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Devon Harris New York
Devon Harris

Born on Christmas Day, 1964, Devon Harris was raised in the violent ghetto environment of Olympic Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica. The greatest gift he ever received was the belief that a positive attitude and a never say die philosophy would carry him farther than a sense of injustice and a heart filled with anger. Devon Harris graduated from the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England and received a Queen's Commission in December 1985 and served in the officer corps of the Jamaica Defence Force until December 1992 when he retired as a Captain.

Encouraged by his commanding officer, Devon tried out for and was selected to the first Jamaican bobsled team. The team competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada and their exploits inspired the Disney blockbuster movie Cool Runnings.

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.

Through the Keep On Pushing Foundation, Devon also works with Right to Play as an athlete ambassador. He supports Right to Play's efforts in using sport and play in refugee camps around the world to enhance child development and build community capacity.

Being 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 country. He is the author of the motivational children's book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-autobiographical motivational book Keep On Pushing: Hot Lessons From Cool Runnings.

During the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Korea, Devon was inducted as an Olympian For Life by the World Olympian Association for his significant contribution to society. He lives in New York and is married with 5 children.

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  • Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings - Coaching for Personal and Professional Success - In this program Devon Harris skillfully weaves the real life improbable inspirational story of the Jamaica bobsled team with the entertaining portrayal of the Disney blockbuster Cool Runnings. He highlights some of the powerful life lessons he and his teammates learned along the way - lessons the audience can immediately apply to both their personal and professional lives. Suitable as an opening or closing keynote. The audience will learn how:
    • To conquer fear through courage
    • To use the extraordinary power of visualization to achieve success
    • To build self esteem and confidence and reach your goals
    • To define success on your own terms
    • To persist in the face of insurmountable odds

  • The Power and Magic of Teamwork - This inspiring message sees Devon drawing on his personal experiences as the Captain of the Jamaican Bobsled Team and a former Sandhurst-trained Captain in the Jamaica Defence Force, to show how working collaboratively facilitates success personally and professionally as well as collectively as a group. The key ingredients from Devon's perspective are: defining and owning a clear vision, empowering leadership, a process of self-evaluation and persistence. Using humor, engaging stories and powerful insights, Devon easily translates the challenges and triumphs of being in the military and competing in the Olympics into easily applicable lessons and insights that will inspire your team to perform at peak levels. Suitable as an opening or closing keynote. 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.
    • To use the process of self-evaluation to help them move towards the full potential

  • 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 international playing field. 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 inspirational 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. Suitable as an opening or closing keynote. The audience will learn how:
    • A clear personal vision will exceed 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™ - A highly customizable, entertaining program, in which Devon effectively shows how the process of pushing a bobsled is analogous to the success journey of life life; how going through the process, growth and embracing change is critical to transforming oneself as well as the people and the organizations around them. Devon's presentation blends the need for every part of an organization to have the ability, through personal effort, teamwork, passion, a sense of purpose and persistence to "keep on pushing" to achieve success. 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. Entertaining, motivational, with humor, compassion and real-life how-to guidance, Devon Harris inspires the audience to "keep on pushing" - his distinctive phrase when asked how he gets that bobsled down that run. Suitable as an opening or closing keynote. The audience will learn how:
    • To clarify their vision
    • Identifying their purpose
    • Create a more synergistic environment through collaboration
    • Be relentless in finding the solutions to their challenges

Seminars / Breakout Sessions...

Available in Half-Day to Full-Day formats
  • The Team Captain's Toolbox: Essential Leadership Traits - Leadership isn't defined by the job title, expertise or years of experience. It's about developing the perspective, skills and personal style to get results that matter. No one starts off by being an effective leader but you can aspire to transform yourself into an effective one and in the process make yourself more valuable to the organization. Following on the old adage, "leaders are made not born" this program focuses on individual development and is based on the belief that individuals can expand their leadership capacities; they can learn, grow and change. This program aims to equip attendees with the knowledge and skills that will help them to become more effective leaders and achieve better results faster. The session will take the form of a lecture with workbook/hand-outs, interactive discussions and activities.

  • Achieving Leadership Success Through People - "People"... that is the honest answer from most managers when asked about what the most difficult challenge on their job is. People are also their biggest asset. The best leaders know their success depends on their ability to produce results through others and that follow people them, not because they have to, but because they want to. This program provides practical tools for leaders at all levels to learn how to effectively create rapport, synergy and trust with the people they work with and as a result, get the best from them for the leader the team and the organization on a whole. This session is a lecture with workbook/hand-outs, interactive discussions and activities.

  • Success through Peak Performance - Businesses are always looking for ways to increase productivity of their management and staff and to make their companies more profitable. The common practice is to create rigorous strategic plans that don't always deliver the needed outcomes. I believe that companies must start with the fundamental premise that people are their business. More than strategy, branding, marketing, IT systems, etc.; people are key to the business and in order to develop high performing teams and transform their business, they must first transform their people into high performance individuals. The goal of this session is to empower attendees with the tools and strategies that will transform them into peak performers. This session is a lecture with workbook/hand-outs, interactive discussions and activities.

  • Get In, Sit Down, Push Your Team To Success - Every organization relies on effective teamwork for progress. But how do we improve our collaborations to achieve bigger and better goals and achieve them faster? How do we blend all the differences in culture, beliefs, work habits and expertise to form a strong cohesive unit? How does a team improve leadership, reduce conflicts and remain focused on the vision? Get in, Sit down, Push Your Team to Success is comprehensive development programs that can help employees become better team members and improve the effectiveness and success of their teams. The session will take the form of a lecture with workbook/hand-outs, interactive discussions and team activities.

  • Keep On Pushing & Live Your Best Life - Innate in our core as human beings is a desire to achieve increasing levels of success and to reach our full potential. Successful people - irrespective of their area of endeavor - demonstrate a profound drive to make the most of their talents in order to achieve their greatest personal and professional ambitions. The session will take the form of a lecture with workbook/hand-outs, interactive discussions and group activities.
Faster Than Normal Zombie Loyalists
Keep On Pushing: Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings Yes I Can! The Story of the Jamaican Bobsled Team

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