Jack Kavanagh

Health Professional, Facilitator and Coach

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 sits on the board of directors of the National Disability Authority and Center for Excellence in Universal Design as well as the leadership development organisation Common Purpose Ireland.  

He was the subject of the award-winning documentary Breaking Boundaries (2016).  View a trailer here


  • 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.



“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

“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

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