John Foley

John Foley

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A Blue Angels pilot and business management consultant,focused on organizational excellence.

John Foley is a former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels, a Sloan Fellow at Stanford School of Business, a gratitude guru and an expert in the how of High Performance teams. His exciting, rare journey inspires awe, triggering audiences to take action and rethink what they believe is possible. John employs those intense realities as a metaphor to motivate teams and individuals to reach for their highest potential while empowering organizations to sustain excellence under dynamic change.

John’s presentations are marked by three overriding traits. • A contagious attitude of thankfulness that he calls Glad To Be Here®. • An energizing delivery that inspires High Performance with a purpose larger than self. • A practical model for living out his message that works in other organizations as well as within the Blue Angels.

John consistently performed in an extreme, high-stakes environment, flying at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour and in formations as close as 18 inches apart. To survive in those circumstances, he relied on a culture of high trust and leadership that turns inherently unforgiving flight into extraordinary experiences. He employs those intense realities as a metaphor to motivate teams to reach for their highest potential and empower organizations to sustain excellence under dynamic change.

John’s post-Naval experiences as an entrepreneur and a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business put him in a unique position to reverse-engineer the culture of excellence and teamwork found in the Blue Angels. He has created a framework and a mythology that inspires greatness while propelling others on their own journey toward Higher Performance.

John graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also was a defensive back for the Midshipmen, playing in two bowl games and helping Navy to one of the best four-year records in its football history. As a pilot, John was a “Top Ten Carrier Pilot” six times before becoming a Marine instructor pilot and a Blue Angel. He holds master’s degrees in business management, from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (as a Sloan Fellow); in international policy studies, from Stanford University; and in strategic studies, from the Naval War College.

John has spoken to some of the Highest Performing organizations such as, Microsoft, Hitachi, Intel, Cisco, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Goodyear, Chevron, Lowe’s, Marriott, Wyndham Hotels, Hilton, Penske Racing, Rawlings, LA Kings, Sprint, Motorola, Merrill Lynch, Mass Mutual, Capital Group, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, GE Capital, American Hospital Association, Merck, Reach Air, Adecco, Gillette, McDonalds, and Million Dollar Round Table.

John founded the Glad To Be Here® Foundation. John donates 10% of his net speaking fees to charities through the foundation. John works with every client to donate up to $1,000 to charities of their choosing. Through this program over 300 charities and $1.5M dollars have impacted thousands of lives globally. It’s part of his mission to connect a shared “purpose larger than self” with every organization.

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Speaking topics

Drive the Ball: Sustaining Excellence Through Change

We live in a time of rapid development. Business culture is evolving. Mergers, acquisitions, and global expansion help create new opportunities. Smart companies keep ahead of the curve, but those willing to push the limits of what is possible, the .01%, those are the people who BREAK the curve. At the crux of challenges is one burning question: how do we adapt to change? Drive the Ball is the “How to Win” answer to that question.

Extraordinary Performance

As lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels, John Foley had to consistently perform as part of a team in an intense, high-stakes environment. Reaching that level of excellence required commitment, discipline, and trust. Using Blue Angel methodology as a model, Foley has developed a unique approach that equips others to make the same journey toward excellence. His message, delivered with contagious enthusiasm, emphasizes principles of trust, alignment, clarity, and commitment, positioning individuals and teams to achieve and sustain higher levels of excellence than they ever dreamed possible.

The "How" of High Performance

How do the Blue Angels consistently operate with such precision while flying inches apart at 600 mph? John Foley provides a proven model that demonstrates a highly effective way to achieve precision by closing performance gaps. Taking examples from his own experience, he simplifies complex challenges so they can be met immediately. He connects the high intensity of the Blue Angels to your organization and provides concrete tools to begin the process of reaching and sustaining excellence.

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