Why Listen to Mike?
If you only considered Mike Savicki's education and professional accolades, that might be enough. Mike holds degrees from Tufts and Duke University Fuqua School of Business, two of the country's most esteemed educational institutions. He has taken his expertise into the private, public, and non-profit sectors, and most recently founded Afterburner Communications.
If you considered his athletic accomplishments, and his breadth of interests outside of his core professional world, that, too, would be impressive. He has been a talented multi-sport athlete all of his life, a rising star pilot of the U.S. Navy, a writer, and a world traveler. He's been profiled in major media outlets including The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and ABC, CBS, and NBC.
But when you consider the fact that he sustained a severe spinal cord injury that resulted in quadriplegia and landed him in a wheelchair at what seemed to be the peak of his life, and that he kept on going, with renewed determination and resolve to become virtually unstoppable in business, athletics, and any other pursuit he chose, Mike stops being merely impressive and becomes an inspiration.
Mike Savicki has had success in all aspects of his life, not without his share of adversity and pain. He is living proof that you do not have to be superhuman to accomplish excellence.
Through stories, anecdotes, jokes, and a healthy dose of self-deprecation, Mike Savicki shows that people can overcome perceived limitations and reach their dreams, and then reach beyond them.
“Earn Your Wings” (*Signature Keynote)
“Sports and the Human Condition”
“Reinventing Your Life”
Quips and Quotes
On learning to live with a disability...
"I began to understand that I didn't have to live a broken life just because my body was broken. My life could hold as much meaning after my injury as it did before. I struggled in those first weeks and months but it was only when I decided to do something, anything - go outside, push to the mailbox, roll around the block, go see a movie, discover something new around the corner and over the horizon - that I saw that the world was still there for me. That's when my new life began."
On learning to race...
"When I first started competing, I was jealous of the able bodied runners who surrounded me at the starting line of every race. Looking up at them from my wheelchair, I saw their chiseled calm muscles, toned hamstrings, powerful quads and ripped midsections and I wondered what had happened to my body. The slender physiques of these world class athletes were their admission ticket to the front of the pack. They belonged there and I felt I didn't."
"My paralysis forced me to learn a new definition of freedom. That feeling of oneness that happens when mind, body and soul work together in symphony finally revealed itself to me after years of struggling. Now, when I race, I feel the flow. My brain sends a signal to my arms to strike the push rings, my arms react, the wheels move and I create forward motion. Freedom now means movement. When I'm moving? That's when I'm free."
"I define my life differently now. I may not be able to fly a jet at the speed of sound or pull enough G's to make even a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver black out but I can still live my life in a higher gear. And that gear is uniquely my own."
On being extraordinary...
"In each of us, we have all the ingredients we need to be extraordinary. We can all be great in our own way. But if we spend our time in self-doubt then we miss our chance to shine. Don't question what isn't, accept what is. Believe in your own person and nurture your own talents and abilities. Realize you are different and accept that it's just fine. If you can do these things, the extraordinary that lives inside you will reveal itself."