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speaker

Jerry
Grayson

Rescue Pilot, Drone Educator and Keynote Speaker.

Culture is everything - would you rather be Neil Armstrong or Lance Armstrong?
Profile

Jerry Grayson’s story of an extraordinary career in helicopters, disrupted entirely by the advent of drones, will resonate with any audience.

He's an unforgettable speaker on topics such as risk management, teamwork, resilience and leadership and is certain to leave audiences inspired and motivated.

From Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait to the infamous Fastnet Yacht Race, on stage with The Rolling Stones, on location filming Black Hawk Down, filming the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and broadcasting the Soccer World Cup from South Africa, Jerry Grayson, has a personal story to tell about each one.

Previous experience

Search and Rescue Pilot: He was just 17 years old when he joined the Fleet Air Arm, the youngest helicopter pilot to ever serve in the Royal Navy. By the age of 25 he was the most decorated peacetime naval pilot in history and was awarded the Air Force Cross (AFC) by the Queen for outstanding gallantry in search and rescue.

‘RESCUE PILOT: Cheating the Sea’ details Jerry Grayson AFC's story, offering an inside view of his heroic service. It is an inspirational and celebratory account, excitingly told, frequently funny and highly poignant. The significance and quality of this work is underlined by the foreword, which was written by Prince Andrew.

The work of a search and rescue pilot is vital, dangerous, thrilling and on the edge. Hear how Jerry saved fighter pilots who had ditched at sea, rescued desperate sailors from sinking yachts during the infamous Fastnet Race - in which only 85 out of 303 yachts made it back to harbour- and picked up a grievously ill crewman from the deck of a nuclear-armed submarine that was playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Soviet navy.

In 2500 hours of flying with the Royal Navy, Jerry and his crewmates saved more than 70 lives on 120 rescue missions. His story is not an account of one man's deeds, but a salute to all the men and women he worked with who were able to turn tragedies into triumphs.

Film Pilot and Director: Jerry's adventure didn't stop when he left the navy. He then set up a production company specialising in footage shot from helicopters and went on to contribute to the likes of Planet Earth, An Inconvenient Truth and the James Bond film A View to A Kill, filming above six continents.

Global Sports Broadcasting: In the world of sport, Jerry’s first world broadcast came from the Sarajevo Winter Olympics in 1984. He went on to command the entire airspace over Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games and over Doha for the Asian Games, in addition to his flying and aerial directing roles using ten helicopters at the Athens Olympics and seven at the South Africa Soccer World Cup.

Jerry also flew as part of the Melbourne, Brazil and South Korea F1 Motor Racing Grand Prix, and supplied the aerial filming unit for the worldwide broadcast at all motor races, from 2010-2013.

Drones: Just a few months into 2015, Jerry’s three decades of flying experiences almost entirely vanished into thin air. The DRONES had arrived and taken over. Jerry had to deal with the most extreme form of disruption; when the career he’d so successfully built simply ceased to exist. To enable him and his team to move forward positively, Jerry had to recognize the disruption, address it and learn a whole new way of doing his job.

Author: Jerry has authored two books, Rescue Pilot (2015) and Film Pilot: from James Bond to Hurricane Katrina (2017), which were released by Bloomsbury Publishing internationally.

Interviews: He has been interviewed on all the major radio and television stations in Australia, by the London Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail, on BBC Radio and even appeared on Russian TV.

Expertise
Talking Points

Perspective in conflict

Jerry shares his insights on perspective: a game changing element in every situation. Hear what Jerry has learnt in a distinguished career of flying and see how that knowledge can be applied to any conflict or situation in your day-to-day dealings.

Passion and Inspiration

Jerry speaks about the intrinsic element to any career: passion. He tells how it has played a huge role not only in his career, but in his life and the life of his family, and how seemingly insignificant occurrences can turn into opportunities. Find the passion, find the inspiration; the rest will follow.

Leadership and Decision Making

In this presentation Jerry acknowledges the interpretive and emotional elements of leadership and decision-making, offering insights garnered during his time as a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Navy. He speaks about the significance of quick decisions, clear communication and - perhaps most importantly - living with the consequences of your decisions and the leader you have become.

In his later career managing aerial broadcast teams (working on the Olympics and similar global events) Jerry encountered new challenges when dealing with people from diverse cultures and social backgrounds.

Resilience and Dealing with Adversity

None of us ever know if or when we will be called upon, by circumstances way outside our control, to go beyond what we have previously perceived to be our boundaries. Sharing tales from his flying experience, Jerry speaks about performing under duress, stretching our boundaries and the incredible feats we may be capable of when we need them most.

Finding the Motivation to be the Best at What You Do and Recognition for What You Do

Why should you try to be the very best at what you do? Jerry speaks about the often hidden importance of the way we perform our daily tasks and the way that performance affects the people we interact with.

Disaster Management in a Crisis
Jerry addresses the importance of organisation in the face of disaster. There is no handbook that can adequately prepare you for a crisis. Emergency situations become exercises in self-reliance and in democratic but instantaneous decision making.

Disasters, of any kind - rescue, business, corporate or otherwise - are characterised by a lack of time and lack of structure. In such an event every single person involved, regardless of rank, has to be performing at their very best, thinking for themselves and acting with courage and conviction.

Teamwork

Everyone works in a team. Success in any field will always depend on how well you operate with those who surround you. As a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Navy, Jerry Grayson knows this better than anyone. In this presentation, he speaks about the key elements to a successful team and extraordinary things that those teams can achieve.

He compares and contrasts the differences between his small and highly practiced military team versus his larger crews who needed to hit the ground running on major television events in civilian teams of up to 100 people; many of whom had never even met each other before day one.

Digital Disruption and Drones

Within a few months during early 2015 Jerry’s three decades of work and experience in flying on major cinema and television productions almost entirely vanished into thin air. The DRONES had arrived and taken over. Jerry tells of the most extreme form of disruption; when the career he’d built simply ceased to exist. He talks about what he had to do to recognise it, to address it and the changes he had to make to enable him and his team to move forward positively.

Diversity and dealing with Culture Change

In his later career managing aerial broadcast teams (working on the Olympics and similar global events) Jerry encountered new challenges when dealing with people from diverse cultures and social backgrounds.
Media
Feedback
Jerry has the rare capacity to present the most serious issues we face as a global community in an engaging, articulate and humorous way. He is warm, witty, considered and poignant. He thankfully steers well clear of the evangelical approach but is extraordinarily adept in allowing the message to speak for itself. I highly recommend Jerry Grayson; he is a highly intelligent and entertaining speaker who would add enormous value in both educational and corporate settings. Wyvern House, Newington College , Sydney

At the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne Jerry Grayson inspired large and diverse crowds with his ability to tell thought-provoking and audacious stories, bringing to life his many adventures from around the globe, in particular those from his time making The Earth Wins. Jerry exudes an enthusiasm for flying, compassion for those whose path he has crossed in his journeys and a total willingness to share his successes, motivation and passion with others.

Environmental Film Festival Melbourne

Jerry Grayson presented as our keynote speaker on Day 1 of our National Conference and captivated the audience with the stories of his career and his rescue missions. He was able to connect the audiences’ interest in 'risk' with his critical decisions, leadership and team work as a rescue pilot. Jerry's openness to questions and willingness to mingle with the delegates was also very popular. I have no hesitation in recommending Jerry as an engaging speaker for any event!

Risk Management Institute of Australasia (RMIA)

Jerry gave one of the most engaging and inspiring keynotes I have ever seen. He not only has an incredible story to tell but he tells it in a way that can't help but make you question your own choices and decisions. If you're looking for a speaker that can both engage your audience and get them to think deeply about the challenges of technology driven disruption then I can't recommend Jerry highly enough.

Simon Waller

Many of us can tell a story, particularly if we were there at the time. Not so many of us can tell the tales of the type of experiences that Jerry has had in his career. And only a few, like Jerry, can both draw insights from those experiences and relate them to a particular audience. What sets Jerry apart from the numerous story tellers out there on the keynote speaking circuit is the fact that he works with his 'client' beforehand to understand the audience and the message that the client is trying to convey. From there he draws on his vast experience, tailors his message impeccably. When Jerry spoke to a group of emerging young leaders from Swimming Victoria clubs recently he enthralled and challenged his audience... No matter your audience I cannot recommend Jerry highly enough. You will be awe struck, inspired and uplifted.

Swimming Victoria
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