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John Foley    

Former Lead Solo Pilot for the Blue Angels

In 2015, John Foley has been recognized as one of the top 10 most in demand speakers. John has spoken to some of the Highest Performing organizations such as, Microsoft, Hitachi, Intel, Cisco, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Goodyear, Chevron, Lowe’s, Marriott, Wyndham Hotels, Hilton, Penske Racing, Rawlings, LA Kings, Sprint, Motorola, Merrill Lynch, Mass Mutual, Capital Group, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, GE Capital, American Hospital Association, Merck, Reach Air, Adecco, Gillette, McDonalds, and Million Dollar Round Table.

He is a former lead solo pilot of the 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, rare journey inspires awe, triggering 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 for their highest potential while empowering organizations to sustain excellence under dynamic change.

John’s presentations are marked by 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 consistently performed in an extreme, high-stakes environment, 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 mythology that inspires greatness while propelling others on their own journey toward Higher Performance.

John 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, 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 net speaking fees to charities through the foundation. John works with every client to donate up to $1,000 to charities of their choosing. Through this program over 300 charities and $1.5M dollars have impacted thousands of lives globally. It’s part of his mission to connect a shared “purpose larger than self” with every organization.

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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