Janine Shepherd AM

Former Champion Skier, Pilot, Speaker, Author, Coach

Janine Shepherd was an Australian national champion cross country skier in training for the Winter Olympics when her life was irrevocably altered. She was run over by a truck during a training bicycle ride to the Blue Mountains.

While she was in hospital, suffering multiple life-threatening injuries, Janine's parents were told she would never walk again. Yet following spinal surgery, Janine Shepherd recovered her defiant spirit and learned to fly a small plane, insistent that if she couldn't walk, she would learn to fly.

With sheer determination, Janine went on to regain the ability to walk, have three children, become a fully qualified commercial pilot and aerobatics flying instructor, and complete a degree in Physical Education.
Janine is an extraordinary speaker whose personal story is one of triumph over adversity. Her journey back from the brink is undeniably epic and has inspired millions of people around the world. She talks about coping with change, overcoming adversity, the benefits of laughter and harnessing the power within as she talks about her life's journey with her audience.

Janine has also written about her life experiences in best-selling books. Her autobiographies - Defiant: A Broken Body is Not a Broken Person; Never Tell Me Never; Dare to Fly; Reaching for Stars; On My Own Two Feet - have become classics in the survivor genre and have been best sellers: The Gift of Acceptance, is a collection of her wisdom, insight and advice and is a distillation Janine's life story was made into a feature film, also entitled Never Tell Me Never, starring acclaimed Australian actress Claudia Karvan. She has also appeared on 60 Minutes, This is Your Life and the ABC's Talking Heads and been featured in the Huffington Post.

Janine's TED talk, "A Broken Body is Not a Broken Person", received a standing ovation and has been viewed over 1.5 million times. (TED.com, You tube, Karma tube). Janine is a change agent and is in demand as one of the world's top inspirational and motivational speakers. She has presented to leading organisations and corporations worldwide, and was selected as only one of six speakers to present at the International Association of Speakers Bureaus conference in Miami in April 2013. She empowers others to overcome adversity by sharing her message of hope, transformation and human potential.

Janine Shepherd was awarded ‘Most Outstanding Young Person in the World' by the Junior Chamber International and appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to the community, her inspiration and her work to raise awareness of spinal cord research. She is a patron of the Australasian Spinal Research Trust and has served on the board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), as the youngest and only female director.

Janine Shepherd talks about:

  • The Gift of Acceptance
  • Finding the courage to embrace change
  • Embracing adversity and challenge
  • Responsibility/Authentic power
  • Developing and/or deepening resilience
  • The Power of Forgiveness
  • Finding laughter in everyday life
  • The importance of authentic connections
  • Cultivating compassion, gratitude and joy
  • Freedom from attachment and the need for control
  • Cultivating one's unique gifts to serve humanity

Client testimonials

Janine had the whole room enthralled - her story is undeniably epic, and her delivery is animated and engaging. While not a business speaker, 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. I will definitely be reading her books!


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 our fifteen year history of conferences.

Prudential Agents Association

Janine’s story is remarkable and inspiring, and her message will challenge everyone in the room to rethink their lives, goals and abilities. We chose Janine to launch Nitro’s “Be Bold” speaker series, and she could not have been more perfect. We encourage our Nitronauts to dream big, believe in themselves, and to never give up — and this is Janine’s story. Janine is smart, brave, funny, an incredible human being, and a powerful speaker with a truly unique perspective on the world. I would highly recommend Janine to anyone hoping to engage and motivate teams of any kind. After such an impressive performance at Nitro, future "Be Bold” speakers have big shoes to fill!


Your story is one of incredible courage, yet delivered in an easy and entertaining manner, a manner that held all in attendance spellbound. We could not have had any better way to end our conference…Thank you!


Your presentation was full of enthusiasm, humour and energy. Quite clearly, your courage and dedication in overcoming adversity will have a long lasting and motivating effect on our conference delegates.


Janine is a change agent. She has an extraordinary ability to ignite people's spirits and move them to find the real potential of their lives; her story inspires people around the world.

Deepak Chopra

‘Renew the Spirit’ was our conference theme and your story was an inspiration to us all. Feedback from the team was overwhelming. What a truly moving story. I hope participants appreciate how fortunate they are and the importance of strength and determination in our lives.

British Petroleum (BP)

Janine was a speaker at a "Talks at Google" corporate Event on our campus in Mountain View. I had the pleasure of hosting her for the day. Her story of resilience and victory over the most challenging circumstances was nothing short of amazing. Everything about her presence, speaking style and positive outlook had us completely spellbound. Googlers who attended were positively moved by her. There is a lot to learn from Janine!


Janine's story is one that needs to be shared with any of us who may be harbouring thoughts of self-pity, defeat and desperation. It should be shared with ALL as a reminder on the importance of laughter in our day-to-day lives irrespective of our own difficulties. But importantly, it is a story that needs to be shared with all who are intimidated by, or who are unwilling to confront the many life challenges of today. We remain humbled and positively energized by your unforgettable story.

Sara Lee

Your inspiring story was a perfect fit with our conference theme and the delivery of the material was brilliant. Your inspiring story captured the heart of all our delegates and certainly caused them to view their own challenges and obstacles from a new perspective.