Travels from Texas, USA
Ron Garan's speaking fee falls within range: $30,000 to $50,000
When veteran astronaut Ron Garan blasted up into space, his perspective of humanity and all the problems we face changed forever. During his 178 days in orbit and 27 hours and 3 minutes of EVA during four spacewalks, he saw earth as a much smaller place where the exponential increase in technology was making the impossible possible on a daily basis, creating a much more interdependent global community.
A highly decorated fighter and test pilot, explorer, entrepreneur, and humanitarian, Ron inspires people to put aside their differences and destructive competitive tendencies so that they can work together for common goals. Drawing from his own unique experience working with a diverse group of people in a stressful environment with virtually no privacy, he shows how humanity can focus on what we have in common rather than let our differences tear us apart.
Outside the speaking circuit, Ron is involved in various environmental projects. Amongst others he is the founder of the “Manna Energy Foundation”, a non-profit environmental organization to help poverty alleviation through the provision of renewable energy, biogas reactors, high efficiency cook stoves, clean water, and sanitation. He also founded “Fragile Oasis” to use the perspective of our planet from space to inspire people on Earth to take better care of the environment and each other.
Ron is the author of the recently published The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles. He is also currently working on a children’s book Railroad to the Moon.
Seeing our planet from space puts humanity’s common challenges into perspective. Ron Garan is a retired NASA astronaut who has traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet during more than 178 days in space and 27 hours and 3 minutes of EVA during four spacewalks.
Ron is also a highly decorated fighter pilot, test pilot, explorer, entrepreneur and humanitarian who believes that appropriately designed and targeted social enterprise can solve many of the problems facing our world.
Ron flew on both the US Space Shuttle and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He is also an aquanaut and participated in the joint NASA-NOAA, NEEMO-9 mission – an exploration research mission held in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research laboratory. During this mission, he and the crew spent 18 continuous days living and working on the ocean floor.
Ron Garan’s last NASA assignment was with the administration’s Open Innovation Initiative to increase transparency, collaboration and innovation within government. In this capacity, Ron has been involved in many global mass collaboration and citizen science programs.
Prior to retiring from the US government, Ron was on assignment with the US Agency for International Development (USAID). At USAID he led an effort called Unity Node to develop a universal, open source, collaborative platform to enable humanitarian organizations around the world to work together toward common goals and assisted USAID to establish an Applied Research for Development Program.
Ron Garan has a sizeable social media following (3.5 million) and is included on Google Plus’ “Top 25 Followed” and Kred’s “Top 1% Influencer” lists. Ron has been effectively using these platforms to tell the success story of the US and International Space Programs and started an initiative called Fragile Oasis to using his “Orbital Perspective” to inspire people to improve life on Earth.
Outside of his work with the US government, Ron Garan is also a serial entrepreneur who has founded multiple business enterprises and social-impact focused start-ups including Manna Energy Ltd., which was created to leverage the $120B/year Carbon Market to finance humanitarian projects in developing countries. Manna Energy is the first organization in the world to successfully register a United Nations Clean Development Mechanism carbon credit program for water treatment. Manna also developed, under contract with a partner organization, the largest water treatment intervention conducted by a private organization – a four-million person program operating in Kenya, completely funded by carbon credits.
Ron represented Manna Energy Ltd as one of ten global innovators in the field of water purification during the 2009 Launch-Water forum (sponsored by NASA, US State Dept., USAID, and Nike) and is now a member of the Launch Council.
Ron has also been selected as the technical and scientific advisor to the Social Business movement and its founder Nobel Peace Laureate Mohammad Yunus.
Former astronaut and aquanaut, Ron Garan affirms that we already have all the technology necessary to fix all the problems the world faces. What’s stopping us then from solving world hunger or shifting to clean energy sources?
“The main reason…lies in our inability to effectively collaborate on a global scale,” Ron reveals; however he points to the space program and historically remarkable achievements like the construction of the International Space Station to show that the world’s most powerful countries are indeed capable of working together. “It [the ISS] was built in space by 15 different nations. These nations weren’t always the best of friends; they had to overcome different political systems, different cultural bias, different languages in some cases, and they somehow were able to set aside their differences to accomplish this amazing feat.”
Ron Garan has a compelling and inspiring way of making his experiences relevant to audience members whether they’re senior-level executives or the general public. Drawing from his lengthy career in which survival often literally depends on a team’s ability to cooperate, he demonstrates that the things we have in common are far more valuable than those which divide us. No matter your sector, Ron relates his professional past and unique knowledge of technological advances to the needs and demands facing your group today.
Leadership & Risk Management
The best leaders lead by doing, and they lead by serving their team members. One of the tasks of a leader is to inspire innovative strategies that address risk. Ron shares real-life stories with audiences that have shaped every decision he has made concerning risk over the last 30+ years.
Unity in Divisive Times
The International Space Station is one of the greatest examples of collaboration on or off the planet. What made the ISS partnership work was the incorporation of awe and wonder as a jump off point to relationship and trust-building.
Embracing Change & Technology
The entire business landscape has changed and trends are developing that, if embraced and accelerated, can have profound positive effects on the trajectory of society.
Corporate Social Responsibility is not something to stick into a silo nor is it simply a box to check. It needs to be infused in the company DNA and flow into every aspect of the business.
Innovation & Planetary Stewardship
Technological innovations don’t happen by accident. They come from careful planning, collaboration and shared goals. Protecting the environment and moving our businesses forward are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are complementary.
Ron draws upon lessons from his own enterprises and from some of the world’s most impactful social entrepreneurs to illustrate how social enterprise can affect change on a massive scale.
SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn / take away from your presentations?
GARAN: People walk away from my presentations with hope and inspiration. The space program proves that when we work together nothing is impossible. They also experience an appreciation for our incredibly beautiful world and a renewed commitment to protect our planet and all of their fellow crew-mates on Spaceship Earth.
SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event?
GARAN:How do you prepare for your speaking engagements? I customize every presentation to the needs of the hosts and their audience. The presentation is designed around the goals and objectives of the event I am supporting. I explore what problems and concerns the audience has and try to address them. In all presentations I frame the issues from a platform of awe and wonder.
SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?
GARAN:There have been many memorable speaking engagements. One that stands out to me was when I was giving the closing keynote at the annual One Young World conference. As I was sharing a closing message of the power of unified, coordinated action to build a visionary future, I realized that the over three thousand young leaders in attendance came from literally every country on Earth. It dawned on me that I was sharing this unifying message with the entire world.
SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?
GARAN:Audiences that want to improve their lives, communities and world and are tired of the divisive rhetoric that is severely limiting our progress.
SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?
GARAN:I love helping people broaden their perspective. I love watching the light bulbs lighting up over the heads of audiences members when they have that ah ha moment. I love watching as the connection is made and I can see the hope and determination rise within folks. I give a call to action to leave this place a little better than we found it and I love watching as folks realize just how powerful they are to affect real change.
SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?
GARAN:I left space with a call to action to share a perspective of our world that has powerful implications for how we problem solve. Everything I’ve done since leaving NASA has been done with goal of sharing the orbital perspective and literally and figuratively taking people to this higher vantage point. Public speaking is one of the mediums through which I share that perspective. It is also one of the most enjoyable because I get to meet wonderful people who are really making a difference in the world.
SPEAKING.COM: How do you keep your audience engaged and actively listening during your keynotes? Do you use case studies, personal stories and/or in your speeches?
GARAN:Everything I do during events revolves around immersive, multimedia story-telling. I strive to keep folks on the edge of their seats through exciting and awe-inspiring stories. I draw on my own experiences as a test pilot, combat fighter pilot, aquanaut, astronaut, entrepreneur, and corporate executive as well as the experiences of others. I have found that story telling is an incredibly effective way to communicate important messages.
SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients achieve?
GARAN:The biggest successes have involved helping teams rally around a common mission and collaborating better. The feedback that I’ve received highlights an increased feeling of purpose and increased confidence that goals can be achieved. I have also routinely received feedback that my message was a breath of fresh air leading to more unity amidst divisive times.
“Ron’s focus is on finding new connections and collaborations that cross borders and allow us to transform the world for the better before we destroy this big blue ball we call home.”
– Peter Gabriel, Musician & Founder of WOMAD
“Ron breakthrough book is one of a kind. He masterfully synthesizes the big-picture view of our world with the ground-level details necessary to overcome the barriers to improving life for all people”
– Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
“Ron Garan delivered an extremely inspirational and thought provoking address. His personal insight into a field that very few of us will ever get to experience combined with strong messages and lessons for the audience ensured that his participation was one of the highlights of the event.”
– Sir Paul Judge, President | Association of MBAs
“Ron’s opening keynote talk perfectly framed the rest of our offsite. True collaboration requires us to step outside of our comfort zones in order to embrace innovative approaches. Ron was able to article the value of our specific function to the rest of the organization, as change happens through people.”
– Craig Sabol, Gilead Sciences Inc.
“Ron is a tremendous inspiration to our global health students and faculty at Duke. His global perspective and message that ‘nothing is impossible’ resonates with audiences young and old.”
– Michael Merson, M.D., Director | Duke Global Health Institute
“Ron Garan delivered the perfect opening keynote to start our conference on mobility. His unique orbital perspective not only inspired our very international and diverse audience, it also put things into perspective, big time. I would recommend Ron for virtually any kind of event where people wish to be inspired.”
– Job Karstens, PR & Events | EVBox
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The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles
For astronaut Ron Garan, living on the International Space Station was a powerful, transformative experience—one that he believes holds the key to solving our problems here on Earth.
On space walks and through windows, Garan was struck by the stunning beauty of the Earth from space but sobered by knowing how much needed to be done to help this troubled planet. And yet on the International Space Station, Garan, a former fighter pilot, was working work side by side with Russians, who only a few years before were “the enemy.” If fifteen nationalities could collaborate on one of the most ambitious, technologically complicated undertakings in history, surely we can apply that kind of cooperation and innovation toward creating a better world. That spirit is what Garan calls the “orbital perspective.”
Garan vividly conveys what it was like learning to work with a diverse group of people in an environment only a handful of human beings have ever known. But more importantly, he describes how he and others are working to apply the orbital perspective here at home, embracing new partnerships and processes to promote peace and combat hunger, thirst, poverty, and environmental destruction. This book is a call to action for each of us to care for the most important space station of all: planet Earth. You don’t need to be an astronaut to have the orbital perspective. Garan’s message of elevated empathy is an inspiration to all who seek a better world.
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