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John Foley    

Former Lead Solo Pilot for the Blue Angels

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 John Foley Inc. and CenterPoint Companies, which provides in-depth training on the How of High Performance. And he is the founder of the Glad To Be Here Foundation, which administers a giving-forward program that partners with clients to make donates to worthy charities.

Foleys 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 hed be carving up the skies as a member of the Blues. Eventually, he lived that dream, but getting there wasnt easy. In fact, Foleys 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 Foleys 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 Foleys 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 teamflying at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour and in formations as close as 18 inches from his teammatesFoley had to improve his performance by 300 percent!

Foleys 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 masters 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.

Speech Topics


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 teams 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 appreciationfor 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.

Belief Levels — Soaring to New Heights

As human beings, we don’t perform at our full potential. We perform at a Belief Level. Understanding our Belief Levels is a key to turning any vision into a new reality. Listen as John describes how he elevated his Belief Levels so that he could join the top 1/10th of 1/10th of 1 percent of all pilots — the Blue Angels.

Living the High Performance Zone (Half Day)

In addition to delivering The High Performance Climb keynote, Foley will lead your group in a focused breakout session that expands on the Diamond Performance Framework and applies it to the real situations your group is facing. Foley uses a proprietary Pre-Flight Briefing tool to research the issues your group is experiencing and then breaks down the issues using his high performance team approach.

The How of High Performance (Three-Quarter Day)

Foley will deliver The High Performance Climb keynote and the Living the High Performance Zone breakout with a third event (breakout) around having open, honest and powerful conversations about the nature of high performance and how the Blue Angels applied their model to recruiting, selection, training and mentoring.

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