In honor of Memorial Day, we wanted to highlight four speakers and vets who have been incredibly popular in the news lately.
Greg Gadson | Dakota Meyer | Eric Greitens | Jake Wood
Greg Gadson survived the very worst of war after an IED claimed both his legs, but his amazing story – and his refusal to let challenging circumstances defeat him – led him to be sought out by director Peter Berg to play a semi-biographical role (minus the aliens, of course) in the film Battleship. Meet Col. Greg Gadson, the breakout star of Battleship.*
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What makes Gadson appealing on the big screen is the same as what endears him to speaking audiences. Gadson speaks with fervor about the crucial role teamwork, leadership, and camaraderie play when facing life’s obstacles. The lessons he imparts are not just words; his life was saved by the application of these same lessons. Watch a clip of Gadson’s speech.
Of his accident, the only things Gadson remembers are the detonation sending his body tumbling through rubble and the medics placing him on a stretcher with his severed feet in his lap. Far less gruesome trials could easily be used as excuses to retract from the world, but Gadson has made it his mission to inspire and motivate. He became the first soldier in the country to test a new kind of high-powered prosthetic legs. He went back to school and earned both a masters and an honorary degree, and his motivational talks have helped countless viewers across the country realize that circumstances do not define them unless they allow them to. Read more about Greg Gadson: Motivator, Leader, and “Battleship” Scene Stealer.
Dakota Meyer is the most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor. He is the first living Marine to have received the medal since 1973 and also one of the youngest. In honor of Memorial Day, 60 Minutes is re-airing his incredible interview. Watch a clip of the program in which Meyer recalls the deadly ambush.
Though he is credited with saving several American and Afghan troops’ lives and recovering the bodies of four missing men during a violent firefight in 2009, Meyer does not believe he is a hero. In fact, it was this humility that drove him to travel to Woods Bend, Kentucky, to help the victims of a deadly tornado which devastated the small town. Read about Meyer helping tornado victims.
Dakota Meyer’s humility, sincerity, and courage are what make him one of Leading Authorities’ most popular speakers. He believes that any marine would have acted as he did in Afghanistan, but his true power comes from what he did after he came home. He believes that he owed it to his fallen friends and fellow soldiers to make the most out of what life had given him on his return. He discusses accountability, courage, leadership, believing in yourself, and doing what is right, in addition to the facts about what happened that day in Ganjal Valley and how he was able to muster the courage to become a living hero. Watch a video of Meyer discussing accountability.
Eric Greitens is a Navy SEAL, the founder of The Mission Continues, and an award-winning and best-selling author of Strength and Compassion and The Heart and the Fist. He recently gave the commencement address at Tufts University and his speech has earned rave reviews from students and the media alike. Read the CNN write-up of Greitens’ speech.
Greitens has served as a humanitarian volunteer across the globe and has deployed to Afghanistan, Africa, Asia, and Iraq, where he was hit by a truck bomb. Greitens escaped and founded The Mission Continues, which empowers wounded veterans to serve and lead in communities across America. In his speech to Tufts, instead of advice to “follow their dreams,” Greitens offered students a unique challenge: to serve, to make a contribution, and to worry about others’ needs above their own. Read his whole address.
As CNN put it: “[Greitens] is not a household name, but he should be.” He engages his audience in highly visual, dynamic, and inspiring presentations and challenges them to make small changes and improvements in their lives in order to make them more meaningful – the same challenge issued to the class of 2012.
Jake Wood is a popular motivator and a rising star on the lecture circuit. He is the founder and president of Team Rubicon, a combat veteran, and a social entrepreneur. He was also CNN’s “Hero of the Week” last week. Watch his CNN Heroes video.
When the earthquake hit in Haiti, Jake Wood saw an opportunity to both help those in need and give military veterans purpose and another avenue to service after returning home. Team Rubicon (TR) was born, and today it is a network of veterans ready to respond to natural disasters around the world.Read Wood’s story on CNN.com.
Wood shares his entrepreneurial story and inspires his audiences as he explains how he took an obvious need (disaster relief in Haiti) and paired it with a need that no one else identified (our veterans’ need of purpose and meaning after returning home from war). Wood’s story embodies the American spirit of service and ingenuity and motivates audiences to become more engaged and involved. GQ’s2011 “Better Men Better World Search” winner, he takes serious topics and addresses them in a light-hearted, fun, and engaging way. Watch Wood’s video discussing veterans and the mission of Team Rubicon.
If you are interested in Greg Gadson, Dakota Meyer, Eric Greitens, or Jake Wood, please call 1-800-SPEAKER or fill out our online form.