Jessica Cox

Jessica is recognized internationally as an inspirational keynote speaker. Born without arms, Jessica Cox could have succumbed to the low expectations that ushered her into this world. In spite of them all, she earned two black belts in Taekwondo, graduated from college, and learned to swim, drive a car, fly an airplane, surf, scuba dive, and live independently using her feet in ways others who take their hands for granted can only imagine. She holds the title of the first person without arms to get a black belt in the American Taekwondo Association and the Guiness World Record for the first pilot to fly with her feet.

However, Jessica’s greatest triumph in life stands far above any physical feat. It is her unrepentant regard for herself as a whole person, her high degree of self-acceptance that gives her freedom and power to insist that society accept her, too, just as she is.


  • Guinness World Record: The First Armless Person in the World Ever to Have Obtained a Pilot’s License, 2011
  • AOPA LIVE Pilots Choice Award 2010: Most Watched Female Aviator
  • Filipino Women’s Network: 100 Most Influential Filipino Women in the U.S., 2009
  • Published in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, 2009
  • The Filipino American Journal Award of Excellence, Outstanding Filipino Award, 2008


When Jessica first walks on stage, the audience has no idea that she doesn’t have arms. Carefully hidden underneath a jacket, she has on her prosthetic arms. Minutes into the introduction, she removes them and begins her speech rightfully titled:

Disarming the Impossible! Corporate Keynote:
Turning “Impossible” into “Accomplishment”
What limits people in your group from attaining their highest potential? How can they push limitations aside?
Jessica believes that by combining creativity, persistence, and fearlessness, nothing is impossible. In her presentation, she digs deep into her experiences living armless in a two-handed world. She shows how these three qualities helped her achieve the seemingly impossible.
Jessica’s elements stem from answering such questions as:

  • Are you letting your fears stand in the way of your opportunities?
  • Is it easier to come up with an excuse than a creative solution to a challenge?
  • What handicaps are you-and others-creating that you don’t need?
  • How soon should you give up when confronted with a difficult challenge?

Get Ready to Turn your “I can’t” into “I can!” and “I will!” Youth Keynote: Embracing Differences
Every person on this earth is “different” in one way or another and in one form or another has endured pressure to conform under the threat of rejection and isolation. Students experience the constant pressure to “fit in.” Jessica shares the struggle of masking her difference growing up in a two-handed world but then realizing the importance of being true to who we are as individuals. In order to be a good leader, Jessica believes it is critical to stand up for who it is we are, stand out every opportunity we have, and to stand proud of our differences!

Thinking Outside the Shoe
As a person who has never viewed herself as a victim of her condition, Jessica shares in her speeches humerous stories of struggle and success living in a “two-handed” world.  She provides critical insight on how to best approach a challenge, redefining the concept of innovative thinking.  She helps people reconnect with their own inner strengths and aptitudes.  Jessica believes in combining creativity, desire, persistence and fearlessness; with them, nothing is impossible.  In her presentation, she will dig deep into her excperiences living armless in a two-handed world and share how these four elements helped her achieve the seemingly impossible.

Jessica’s points stem from answering such questions as:

  • Why is it more important to “fit in” than to stand out and be different?
  • Do students act based on what everyone else is doing?
  • Who is responsible for standing up for who we are as individuals?
  • Why are we so worried about what everyone else thinks?

Full Biography

Jessica Cox was born without arms. The doctors do not know why she was born “differently-abed.” But she does. Jessica has made achievements with her feet that most people only dream of. Now she shares her story with people around the world.

Born in 1983 in Sierra Vista, Arizona, Jessica has learned to live her life with her feet. There were many questions at the time about whether Jessica would be able to live a “normal” life. However, Jessica’s father has said he never shed a tear about her birth condition. He had full confidence in her potential. With the support of her parents and family, Jessica became confident in herself as an adult and continued to explore the world with her feet.

As a child, Jessica studied dance in her home town. When the first performance arrived, she asked to be put in the back row. Her dance teacher told her there was no back row. Tentatively she took the stage with the other students and performed her routine. When she finished, the applause from the audience gave her encouragement and the confidence to continue dancing for 14 years.

Jessica’s parents eventually met a Taekwondo instructor named Jim Cunningham. His response when told of her birth condition was that she would be more than physically able and that only her attitude could hold her back. At the age of 14, Jessica earned her first Black Belt in the International Taekwondo Federation.

After graduating from high school, Jessica attended the University of Arizona where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. When talking about her degree, she frequently explains that psychology credits the way people think has a greater impact on their lives than a physical limitation.

During college, Jessica found a club of the American Taekwondo Association and resumed training in the sport. Even though Jessica already had one black belt in a different style, she had to relearn all of the color belt material. The instructors created a curriculum that would be accessible to any future arm less students. Jessica then became the first arm less person to earn a black belt in the ATA.
Jessica’s most famous accomplishment was learning how to fly. It took three states, four airplanes, two flight instructors and a discouraging year to find the right aircraft: a 1946 415C Ercoupe Airplane. She received the Guinness World Record for being the first person certified to fly an airplane with only their feet.

Jessica now works as a motivational speaker. She travels the world sharing her story and encouraging people to be creative and innovative with the mantra “Think outside the shoe.

Roberta Bondar

Roberta Bondar OC, O.On, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRSC is Canada’s first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space. For more than a decade she was NASA’s head of space medicine and now consultants and speakers to business, scientific, and medical communities. She has received such honors as the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, the NASA Space Medal, over 22 honorary degrees and induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Seeing the world through the lenses of a medical doctor, scientist, photographer, astronaut and author, Bondar follows her family’s tradition of excellence in teaching.

Trained as a member of NASA’s Earth Observation Team she expanded her professional photographic expertise. After her space mission, she continued her photographic explorations honing her artistic and technical skills as an honors student in Professional Nature Photography.

A cross-discipline thought leader with groundbreaking insights on the environment, innovation, discovery and leadership, Dr. Bondar is one of North America’s most sought-after and respected presenters. Meeting and conference planners from organizations as diverse as Yale University, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Gartner, Investors Group, Capgemini, Pfizer, Oracle, the FBI and many more have come to depend on her as a valued partner in planning and delivering customized presentations that consistently move audiences to their next level.

Dr. Bondar draws on her remarkable depth of expertise as an astronaut, physician, scientific researcher, photographer, author, environment interpreter and team leader to stimulate, motivate, educate and inspire. By customizing each speech and keynote, she brings added value with her maturity, wisdom gained from “in the trenches” life experiences, broad educational background and depth of personality. This unique combination will ensure that any event will be extraordinary.


Personal and Professional Goals – An Advanced Ethic
We all want to lead happy productive lives and it is fulfilling when both personal and professional lives can feed off each other. As far as I have seen on Earth and beyond, nothing is clearer than the fact that we have a precious relatively short Earth-life. It makes sense to develop ourselves for each hour that we are awake by learning from the potential life experiences all around us.

Management Lessons from Space
Successful businesses anticipate and respond rapidly to a world in constant flux where human relations are keys to effective change. As professional flexibility reflects personal adaptability, valued team members know when to lead, when to follow and when to stay the course. They embrace culture challenges as positive influences on both their continued professional and personal development.

Never a Distance too Great: Bridges for Life
It is not enough just to advocate a vision: you must realize it. The gap between a dream and reality is bridged with interest and insight, skill and determination, focus and discipline. Because of their timeless value, these bridges also give us the flexibility that we will need in the future to cope with inevitable change. Dynamic bridges of the human mind can be virtual or real, but they must be agile. They form the link between other worlds, ideas and relationships.

Vision and Leadership
In a world of extremes, a leader’s vision must be bold yet within reach of fellow team members. Sharing a vision is more than setting out objectives and goals for other to follow. If there is no overlap of interest or passion by everyone, a vision will be blind to fulfilling its potential. By definition, a leader knows about leadership but a successful leader understands followership. Experience offers each of us an opportunity to learn from another person’s life lesions which combine the richness of education, with the insight of critical thinking. By linking this resource to respect for a shared vision, a strong team will be focused on success.


Full Biography

Astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar World’s First Neurologist in Space

The world’s first neurologist in space, Dr. Roberta Bondar is globally recognized for her pioneering contribution to space medicine research. Aboard the Discovery mission STS-42 in 1992 she conducted experiments in the shuttle’s first international microgravity laboratory.

For more than a decade at NASA Dr. Bondar headed an international research team, continuing to find new connections between astronauts recovering from the microgravity of space and neurological illnesses here on Earth. Her techniques have been used in clinical studies at the B. I. Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Bondar served two terms as Chancellor of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.

A true renaissance woman, Dr. Bondar is an acclaimed photographer of the environment. She is the author of four best-selling photo essay books featuring her stunning photography of the Earth. Her photographic works may be found in private, corporate and institutional collections in Canada, the U.S. and England.

An author, environmental educator and celebrated landscape photographer, Dr. Bondar has also earned a reputation as a leading speaker and consultant within the medical and scientific communities, and in the field of corporate social responsibility and care for the Earth’s environment. She co-founded The Roberta Bondar Foundation, a charitable organization to improve our understanding of the environment.

Dr. Bondar has been recognized with the NASA Space Medal, inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame for her pioneering research in space medicine. She is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario and has received 24 honorary doctorates from North American universities. In 2003 TIME magazine named her among North America’s best explorers. In 2011, Dr. Bondar received her own star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Mike Mullane

Mike Mullane

As a veteran of the earliest flights of the American Space Shuttle program, Mike Mullane has seen the world from a perspective that few people have ever experienced directly but that inspires a deep sense of wonder in all of us. Mullane shares his experiences with audiences both young and old in his hallmark multi-media presentation, “Stories from Space.” A prolific writer and speaker since his retirement from the space program in 1990, his contributions range from the popular, fact-filled “Do Your Ears Pop in Space?” to the award winning children’s book, “Liftoff! An Astronaut’s Dream.” Read more

Charlie Plumb

Charlie Plumb

A testament to the strength of the human spirit, Charles Plumb endured the most extreme hardship and used

Read more

John Foley

John Foley

A former lead solo pilot for the Blue Angels, motivational speaker John Foley is an expert on teamwork in intense, high-stakes environments. As the leader of the Navy’s elite precision exhibition flying team, Foley expected unparalleled levels of excellence from his team and required steadfast commitment, discipline, and trust in order to reach peak performance levels. With insight from the Blue Angels, lessons from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and his experiences in the inner circle of a venture capital company, Foley has developed a practical, effective model for developing a high performance team. Read more

Gerald Coffee

Gerald Coffee

U.S. Navy (retired) Captain Gerald Coffee’s heroic story is legendary. In February of 1966, while flying combat missions over North Vietnam, Gerald Coffee’s RA-5C reconnaissance jet was shot down by enemy fire. He parachuted safely but was captured immediately. He was held int he Communist prisons of North Vietnam as a Prisoner of War for the next seven years. After his repatriation in February, 1973, Jerry returned to operation duties. He retired from active duty in the Navy after 28 years of service. Read more

Dick Rutan

Dick Rutan

As a Tactical Air Command fighter pilot during most of his two decades in the Air Force, Dick Rutan flew 325 combat missions in Vietnam, 105 of them as a member of a high-risk classified operation commonly known as the “MISTY’s.” While on his last strike reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam in September of 1968, his aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire, and he was forced to eject from his burning F-100. Rutan evaded enemy capture and was later rescued by the Air Force’s “Jolly Green Giant” helicopter team. After retirement, Dick and his brother Burt formed Rutan Aircraft Factory, where Dick flew the test flight development programs of many military and civilian experimental aircraft and set numerous world speed and distance records. In the early 80s, he founded Voyager Aircraft, Inc. and on the morning of December 14, 1986, Voyager took off, landing nine days, three minutes and forty four seconds later at Edwards Air Force Base in California, successfully completing the six-year quest. The Voyager is now proudly suspended in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s “Milestones of Flight” gallery in Washington, D.C. Dick Rutan is also proud to be a governing member of the emerging space tourism industry. He formed an enterprise called Voyager Aerospace Corporation and has several projects emerging with this company – two of them are unique aircraft. Since Voyager’s world flight, Dick Rutan has been traveling the world, speaking to audiences and sharing his tales of the magnificent Voyager project and of his other adventures. The Voyager story is one of tremendous courage, vision and adventure and is often referred to as “aviation’s last first.” Read more

Bertrand Piccard

Bertrand Piccard, doctor and psychiatrist, explorer and aeronaut, combines science and adventure to deal with today’s global challenges. Always interested in the study of human behavior in extreme situations, he was one of the pioneers of hang gliding and micro-light flying in the 1970s. Qualified as a balloon pilot, he won the first transatlantic balloon race in 1992. Piccard then initiated the “Breitling Orbiter” project and completed with Englishman Brian Jones the first ever non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, achieving the longest flight in terms of both duration and distance in the history of aviation: 45,755 kilometers in 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes, capturing a total of 7 world records.

After this circumnavigation, which was considered the last great adventure of the 20th century, he launched the Solar Impulse project to fly around the world with a solar powered airplane, without any fuel, in order to demonstrate the potential of the new technologies for sustainable development. In summer 2010, the prototype became the first airplane ever to fly a complete day and night cycle on solar energy only.

Dr. Piccard became a sought-after speaker both by the public and by big companies who invite him to address their management, employees or clients. He knows that his audience isn’t there to learn how to fly a balloon, but rather to find in his experience a source of inspiration for their private or professional lives. Using his aerial exploits as a backdrop, Bertrand Piccard illustrates his concept of the psychology of life, human communication, team-work, motivation, pioneering spirit, as well as how to deal with stress, uncertainty and crises. At the request of some audiences, he also covers medical topics such as the use of hypnosis and self-hypnosis.


Adventure is a State of Mind: The Metaphor of the Round-the-World Balloon Flight

Be a Balloonist in Your Business

Team Spirit and the Psychology of Communication

How To Play With the Winds of Life

Coping with Crisis Situations

Managing Stress

Hypnosis and Self-hypnosis
(for audiences interested in medical topics)

Full Biography

Bertrand Piccard was born on March 1st 1958 in Lausanne (Switzerland) into a family of explorers and scientists. His grandfather was the first person to explore the stratosphere and he invented the bathyscaphe with which his father dived to the deepest point in the oceans. Bertrand seemed to be predestined to perpetuate one of the greatest family adventures of the 20th century. Married, and father of three children, this scientist- adventurer, psychiatrist and aeronaut combines science and adventure to explore the human soul.

After a classical education (latin/greek), he studied medicine, became a senior consultant in a psychiatric hospital, and specialised jointly in psychiatry and psychotherapy for adults and children. His doctoral thesis entitled “La Pédagogie de l’Epreuve” was awarded a prize by the Faculty of Medicine at Lausanne in 1996. An expert in hypnotherapy, he is a lecturer and supervisor for the Swiss Medical Hypnosis Society.

Always interested in the study of human behaviour in extreme situations, he was one of the pioneers of hang gliding and microlight flying in the 1970s and became European champion in hang-glider aerobatics (1985). After qualifying as a balloon pilot, he won, with Wim Verstraeten, the first transatlantic balloon race (Chrysler Challenge, 1992) and then initiated the “Breitling Orbiter” project.

Captain of the three attempts, he succeeded with the Englishman, Brian Jones, the first nonstop round-the-world balloon flight, achieving the longest flight in terms of both duration and distance in the history of aviation : 45,755 kilometres in 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes (capturing a total of 7 world records). After this circumnavigation, considered the last great adventure of the 20th century, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones were decorated with the Olympic Order and the gold medal of the French Ministry of Youth and Sport and received among others the highest distinctions of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the National Geographic Society, the Explorer’s Club, and numerous aeronautical , scientific and sporting associations in Europe and the United States of America.

An Honorary Professor, Bertrand Piccard also received Honorary Doctorates in Science and Letters, the Légion d’Honneur, the Grand Prix of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques de l’Institut de France and was appointed goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). His name figures in the 2000 edition of the Larousse encyclopaedia alongside those of his father and grandfather. Together with his co-pilot and their sponsor, Breitling, he created the « Winds of Hope » humanitarian foundation destined to use the financial and media impact of the round-theworld flight to fight forgotten and neglected sufferings on our earth. The first action,

implemented in conjunction with the WHO, concerns the fight against Noma, a little known illness which hideously disfigures the faces of thousands of children in very poor countries.

Rick Searfoss

Rick Searfoss

As one of fewer than a hundred people who have commanded a manned space mission, Colonel Rick Searfoss speaks on Read more


In the cockpit, flawless execution is a matter of life-or-death. Afterburner teaches their methodologies to enhance organizational performance and achieve corporate success. Audiences will learn how to focus on the mission by defining strategy and assessing risks, and that communication and execution are key elements not only in aerial combat but in business. No matter what your needs – keynote presentation, breakout session, one or two day seminar – the Afterburner fighter pilots provide you with the skills to get your people motivated and ready to face any challenge. Read more