John Foley

Former Lead Solo Pilot of the US Navy's Blue Angels & Performance Expert
John Foley
  • Brings presentations to life with stories of his death defying flight maneuvers
  • Helps audiences achieve personal goals and unlock potential
  • Sloan Fellow at Stanford School of Business
  • Combines flight experience with business savvy to discuss performance and teamwork

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Recognized as one of the top 10 most in-demand speakers, John Foley has spoken to some of the highest-performing organizations, including but not limited to, Microsoft, Hitachi, Intel, Cisco, Mercedes-Benz, McDonalds, Bank of America, and Lowe’s, to inspire high performance, teamwork, and leadership.

He is a former lead solo pilot of the US Navy's Blue Angels, a Sloan Fellow at Stanford School of Business, a gratitude guru, and an expert in the how of High Performance teams. His exciting and unusual journey inspires awetriggering audiences to take action and rethink what they believe is possible. John employs those intense realities as a metaphor to motivate teams and individuals to reach their highest potential while empowering organizations to sustain excellence under dynamic change.  

John’s presentations are marked by these three overriding traits:

  • A contagious attitude of thankfulness that he calls Glad To Be Here®
  • An energizing delivery that inspires High Performance with a purpose larger than self
  • A practical model for living out his message that works in other organizations as well as within the Blue Angels

John used to regularly perform in extreme, high-stakes environments, flying at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour and in formations as close as 18 inches apart. To survive in those circumstances, he relied on a culture of high trust and leadership that turns inherently unforgiving flight into extraordinary experiences. He employs those intense realities as a metaphor to motivate teams to reach for their highest potential and empower organizations to sustain excellence under dynamic change.

John’s post-Naval experiences as an entrepreneur and a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business put him in a unique position to reverse-engineer the culture of excellence and teamwork found in the Blue Angels. He has created a framework and a methodology that inspires greatness while propelling others on their own journey toward Higher Performance.

John graduated from the US 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, John 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.

In 2011, John founded the Glad To Be Here® Foundation. John donates 10% of his speaking fees to charities through the foundation. John works with every client to donate five percent to charities of their choosing. Through this program, over 100 charities and one million dollars have impacted thousands of lives globally. It’s part of his mission to connect a shared “purpose larger than self” with every organization.

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The John Foley Experience

John Foley: Continuous Improvement

John Foley On High Performance

High Performance and a Culture of Excellence. High Performance is a mindset, a process, and a commitment to a culture of excellence that accelerates every day performance and achievement. In his talk, John shares his framework for developing high performing teams. He discusses the effects of a positive mindset – that when our mind is grateful, it re-centers our priorities, it activates emotions that lead to happiness, and it leaves us in a more open state, willing to embrace otherwise unforeseen opportunities.

Teamwork: Finding Your CenterPoint. Blue Angel precision is built on a solid foundation of teamwork around a common objective or CenterPoint. In this talk, John discusses the concept of a CenterPoint and how unified alignment collapses barriers and creates a powerful culture of action and innovation. He challenges today’s leaders to inspire collaboration, elevate trust, and align teams on a CenterPoint to keep actions directed toward the desired outcomes.

Elevate Beliefs and Soar to New Heights. Perception is reality. As human beings, we don’t operate at our full potential, but rather at the level of our beliefs. When we raise the level of those beliefs, performance will follow. Listen as John describes how he elevated his beliefs to join The Blue Angels and inspires leaders to establish the long-term mindset and emotional intelligence to create new alignment, precision, and drive high performing teams.

Trust: Executing with Precision. Picture this: two jets, on a collision course, 1000 mph rate of closure, and the goal is to miss the other jet by a wingspan. An extreme trust makes this maneuver possible, and when that relationship and process is transposed onto the world of business, the results are incredible. Listen as John describes how contracts—verbal and nonverbal—play a vital role in creating the trust essential to executing this maneuver and why this type of trust is key to operational excellence in every team and organization.

Innovation and Performance in Transformation. Every organization is faced with some form of transformation based on a changing and dynamic business environment. A global economy, changing consumer behaviors, and the digitization of every industry has created tremendous pressure for companies. Today’s leading companies adapt and create competitive advantage in the process, where organizations that lead through change succeed. The two key elements to success are a reiterative process and a shift in culture. John discusses his Diamond Performance Framework – built specifically to drive performance through transformation and create the mindset and commitment to a culture of excellence.

Intentional Leadership: Creating Elite Teams. The Blue Angel approach to leadership is unique and inspires trust through confidence, with open and honest communication. Teams become elite because of leadership, a commitment to excellence, and a proven process. As companies transform their DNA and pivot their business to compete in the new digital paradigm, the ability to develop transformational leadership and enable workforce evolution is a critical competitive advantage. The potential of elite performance lives within every individual, every team, and every organization, and takes intentional leadership to enable this potential and turn it into focused action. In this talk, John Foley challenges leaders to build trust, improve performance, and create elite teams.​

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