John As A Speaker

While Sailing Grace stands on its own as a true story of survival and hope, it also summons up a mortality-heightened awareness for what matters – love, family, dreams, mission – and what doesn’t: a mind-numbing pursuit of conventionality and ease.

John Otterbacher Speaking

Although one of his most popular presentations is entitled “What Dying Taught Me About Living,” John’s emphasis is always on living with passion and purpose, finding adventure in the ordinary and opportunity in crisis.

While conversant in corporate, political, educational, and health care systems, John’s focus always returns to the human dimension, the ingredients of a rich life.

John’s history as a survivor, college professor, legislator, psychologist, and long-distance sailor gives him many topics about which he can speak comfortably:

  • Sailing Grace: A true story of dying, coming back to life and going to sea
  • Sea Change: What dying taught me about living
  • Solo: Lessons learned sailing across the Atlantic, alone
  • Living the Dream: The energizing effect of living out beyond our fears
  • Taking the helm: The chemistry of leadership
  • The bankruptcy of victimhood and the power of personal responsibility
  • The power of attitude: Why optimism and humor make sense
  • The value of slowing down and paying attention; doing less and experiencing more
  • The healing power of love and relationship
  • How we change the world

John tailors each of his presentations to the questions, interests, challenges and needs of the group he is addressing. However serious his subject matter, he delivers his story with a disarming and self-deprecating sense of humor.

Past Speaking Engagements

John has made hundreds of presentations in recent years, both here and abroad, including:

  • Mayo Clinic Annual Heart Conference, keynote (Rochester, MN)
  • National Association of Humanities (Chicago, IL)
  • the CPM National Nurses Conference, keynote (San Francisco, CA)
  • the United States Boat Show (Annapolis, MD)
  • the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Outdoor Writers National Convention, keynote
  • USA Book Expo (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Miami Boat Show (Miami, FL)
  • Midwest Association of Federal, State, and Local Auditors, keynote
  • Canadian Annual Cardiac Symposium (Toronto, Canada)
  • Pacific Boat Show (San Francisco, CA)
  • Printer’s Row Book Fair (Chicago, IL)
  • Great Lakes Singlehanded Sailors Society, keynote