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From the NFL to the Microphone – Leadership Lessons from the Gridiron

JJ Birden football Speaker leadership opportunity

As one of the smallest wide receivers in the NFL, JJ knew he would have to seize all the opportunities that came his way. Drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1988, he played nine seasons in a profession where the average player’s career lasts an average of 3.2 years. During his 9 years, he also played for the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs (with Joe Montana at quarterback), and the Atlanta Falcons.

From being raised by a single mother in Portland, OR to his time in the NFL, he understands that everyone has the capacity to be a leader. After seeing the successes and failures of others at the highest level, he developed lessons that others can follow to achieve their own greatness, no matter how they define it or what they are pursuing. 

It doesn’t matter who is in the audience – from the corporate and association world to K-12 youth, to college students. Every presentation is tailored to each audience and your attendees will walk away with tools, strategies, and principles that they can immediately apply.

JJ empowers his audiences with the knowledge that it is never too late to be great. It just requires saying yes to opportunities and putting in the work to improve each day. 


Why We Work With JJ

OK, I’m not going to lie. I love football. And I especially love the Dallas Cowboys. Even though JJ played longer for other teams, it was his time with Dallas that initially caught my eye. But as soon as I learned more about him I knew that he would be a tremendous asset to the AFS Speaker family. He is an excellent communicator and can reach a wide variety of audiences – from elementary school kids to high-level financial advisors to wide-ranging associations and corporations.  I was impressed by his commitment to family that led him to adopt and raise 5 of his nieces & nephews. 

His stories showcase his business acumen as well as his humor. There’s no “jock” mentality here; he brings real solutions and helps his audiences lead and perform at their highest level. 

What People are Saying about JJ

In my 16 years in sales leadership, I have heard from some of the best motivational speakers in the world. JJ Birden was by far one of the best motivational speakers I have ever heard. His passion, content, and stories were so relevant to any sales-person or leader. His passion and storytelling had my team of 300 Aflac associates and managers laser focused on every word. JJ is a true professional who took the time to speak to me the week before my meeting to understand our company and culture.

MICHAEL T. REYES, Market Director

JJ spoke at my Client Recognition Event. He was genuine and tailored his presentation to the audience. I received great feedback from my clients as he was personable and shared the story of his journey and challenges in the NFL. I would recommend his to anyone that wants to inspire and motivate a group of people.

Raymond James


JJ recently spoke to our group about his story and how to seize opportunities, even in the face of adversity. JJ Birden is a highly effective speaker who captivates his audience with his infectious positivity, poise, and seamless delivery of his life story. Although his past struggles and setbacks are plentiful, his relentless perseverance is admirable. His story takes place in the NFL, but his message is universal. Sports enthusiasts or not, your audience will connect with JJ’s story on a personal level and will hopefully siphon some of his “can do” attitude!

Astro Box Corporation

JJ Birden was excellent to work with and did a great job learning about our company and the audience he would be presenting to. He tailored his personal experiences to our audience in a way that they would relate to and learn from.

JEAN BRODERS, Sr. Brand Manager
Kent Pet Group

JJ’s Booking Information

Preferred Airport: Phoenix  (PHX)
Fee: $7,500
Expenses: Round-trip coach airfare (if domestic), ground transportation, parking, up to 2 nights hotel and meals for 1 

Some of the Clients JJ has Spoken For

Ascensus Investment Service
Astro Box Corporation
Boys Team Charity
Institute of Internal Auditors
Ivy Investments
Merrill Lynch
Morgan Stanley
Orangetheory Fitness
Pension Advisors
Raymond James
University of Oregon
Wells Fargo

Industries That Fit Best With JJ’s Topics

Athletic Associations
Colleges & Universities; Junior & High Schools
Public & Government Agencies
Sales Organizations
Sports Clinics
Technical & Software Systems
Youth Organizations

JJ’s Speaking Topics and Book

Speaking Topics:

Seize Your Opportunities – Keynote or Breakout

“Seize Your Opportunities” focuses on the individual and what one must do for success. As a former NFL wide receiver, JJ knows what it takes to reach the highest level of performance and have the capacity to maintain it. Many of the success principles he learned as a professional athlete have helped him make the transition into the business world.

Plain and straightforward, if you have goals, dreams you desire to seize in your life, you have to get them. Success is not going to be given to you. You have to achieve success. JJ Birden explains how.

There BETTER Be an “I” in Team – Keynote or Breakout
Before you can lead others, you must have the ability to lead yourself.

There is a very popular saying that’s been around a long time: “There is no “I” in team.” The message is clear: team success is not about the individual, it’s about the whole. But for the whole team to be successful, as a leader, success rests on your ability to lead yourself and to be very clear about what you expect from your team – AND what they can expect from you. This is where the keynote There Better Be An “I” In Team begins as JJ shares lessons learned from the toughest team on earth. “To lead a team, it’s imperative you can lead yourself first. The team’s success is dependent on your success!”

Owning the Championship Mindset – Keynote or Breakout
Your mindset is one of the most critical factors in determining your success.

JJ did not become a successful professional football player because it came easily. At 5’10 and 157 pounds, it was his mindset that gave him the determination that put him on the path to success. What you think, believe and feel affects your capacity for success. One simple idea can take you down the right path or the wrong path. The presentation Owning the Championship Mindset emphasizes how to master your mindset. If you can control your mindset in any given situation, you can remove the limitations on what you can do. Creating consistent personal success stories will become the norm. This presentation zeros in on multiple critical points: ‘How to Build a Healthy Mindset’ and ‘How to Strengthen Your Healthy Mindset.’

Every Day is Game Day
To get the future you want, you must bring your best EVERY day.

This is the perfect presentation for high school and college students and student-athletes. In this presentation, JJ helps our millennials understand the importance of giving their best every day in life. Developing the right habits will contribute to success in academics and athletics. Those same “game day” habits will carry forward to create a more successful life after their school days.

In this presentation, JJ shares eight Every Day is Game Day strategy tips including:


When Opportunity Knocks; 8 Surefire Ways to Take Advantage

We all have opportunities in life. It doesn’t matter who we are, what our background is or our personal circumstances. JJ’s questions for the reader are:

Do you recognize them?
Do you seize them?
Do you take advantage of them?

Throughout his life, JJ has used the 8 principles that he shares in his book, principles that have helped him find success in multiple areas. If you follow these principles, nothing will stop you from making a touchdown!

Click Here for JJ Birden’s Bureau Friendly Profile

JJ Birden – Beyond the Platform

JJ Birden success and opportunity speaker JJ Birden catches a Joe Montana Pass JJ Birden Success and Opportunity Speaker Working out – even with a boot! Birden Family Birden Family