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Devon Harris

Three-Time Olympian with the Original Jamaican Bobsled Team

Helping Audiences Visualize Success with an Olympic Mindset

The true story of a most improbable life…..

The world should never have heard of Devon Harris yet he became a highly sought after international Motivational Speaker in New York. Devon Harris was raised in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, yet he graduated from the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England and served as an officer in the Jamaica Defense 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 Devon Harris it was impossible but at every step of the way, he kept on pushing and found a way to make it possible.

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

Companies who hire Devon for their corporate events love Devon Harris. He has positively impacted and inspired thousands at corporate events for fortune 500 companies non-profits, governmental organizations, schools, and universities.

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, Devon Harris’ 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.

  • Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings – Coaching for Personal and Professional Success
  • Keep On Pushing
  • Power and Magic of Teamwork
  • Out of many; One: An Olympic Athlete’s View of Diversity in the Workplace

Devon Harris was really fantastic today at our recognition event. Not only did he engage the crowd and keep them laughing, Devon also wove in a few key messages that we mentioned in our prep call. Good speakers come and inspire – GREAT speakers understand the objective of the meeting and personalize their message to fit. The extra work Devon put in customizing his presentation really reinforced the goals of the meeting and went a long way in making sure our guests could relate it to their own lives. After his presentation, Devon stayed for photos and was a real pleasure to meet and work with. I highly recommend him!

We have had guest speakers in the past, but none have delivered a message of such significance as yours. It was simple and pure but at the same time profound and extremely moving. Your words motivated and inspired all of us to focus on our dreams and that giving up should never be an option. I personally have your five key principals (Dream, Motivation, Discipline, Faith and Perseverance) embedded in my mind and on my heart. They are applicable in any area of life. You are an example of someone who has taken your role in life seriously and uses it to help others along the way.

Devon was a home-run hit. His story was compelling and his message was motivating and inspiring. He was impressive, engaging and passionate. Everyone enjoyed and appreciated Devon’s program and I would highly recommend him for any audience. It was also amazing to see how almost everyone lined up for optional pictures with you after the event.-a clear indication of what a strong connection you made with the audience. Many of the conference participants made it a point to tell me that they thought your presentation was out- standing.

Partial List of Financial Services Clients

  • American Express
  • American Home Mortgage
  • BKD, LLP
  • Butterfield Bank-Bermuda
  • Capital District Insurance Health Plan
  • Charles Schwab
  • Citigroup
  • ICPA
  • General Reinsurance
  • Merril Lynch
  • MetLife
  • Mortgage Bankers Association of MS
  • National Association of Variable Annuities
  • Parish National Bank
  • Professional Insurance Marketing Association
  • PrimeSource Mortgage
  • Principal Financial Group
  • Rothstein Kass
  • Standard and Poor
  • Third Federal Savings and Loan
  • United Fire & Casualty Co.
  • United Health International
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Swiss Re
  • Thrivent
Travels From:  New York
City:
$15,001 to $20,000

Biography

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.

Presentations

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.

 

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.

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 and now working as a inspirational and Motivational keynote speaker, 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.

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, As an inspirational and motivational keynote speaker, 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.

Areas of expertise

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Resilience
  • Teamwork
  • Peak Performance
  • Mindset
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