"One of the top motivational speakers with a disability that is spreading the message of ability, inclusion, and most importantly, Yes, I can!" Friendship Circle of Michigan
To many, the word inclusion means a lowering of standards to allow access for all. To John, the word inclusion is defined by "the opportunity to succeed." Having served in the United States Navy for 20 years with cerebral palsy, he certainly speaks from experience. John shares openly on why he decided to keep his disability a secret from military officials, the impact that decision made on his life and what society must do moving forward in the 21st century to ensure success for everyone.
Cerebral palsy: Having been born with a mild case of CP, John tells what it’s like to have a disability, dispelling myths and breaking down barriers along the way. This topic is perfect for young school children who often look at their classmates with disabilities as “weird” or “different.” John allows students to ask direct questions about his cerebral palsy and gives direct answers, focusing on people’s ability, not their disability.
Bullying: Skinny and weak as a youngster, John was laughed at, picked on and bullied. John shares his insight on how to deal with this painful topic in a way that children and adults alike can understand and immediately apply in their own lives.
Success: Because of his cerebral palsy, John actually failed his first attempt to join the Navy. With self-motivation, determination and hard work, John was able to finally able to join the Navy, achieve the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer, and then become a published author without any prior writing experience. John tells doctors to “raise the bar high” so that others can achieve their own level of greatness.
Military: Joining the Navy in January 1982, John became a highly decorated Senior Chief Petty Officer in only 14 years. Learn the leadership lessons and core values that made this Battleship sailor so successful - and the mistakes to avoid along the way.
Family: John unabashedly credits his parents with providing him with the love, support and drive to succeed. John grew up in the 1970's, a time before the Internet or ESPN. Baby boomers who rode in the family station wagon with faux wood-paneled trim or had to come in the house when the street lights went on will appreciate John's anecdotal humor.
Medical: John speaks to the successful team approach most commonly used to diagnose and treat many conditions including cancer.
Support groups: From Survivors of Suicide to Alcoholics Anonymous to counseling, recognition is given to the fact that we can all use help sometimes.
Suicide: John speaks openly about the suicide of his brother, Steven in 1987 and the impact it had not only on his life, but those around him. John shines the light on the taboo subject of suicide in the family and brings much needed hope to others who have been similarly affected.
Addiction: Sober for over 15 years, John talks frankly about his battle with the bottle, hitting bottom, and subsequent recovery. In sharing his experience, strength, and hope with those fighting the same fight, John shows that sometimes you have to surrender to win.
Heartbreak: Dating and romance are difficult for many of us, and can be acutely more complicated for members of the disabled population. In his poignant discussion of his own heartbreak, John's message is clear - you are worth it! Discover also how he dealt with the grief surrounding the death of his beloved parents, something many boomers are experiencing now.
To schedule John to speak at your group event, conference or organization, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him directly at 520-780-0605.