Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ski down a mountain at 100km/hr? How you might do this when you’re vision impaired and being instructed by someone else acting as your eye sight? Would you have the courage to trust someone when they literally take your life into their hands?
At the age of 17, Jessica was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative eye disease, impacting her sporting dreams as a netballer and at the age of 21, by chance, found the world of Paralympic sport. In 2008, banned from competing at the Beijing Paralympics after being deemed too sighted, she continued to lose her sight and later became Australia’s first female winter Paralympic medallist in 2010.
Since then she has become a dual summer and winter Paralympian, won a second bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Paralympics and made the switch to a third sport of track cycling. In March 2016 Jessica made a stunning debut for Australia alongside her pilot when they became World Champions in the tandem match sprint breaking the flying 200m World Record in the process.
In September 2016 at the Rio Paralympics Jess created stunning sports history becoming the first Australian athlete to medal at a summer AND winter Paralympics or Olympics after winning bronze in the 1km Time Trial joining only a handful of other athletes around the world to achieve this incredible feat.
Off the bike Jessica is an Osteopath, Board Director and global ambassador for Vision 2020 Australia and ambassador for Vision Australia and Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.
It’s somewhat ironic that the expert who might lead us into this future is one with low vision but an acute foresight around what it will take to thrive.
Dr Jessica Gallagher is the first Australian athlete to have medalled at a summer and winter Paralympics, a World Champion track cyclist, Australian representative across three sports, a practising Osteopath and Director at Vision 2020 Australia. Jess will challenge you to see health and wellbeing from a new perspective, share her personal stories of overcoming adversity and give you the tools she has used to create positive and sustainable change to live your best life. How will you make the time to live better?
We’ve engaged Jess for a few conferences to come and speak under the theme of Courage. No one is left untouched by her unbelievable story. She is an inspiring, brave, courageous young lady who everyone needs to hear!
Event Manager, Westpac.
Jess was our “all important closing speaker” on the first day of our Annual Conference. Wow. In the room, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone hung on every word of her amazing story of drive, perseverance in the face of adversity and her courage and self-belief. I think we all felt a little insignificant after listening to Jess. Afterwards she attended our dinner and won the hearts of all who were there, speaking with the children, showing them her medal and interacting so naturally with attendees. Highly recommended!
Grahame Evans, Managing Director, GPS Wealth Ltd
Jessica is an inspiring and immensely popular keynote speaker. She always delivers a wonderful session at our events, offering a positive message and many practical take-aways.
Simon Yeowart, Program Director, The Eventful Group
What a great finale Jess provided for our conference of 250 primary school leaders on the Gold Coast. We all have a story and no story is uninteresting, but Jess’s story is one well worth listening to. It is inspirational, motivational and intriguing. It is a story of courage, resilience and integrity. It is a story of love and trust, perseverance and dedication. Moreover, Jess is a great storyteller and is able to balance humour and passion into her story while leaving us as an audience in awe of the challenges overcome and the depth of her achievements. Jess will inspire any individual or group to set goals and be the best they can be while staying true to the values they believe in.
Mr Neville McDonald, 2017 Primary Leaders Conference Committee. Catholic Education Archdiocese of Brisbane
Dr Jessica Gallagher not only delivers a remarkable presentation, she also takes those in the room along for the ride with her inspiring story that captivates the entire audience. Jessica shows that no matter your capabilities, anything is achievable with passion, determination, strength and persistence in what you enjoy most in life. Jessica leaves the audience wanting more and more!
Hayley Eastham, Senior Events Coordinator, ASFA - The Voice of Super
Jessica’s keynote presentation, Trust - Mindset - Courage was just what we needed to end the Travel Industry Exhibition and Conference. She was an absolute pleasure to work with in the lead up to the conference and onsite. Professional and personable. I would definitely recommend Jess to my clients and colleagues!
Peta Moore Managing Director, Nectar Creative Communications
Jess presented at Australia Post’s Corporate Health and Wellbeing day. Jess’ presentation certainly left our people with a lasting impression and created many new Paralympic fans in the process. Jess is a remarkably inspiring and determined World Champion, World Record Holder, Osteopath and Director! While her achievements speak for themselves, it was her honest and down to earth approach in sharing her personal stories of success that truly connected with our people. The adversity that she has overcome along her journey is outstanding. Our people left the seminar feeling uplifted and empowered to challenge their choices and the way they think about Health and Wellbeing – so thank you Jess.
Shannon Barca, Manager myHR Advisory and Services, People Services, Australia Post
Jessica Gallagher is one of those rare amazing people that you meet in life. I had the pleasure meeting Jessica when she was engaged as a guest speaker at Maribyrnong City Council. Jessica shared her lived experience of acquired disability and how she set about achieving her personal and professional goals, with trust, mindset and courage. Jessica was a delight to work with. She took time to understand the purpose of the event to ensure that she could give her best. The audience was captivated listening to Jessica and we received so many positive comments about the event. Thank you Jessica for sharing your knowledge, experience and self.
Cr Catherine Cumming, Mayor of the City of Maribyrnong
Fearless, brave, determined and simply amazing are just few of the many words to describe Jessica Gallagher. It was really very inspiring to hear Jessica's story and it was well articulated to every little detail from the day the illness rob Jessica's sight to her achieving so much for Australia today. Highly recommended! ~ Courage is knowing what not to fear - Winston Churchill~
Jess is an extraordinary and inspiring person who has achieved so much despite the challenges that she has faced. As the Keynote Speaker at our National Conference she took the audience on an emotional journey that captured their hearts. She delivered her presentation with such infectious enthusiasm and professionalism. She is very well organised and a pleasure to work with before and during the conference. Her message is related back to the business world in a very effective way. I would highly recommend Jess as a speaker, the feedback we received from the audience was overwhelmingly positive.
Michelle Harris, President, ECM Victorian User Group
To say that Jessica is inspiring is to understate the truth. She is vibrant, entertaining, motivating, inspiring and so much more. Our audience was enraptured by her story and she made them feel that they are part of her journey. I know that every one of our delegates will be tuning into the Paralympics to watch Jessica and will feel that they have a personal interest in her events. We will all be rooting for her
Peta Irvine, Chief Executive Officer, Local Government Managers Australia Queensland
Thanks to our I Support Women in Sport (ISWIS) campaign, I crossed paths with this inspiring, driven, vivacious and smart woman about five years ago. While I'm impressed with her sporting and eduction achievements, I've been even more impressed by her off-field performance. She is the utmost professional. She was the keynote speaker at our 2014 ISWIS Awards' night and she was absolutely fantastic - well-prepared, interesting and had the room riveted the entire time she was on stage. I look forward to working with this fantastic woman in the future (and not just because she goes for the same footy team. Go Geelong!).
Felicity Harley, Editor Women’s Health Magazine Australia
Having Jess Gallagher come and speak to 1,000 secondary students at The National Young Leaders Day in 2014 was such a privilege. She followed and understood the brief exactly and was engaging, inspiring, personable and a great communicator. The students submit a survey at the end of the event and Jess was voted as favourite speaker for the day! She was extremely easy to work with in the lead up to the event and I wouldn’t hesitate having her come again.
Janice Hickman, Event Manager Halogen Foundation Ltd
Yesterday was a very special day getting to meet Alfie (pictured), his brother William & Diana & Rob (Mum & Dad) to take Alfie for his first ski! ⛷⛄❄ Can you imagine the heartbreak at being told your newborn baby had an eye condition? Worse still that he wouldn't live a fulfilled life, would be bullied at school & never get a job because of his low vision... yep a Doctor actually told Diana & Rob this (isn't this just AWFUL! Makes me SO mad ). So this talented film producer & her hubby made it their mission to share their story, that there are no limits to little Alfie's life. I was so touched when Diana reached out to ask if I would share my story as an example of someone who 15 years after diagnosis has never let my low vision impede my dreams. Yesterday was so special because I got to show Alfie that firsthand & boy was he full of beans telling me to just go faster & faster! 💕 The only challenges this family are going to have are Diana & Rob being scared when Alfie goes for everything (perhaps like every time Mum saw me ski race 😂). Can't wait to share this beautiful piece when it's finished. Thanks to @mt_buller for supporting Diana's film. We had a wonderful time skiing! 📸 @acfoley @dianafisk #lowvision #blindness