Devon Harris | Three-Time Olympian with the Original Jamaican Bobsled Team; Helping Audiences Visualize Success with an Olympic Mindset

Devon Harris

Three-Time Olympian with the Original Jamaican Bobsled Team; Helping Audiences Visualize Success with an Olympic Mindset

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Devon Harris

Three-Time Olympian with the Original Jamaican Bobsled Team and Retired Jamaican Defence Force Captain; Leading Audiences to Visualize Success with an Olympic Mindset You may not know his name or recognize his picture. Yet his grit and fortitude helped inspire a movie you likely have viewed more than once. The 1990s feel-good blockbuster Cool Runnings sugarcoats the real story behind the original Jamaican bobsleigh team. It introduces four Caribbean islanders recruited to participate in the Winter Olympics. They had not ridden on a bobsled nor even walked on snow, never mind experienced the breathtaking cold of a Canadian mountaintop. The entire world watched, waiting to mock and ridicule them. Instead, the world came to embrace their determination and resilience. Now, nearly 30 years later, Devon Harris - the "Yul Brenner" character in the film - is a widely acclaimed international speaker and mindset-resilient coach. The story Devon tells is far from a Disney fantasy. He shares his journey of climbing out of poverty, risking personal ridicule and safety to succeed well beyond societal expectations. Devon's story is pulsating, palpable, and awe-inspiring. Most importantly, it's rich in relatable "ah-hah" examples for how to persevere through physical and emotional challenges. Of the many thousands who have heard Devon speak, many have adopted his message to "keep on pushing" as their personal mantra. Devon draws on lessons from his impoverished and endangered childhood, eight years in the military, and decisively different struggles to three Olympics. We travel with him from Kingston, Jamaica to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst England to the Olympics in Calgary, Canada, Albertville, France and Nagano, Japan. Devon's authenticity strikes home with all audiences. Salespeople, engineers, and top executives exit his presentations uplifted, more resilient, and with their inner-winner fully awakened and ready to rise! When his childhood mates told him he couldn't escape the boundaries of the daunting and depressing Waterhouse ghetto, Devon declared "yes, I can!" When the British training officers at Sandhurst told him that candidates from his background could never pass enough muster to lead men, he respectfully responded, "yes, I can!" When the elites of winter sports told his fellow Jamaican bobbers and Devon that they couldn't earn the approval of real winter Olympians, he promised them and himself "yes, I can!" Defying the odds, Devon did "escape" his destiny of being a prisoner of poverty. In fact, in 2006, he started the Keep on Pushing Foundation to provide supplies, computers, and a breakfast program to his primary school in Kingston so more children could be ready when that rare opportunity knocked. Today, the foundation has expanded its scope to provide practical solutions to enhance education in disadvantaged schools across the globe. Despite discrimination, labeling, and the low expectations of narrow-minded instructors, not only did Devon impress at Sandhurst, he went on to command over 120 soldiers, received a Queen's Commission, and retired after eight years as a Captain in the Jamaica Defence Force. After literally crashing in front of the world, the Jamaican bobbers finished their first Winter Olympics with a valiant effort that earned the respect of their competitors and convinced a world of skeptics that the tropical island men did indeed belong. Devon took part in two more Winter Olympics and helped create and nurture a Jamaican bobsled program that regularly qualifies for the Olympics! We all dream. Some of us dream big. But few have the fortitude to overcome the endless obstacles that enable big dreams to come to fruition. In a very engaging and relatable manner, Devon shares what it takes to find your unique vision no matter what your job or situation is; how to focus, stay on track, and how to persevere past obstacles - get up after you fall and embrace the joy in your noble journey. Speaker Devon Harris is the author of the motivational children's book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical writings on resilience: Keep On Pushing: Hot Lessons From Cool Runnings.



Raised in a violent ghetto environment in Kingston, Jamaica, Devon Harris is a graduate of the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England. He served as an officer in the Jamaica Defence Force, retiring as a Captain.

He is a founding member of the first Jamaican bobsled team which competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada. Their exploits inspired the Disney movie Cool Runnings. Devon also competed in and was captain of the 1992 and the 1998 Olympic teams.

He is a philanthropist, creating the Keep On Pushing Foundation which aims to support and enhance the education of kids in disadvantaged areas. At the heart of Devon’s message as a motivational speaker are the lessons he has learned of the power of persistence over all sorts of obstacles in order to live one's best life.

He is the author of the motivational children’s book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical motivational book Keep On Pushing: Hot Lesson From Cool Runnings.

Devon Harris
Featured Videos

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Devon Harris
Featured Keynote Programs

Keep On Pushing
Developing A Resilient Mindset

A highly customizable, entertaining program, in which Devon effectively shows how the process of pushing a bobsled is analogous to the success journey of life; how the process demands that in order for a team or organization to grow and change, EVERYONE on the team must embrace growth and change.

Devon’s presentation strongly affirms that to harness continuous success every part of an organization needs consistently high levels of:

• clear vision and purpose
• passionate personal effort
• teamwork, and
• the grit and persistence to "keep on pushing."

Devon illustrates his points by sharing the improbable journey that propelled him out of the violent ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica; to Sandhurst; to the Olympics; to international recognition (with the Disney blockbuster Cool Runnings). By enriching his inspiring story with humor, compassion, personal charisma, and real-life how-to guidance, Devon engages audiences from the moment he greets them to his final, distinctive Olympic bobsledder call for them to "keep on pushing!" The man and his message are very well suited for opening or closing keynote presentations.

Audience takeaways include:
• clarified vision
• invigorated individual and team purpose
• a new or renewed appreciation for synergy and collaboration
• permission to relentlessly pursue solutions for all challenges

Developing A Resilient Mindset

A highly engaging, high energy, high impact program in which Devon Harris demonstrates how to develop a resilient mindset and improve performance in a fast-paced world, swirling in a sea of uncertainty.

The presentation provides a POWER BOOST for the audience as Devon shares lessons learned during his personal journey, going from ghetto struggle to graduate of the most prestigious military training school in the world.

He also shares the tools that he has seen at work with athletes in the Olympics — the same ones he used with his soldiers as an army captain to help them become mentally tough so that they no longer felt deflated or even defeated but confident and determined.

Devon shares the tools that he and other Olympic athletes and military leaders employ to stay confident and focused in the face of adversity, temporary setbacks, or defeat.

Audience takeaways include how to:
• take personal responsibility regardless of the uncontrollable event impacting them
• reframe an experience in order to reduce stress and feel empowered
• bounce back from setbacks, frustration, or the occasional out-right failure.

The Captain’s Toolbox
Developing Essential Leadership Traits

Leadership isn’t defined by the job title, expertise, or years of experience. It’s about developing the perspective, skills and personal style to get results that matter. Even "born leaders" don't know or portray all the right traits or decisions at the starting line. We are all works in progress who can transform ourselves into effective leaders and more vital and valuable resources to our organizations. Expanding on the idea that “leaders are made not born” and building on the lessons he learned as a military leader and Olympic team captain, Devon's program:

• focuses on individual development
• affirms that those empowered to manage, supervise or direct others can continuously learn, grow and change.
• equips attendees with the knowledge and skills to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses to •quickly become more adroit leaders
• presents proven techniques and methods that help leaders become more effective in guiding their teams to genuinely buy-in and reach their goals on or ahead of schedule.

Audience takeaways include how to:
• Inspire through authentic communication
• genuinely empower others
• become and stay a role model.

Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings - Coaching for Sales and Personal Success

In this program Devon Harris skillfully weaves the real life improbable inspirational story of the Jamaica bobsled team with the entertaining portrayal of the Disney blockbuster Cool Runnings. He highlights some of the powerful life lessons he and his teammates learned along the way – lessons the audience can immediately apply to both their personal and professional lives.
Suitable as an opening or closing keynote.

Some of these lessons and many more can also be found in Devon's book Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings.

Audience takeaways include how to:
• conquer fear
• employ the extraordinary power of visualization to achieve success
• build self-esteem and confidence
• define success on your own terms
• persist in the face of insurmountable odds

Devon Harris
Featured Books

Goalsby Devon Harris


by Devon Harris
Yes, I Can!by Devon Harris

Yes, I Can!

by Devon Harris
Keep on Pushing: Hot Lessons from Cool Runningsby Devon Harris

Keep on Pushing: Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings

by Devon Harris

Keep On Pushing: Hot Lessons From Cool Runnings is a semi-autobiographical motivational book by original Jamaica bobsled team member Devon Harris. In this book Devon has brought together all that he has learned along the way, from his days as a student in Kingston, to his education at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, his life as a Jamaica Army officer, and of course to his experiences at three Olympics which changed his life forever. At the heart of Keep On Pushing are the lessons he has learned of the power of persistence over all sorts of obstacles in order to live one's best life. His goal, through the book, is to bring this message of how everyone can keep on pushing and working for their dreams every day of their personal as well as professional lives. The book is divided into ten sections-each section representing a lesson. The lessons are designed to inspire and give the reader tools that they can immediately apply to their lives in order to reach higher levels of success. The end of each lesson features a Key Points to Remember section which highlights the most salient points in the lesson. Additionally, each lesson culminates with an Assignment section which helps to reinforce what was taught by giving the reader a task to complete. Keep On Pushing is not merely a regurgitation of theories on successful living. It is a passionate, personal and authoritative discourse on what it takes to push past life s challenges, conquer your fears and embrace change in order to live the life of your dreams.

Devon Harris
Featured Reviews

Devon Harris
Featured Articles & Resources

When No One Believes You Can Do It, Try Anyway

Dr. Ruth Gotian If you ever saw the movie Cool Runnings, you heard the unlikely story of the Jamaican bobsledding team. Four men, raised in a tropical environment, who never...
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Jamaican bobsled team reflects on unlikely journey to '88 Olympic

by Scott Stump / Feb.07.2018 / 8:16 AM ET / Source: TODAY The dream of the Jamaican bobsled team began with a makeshift sled, a sun-baked concrete track and a distant...
Read More
Topics:   Olympics

Jamaican Bobsled Team 2014: 2-Man Team To Compete In Sochi Olympic Games

Written by Nick Forrester A lack of initial funding hasn’t stopped the famed Jamaican Bobsled Team from returning to the Winter Olympics. For the first time since 2002, a...
Read More
Topics:   Olympics

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