audio close compressed excel CS_logo_icon_solid_yellow_alt Created with Sketch. x x image insta-black menu pdf Print BTN - Shortlist Created with Sketch. Share Asset 1 word

de Gelder

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome


IMPROVISE...ADAPT…OVERCOME…These three words - a mantra Paul de Gelder learnt in the Australian Army as a young Paratrooper - resonated with him the first time he heard them.

Paul chased adventure wherever he could find it, from his wild ride as a hoodlum teen and his whirlwind lifestyle working in strip clubs & the music industry to hauling his way up to the elite echelons of the Australian Defence Forces, first as an Army paratrooper and then Navy bomb disposal diver. But trouble hunted him down in the form of a 9ft bull shark in February 2009 while diving for the Navy in Sydney Harbour. Paul lost two limbs, and his career as a daredevil diver was flung into jeopardy. Drawing on everything his eventful life had taught him, Paul left nothing to chance in his recovery. He fought through excruciating pain, smashing challenge after challenge whilst amazing the medical staff and the Australian public with his will to succeed. His inspiring story as detailed in his autobiography “No Time for Fear” takes the saying “never say die” to a whole new level.

In the years since the shark attack, Paul's life has changed in every aspect. Having left full time Navy Service in August 2012, after continuing to instruct Navy Divers for a further three and a half years, Paul has travelled the world as a top motivational speaker, passionate environmentalist, adventurer and mentor to school kids. He has spoken at venues across the globe, from the United Nations in New York and the US Navy in San Diego to military celebrations in front of thousands and keynotes for multimillion dollar corporations and charity organisations around Australia and Asia. He has also been a guest on every major Australian TV talk show and many in the U.S. He starred as a guest trainer on the Biggest Loser Australia, and has hosted 12 documentaries for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week where he learnt to hand feed Bull Sharks, Hammerheads, Blue Sharks, dive with tiger sharks and even Great Whites without the protection of a cage. Mega star Will Smith featured Paul in his Facebook series “Bucket List” as his shark diving mentor and UFC hall of famer and now WWE start Ronda Rousey was taught how to hand feed bull sharks by Paul for a Shark Week special. Paul also became part of an anti-poaching team in Africa to hunt poachers and film the amazing work done by the Rangers there for "FEARLESS", aired on NatGeo.

Paul has been touted as one of the top 15 inspirational Australians and top 10 speakers and now based between Sydney & Los Angeles he continues to film yet more documentaries and recently completed an acting role for a six-part mini-series for Australia’s largest cable network. He has been awarded the United Nations Medal, the Australian Active Service Medal and the Australian Infantry Combat Badge.

Talking Points

Embracing Resilience and Overcoming Adversity

This presentation focuses on the subject of resilience and its vital role in personal and professional development. Through personal experiences and stories, Paul emphasizes the importance of resilience in overcoming adversity. The audience is guided through the journey of embracing uncomfortable change as a catalyst for growth, understanding the lessons learned from facing challenges and setbacks. The overall purpose of this presentation is to inspire and motivate individuals to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and cultivate resilience in all areas of life.

Leadership Lessons from Extraordinary Experiences

This presentation focuses on leadership and derives valuable insights from extraordinary life experiences. Paul shares his unique background, highlighting how adventure and leadership intersect. Through personal stories, the audience is guided through the challenges faced as a military paratrooper and clearance diver, emphasizing decision-making and problem-solving strategies in high-pressure environments. The purpose of this presentation is to inspire and equip individuals with valuable leadership insights derived from extraordinary experiences, encouraging them to lead with courage, adaptability, and effective teamwork.

Overcoming Fear and Embracing Change

This presentation centres around the transformative power of facing fears and embracing change. Paul introduces personal experiences with fear and change, highlighting their significance in personal growth. Strategies for managing fear and embracing calculated risks are shared, drawing insights from military experiences and diving in dangerous waters. Lessons in courage and resilience are derived from surviving a shark attack, emphasizing the importance of mental fortitude in challenging situations. The presentation further explores the psychology of change and resistance, encouraging the audience to embrace change as an opportunity for growth. The audience is encouraged to view fear as a catalyst for personal and professional growth. The purpose of this presentation is to inspire individuals to confront their fears, embrace change, and unlock their full potential by stepping outside their comfort zones.
Paul de Gelder has an incredible story to tell. It is a story of overwhelming odds, brilliantly overcome through hard work, gutsy determination, and a great sense of humor. I knew in an instant that I needed Paul to tell his story to the Divers of the United States Navy. His effortless charm and engaging manner reels you in for the most motivating ride of your life. A man is not defined by what happens to him, he is defined by how he handles it. That makes Paul a most remarkable man! United States Navy

His strength and will, only just out shine his humour and light heartedness, qualities that undoubtedly carried him through his darkest times. The impact and lasting impression he has made upon my groups and me personally is remarkable and I am blessed to call him friend.

Freshstart Australia

Paul's presentation was definitely the highlight of our conference. He spoke very well and the feedback I have from the staff was fantastic, they were very inspired and touched by his story. Some of the staff wouldn't let him leave as they had so many questions. He did a fantastic job and I only hope he continues to share his story.

AMP Limited

I wish to thank you for your attendance at today’s successful 2011 Salvation Army breakfast. Your speech was inspirational and motivating and I believe contributed to the record number of attendees. Your story is inspirational and it is a reminder to al that nothing is insurmountable; congratulations on your achievements to date, I'm sure you'll continue to achieve success.

Brilliant Logic Pty Ltd

Paul was excellent....I don’t think I have ever seen a group of boys aged 7-12 engaged for that length of time.The content was perfect and targeted the audience. I have had a lot of positive feedback from the staff and boys. I actually had 2 sons in the audience (8yrs old and 11 yrs old) and Paul was definitely the topic of conversation in our house all weekend!!! Thanks

The Scots College

Paul was a standout keynote speaker at our conference. He used his story powerfully to communicate the key messages aligned to the focus of our conference. More importantly, it was obvious he was aware of his audience and successfully related well with them. It was great to see him interact with the audience after his talk. Quite a lot of speakers leave once they have completed their talk but he stuck around and we couldn’t been more grateful. Paul is a great guy and I sincerely recommend him.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance
Let us know

and we'll send all the latest Saxton updates and news direct to your inbox
Thanks, you have been subscribed
View Shortlist