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Keynotes on personal success, persistence, diversity and teamwork in the workplace

Harris

Devon Harris

travels from USA

Three-Time Olympian with the Original Jamaican Bobsled Team; Helping Audiences Visualize Success with an Olympic Mindset

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5 out of 5 stars

“I personally have your five key principles (Dream, Motivation, Discipline, Faith and Perseverance) embedded in my mind and heart. They are applicable in every area of life. You are an example of someone who has taken your role in life very seriously and uses it to help others along the way.”

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Three-time Jamaican bobsled Team OIympian Devon Harris’ message to “keep on pushing” inspires the rejected salesperson to rediscover his or her mojo, the stumped engineer to find a better solution, and the overloaded executive to see a new path forward. Keynote speaker Devon Harris' story of persistence combined with his powerful presence as a motivational speaker has positively impacted audiences everywhere.

Why you should book speaker Devon Harris:

  • He has defined the odds placed against him. Speaker Devon Harris has overcome poverty and negative influence throughout his childhood and his surrounding neighborhoods. Through positive impact and determination, Devon proceeded to become a three-time Olympian with a movie “Cool Runnings” dedicated to his resilience.
  • He is demonstrative to a positive cause that lies within yourself. Devon shows audience members with guidance and provoking influence for audience members to live within their most authentic means of life.

Three-time Olympian Devon Harris knows the power and pain of overcoming inertia and pushing beyond. Raised in a violent ghetto in Jamaica, he could have allowed his environment to keep a chokehold on his life. Still, he learned how to push past the gangs and drugs by using the power of visualization to imagine greatness. Devon’s vision ultimately manifested in a life that took him from the ghetto to the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England in which graduated such luminaries as Sir Winston Churchill and King Hussein of Jordan. Devon then proceeded to become a three-time Olympian with Jamaica’s original bobsled team.

It was Devon’s determined focus and persistent vision to achieve something more significant that carried him farther than those who gave in to their destructive environment. Devon Harris moves audiences to greatness by giving them passionate and practical guidance to push beyond their limiting beliefs, embrace the visionary discipline of an athlete and internalize the tactics of a trained military officer to achieve any goal. They leave more focused on their purposes, inspired by a renewed sense that they can attain higher levels of personal and team achievement.

At the heart of Devon’s message are the lessons he has learned of the power of persistence over all sorts of obstacles to live one’s best life. His mission is 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.

Speaker Devon Harris exploits inspired the Disney blockbuster movie Cool Runnings. Devon also competed in and was captain of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France, and the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. 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.

Speaker Devon Harris is the author of the motivational children’s book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical motivational book Keep On Pushing: Hot Lesson From Cool Runnings.

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Keynote by speaker Devon Harris

6 P’s To Keep on Pushing with Olympic Vision

Three Time Olympian and Bestselling Author of KEEP ON PUSHING Devon Harris implements his powerhouse motivational energy, humor, compassion, and real-life how-to guidance to inspire audiences to Keep On Pushing, which is his distinctive phrase when asked how he gets a 650lb bobsled down a run.

Devon’s keynote builds on six guiding principles to keep on pushing, which focus on strategies for visualization, understanding your purpose, embracing personal development, building on teamwork, and persisting beyond any challenge. He illustrates his message with the improbable story of a road that took him from the violent ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica; to disciplined military life at Sandhurst; to the competitive world of the Olympics; to becoming a Bestselling Author and part of the team that inspired the hit Disney film Cool Runnings.

Audience takeaways:

  • Perception: How you perceive a situation will set the course for how you visualize your outcome. Olympic athletes use the power of visualization because they understand that if you go as far as you can see, you will begin to see even farther.
  • Purpose: Elevate your thinking beyond your job title. What is your deeper value in doing what you do?
  • Personal Leadership: We are all leaders in our own right. Successful leaders embrace change and are always looking for ways to learn and develop new skills, thereby making them relevant in an ever-increasing competetive marketplace.
  • Passion: Your passion and dreams will inspire and invigorate you to constantly push toward new levels of achievement.
  • People: Community is the essence of teamwork. Connecting with people in your organization, not just your direct teams will enable you to understand the collective strength that is integral to overall success.
  • Persistence: If you are someone who can Keep On Pushing, you see failure as a springboard – you do not see yourself as a failure, but rather the result as a failed attempt, and an opportunity to test new ideas and strategies.
Keynote by speaker Devon Harrris

Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings - Coaching for  Personal and Professional Success

This keynote is suitable for an opening keynote or closing presentation, this motivational program draws from the powerful experiences of the real-life Jamaican Bobsled Team as immortalized in the Disney blockbuster movie Cool Runnings.

Audience takeaways:

  • This dynamic presentation is as poignant as it is light-hearted. The audience will leave laughing, inspired and with a better understanding of what it takes to achieve the impossible.
  • Defeating fear by taking action. To improve personal effectiveness and performance through visualization. To create a healthy self-image. To reframe failure
Keynote by speaker Devon Harrris

The Power and Magic of Teamwork

This program is suitable as an opening keynote and addresses the powerful role teamwork plays in both your personal and professional life. A high level of teamwork has been responsible, in part, for a great home environment, miracle drugs, breakthrough technologies, Olympic medals, and conquests of space and sea because these teams have the ability to synergistically harness their members’ talents and energy.

As the Captain of the Jamaican Bobsled Team and a former Sandhurst-trained Captain in the Jamaica Defence Force, Devon knows what it takes to develop, inspire and direct a winning team and translates the challenges and triumphs of the first Jamaican Bobsled Team into easily applicable lessons for today’s managers and tomorrow’s leaders.

Audience takeaways:

  • 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.  
Keynote by speaker Devon Harrris

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. Speaker Devon Harris 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.

Audience takeaways:

  • 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.  
Keynote by speaker Devon Harrris

Keep On Pushing™: An Olympic Athlete's Message of Persistence

Suitable for an opening keynote or closing presentation, 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.

Audience takeaways:

  • Investing some time to clarify both your personal and team vision will give them the edge and keep them motivated.
  • Embracing 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.
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    Top Olympic Motivational Keynote by speaker Devon Harris

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    References

    “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!”

    Gartner

    “Thank you for the incredibly passionate and inspirational speech you delivered at our annual meeting. You had our attention from the start and we thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the insightful lessons you drew from your Olympic bobsled experiences.”

    Db Shenker

    “Devon Harris was the most well-prepared keynote speaker I have ever had the pleasure of working with for a user conference. He truly took the time to understand what our business and event were about, and he included many relevant details from our prep call into his highly engaging presentation.”

    Crownpeak

    10.09.2014

    Interview with Devon Harris

    What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

    Neither their past nor current circumstances should dictate their future. If they keep on pushing with a clear vision they can always take their game to the next level and achieve the success they imagined.

    Do you have a favorite experience from your speaking career?

    The thing I enjoy most about my speaking career is feeling on purpose—feeling like this is what I was meant to do.  When someone in the audience comes up and tells me how much my remarks mean to them personally…..comments like, “ I feel like you were talking to me” or “ That’s just what I needed. Thank you” ; it absolutely makes my day.

    How do you prepare for speaking engagements?

    I really zero in on the theme of the meeting to fully understand the goals the client has set for the meeting and how best I can I can draw on my experiences-the anecdotes , the lessons, and the analogies;  to help the client achieve those goals. The pre-program questionnaire that I ask the client to fill out or a conference call with them is invaluable in helping me understand the audience, company culture, the challenges  they are facing in their company and the industry  at large and of course, the client’s expectations of me. I also spend time browsing through their website. All of this helps me to put together a presentation that is customized and relevant to my audience.

    Can you give 3 tips for effective teamwork?

    1. The team needs to have a clear vision. Everyone on the team needs to understand what the expected outcomes are. They also need to buy into the vision as this raises their level of commitment, gets them excited about the opportunity and motivated to work through the difficulties.

    2. There must be good communication. This includes;

    • Articulating the vision clearly—not just intellectually but emotionally and with passion.
    • When people are excited about where they are going, they eliminate the obstacles that stand between them and their goals.
    • Ensuring that information is passed on in an accurate and timely manner.
    • Team members are listened to.
    • They are treated courteously and not just as instruments of production.

    3. Effective leadership. Every successful team has a good leader- a person who:

    • Empathizes with those he/she leads
    • Understands and appreciate the potential of the individuals on the team and does everything he/she can to develop it.
    • Constantly work on improving their capacity to lead

    How much does humor factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?

    I don’t go out my way to “crack jokes” but I think humor is very important and I always use it in my presentations.  Some of my humor is self-deprecating but I have no problem with laughing at myself. More importantly, humor helps to break down the barriers between me and the audience, allows them to relax and allows me to simply have a conversation with them as opposed to feeling like I am talking at them . Humor also helps me to bring attention to the points I am making. My best gauge that it is effective is when an audience member repeats one of my jokes to me afterwards.

    Who inspires you the most?

    I am inspired most by human stories of triumph over adversity.  So whether it is the story of a famous person I am watching on the television or the anonymous person  I am sitting next to on a plane; I really get pumped up when I hear how they were able to endure through tremendous difficulties and were still able to succeed. Those stories always remind me that I can overcome my challenges as well, no matter what they may be.

    How are your keynote presentations unique?

    I am able to take my audiences on a journey from Olympic Gardens-a tough ghetto environment in Kingston, Jamaica, to the prestige of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England to the excitement of competing in three Olympic Winter Games. It’s a wild ride with as many twists and turns as you would find on a bobsled track but one which demonstrates to the audience that they too can make the journey from their Olympic Gardens to their Olympic Games.

    How do you relate your experience in sports to the business world?

    The principles are the same. You begin by being clear about what you are working to achieve. In sports we devise a training program which we follow diligently. In business we also need to create and follow a plan of action.

    In sports I am able to constantly evaluate my progress based on my times in training, how much weight I can lift in a particular exercise or my performance in a competition. The results dictate the corrective actions I need to take. In business, I am always involved in this process of self-evaluation as well as this helps me to identify which actions I need to take in order to reach my goals. This includes finding ways to persist through the challenging times and even recreating some of those intense passions and emotions I would feel when I was preparing for and actually taking part in a competition.

    See keynotes with Devon Harris
    Non-binding request for Devon Harris

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    Devon Harris
    Devon Harris

    5 out of 5 stars

    “I personally have your five key principles (Dream, Motivation, Discipline, Faith and Perseverance) embedded in my mind and heart. They are applicable in every area of life. You are an example of someone who has taken your role in life very seriously and uses it to help others along the way.”

    Keynote topics with Devon Harris