DEVON HARRIS

Three Time Winter Olympian & Jamaican Bobsled Team Captain

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. Tapping the same energy, determination and skills that enabled him to bobsled with the best in the world, Devon, as an international motivational keynote speaker is now sparking audiences of all ages to dream big and take their “game” to the next level.

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 at corporate events, 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. His relevant, customized content along with his irrepressible energy and humor, make Devon Harris one of the most in-demand motivational conference keynote speakers in the world. His unique life experiences allow him to deliver a powerful, poignant message that is authentic, entertaining and yet highly inspirational. Devon speaks to your heart, mind and soul and has a message that will be remembered. His “keep On Pushing message is uplifting and empowering and fills the audience with an optimistic can do attitude that is lasting.

TOPICS

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

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. 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.

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

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 team work 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 managrs and tomorrow’s leaders.

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 supercede 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

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.

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.

BIO

Born on Christmas Day, 1964, the world should never have heard of Devon Harris. He was raised in one of the most violent slums of Kingston, Jamaica yet he graduated from the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England and served as an officer in the Jamaica Defence Force. He started off as a barefoot boy trying to win a track race and became a member of his country’s first Olympic bobsled team. Circumstances and others constantly told him it was impossible but at every step of the way he, kept on pushing and found a way to make it possible.

At the heart of Devon’s 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. 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. Their 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 by providing practical solutions to the challenges that are preventing them from getting educated. Devon’s work has made a significant difference in the lives of the students attending his old elementary school as well as other schools in the communities surrounding his old neighborhood.

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 and around the United States.

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 Lesson From Cool Runnings.