Gerald Coffee

One of America's top 10 speakers
"Reaffirming the invincibility of the Human Spirit"

JERRY COFFEE is an inspiring example of the power of the human spirit to survive and triumph over the most adverse circumstances. As a Navy pilot flying reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam, his plane was downed by enemy fire. He parachuted safely but was captured immediately. For the next seven years he served as a POW in the communist prisons of Hanoi.

Jerry draws not only from the insights derived from that incredible experience, but also from the perspective of his unique experiences since then. A masters degree in political science from Cal-Berkeley, his studies at the prestigious National Defence University in Washing, DC, his Navy command and staff assignments, his sponsorship of literary competition for America's youth, his continuing interaction within hundreds of corporations and association. He is a highly respected observer and commentator on current political, economic, and social issues and sees most in terms of opportunities yet to be seized by heroic leadership yet to emerge.


Drawing from his POW experience from capture to ultimate release, Captain Coffee cites faith - in himself, his comrades and family, his country, and his God - as the key to turning an unbelievably difficult and potentially devastating experience into an opportunity for personal growth and triumph. With empathy and humour he shares a truly uplifting message. He plants the seeds of belief that actually empower each of us to survive any ordeal, overcome any obstacle, and achieve any goal.


Drawing both from his own "hero's journey" and from essays written by America's youth on their own "living heroes", Captain Coffee puts us each in touch with our own past "hero's journey" which perhaps had not been recognised as such. He enables us to search beneath our own human frailties and imperfections to discover and honour the hero within each of us. He then challenges us to make heroic decisions and choices often - and sometimes desperately - needed in our own personal and professional lives.


CHANGE: Change in our personal or professional environment may sometimes be - or seem to be - cataclysmic, causing uncertainty and fear which keep us focused upon bare survival. Here is reinforcement of the core values by which we not only accept the inevitability of change but actually embrace it for the opportunities it reveals.

INSPIRATION Here is a living example of our ability to not merely survive but to go beyond survival; here is the inspiration to believe we can emerge from our challenges and adversities tougher, wiser, and more capable than we would otherwise have been.

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY: Adversity is overcome first by getting through the "Why me, God?" stage to "Show me, God?" - what is the purpose of this? With acceptance and understanding of purpose comes empowerment to overcome.

TEAMWORKTeamwork is redefined as the actual partnerships necessary to achieve win-win solutions in today's competitive environment, ie. business to government, executive to field force, management to labour; supplier to distributor to retailer, and even spouse to spouse and parent to child.

LEADERSHIP: Leadership derives from faith in oneself - not a blind, abstract faith, but a faith based upon the internalisation of past achievements and triumph which empowers us in the present to inspire others to follow.

COMMUNICATION: Truly effective communication is based upon empathy with others and the willingness to risk saying what needs to be said. Through faith in one another we break down the barriers to result-oriented communications.
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