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Surfer, Shark Attack Survivor, Story Teller

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Nothing is more powerful than a second chance at life.

Nothing is more powerful than a second chance at life.

Turning the worst day of your life into your best is no easy feat, but sometimes there is simply no other option. In Brett Connellan’s case, this day included the moment every surfer’s worst nightmare became his reality when he was attacked by a Great White Shark.

As the light was fading at Bombo Beach on the evening of the 30th of March, 2016, Brett was inches from death. He had lost three-quarters of his left quad, and emergency responders on the scene were sure Brett would not make it. Fortunately, the cards fell in Brett’s favour, and he managed to pull through with the help of a brave friend, timely emergency support and a healthy serving of luck.

The events that saved Brett’s life were not lost on him, and that perspective was needed as he faced a long and challenging road to recovery. With a bleak outlook prescribed to him by doctors, it was evident that Brett’s life as he knew it would never be the same.
These moments in time are pivotal in any person’s life as they often lead to a questioning of purpose and identity. However, Brett did not know at this time that the following months were even more life-changing than just the injury itself. The recovery forced Brett to “climb a new mountain,” in his words and develop a different mindset towards resilience, which helped him defy the odds to be able to walk again and eventually get back in the water and do what he loves most: surfing.

Although this may sound like the perfect end to Brett’s story, it was only the beginning. Brett soon realised that the lessons he learned through his recovery could be applied to all areas of his life. This has pushed him to be the best version of himself personally and professionally. This new version of Brett, fuelled by purpose, drives him to use his unique and powerful story to help others make the most out of their journeys.

Talking Points

Waves of Resilience - Turning the worst day of your life into the best

Brett doesn’t think he would believe the advice he’d share with a younger version of himself because he believes that there’s no greater teacher than the experience itself.

Much like the ever-changing ocean, life can throw unexpected challenges at us. It's not that everyone needs to face a shark attack to gain perspective; rather, it's about understanding how to adapt and navigate the waves of change. Resilience, that innate strength within all of us, is the anchor we can hold onto during turbulent times.
In this captivating presentation, Brett shares his remarkable recovery journey after a life-altering shark attack and equips you with the essential tools needed to conquer life’s obstacles. Discover the art of adaptation and resilience as Brett parallels his journey and the challenges we all encounter in an ever-changing world.

Key Takeaways:

- Unleash Resilience: Discover the transformative journey of resilience as Brett shares his powerful personal story of surviving a shark attack and rebuilding his life.
- Strategies for Overcoming Challenges: Learn practical strategies for facing adversity head-on, finding hope in the darkest moments, and emerging stronger than before.
- Adapt and Thrive: Explore how to harness change, turn setbacks into opportunities, and build a culture of resilience within your organisation.
- Redefined Purpose: Gain insights into pivoting and finding new meaning when faced with unexpected detours, inspiring you to adapt and thrive.

*Tangible action cards to kickstart attendees’ resilience-building strategies

*This presentation can be 45-60 minutes in length

The Second Chance Effect - Reimagining goals: Resilience and growth in action.

Discover and embrace a transformative mindset that will redefine how you approach life and all of its challenges.

Drawing inspiration from his own life-altering journey, Brett shares how a single message changed his trajectory, offering you a powerful opportunity for growth.

Through captivating storytelling and practical strategies, you’ll learn how to cultivate unwavering focus, achieve peak performance, and continuously elevate your goals.

Whether you’re an individual or a leader wanting to empower others. This will highlight a mindset that thrives amidst change, seizes new opportunities, and redefines what success means to you as you embark on a journey of personal transformation.

Key Takeaways:
- Dream Big, Achieve More: Discover the meaning behind a message that changed the trajectory of Brett’s recovery. “People fail not from aiming too high and missing, but from aiming too low and hitting”
- Focus and Performance: Learn practical strategies for maintaining laser-sharp focus, maximising productivity, and consistently delivering high-performance results.
- Evaluate and Elevate: Gain insights into the importance of periodically evaluating your goals, adapting to change, and learning from both successes and setbacks.
- Resilience in Goal Achievement: Explore the role of resilience in pursuing your goals, turning challenges into stepping stones, and emerging stronger and more determined than ever.

*Tangible: Access to Brett’s own goal-setting resources and programs

*This presentation is 45-60 minutes

Beneath The Surface - Exploring the ‘Sad Shark’ of mental health

Having forged a special post-attack relationship with sharks, Brett has gained a unique perspective on the often misunderstood duality of these majestic creatures alongside mental health.

Just as the ocean hides the complexities of its depths, so too do individuals often conceal their struggles beneath the surface. This presentation will offer valuable insights and tools into self-awareness and encourage open, compassionate dialogues.
As we navigate this journey, we shed light on the profound impact of conversations in bridging the gap between isolation and connection. We explore the power of empathy and support, empowering both those in need and those eager to provide assistance. The aim is to inspire meaningful discussions, break down mental health stigmas, and promote awareness and compassion within organisations and communities.

Key Takeaways:
- The Power of Conversations: Discover how meaningful conversations can break the surface and provide essential support for mental well-being.
- Unmasking the Sad Shark: Learn to recognise and address the hidden struggles of mental health, fostering empathy and understanding, much like unveiling the depths of the sad shark beneath the surface.
- Self-Awareness and Connection: Explore the role of self-awareness in nurturing mental well-being and creating meaningful connections with others.
- Supporting and Empowering: Gain insights into being both a supportive friend and a valuable resource for those facing mental health challenges.

*This presentation is 45-60 minutes

Let's Go Surfing!

This might sound crazy, but hear us out…let's go surfing!

Don’t let the shark attack story keep you from the ocean; instead, you use it as an opportunity to deepen the impact of Brett's presentation by adding a personalised surf lesson to your event.

Regardless of skill level, these lessons provide a level playing field where everyone can challenge themselves, learn together, and celebrate shared achievements. This experience transcends typical team-building exercises and is guaranteed to elevate your event, offering your group the chance to create lifelong memories with a surfing experience taught by a team of professionals, including Brett, a qualified surf coach.

*Availability is dependent on event location and access to resources
Thanks for your awesome presentation Brett. Your story has had a lasting impact on us and has inspired us to take action professionally and personally. I know of some staff - me included, who are already implementing some of your ideas. Thanks again for trusting us with your story and then delivering an engaging, impactful and memorable webinar. Department of Communities & Justice, NSW

Brett's story is something everyone needs to hear. Not simply just because it is a raw and emotional story, but because it is a story that evokes a passionate and inspiring response from those that are lucky enough to be present for the experience. Instantly engaging Brett presents his story and his learnings from his own experiences in a format that is adaptable to any setting and that would be of great benefit to any audience listening.


Brett is an amazing, engaging speaker with a story that is relevant and inspiring. Brett's message of resilience and achieving your goals was clear through his storytelling approach. He had our audience fully engaged for the whole keynote.

Allambi Care

Brett is an excellent storyteller with a calm and composed persona. The way he presented his life experience left the audience spellbound. A few amongst the audience were able to share their experience and challenges. Brett managed those conversations very well. It was an invigorating experience for many of us.

Blacktown City Council

We had Brett speak at an investor conference we held in March 2023. Brett had the entire audience captivated from start to finish. His story is an amazing and ever-evolving one, but the way Brett breaks it down from the incident in 2016 to now, and especially how he has dealt with it was truly inspiring. Having Brett speak at our event gave a unique and priceless element to it, and the feedback from our guests has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope I get to hear him speak again soon! Thanks again Brett!

Cloud Break Wealth

Brett Connellan is an extremely engaging speaker, whose story of purpose and resilience through challenge is inspirational for all. Brett's message was transferable and relevant to our work and as such gave his audience powerful take-aways for future challenges and how we may approach and respond to these. His approachable manner and willingness to engage thoughtfully with his audience was so well received and absolutely appreciated. We couldn't recommend him highly enough!

Wollongong Primary Principals’ Council

Brett’s presentation was one of the best our staff have had. They all were highly inspired and energised afterwards, speaking of the importance of perspective and mindset. Brett is a talented presenter who captivates his audience with great skill.

Woonona East Public School

In the last month I have had the opportunity to watch Brett Connellan present 3 times at the annual “Future of Leadership Conference” series. It is a high-level leadership conference featuring 10 top class speakers, all sharing their varying perspectives on leadership. Despite being the youngest speaker on the Agenda and newest speaker to the circuit, in my view Brett was a breath of fresh air and a standout each day. In short Brett’s presentation was terrific each time - powerful, and very authentic and insightful. Brett shares his at times traumatic experiences in a carefully thought out and heart-warming way and draws from them some wider life lessons that all can benefit from. His style is very natural and engaging and shows enormous empathy for his audience and really gets the audience thinking on a deeper level. I genuinely look forward to hearing Brett present again soon.

Andrew Klein - Conference MC

Brett shared a moving account of his shark attack experience, deeply resonating especially with the local community. His narrative highlighted the potency of a resilient mindset, the value of a solid support network, and finding your coping mechanisms during crises. I am very grateful to have experienced this presentation.

Kiama Municipal Council

We wanted to extend our sincere gratitude for your participation as guest speaker at our Year 12 Graduation Ceremony. Your presentation was engaging and inspiring and we feel sure the graduating class of 2023 will remember it for some time. The feedback we received was incredibly positive and your words have undoubtedly instilled a sense of motivation and encouragement to all in attendance. Thank you once again for your stimulating speech and for taking time out of your busy schedule to attend the ceremony. We look forward to the possibility of hearing from you again at future events.

Kiama High School

Funny, friendly, down to earth, well executed presentation with a message of such deep magnitude that all can reflect upon towards a more purposeful life.

723 Squadron - Australian Defence Force

We all appreciated Brett sharing his journey with us. He has definitely inspired many of us to never see things as impossible.

Australian Home Services Group Pty Ltd

Brett was amazing - engaging, relevant, motivating, interesting. He was on top of his technology. Everything was fabulous. Students are still talking about it!

Kotara High School

Let's talk, enquire with Janika now

Janika Barnes

Senior Consultant - Saxton Speakers

Let's talk, enquire with Janika now

Janika Barnes

Senior Consultant - Saxton Speakers

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