John O’Leary

An inspiring message of Overcoming Adversity and Resilience

Fee range: $15,000 to $25,000
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John O’Leary

An inspiring message of Overcoming Adversity and Resilience


“John was by far the best speaker we have EVER had”

VP, Human Resources
Southwest Airlines

The Power of One

Be The Light
On Fire


“Kid wake up. Kid are you listening? Keep Fighting.”

Inspirational Keynote Speaker, John O’Leary heard these words in complete darkness because his eyes were swollen shut. John had burned 100% of his body due to a dramatic life-changing accident that occurred within his home. His story spread throughout St. Louis and an unexpected friendship ensued with Jack Buck, the legendary sportscaster of the St. Louis Cardinals. Being inspired by a voice he was very familiar with, John kept fighting and was able to overcome the half percent chance of survival the doctors had given him. John persevered.

Jack visited John during John’s recuperation period at the hospital and gave John an incentive to get better. Jack had promised John that if he was able to make it out of the hospital, the St Louis Cardinals would honor him at Busch stadium, the Cardinal’s field. Six months later, “John O’Leary Day” found a smiling young man, with amputated fingers and unable to move due to Velcro straps that helped him sit up in the wheelchair, having the time of his life. Jack Buck, one man, had stayed true to his promise. However, their friendship did not end there. John still had many more obstacles to overcome, but Jack was there to help along the way.

Two days after the event at Busch stadium, John’s mother brought in a package that was addressed to John. It was from Jack and it was a signed baseball from Ozzie Smith, the Cardinals shortstop. This wasn’t just a gift, it was challenge. The note that came with the baseball asked of John: “If you’d like a second baseball, you need to write a thank you letter to the guy who signed the first.” Facing the challenge at hand, John grabbed a pen and was able to write out his first words since the accident. Jack knew how to motivate John and John was ready for any challenge. A couple days later, a second baseball had come in the mail and it had the same note. By the end of 1987, John had over 60 signed baseballs, but this wasn’t the greatest reward. John had learned to write again and regained mobility with his hands.

Today, keynote speaker John O’Leary has shared his inspirational story with over 1,600 well-known brands nationwide. Understanding the challenges of everyday life and overcoming them has propelled John to inspire his audiences to overcome their own challenges, one at a time.

In his inspirational keynote speech, John O’Leary reminds audiences of “The Power of One.” It only takes one person to come into your life and change its course. John had received the love and support from Jack Buck at the very start of his recuperation. Through Jack’s persistence and support in setting up new goals for John, John was able to graduate from college and lead a successful life. No matter the challenges and tribulations John has faced, John was able to overcome them with the inspiring words he heard from Jack in the hospital.

“Keep fighting.”

John O’Leary never gave up and not only inspires groups, but shares techniques to allow audiences to overcome and conquer their own obstacles. Once they’ve heard John speak, audiences never forget the powerful message of this inspirational keynote speaker.

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