Jack Kavanagh

Health Professional, Facilitator & Coach

why book jack?

  • Inspiring speaker on resilience, emphasising diverse and inclusive environments
  • Known for humility, insight, and wisdom as an “optimistic realist”
  • Survived a life altering injury, underwent intense rehabilitation, and completed a pharmacy degree against the odds


Having suffered a catastrophic spinal-cord injury aged 20 which left him with just 15% muscle function, Jack Kavanagh cares deeply about health & wellbeing as drivers for resilience and performance.  And it is these topics that he focuses on in his engaging talks, along with the need to cultivate diverse and inclusive environments where people belong and are valued just as they are.

What happened to Jack could have happened to anyone. Whilst on holiday with friends, he dived into the sea only to find he’d radically miscalculated the depth. He hit the sand hard and broke his neck, leaving him paralysed from the chest down. The accident, which was followed by nine months of rehabilitation (he had to teach himself to breathe again without aid) didn’t stop him returning to college to complete his degree as a pharmacist.

He went on to become a health professional and is today a popular speaker known for his humility, insight and wisdom.  He describes himself as an ‘optimistic realist’ – someone who recognises the realities of life’s challenges but who strives to confront and overcome his perceived limitations and, in doing so, inspire others to do the same.

Today Jack is host of the Only Human Podcast and sits on the board of directors of the National Disability Authority and Center for Excellence in Universal Design as well as leadership development organisation Common Purpose Ireland.

He was the subject of the award-winning documentary Breaking Boundaries (2016) – you can view a trailer here – and in 2019 was awarded as one of “Ten Outstanding Young People Of The Year”



  • Showing Up: Self Care for Resilience & Performance
  • Energy management: Stress & Burnout
  • Wellbeing & Performance: Mental, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual

Personal Leadership

  • Lead Yourself First
  • Leading in VUCA World
  • Authenticity, Vulnerability & Compassion
  • Fear-Less Like A Child: Leadership Characteristics We Learn As Children

D&I – Culture & Belonging

  • DiverseAbility vs Disability
  • People are the heart of any team or organisation.
  • Environments enable or disable, and power or disempower.
  • Inclusive and Diverse workplaces are good for people, business and society.

Jack Kavanagh



For more information about Dr. Colman Noctor, or to book him as a speaker for your event, visit his profile

For more information about Dr. Brian Pennie, or to book him as a speaker for your event, visit his profile


Jack has attended our Company events a few times as a speaker on diversity, inclusion and resilience. Jack’s story and the way he tells it touches so many – one of the most inspiring speakers we have had. His openness, honestly and humility is captivating.
Jack is a pleasure to listen to and we always receive amazing feedback from our colleagues. Jack is truly inspirational.

Anna O’Donnavan – McKesson Cork

“I have to tell you – the feedback has been phenomenal. You made a lasting impact, people are still talking about your messaging and your wonderful delivery. You are being cited regularly around the office, with us asking each other ‘how we are showing up for each other”

Gillian Cooney, Senior Vice President HR at SMBC Aviation Capital

“Jack inspired and motivated our management team in Cheshire Ireland at our recent conference by sharing his knowledge, outlook and experiences. He not only enabled the team to positively challenge their perspectives but he also shared key learnings from his own life experiences that helped us to guide our work and approach. Jack’s resilience and upbeat attitude was infectious and left us feeling energised and ready to make a difference in each moment that we can.”

Martina Larkin, Head Of Compliance, Cheshire Ireland

“We invited Jack to speak with our Strategy and Governance Directorate in the Central Bank of Ireland about wellbeing and resilience and protecting both.Jack is inspiring, insightful and extremely engaging. He encouraged staff to consider their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing and the energy in and out of each one. His revelation about treating personal wellbeing like a bank account was particularly valuable to colleagues. Arranging this talk in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was particularly enlightening and enriched colleagues ability to preserve their personal and team resilience at a very difficult time.”

Lynn Mahony, Central Bank

“Jack is an extraordinary speaker. His presentation to FuturEnergy Ireland, “Burnout to Flourishing – the Resilience Gap”, was perfectly pitched for maximum impact. Jack combined scientific data, psychology theory, his own lived experience and feedback from our team to bring his presentation to life. He commands the room with his unique mix of warmth, humour, positivity and insight. The practical and workable skills he shared with, and transferred to, the FutureEnergy Ireland team will help us enormously.”

Peter Lynch, CEO, FuturEnergy Ireland

“We engaged Jack to talk to my team about “Resilience and How to Live Well Now” with the ongoing Covid restrictions. The session was excellent and the feedback from the team was exceptionally positive. People talked about how relevant it was and how the things Jack talked about had really resonated with them. Many said that they had made notes of things to take away and reflect further on.  This was exactly the response I had hoped for – Jack’s content was spot on and he tapped into the mood of his audience perfectly. Super valuable for the team – thank you!”

Mary Burke, VP Customer Success EMEA DocuSign

“I have sat in a number of self-improvement events in the past, and today was by far the best. Jack was digestible, personal and enriching. Jack delivered his talk with a personal touch and checked back in with us at various stages which made a real difference. The series of practical and tangible takeaways were fantastic. I’ve told a number of my friends and family to check him out, already.”

Gerard Keenan, Implementation & Customer Success Manager, ParkOffice