Janine Shepherd’s story reads like the plot of a Hollywood movie. An Australian national champion skier in training for the upcoming Olympics, she was hit by a truck on a bike ride, suffering multiple life-threatening injuries.
Doctors warned her parents that, even if she lived, Janine would never walk again. After major spinal surgery, and five months immobilized in a hospital bed, Janine came home to heal. She faced a daunting recovery and an uncertain future.
Struggling to rehabilitate with permanent disabilities, Janine rekindled her defiant spirit in a dramatically improbable way. Seeing a small plane fly overhead one day, she declared, “That’s it! If I can’t walk, I’ll fly!”
Janine went on to succeed not only as a commercial pilot and flight instructor but also to attain her University degree, raise three children and author a best-selling book, “Never Tell Me Never.” Her memoir was subsequently made into a feature length film of the same title.
In Janine’s latest book, “Defiant”, she shares with candor and compassion, the practical lessons she has learned throughout her continuing journey. “Defiant” offers hope and encouragement for anyone facing a life challenge, sharing the author’s hard-won wisdom and priceless advice for navigating one’s way from loss to healing.
Today, Janine Shepherd is an internationally renowned speaker whose inspiring TED talk, “A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person.” has garnered over 1.5 million views. She’s been featured on 60 Minutes, This is Your Life, and most recently on CNN’s Turning Point with Sanjay Gupta. She has also been recognized with her country’s highest honor, The Order of Australia.
Embracing Adversity and Change
Janine is a gifted storyteller, who uses her wit, humor, and impeccable timing to engage the audience. She shares her journey in an expansive, inspiring and universal way that touches every heart in the room and invites each of us to dream and reach beyond their preconceived ideas of what is possible. Her keynote presentation sows the seeds of growth and positive transformation in the hearts of her audiences.
Janine takes us on an amazing journey. A journey on a road with so many twists and turns, so many deep valleys and steep hills that it mirrors the road we travel in own lives every single day.
This is a story that takes us from the pinnacle of elite athletics competition to the pain and fear of being wheelchair-‐ bound and facing the shattering reality of life-‐threatening and permanent injury; from the exhilaration of flight to the struggle of taking one difficult step at a time on a long road to recovery which continues to this day. Janine leaves her audience not only awed, humbled, and uplifted, but also causes them to think deeply about the way they live their own lives. Her listeners leave with a light heart and a conviction that they are able to change their attitude, find the power within and perform to the best of their abilities.
Janine reveals how our greatest obstacles can become our greatest opportunities and shares the tools that have allowed her to transform her dreams into reality. She gives the audience insight into how they too can achieve this in their own lives.
Strategies for Cultivating Resilience
Janine believes that the greatest skill that we need in today’s rapidly changing world is resilience. From the boardroom to the classroom, this is the skill that will enable us to overcome the inevitable challenges that we all face in life, and not only survive, but thrive. Janine believes that true resilience is the ability to not just bounce back, but to bounce forward. We grow from adversity when we choose to see every challenge as a seed for growth and transformation.
Janine shares her powerful 18-minute TEDx talk that she delivered at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City.
This presentation is transformative as Janine holds a mirror up for the audience to look deeply into their own lives and connect with something greater within themselves. After the talk, she uses the five chairs from her presentation as a tool to facilitate an interactive workshop for the audience.
Letting Go of the Life You Had, to Get the Life that is Waiting For You
Janine has come to realize that the process of finding acceptance has been crucial in her search for quality of life and peace of mind. She believes that whatever our circumstances may be, we all need to nurture acceptance in our lives in order to move on from tragedy or loss and find fulfillment.
When we stop fighting with reality, and accept our present circumstances we are able to live fully and fearlessly. As Janine says, “Life is not about having it all, but loving it all.”
As a spinal patient and partial paraplegic, Janine has a unique understanding and perspective on injury and trauma. Janine shares her personal experience of being a patient and living with a disability.
Janine has witnessed first-hand the teamwork that has gone into her recovery, from the surgeons who operated on her, to the nursing staff who cared to her, and the family that supported her. She shares her health and fitness philosophy and the tools she uses to maintain wellness.
Janine’s presentation gives insight to all those working in the healthcare industry as they see how their role in caring for patients can literally change a life.
“Janine’s story is compelling and one that leaves you thinking long after she has left the stage. One of our team members remarked that he had never been so enthralled by a presenters story before. This is testament to Janine’s way of engaging her audience and really drawing them into her story. Her message is inspiring and one that we felt very privileged to have her share with us. We loved her warm personality & sense of humour on and off the stage and could not recommend her more highly.”
“Janine spoke at our Annual Retail Conference and provided one of the highlights of the entire week. Her story sparkles with the courage to conquer fear. Her passionate and self-effacing delivery left the room spellbound. Janine thrusts you into the darkest moments of human experience and navigates a path to recovery, hope and renewal. Buckle up!”
“Amazing human being! A truly inspirational speaker! Another inspiration – Janine offered lasting messages for us all. Another outstanding event! She was an inspiration. Fantastic story! What can I say – SENSATIONAL!”
“Janine had the whole room enthralled – her story is undeniably epic, and her delivery is animated and engaging. She clearly had a message to give which was relevant to all of us in both our personal and working lives: Go ahead and do what you want to do – never let anyone tell you never, never let the odds dissuade you from trying, and learn to love the challenge. There were tears and laughter, and we loved every minute!”
“Minority Women Professionals (MWPs) are MVPs is a national conference series aiming to bring women of diverse backgrounds, professions, abilities and experiences together to find common ground, become empowered despite their status as minorities, and acquire new skills to survive and thrive in their careers. Janine headlined our inaugural event in the San Francisco Bay Area—she was a standout star of the program! She shared her personal story of tragedy and triumph and how her near-fatal accident forced her to redefine herself and learn more about who she was. She gave hope to the women using her theme of being Defiant, and inspiring them to rewrite their own life stories. Janine made compelling arguments for why it is important to take on the hills in life, encouraging each attendee to conquer any circumstance she may face. We feel blessed to have had Janine speak to our group!”
“Amazing, inspirational, remarkable! The measure of Janine’s real impact was best demonstrated by the fact that Janine was the recipient of a standing ovation — the first ever afforded to a speaker in or fifteen-year history of conferences. The results of a survey of our Conference speakers fully vindicated our choice of Janine opening our Conference, with Janine recording the highest ever rating for a Guest Speaker!”
“Everyone who attended the event was enthralled by you amazing courage, determination and positive outlook on life, despite your experiences. You are an inspiration to anyone who has the good fortune to meet you.”