John O'Leary
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John O'Leary
Key Topics:
Health Care
Bio Info:
John’s life is proof of the power of the human spirit. At nine years old, he was burned on 100% of his body and given less than one percent chance of surviving the first night. He endured months in the hospital, years in therapy, dozens of surgeries, and lost all of his fingers to amputation.

As a boy in a hospital bed, John could not have foreseen his many accomplishments. Yet his experiences throughout the journey are what fuel the incredible compassion and authenticity that are evident in every presentation he gives.
Professional FocusJohn’s professional focus as an international speaker began with the writing and release of his parents’ poignant book, Overwhelming Odds. Because of this book, John felt compelled to embrace his past, rise above his fears and share his message with others.

He began speaking in 2005 to a total of eight organizations. Since then, he partnered with over 850 different groups, in 46 states and nine countries. The tremendous growth is the result of his commitment to his clients and to truly partnering with them to make each meeting, conference and retreat a life-changing experience for their associates.
John also brings his experience, wisdom and expertise to his roles as chaplain at a children’s hospital and as an ambassador for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
  • 2011, John was honored to receive the “Members Choice” Speaker Award from Vistage International. Selecting from thousands of speaker resources internationally, this award is presented to the highest rated speaker.
  • 2009, John was named one of the Top Ten “Most Interesting” People in St. Louis.
  • 2007 recipient of the St. Louis University Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
  • 2006 Energizer “Keep Going” Hall of Fame inductee. (He shares this award with baseball great, Cal Ripken, Jr.)
 His greatest success in life is his marriage with Beth and their four children, Jack, Patrick, Henry and Grace.

Why Choose John?

John offers presentations on a variety of topics, each of which can be tailored to fit your organization.

Ignite your Life!
In this presentation, John inspires audiences to look deeply within themselves, discover who they are, the talents they possess, the challenges they’ve endured, and their ability to grow through adversity. Through this program, audiences are ignited with a life full of possibility not yet even imagined!
What might happen if you embraced your scars, mistakes, and missteps – and utilized the lessons learned to propel you forward? What impact could you have if you worked in perfect symphony with your team – and created an impact far greater than any single individual? How significant would your life be if you discovered passion and meaning in your life – and tapped into the resulting increase in energy, persistence and creativity?
John O’Leary powerfully reveals how our greatest challenges can be transformed into the foundation for outstanding growth. Through emotional story-telling and great humor, John empowers audiences to carefully consider how they can author a legacy of significance. The three critical components include:

Personal Awareness:Identify who I am, strengths and weaknesses, and roles I’ve accepted
Clarity of Purpose:Discover personal mission; then inspire others toward excellence
Personal Mastery:Freedom to choose the pathway which leads to significance

The Power of One
Journey with John O’Leary as he powerfully celebrates the possibility of how you can serve, love and impact more profoundly in your own life.

Personal accountability involves every aspect of our lives – our thoughts, actions, behaviors, and values. John reveals how pride in one’s own life wildly impacts others personally and professionally. Of critical importance here is discovering that personal accountability and significant results in life don’t come from a better spouse, different job, or new manager – they are only realized from within.

Be Light: Shining with Faith
Today’s world can seem so dark. We are too often reminded of the pain and disappointment in our everyday lives. Health, financial, and relational challenges impact all who live in this imperfect, fallen world. Our faith doesn’t offer the guarantee of avoiding adversity, but instead the promise of a loving God who suffers with us in our pain, celebrates with us in our joy, and invites us into an eternal relationship with Him.

In this presentation, John O’Leary illustrates the incredible power of love, gratitude, forgiveness, purpose, courage and resilience. John reminds us that Jesus Christ calls us to be his living presence – to bring light to this dark world. This program will empower you to shine your light of faith for all to see!

Partnership Program
The impact of John O’Leary’s message has a universal application and can be uniquely personalized for your organization.

John regularly partners with leaders to create presentations that complement their annual conferences, meetings and events. Uniquely combining the organization’s mission, values and history with John’s personal story creates an amazing experience for audience members. Because of this, John is a heavily sought-after speaker in healthcare, sales, executive leadership, safety, and education.


As a former trauma patient and hospital chaplain, John O’Leary is a popular speaker choice for hospital systems, healthcare associations and medical/EMS conferences around the world.

John understands the healthcare profession demands quality individuals dedicated to the service of patients and families – in an environment often filled with limited resources and exhaustive schedules. Sharing from his personal experience as a burn victim, John reveals the difference between curing and healing patients. In addition, John will reignite participants’ passion for their healthcare careers – illustrating the crucial role they have in the patients they serve and the departments they work with.

As John O’Leary so intimately knows, one poor decision can dramatically affect the rest of your life. This poor decision not only impacts the life of the individual injured, it also impacts their entire family, organization and community.
Leading the mission to eliminate all employee accidents, John challenges audiences in manufacturing and utilities to improve their safety by personal accountability – one employee, one decision at a time. While many safety programs focus on what not to do in order to not get injured, John O’Leary focuses on what to do in order to work safe, lead others, and thrive in life.

From student assemblies to faculty in-service retreats, John inspires audiences to fully realize the possibility of how one can serve, love and impact more profoundly.
John’s youth presentations focuses on celebrating individual uniqueness, the power of everyday heroes, and developing strong character. John’s humor and story-telling mesmerizes student audiences and empowers them to make a positive difference in the lives they lead at school and at home. This one program may be the most important gift you provide your students, your staff, and yourself this year!

John and his family have experienced the incredible impact proper financial and insurance planning can have. John’s father, Denny, has been living with Parkinson’s disease for the past 25 years.
It is Denny’s disability insurance policy that has sustained his family’s standard of living.

Because of John’s message, financial representatives and agents are energized with new passion for their careers. A favorite speaker in network office meetings and Home Office trainings, John also creates memorable client appreciation events. Instead of sharing the typical economic forecast, John helps deepen your relationships with your clients by providing a unique experience of personal triumph and hope.
Fee Info (subject to change)
Travels From:
  • Ignite your Life!
  • The Power of One
  • Be Light: Shining with Faith
  • Partnership Program
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