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International Motivational Keynote Speaker
Three-Time Olympian with the Original Jamaican Bobsled Team and Retired Jamaican Defence Force Captain; Leading Audiences to Visualize Success with an Olympic Mindset. You may not know his name or recognize his picture. Yet his grit and fortitude helped inspire a movie you likely have viewed more than once. The 1990s feel-good blockbuster Cool Runnings sugarcoats the real story behind the original Jamaican bobsleigh team. It introduces four Caribbean islanders recruited to participate in the Winter Olympics. They had not ridden on a bobsled nor even walked on snow, never mind experienced the breathtaking cold of a Canadian mountaintop. The entire world watched, waiting to mock and ridicule them. Instead, the world came to embrace their determination and resilience. Now, nearly 30 years later, Devon Harris – the “Yul Brenner” character in the film – is a widely acclaimed international speaker and mindset-resilient coach.
Devon Harris's videos
What Devon Harris's clients say
"Your presentation was exciting, motivating, captivating and your delivery was flawless. It set the stage for the rest of the day; enabling an open environment to discuss, to plan and to strategize together as one team. It was also commendable that you researched our conference and customized your story to fit within our theme of “Take Back Control”."
"Your presentation will not be easily forgotten! You can be sure that our admiration for what you have done helped us achieve the goals Syngenta had for our program. I believe that your testimony and the valuable insight that you shared will make many human beings PASSIONATE about ACHIEVING, not only for Syngenta but for many other companies as well."
"You are a talented speaker with tremendous wit and truly energized our community during the Grand Opening Ceremonies for the new building to be used by Boys and Girls Club of East Texas. You spoke candidly about your life experiences, motivating everyone to exceed their expectations and be all they can be. It was indeed a day to remember in Longview, Texas."
"We have had guest speakers in the past, but none have delivered a message of such significance as yours. It was simple and pure but at the same time profound and extremely moving. Your words motivated and inspired all of us to focus on our dreams and that giving up should never be an option. I personally have your five key principals (Dream, Motivation, Discipline, Faith and Perseverance) embedded in my mind and on my heart. They are applicable in any area of life. You are an example of someone who has taken your role in life seriously and uses it to help others along the way."
"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. Your presentation was so well received by our managers that virtually all of them asked that you come back to speak to our lower level managers and staff. You were beyond question a big hit!"
"We had the pleasure of working with Devon Harris as a guest speaker for our annual meeting of the top-50 executives in our company. Devon’s keynote address provided the ultimate emotional and motivational send-off for our team members. He did his homework on our company and made sure that through his speech, he connected with our people. Devon’s story about overcoming adversity and achieving the nearly im- possible inspired all of us to dream big!"
"Your presentation far exceeded our expectations. Your delivery style and clear message took hold of our audience and held their undivided attention. It was clear too, that you took the planning conference call very seriously and modified your message to touch all the salient points that I noted as being important for the conference."
"Devon was a home-run hit. His story was compelling and his message was motivating and inspiring. He was impressive, engaging and passionate. Everyone enjoyed and appreciated Devon’s program and I would highly recommend him for any audience."
"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."
"Mr. Harris delivered an exceptional speech to our group of approximately 200 employees which was both motivational and inspirational in nature. While his recent background is that of an athlete on the world stage, his speech transcended athletics and spoke to the broader issues of hard work and perseverance that make all things possible. The challenges of his early life gave great credibility to his messages. The feedback from the attendees was highly positive. He was very well-liked by our employees both on and off the stage where he also took the time to socialize with the staff. We received a lot of feedback from staff members not only about how engaging Mr Harris was, but also about his powerful, inspiring message."
Devon Harris's 2023 biography
About Devon Harris
The story Devon tells is far from a Disney fantasy. He shares his journey of climbing out of poverty, risking personal ridicule and safety to succeed well beyond societal expectations. Devon’s story is pulsating, palpable, and awe inspiring. Most importantly, it’s rich in relatable “ah-hah” examples of how to persevere through physical and emotional challenges. Of the many thousands who have heard Devon speak, many have adopted his message to “keep on pushing” as their personal mantra.
Devon draws on lessons from his impoverished and endangered childhood, eight years in the military, and decisively different struggles to three Olympics. We travel with him from Kingston, Jamaica to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst England to the Olympics in Calgary, Canada, Albertville, France and Nagano, Japan. Devon’s authenticity strikes home with all audiences. Sales people, engineers, and top executives exit his presentations uplifted, more resilient, and with their inner-winner fully awakened and ready to rise!
When his childhood mates told him he couldn’t escape the boundaries of the daunting and depressing Waterhouse ghetto, Devon declared “yes, I can!”
When the British training officers at Sandhurst told him that candidates from his background could never pass enough muster to lead men, he respectfully responded, “yes, I can!”
When the elites of winter sports told his fellow Jamaican bobbers and Devon that they couldn’t earn the approval of real winter olympians, he promised them and himself “yes, I can!”
Defying the odds, Devon did “escape” his destiny of being a prisoner of poverty. In fact, in 2006, he started the Keep on Pushing Foundation to provide supplies, computers and a breakfast program to his primary school in Kingston so more children could be ready when that rare opportunity knocked. Today, the foundation has expanded its scope to provide practical solutions to enhance education in disadvantaged schools across the globe.
Despite discrimination, labeling and the low expectations of narrow-minded instructors, not only did Devon impress at Sandhurst, he went on to command over 120 soldiers, received a Queen’s Commission, and retired after eight years as a Captain in the JDF.
After literally crashing in front of the world, the Jamaican bobbers finished their first Winter Olympics with a valiant effort that earned the respect of their competitors and convinced a world of skeptics that the tropical island men did indeed belong. Devon took part in two more Winter Olympics and helped create and nurture a Jamaican bobsled program that regularly qualifies for the Olympics!
We all dream. Some of us dream big. But few have the fortitude to overcome the endless obstacles that enable big dreams to come to fruition.
In a very engaging and relatable manner, Devon shares what it takes to find your unique vision no matter what your job or situation is; how to focus, stay on track, and how to persevere past obstacles – get up after you fall and embrace the joy in your noble journey.
Speaker Devon Harris is the author of the motivational children’s book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical writings on resilience: Keep On Pushing: Hot Lessons From Cool Runnings.
Devon Harris's 2023 talks & topics
Devon Harris's 2023 speaking fees
- United States
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