Chad E. Foster Profile

  • Chad will lead you through the steps you can take to improve resilience. He teaches the practical tools you can apply to any situation in order to move your mindset from victim to visionary.

  • Chad is the first blind executive to complete the Harvard Leadership Program.

  • He believes he is successful not despite being blind, but rather because of it.

  • Although Chad E. Foster lost his eyesight in his early 20’s, that didn’t stop him from becoming an executive for Red Hat, the world’s largest open source software company and securing over $45 Billion in contracts throughout his career.

    He is the first blind graduate of the Harvard Business School leadership program and did what Oracle said could not be done; he built a software solution that created job opportunities for hundreds of millions of people. His direct and confident style, combined with a go-for-it inspiring belief system (he is an avid downhill skier… and that’s not a joke), has made him a high-impact speaker for leaders at companies such as Google, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, GE and Microsoft.

    An inherited retinal disease robbed Chad E. Foster of his eyesight as a young adult, but it could not take his ambition. He refused to live life on anyone else’s terms. While enrolled at the University of Tennessee, Chad was forced to relearn how to learn without the benefit of eyesight and his grades actually improved.

    He made the Dean’s List with straight-A’s and was hired by a Global Fortune 500 consulting firm out of college. In his spare time, with determination, ambition, and drive, he taught himself how to write code in order to program his screen reading software. As a result he did what Oracle said could not be done – building a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solution that created job opportunities for hundreds of millions of people.

    Chad’s success soon transcended the technical world and into the business world. He was promoted to direct the financials of multibillion dollar commercial deals in record time, serving as a renowned financial thought leader who also secured over $45 billion in government contracts with industry-leading growth and best-in-class margins despite tightening market conditions. In 2014 the University of Tennessee recognized Chad with the Accomplished Alumni Award.

    Chad was the first blind graduate of the Harvard Business School leadership program (PLD), and his classmates were so impacted by his presence, attitude, and contributions that they elected him as their graduating speaker. Chad gave a graduation talk that directly and meaningfully changed lives – the lives of the audience as well as his own. His talk had such an impact on one audience member that he is commissioning an opera inspired by Chad’s life story. Today, Chad regularly entertains audiences with his keynote presentations, while breaking down the anatomy of resilience—providing tried and tested tools that empower people to emerge from setbacks stronger, sleeker, and resolute to succeed.

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    Chad E. Foster's Speech Descriptions


    In this signature keynote, Chad will entertain, inspire, and move your audience, while teaching them how to shift their mindset from victim to visionary™. Going blind at 21-years-old and facing a life with seemingly limited opportunities, Chad had to reinvent himself before even having a shot at success. Turning obstacles into opportunities, he became a Harvard-educated rainmaker, created countless jobs, and now he teaches teams how to cultivate resilient mindsets, adapt and thrive in change, and set ambitious goals with the right mindset to achieve them.

    This program gives your people the tools and inspiration to overcome difficult circumstances and create a promising positive future. More than just a motivational talk, this session connects inspiration to implementation.


    Chad was born part of the privileged white majority, but after going blind in college, he was treated differently as a disabled minority. After living over 20 years in both groups, his unique vantage points of both worlds allow him to equip your teams to think differently about Diversity and Inclusion (DnI) in the workplace.

    Chad goes beyond just valuing each person. He will show how DnI drives business innovation. We know that diversity of thought creates change, and when harnessed correctly, change drives innovation. How can we create a culture that invites diversity of thought to have a welcomed seat at the table so each individual feels valued to contribute? This session shows how you can unlock the value of DnI in your workplace to power the innovation your business needs to thrive.


    Life without obstacles removes opportunity for growth. For any of us to grow, we need to step outside our comfort zones. In this powerful keynote, Chad teaches how the obstacles that lie in front of us can propel us towards our goals.

    Every organization finds itself face-to-face with problems that seem insurmountable. Beyond Chad’s personal path of overcoming overwhelming odds, his business track record for moving through challenges and improving results gives a unique perspective on how comfort zones hold us back.

    Chad will talk about how he’s not successful in spite of being blind. He is successful because he’s blind. He embraced his problem and turned it into a solution. In this session Chad will teach your teams how to realize exponential growth through adversity.


    In this workshop Chad will lead you through the steps you can take to improve resilience. He teaches the practical tools you can apply to any situation in order to move your mindset from victim to visionary.

    During this session you will map out your resilience journey. After setting out your own personal vision of greatness, you will see your life more clearly than you ever have before. It can set you free to discover the amazing advantages that your disadvantages offer. You can then seek your own gifts that are disguised in terrible wrapping paper, and see how the unique perspectives you’ve gained from those disadvantages contribute to your vision of greatness.

    Nothing in life is permanent. Everybody and everything changes. The only certainty is change. The key is figuring out how you will adapt.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Chad Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Amazing presenter, amazing story and an amazing soul.”
    – K.A., Account Manager, Sales

    “Really impressed, a once-in-a-lifetime inspirational experience.”
    – L.G.I., Senior Consultant, Sales

    “Got to say that Chad gave one of the most inspirational talks I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Great messages delivered with humor and style.”
    – R.B. Account Manager, Sales

    “I walked out with a whole new outlook on life just listening to Foster sharing his life experience. A true visionary!!”
    – E.N., Chief Technology Strategist, Sales

    “Exceptional presentation yesterday! You were the talk of the company leaving the event, throughout the evening, and on calls this morning. The best public speech I’ve ever heard. Well Done!”
    – S.M., Sales Specialist, Sales

    “The energy in the room was electric. I could feel the electricity coursing through my body. Chad delivered an amazing talk.”
    – A.O., EVP, Sales

    “Chad’s such an outstanding, iconic and inspirational speaker! We are lucky to have people like him at the Red Hat kickoff in Shanghai!”
    – P.A., VP, Sales

    “I found this to be the most impactful session at our sales kick off conference. Truly inspiring!”
    – F.S. Sales Specialist, Sales

    “What an inspirational speaker and person! Thank you Chad for the inspiration, reality check, and reminding us to reframe our world. “Use your disadvantages to your advantage”
    – G.G. Director, Sales

    “The highlight of the Sales Kick Off conference was Chad’s inspirational talk. I have eyes but lack your vision. You are indeed a visionary.”
    – M.G. Senior Solution Architect, Sales

    “Chad is one of the best public speakers I have ever heard, honestly!”
    – H.L. VP, Enterprise Data+Analytics

    “He is an inspirational magnet and he’s quite funny as well :).”
    – D.C. Director, Sales

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    Books by Chad E. Foster:

    Blind Ambition: How to Go from Victim to Visionary

    For anyone seeking to live life to its fullest potential, Blind Ambition is an eye-opening account of a tech industry executive who overcame fear and hopelessness to turn his blindness disability into a powerful, competitive strength.

    While most people were preparing for the adventure of adult life, Chad E. Foster was watching the world he grew up with fade to black but that didn’t stop him from becoming the first blind person to graduate from the Harvard Business School leadership program and climbing the corporate ladder as a successful finance/sales executive.

    With determination, ambition, and drive, Chad created what Oracle said would be impossible. He gave millions of people the ability to earn a living by becoming the first to create customer relationship software for the visually impaired.

    Even if you’ve been robbed of your self-identity and dreams for the future, you can change your story and achieve your goals.

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