serviceman, Devon understands the commitment, sense of duty and sacrifices made by those who volunteer to serve. As a private citizen he is cognizant of the fact that the freedoms he enjoys are paid for by the courage and sacrifice of these men and women. As a result he has also devoted time to visit the troops serving in the Persian Gulf.
Devon also works with Right to Play as an athlete ambassador, supporting Right to Play’s efforts in using sports and play in refugee camps around the world to enhance child development and build community capacity.
He is the author of the motivational children’s book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical motivational book Keep On Pushing: Hot Lessons From Cool Runnings.
Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings – Coaching for Personal and Professional Success
In this program Devon Harris skillfully weaves the real-life, improbable and inspirational story of the Jamaica Bobsled team with the entertaining portrayal of the Disney blockbuster Cool Runnings. He highlights some of the powerful life lessons he and his teammates learned along the way – lessons the audience can immediately apply to both their personal and professional lives. Suitable for an opening keynote or closing presentation.
The audience will learn how:
- To defeat fear by taking action.
- To improve personal effectiveness and performance through visualization.\
- To create a healthy self-image.
- To reframe failure.
The Power and Magic of Teamwork
In this inspiring message, Devon draws on his personal experiences as the Captain of the Jamaican Bobsled Team and a former Sandhurst-trained captain in the Jamaica Defense Force, to show how working collaboratively facilitates success personally and professionally as well as collectively as a group. Devon easily translates the challenges and triumphs of being in the military and competing in the Olympics into immediately applicable lessons and insights that will inspire your team to perform at peak levels. This program is suitable as an opening keynote and address.
The audience will learn how:
- A clear vision allows the team to remain motivated, become remarkably efficient and control the direction of change.
- To identify their noble purpose-the far reaching benefits of the mundane things they do daily.
- To transform their organization by growing their capacity to lead.
- Through constant self-evaluation they ensure that they don’t become a victim of their own success.
Out of many, One: An Olympic Athlete’s View of Diversity in the Workplace
A fresh look at how diversity in the workplace is not just a legal mandate or corporate ethic – it is fundamentally practical, and brings the best teams to the playing field. Devon brings a creative and inspiring look at how at work, as in the Olympics, what really matters is performance, attitude and teamwork. With humor and understanding that comes from living what he believes, Devon delivers a compelling message to groups of all sizes about how to be more bottom-line successful by embracing and applying the innate strengths of a diversity philosophy. This program is suitable for an opening keynote or closing presentation.
The audience will learn how:
- A clear personal vision will supersede the associations and assumptions that society makes about you.
- Attracting the best talent regardless of labels and creating an environment for them to perform at peak levels will allow the team to soar.
- Differences when maintained and valued instead of discarded create a more fulfilling, powerful experience.
Keep On Pushing™: An Olympic Athlete’s Message of Persistence
Devon brings his entertaining and effective message of how to ‘keep on pushing’, how persistence is a key catalyst in any success formula. Devon’s presentation blends the need for every part of an organization to have the ability to persist, but not without good doses of wisdom, preparation, talent, teamwork, humor, passion, hard work and smart planning. Devon illustrates his presentation with his improbable story of a road that took him from the violent ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica; to Sandhurst; to the Olympics; to the hit Disney film Cool Runnings. With humor and compassion and real-life how-to guidance, Devon inspires the audience to ‘keep on pushing’ – his distinctive phrase when asked how he gets that bobsled down that run.
The audience will learn how:
- Investing some time to clarify both your personal and team vision will give them the edge and keep them motivated.
- To embrace change.
- To demonstrate faith in their teammates abilities and create a more synergistic environment.
- To persist. Be relentless in finding the solutions to their challenges.
***All customized based on client’s unique situation
“Devon’s message, “Keep On Pushing” resonated to our audience from both a business and personal perspective. He did his homework interweaving the core principles of our organization throughout his talk. Devon is not only very personable but accommodating, spending time before and after his presentation with our attendees. The positive feedback we received was off the charts. Devon was the highlight of our event with many attendees approaching me to simply thank me for having him. One of the top speakers we have ever had.” Skip Henk, EDP, President / CEO, Xplor International
“Devon Harris was really fantastic today at our recognition event. Not only did he engage the crowd and keep them laughing, Devon also wove in a few key messages that we mentioned in our prep call. Good speakers come and inspire – GREAT speakers understand the objective of the meeting and personalize their message to fit. The extra work Devon put in customizing his presentation really reinforced the goals of the meeting and went a long way in making sure our guests could relate it to their own lives. After his presentation, Devon stayed for photos and was a real pleasure to meet and work with. I highly recommend him!” Jennifer Wolter, Group Vice President, Gartner
“We truly enjoyed having Devon as the speaker for our event. His warmth and passion really engaged the audience members. Most importantly, he was able to demonstrate his expertise (in athletics and sportsmanship) to what’s important to our audience. His ‘take-away’ message was inspiring. As a bonus, he was very generous and stayed to autograph DVDs.” Aviva Belsky Association of Medical Publications
“Devon exceeded all expectations I had for the evening. Not only did he do an excellent job with his presentation, but he also ﬁt in with our people like an old friend. His ability to compare his story with a pattern for conducting our lives was outstanding. I had reservations about the question and answer period after the presentation, but they were unfounded. Twenty minutes after his presentation the house was still full and people continued to ask questions.” Chuck Brandon Director of Field Services National Propane Gas Association
“Devon, we have been energized to lead with a purpose and how to truly be a positive inﬂuence to ourselves as well as others. Thank you for being so easy and fun to work with! Your passion and inspiration has deﬁnitely helped us to keep on pushing!” Gynisha Peeks Project Manager, ONS Education
“Your presentation style, your thoughtful comments, and your inspirational story all were very meaningful and much appreciated by our membership. We especially were impressed by the obvious homework you did about our organization and the problems that we currently face as you mentioned them during your talk. We also thank you for your willingness to be accessible to our members after lunch as you signed autographs and talked with so many people who wanted to meet you.” J. M Ernest, MD President Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics
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