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Overcoming Adversity Speakers

From “We Shall Overcome” to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to “Shake It Off,” our cultural lexicon is rife with rhetoric on facing tough times. We represent a team of Speakers on Overcoming Adversity that add substance to the songbook, having charged head-on into some of the most insurmountable and unimaginable obstacles ever encountered, and not only survived, but thrived.

The ability of our inspirational speakers to reframe and adjust perspective becomes even more salient when a culture of fear and complacency is prevalent in the workplace, and employees become limited more by attitude than perceived lack of opportunity.

Our Overcoming Adversity Speakers won’t just lift you up and over, but carry you further, going beyond motivation with the ability to ignite and inspire that inner fire in your audience as well as sustain and maintain the drive to succeed throughout your organization, long after the keynote concludes.

Browse speaker candidates below, refine the results or choose another topic.

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Overcoming Adversity Speakers

Allison Massari

FEE CATEGORY * $15,000 to $20,000
TRAVELS FROM California, USA

After surviving two horrific car accidents, artist and entrepreneur Allison Massari braved an excruciating recovery that forever changed the way she viewed life and happiness. She has since then become one of North America’s leading… Full Profile


Meredith Vieira

FEE CATEGORY * $75,000 and above
TRAVELS FROM New York, USA

*Meredith Vieira only accepts speaking engagements in the New York area. Meredith Vieira is an award-winning news correspondent, anchor, editor, television personality and philanthropist. She won five Emmy Awards for her work as a correspondent… Full Profile


Dr. Howard Wasdin

FEE CATEGORY * $15,000 to $20,000
TRAVELS FROM Florida, USA

During his military career, Dr. Howard Wasdin was shot numerous times during a horrific battle and suffered structural deviations that altered the way he walked. He made the decision to attend Chiropractic College after finding… Full Profile


Dr. Sampson Davis

FEE CATEGORY * $15,000 to $20,000
TRAVELS FROM New Jersey, USA

Growing up in Newark, New Jersey, Dr. Sampson Davis was surrounded by poverty, broken families and drug-related crime. He managed to walk the tightrope between being smart and socially acceptable in a rough neighborhood, and… Full Profile


Thomas Kolditz

FEE CATEGORY * $15,000 to $20,000
TRAVELS FROM Connecticut, USA

Retired Brigadier General Tom Kolditz is an internationally recognized expert on crisis leadership and leadership in extreme contexts. His time as a Leader Development Expert spans four decades in the public, private and social sectors.… Full Profile


Marlon Shirley

FEE CATEGORY * $5,000 to $10,000
TRAVELS FROM Utah, USA

Olympic Gold Medalist, Amputee Over the last 28 years, Marlon Shirley has endured many challenging situations, including many which would have caused an average person to break down. But Marlon Shirley is no average person.… Full Profile


Billy Mills

FEE CATEGORY * $10,000 to $15,000
TRAVELS FROM California, USA

Gold medalist, Billy Mills wowed the world when he overtook the world’s highest performing runners in the home stretch of the 1964 Olympic 10,000-meter-dash. Mills, who had been given a 1,000 to 1 shot at… Full Profile


Aimee Mullins

FEE CATEGORY * $50,000 to $75,000
TRAVELS FROM New York, USA

Named one of the “Coolest Girls in Sports” by Sports Illustrated, Aimee Mullins has redefined what’s possible for an entire generation of differently-abled people. The record-breaking athlete, model, and actress was born without shin bones… Full Profile


J.R. Martinez

FEE CATEGORY * $20,000 to $25,000
TRAVELS FROM California, USA

J. R. Martinez has been inspiring, motivating and empowering his audiences with his amazing story of recovery since sustaining severe burns on 34% of his body when serving in Iraq as an infantryman. His career… Full Profile


Misty May-Treanor

FEE CATEGORY * $25,000 to $30,000
TRAVELS FROM California, USA

With 107 career wins, Misty May-Treanor is the #1 ranked player in the history of competitive beach volleyball. Known for her rigorous ethics, values, and hard work, the three-time Olympic gold medalist is one of… Full Profile


Kyle Maynard

FEE CATEGORY * $25,000 to $30,000
TRAVELS FROM Georgia, USA

Two-time ESPN Espy winner, Kyle Maynard did not let a birth defect deter him from becoming a gifted athlete. The Mixed Martial Arts competitor, who was born without arms or legs, has inspired millions worldwide… Full Profile


Catherine McCarthy

FEE CATEGORY * $15,000 to $20,000
TRAVELS FROM New York, USA

Performance expert, Catherine McCarthy helps senior leaders bring out the best in their teams by breaking the paradigm of heavier workloads and longer hours. Over the course of 20 years, she’s designed courses and coached… Full Profile


Dave Pelzer

FEE CATEGORY * $10,000 to $15,000
TRAVELS FROM California, USA

Child abuse prevention advocate and inspirational speaker, Dave Pelzer is best known for his best-selling book, A Child Called “It”. The memoir which offered a raw account of Pelzer’s abusive childhood was on the NewYork… Full Profile


Chris Klug

FEE CATEGORY * $10,000 to $15,000
TRAVELS FROM Colorado, USA

In a truly astonishing feat of athletic ability, and as a demonstration of the remarkable resilience of the human body, snowboarder Chris Klug won a bronze medal at the 2002 Olympic games as the first… Full Profile


Hoda Kotb

FEE CATEGORY * $75,000 and above
TRAVELS FROM New York, USA

Known for her engaging style of journalism, Hoda Kotb has never turned away from an uncomfortable topic or conversation. The beloved reporter co-hosts the fourth hour of the Today Show on NBC and has shared… Full Profile


Lisa Nichols

FEE CATEGORY * $30,000 to $50,000
TRAVELS FROM California, USA

Growing up and living in a South Central L.A. neighborhood divided between two warring gangs, single mother Lisa Nichols gave herself permission to take control of her life and get her family out of poverty.… Full Profile


Deborah Norville

FEE CATEGORY * $30,000 to $50,000
TRAVELS FROM New York, USA

Since 1995, Deborah Norville has been the anchor of Inside Edition, the longest running syndicated news magazine program, which covers hard news as well as crime and human interest stories. As a keynote speaker, Norville… Full Profile


Willie Jolley

FEE CATEGORY * $20,000 to $25,000
TRAVELS FROM District of Columbia, USA

Rated the “ #1 Motivational & Inspirational Speaker and Singer in America” by Get Motivated Seminars, Dr. Willie Jolley became speaking sensation after being fired from a nightclub where the professional singer was replaced by… Full Profile


Cullen Jones

FEE CATEGORY * $15,000 to $20,000
TRAVELS FROM North Carolina, USA

After nearly drowning in a Pennsylvania Water Park, Cullen Jones took up swimming, worked hard, and captured Olympic gold. He is the first African-American male to win a Gold Medal at the World University Games… Full Profile


Martina Navratilova

FEE CATEGORY * $30,000 to $50,000
TRAVELS FROM Florida, USA

Martina Navratilova dominated tennis in the 1980s and has been called the greatest all-round player in the sport’s history. Admired for her integrity and persona both on and off the court, the sports heroine is… Full Profile


Jackie Joyner-Kersee

FEE CATEGORY * $30,000 to $50,000
TRAVELS FROM Missouri, USA

Named “the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century” by Sports Illustrated, Jackie Joyner-Kersee overcame severe asthma, poverty, and racial barriers to become a six-time Olympic medalist. She is the world record holder in the… Full Profile


Peggy ONeill

FEE CATEGORY * $5,000 to $10,000
TRAVELS FROM California, USA

At a height of 3’8”, Peggy O’Neill has seen life from a unique perspective. The award-winning motivational speaker and life coach draws from her challenges and differences to help others break through their obstacles and… Full Profile


Dan Jansen

FEE CATEGORY * $15,000 to $20,000
TRAVELS FROM North Carolina, USA

After numerous setbacks, speed skater Dan Jansen finally captured a medal at his fourth and final Olympic games. Finishing eighth in the 500 meter, the event he was favored in, he later defied the odds… Full Profile


Lyn St. James

FEE CATEGORY * $15,000 to $20,000
TRAVELS FROM Indiana, USA

Recognized by Sports Illustrated as one of the “Top 100 Women Athletes of the Century”, Lyn St. James is only one of three women in the 90-year history of NASCAR to compete in the Indianapolis… Full Profile


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