Janine Shepherd AM
Former Champion Skier, Pilot, Speaker, Author, Coach
Janine Shepherd is an inspirational speaker and writer whose books have become classics in the survivor genre. A champion cross-country skier in training for the 1988 winter Olympics, Janine’s life changed forever when she was hit by a truck during a bicycle training ride in the Blue Mountains of Australia.
Doctors warned her parents that—even if she somehow miraculously survived her massive injuries —Janine would almost certainly never walk again. After a risky procedure to rebuild her shattered vertebra, and almost six months flat on her back in a hospital spinal ward, Janine came home to heal. With the promise of a career as an elite athlete now gone forever, Janine faced a daunting recovery and an uncertain future.
Struggling to rehabilitate with permanent disabilities, Janine rekindled her defiant spirit in a dramatically improbable way. Sitting outside in her wheelchair one day and watching a small plane fly overhead, she declared, “That’s it! If I can’t walk, I’ll fly!”
Still encased in a full body cast, Janine had to be lifted into an aircraft for her introductory flight lesson. But within a year she had defied the odds and succeeded in gaining her private pilot’s license. Her talent and skill as a pilot subsequently earned Janine a commercial pilot license and ultimately, her flying instructor’s rating. She then decided to learn to fly upside down, and finally, to teach aerobatic flight to other pilots.
Janine went on to succeed not only as a professional pilot but also to attain her University degree, raise three children and author several best-selling books.
Her remarkable life story ultimately captured the interest of a prominent film company, which produced the feature length movie, aptly titled Never Tell Me Never.
In recognition of her service to the community and her tireless efforts in raising awareness for spinal cord research, Janine was awarded the Order of Australia, her nation’s highest honor.
She is an ambassador for Spinal Cure Australia and Red Bull’s “Wings for Life” and a contributor to Deepak Chopra’s workshops. Janine’s story has-been featured on 60 Minutes, This is Your Life and CNN’s Turning Points with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Her inspirational and emotional TEDx talk, “A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person,” has been viewed almost 2 million times.
She was recently named as an “Architect of Change” in Maria Shriver’s “Sunday Paper” Her latest book, “Defiant: A Memoir” was published for worldwide distribution by SoundsTrue®.
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
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.
‘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.
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.