Jessica Cox has gained international recognition as a keynote speaker delivering a message of inspiration. She was born without arms which led her to master the use of her feet to perform tasks that others do with their hands. She is a trailblazer, being the first person without arms to earn a black belt in ATA Martial Arts, earning her a place in the Guinness World Record. Cox holds the distinction of being the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilot’s certificate. Having attained a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in communications at the University of Arizona, Cox utilizes her education to emphasize the power of mindset over physical limitations. She has shared her motivational message in 26 countries throughout six continents.
Since her birth in Sierra Vista, Arizona, in 1983, Cox has not allowed her physical condition to limit her. Her determination and the support of her family propelled her to lead an extraordinary life, exploring the world using her feet. Her father was confident in her potential and contributed significantly to her self-confidence and exploration of the world.
In her early years, Cox's parents introduced her to a Taekwondo instructor named Jim Cunningham. He believed that she had the physical capability to participate in Taekwondo, with the only potential obstacle being her own attitude. Besides her existing black belt, she has achieved the second, third, and fourth-degree black belts in the American Taekwondo Association by the age of 14. In college, Cox joined an ATA Martial Arts club and continued her training in Taekwondo. She learned new techniques and skills in the ATA system and thus became the first armless person to earn a black belt in the ATA.
Cox is most renowned for her achievement as an armless pilot. Over the course of three years, with three flight instructors and four airplanes, she found the right aircraft, a 1946 415C Ercoupe Airplane. In 2008, Cox earned her Light Sport Pilot Certificate, qualifying her to fly a light-sport aircraft up to altitudes of 10,000 feet. She handles the airplane using her feet, with one controlling the yoke and the other the throttle. In 2011, her unique feat of flying an airplane with only their feet earned her a Guinness World Record. It is also notable that she is a certified scuba diver.
In 2012, Cox became a Goodwill Ambassador for Humanity and Inclusion, working with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning NGO to advocate for disability rights in various countries including Ethiopia, the Philippines, Nepal, and also at the US Senate.
Flying is a passion that Cox continues to pursue, often attending notable aviation events worldwide. Her efforts have earned her numerous awards, such as the Inspiration International from the Inspiration Awards for Women, UK, and a distinguished speaker award from Egypt’s President at the World Youth Forum in 2019. She also received several other accolades, including the Guinness World Record for The Only Pilot to Fly With Their Feet and the Most Aspirational award at the Inspiration Awards for Women 2012.
In 2019, a generous supporter gifted Cox a 1946 415C Ercoupe with tail number N26R, an aircraft she uses to demonstrate that physical limitations do not equate to inability. Cox's diverse accomplishments also include participating in the 40-mile El Tour de Tucson in 2014, and the publication of her self-help book, "Disarm Your Limits" in 2015. She has also appeared in a documentary titled Right Footed and prominently featured in the media. Cox continues to spread her message of empowerment through public speaking engagements and book signings, reaching out to audiences in various platforms including Facebook, news outlets, and public appearances.
Achieve the Impossible
Innovation, Creativity, Motivation, Desire, Persistence, Fearlessness, Aviation, "Think outside the shoe"
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