John Foley Profile

  • Keynote Speaker to over 1500 Organizations Worldwide, Blue Angel Lead Solo Pilot, Stanford Fellow, Bestselling Author and ‘Gratitude Guru’

  • In 2011 John founded the Glad To Be Here Foundation, facilitating charitable donation from its clients
  • John Foley received a degree in mechanical engineering from the US Naval Academy. During which he played defensive back for the Midshipmen in a team that had one of the best records in its history. He was rated in the top ten carrier pilots six times; he then became a Marine Instructor pilot and finally fulfilled his childhood dream of joining the Blue Angels display team. After leaving the service Foley gained three Masters degrees, in business management and in international policy studies, both from Stanford University, and in strategic studies from the Naval War College.

    Foley is now one of the most sought-after speakers on the conference circuit, with more than a hundred keynotes delivered a year. He is founder and CEO of CenterPoint Companies, a training organization that focuses on the how to achieve high performance. Additionally he founded the “Glad To Be Here Foundation,” facilitating charitable donation from its clients.

    Bringing the lessons of teamwork and high performance he learned in the military, added to his experience as an entrepreneur, Foley provides an inspiring program based around three essentials. Firstly, he exhorts his audiences to be grateful for what they have, an attitude he calls: Glad To The Here. Secondly, Foley infuses his program with his incredible energy, encouraging High Performance, and lastly he gives a workable model for using the precision team working learned in the Blue Angels into more earthbound workplaces.

    What Foley offers is best summed up in his own words: “What I learned most from being with the Blue Angels had nothing to do with flying itself. I learned that the process of engaging at this high level, when my very life depended on successful communication, accurate information, trust and follow-through, is the same process leaders and successful individuals use to achieve excellence.”

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      What if the legendary Blue Angels Culture of Excellence could be replicated and scaled?

      Since 2015, John Foley has been recognized as one of the top 10 most in demand speakers. John has spoken to some of the highest performing organizations in the world such as, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Goodyear, Chevron, Lowe’s, Marriott, Hilton, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, NCAA, Penske Racing, Sprint, Motorola, Merrill Lynch, Mass Mutual, AMC Theatre, Norton Lifelock, Capital Group, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, GE, American Hospital Association, Mayo, Merck, Palo Alto Networks, Sunovion, Gillette, McDonalds, Stanford Business School, Global Sports Summit, and numerous CEO Summits to name a few.

      He is the former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels, Bestselling Author of Fearless Success, an expert in the How of High Performance teams and ‘The Guru of Gratitude.’ As a Blue Angel, John consistently performed in an extreme, high-stakes environment, flying at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour in formations as close as 18 inches apart. To survive in those circumstances he relied on a culture of high trust, leadership and teamwork. John employs the intense realities of his aviation career as a metaphor to inspire – breath life into – teams to reach for their highest potential and sustain excellence under dynamic change.

      In 2011 John founded the Glad To Be Here Foundation. John donates 10% of his speaking fees to charities through the foundation. The program has donated over $2 million to 380+ charities and impacted thousands of lives globally including sponsoring 47 children in 47 countries. It’s part of his mission to connect a shared ‘purpose larger than self’ with every organization.

      John Foley has spent nearly a decade sharing practical and inspirational messages on high performance with audiences around the world. The former lead solo pilot for the famed Blue Angels flight-demonstration squadron is among the most sought after conference speakers, presenting keynote messages at more than 100 events a year. He also is the founder and CEO of CenterPoint Companies, which provides in-depth training on the How of High Performance.

      Foley’s personal path to High Performance began as a child, when he stood alongside his father at an air show featuring the Blue Angels. From that moment, Foley knew deep in his heart that someday he’d be carving up the skies as a member of the Blues. Eventually, he lived that dream, but getting there wasn’t easy. In fact, Foley’s journey from an awe-struck child at an air show to the cockpit of the Blue Angels’ F/A-18 Hornet is a study in persistence, hard work and the will to overcome obstacles and setbacks.

      Those ideals fit within three overriding traits that mark Foley’s presentations: First, a contagious attitude of thankfulness that he calls Glad To Be Here®. Second, an energizing delivery that inspires High Performance and service to others. And, third, a practical model for living out his message that works in other organizations as well as it works for the Blue Angels.

      The model and the message are byproducts of Foley’s ongoing pursuit of continuous improvement. As a Blue Angel, Foley was part of a team that consistently performed in intense, high-stakes environments. With thousands of hours as a carrier pilot and hundreds of hours as an instructor pilot, Foley was an elite aviator when he joined the Blues. But to perform with this team—flying at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour and in formations as close as 18 inches from his teammates—Foley had to improve his performance by 300 percent!

      Foley’s post-Navy experiences as a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and as an entrepreneur put him in a unique position to reverse-engineer the culture of team excellence found in the Blue Angels and create a model that helps others on their journeys toward High Performance.

      “What I learned most from being with the Blue Angels had nothing to do with flying itself,” Foley says. “I learned that the process of engaging at this high level, when my very life depended on successful communication, accurate information, trust and follow-through, is the same process leaders and successful individuals use to achieve excellence.”

      Foley graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also was a defensive back for the Midshipmen, playing in two bowl games and helping Navy to one of the best four-year records in its football history. As a pilot, Foley was a “Top Ten Carrier Pilot” six times before becoming a Marine instructor pilot and a Blue Angel. He holds master’s degrees in business management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (as a Sloan Fellow); in international policy studies, from Stanford University; and in strategic studies, from the Naval War College. He makes his home in Sun Valley, Idaho.

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    John Foley's Speech Descriptions

    Foley brings his experience as Lead Solo pilot of the Blue Angels to helping his audience see how they can achieve similar levels of teamwork. He focuses on the development of trust and respect within teams as an essential, and shows how this can be achieved.

    Foley is a committed advocate of gratitude and appreciation as a driver of workplace performance. His Glad to be Here philosophy demonstrates that a culture of thankfulness can reap dividends both for employee well-being and the balance sheet.

    Interweaving his energetic no-nonsense presentations with footage of his time with the Blue Angels, Foley’s keynote presentations are not only informative, but entertaining. Audiences leave his presentations energized, excited and feeling that they too can shoot for their highest goals.

    High Performance Climb®

    Every organization depends upon the performance of their people and their teams. There are few examples where this is more dramatically demonstrated than with the Blue Angels. John Foley draws upon his experience as Lead Solo of the Blue Angels to inspire audiences and show them how to achieve substantially higher levels of performance.

    Foley demonstrates a simple, systematic, yet exciting approach for how to develop the clarity, focus, commitment, and trust that are necessary to achieve ever-higher levels of performance. He shows how to create buy-in and commitment for a team’s vision and goals, leading to clarity that drives execution decisions. He demonstrates how learning to focus prepares individuals for action and increases successful outcomes. In this insightful program, he emphasizes the development of trust and respect among team members as essential to execution, and demonstrates proven ways for teams to achieve deep levels of trust. He also explains a process that he believes is the primary key to continuous improvement and exceptional growth.

    He drives home his message with dynamic videos of his adrenaline-pumping performance with the Blue Angels. His charismatic and enthusiastic presentations stimulate audiences emotionally and intellectually with a whole new perspective on their ability to excel. They leave the event not only transformed, but also with a set of concrete tools to immediately begin a high performance climb.

    Team Oneness

    The importance of teams being in sync is a concept that John Foley understands profoundly. The Blue Angels must be closely aligned in thought and action in order to accomplish their mission. Through their interdependence as a team, members are also challenged and stimulated to achieve higher levels of individual performance. In his dynamic presentations, Foley addresses the essential elements of exceptional team performance and makes them relevant, simple, and immediately actionable. He shares how to center a team around shared goals, strengthen relationships, and create unity that leads to consistent and effective results.

    Employee Commitment

    When people are deeply engaged in their work and feel valued, they are more productive and effective, leading to a positive impact on the bottom-line. John Foley shares how management can stimulate performance by creating a culture that values expression of gratitude and appreciation—for opportunities, co-workers, and clients. With his signature “Glad to be Here”™ mantra, Foley discusses the power behind gratitude as a way of thinking, working, and living. He shows how a culture of thankfulness engages employees on an intellectual and emotional level to create deeper commitment and raise levels of performance.

    What People are Saying about Seeing John Speak

    Rating Entries

      “Best Keynote on the Planet.”
      Patrick Cowden, Founder of The Beyond Company

      “John’s presentation was more relevant than any other speaker we’ve had because he took the time to understand what we were trying to communicate. He made it real. He really connected.”
      Paul Clayton, CEO, Jamba Juice

      “John Foley did an awesome job for us. His skills in preparing a relevant presentation are fabulous. The feedback from my field force was absolutely incredible.”
      Hugh O’Toole, Senior Vice-president of Sales and Client Management, MassMutual Retirement Services Division

      “John’s presentation was exceptional! He hit the mark on the issues we are dealing with. Our entire group is using the Glad To Be Here® approach since we’ve returned.”
      Jeff Moody, CEO of Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust

      “The presentation was a hit. My whole team got back and immediately put the Debrief ideas into practice. And we’ve adopted the Glad To Be Here motto.”
      Bob Reiff, Senior Vice President, The Hartford

      “John’s presentation was exceptional! He hit the mark on the issues we are dealing with. Our entire group is using the Glad To Be Here® approach since we’ve returned.”
      Eric Murphy, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Ingenix

      “Never before in the history of our event has anyone ignited the audience the way John did. Learning from John how gratitude, trust and the pursuit of perfection help the best of the best become even better was a truly powerful experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
      Joakim Ahlstrom / Head of Consulting, C2 Management

      “John combined captivating stories about the Blue Angels with his leadership and business savvy, delivering a first-class performance that both educated and enlightened. Truly inspiring and first class!
      James Foxall / CEO, Tiger Paw Software

      “John lit up the crowd. Energetic, funny, and inspiring…..but more important than that- relevant. This is a content driven speech. Lots of “Thunder & Lightning.”
      Douglas Leary / President, Beeline

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    Books by John Foley:

    Fearless Success: Beyond High Performance

    Are you ready to take your individual and team performance to the highest level? It’s time to enter the High Performance Zone!

    The quest for perfection is not only possible–it’s actually our natural state, says author and former Blue Angel pilot, John Foley. Imagine what the same preparation and mindset that allowed him to fly in formation mere inches apart from another jet can do for you, your teams, and any organization. In Fearless Success, John Foley gives us the secrets that elite performers know and practice on a daily basis.

    How do you get from your current state to your future state? Going beyond high performance requires combining operational excellence with a proactive/positive mindset. The underlying ”Glad To Be Here” ethos is at the core of everything Foley teaches. With this foundation in place, any individual or team looking to achieve greatness can easily understand and implement the author’s tools and processes. Filled with lessons from his days as a Blue Angel and a leadership expert empowering over 1,000 companies, this book includes proven blueprints on how to–

    – Lead through change
    – Build high performance teams
    – Elevate belief levels
    – Execute with high trust
    – Unite a commitment culture

    Fearless Success will change your outlook on business and life. Up we go!

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