Speaking to the World
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M.S. in Criminal Justice with a Life-Sentence on Parole, Keynote Speaker & Addiction, Recovery and Behavioral Health Advocate
Sentenced to sixty-five years in a Texas prison, Damon West once had it all. Damon West, M.S. Criminal Justice, is a college professor, nationally known keynote speaker and best-selling author (with best-selling author and motivational speaker Jon Gordon) of The Coffee Bean: A simple Lesson to Create Positive Change. His first book and autobiography, The Change Agent: How a Former College QB Sentenced to Life in Prison Transformed His World, was published just three years after his release from a Texas maximum-security prison. Read More >
At 20 years old, he was a Division 1 starting quarterback at the University of North Texas, when he suffered a career ending injury. He turned to hard core drugs to cope with disappointments of life. After graduation, he worked in the United States Congress, was a national fundraiser on a U.S. Presidential campaign and eventually trained to be a stockbroker for United Bank of Switzerland (UBS). One day at UBS, he was introduced to methamphetamines; he became instantly hooked—and the lives of so many innocent people would forever be changed by the choices he made in order to feed his insatiable meth habit.
After a fateful discussion during his incarceration with a seasoned convict, Damon had a spiritual awakening. He learned that, like a coffee bean changing with the application of heat and pressure, he was capable of changing the environment around him. Armed with a program of recovery, a renewed faith, and a miraculous second chance at life, Damon emerged from over seven years of prison a changed man. His story of redemption, grit and determination continues to inspire audiences today.
Today, Damon lives a life of recovery and service, going to meetings and sharing his story all over the country with schools, church's, athletic teams, corporations, conferences and inside correctional facilities. Over the past few years, he has been sharing the Coffee Bean lesson with dozens of college football teams such as Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas, and countless schools and businesses. His #BeACoffeeBean message has inspired thousands from Walmart to the US Army to the NBA.
Damon’s story has been featured both nationally and globally. His second book, The Coffee Bean, co-authored with best-selling author Jon Gordon, became an instant best-seller and a part of Forbes’ “Top Twenty Books You Need to Read to Crush 2020.” Damon is passionate about the Coffee Bean message and loves sharing how it changed his life and how it can change yours, too.
His latest book (with coauthor, Jon Gordon), The Coffee Bean for Kids, is the genesis for Coffee Bean Clubs being started by students at schools all over America. Read Less ^
Meet Damon West
Life Beyond the Game
The Coffee Bean Life Lesson
Your Past Doesn't Define You
Lamar University Commencement Speech
Life on the Rock
NCAA Record Holder
Your Past Is Your Lesson
Designed for school assemblies, community groups and athletes, this program is focused and personalized for school-aged audiences everywhere. Before coming in to speak to your group, Damon will learn what the most serious issues are in your community and address them as part of his presentation. This event begins with a two-minute video introducing Damon and a PowerPoint presentation plays behind him as speaks to his audience, bringing awareness to addiction and recovery and encouraging the audience to be a positive force for change. Additionally, Damon will end with a Call To Action, to be like the coffeebean from his story. At the conclusion of the event, Damon will field questions from the audience on any and all topics he discussed.
In this intimate and personal presentation, Damon shares his cautionary tale and message of hope in a brutally honest presentation with a microphone and PowerPoint playing behind him. This event begins with a two-minute video introducing Damon. The PowerPoint is controlled remotely by Damon, highlighting and narrating, with pictures and videos, the life-lessons (good and bad) he learned along the way. Damon takes his audience on an emotional journey from childhood sexual abuse, adolescent addiction and living with ADHD, playing Division 1 football, working in the United States Congress and ultimately working for one of the biggest Wall Street banks, UBS, before being introduced to meth. His nightmare life of meth-addicted crime and receiving the maximum punishment (Life) is vividly described. The survival stories on the life-sentence building inside a Texas maximum security prison and the lessons he learned while incarcerated, which ultimately delivered him into recovery, are spell-binding and riveting. Additionally, Damon will end with a Call To Action, to be like the coffeebean from his story. At the conclusion of the event, Damon will field questions from the audience on any and all topics he discussed.
This presentation is designed for businesses and corporations to realize their full potential and stay ahead of the competition. For maximum effectiveness, Damon will personalize his story with the core values and goals of your business or organization, splicing valuable lessons and life-changing realizations he learned along the way (both in maximum security prison and after he was paroled) with your organization’s story and mission statement. Damon will build a PowerPoint (subject to your approval) to deliver one of the most powerful stories of overcoming adversity against the most extreme odds. The themes of character, grit, goals, determination and winning the day are paramount in this presentation. Additionally, Damon will end with a Call To Action, to be like the coffeebean from his story. At the conclusion of the event, Damon will field questions from the audience on any and all topics he discussed.
Through his position in life, Damon offers the students a unique perspective on life-balance, discipline, choices, and the consequences of decisions. Using his collegiate experience as both a student-athlete and a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, Damon expands on misguided priorities, drug and alcohol abuse, and the forks-in-the-road he faced. This event begins with a two-minute video introducing Damon and a PowerPoint presentation plays behind him as speaks to his audience. At the conclusion of the event, Damon will field questions from the audience on any and all topics he discussed.
Hear the message that school districts all over the country are implementing as their motto: Be A Coffee Bean! This presentation is designed for school districts and academic institutions wanting to both motivate their teachers and staff, as well as implement the vitally important message of the coffee bean - that the power to change any situation is within you, not in the outside forces around you. In this presentation, Damon will not only tell his personal story of the coffee bean, he will also talk about the five ways of becoming a coffee bean. Additionally, Damon will end with a Call To Action, to be like the coffeebean from his story. At the conclusion of the event, Damon will field questions from the audience on any and all topics he discussed and do book signings where requested.
"He was great! The audience interacted with him and asked several questions. Many staff members interacted with him one on one in the lobby after his presentation. He held the attention of the audience from start to finish which is hard to do. Exit comments and emails stated he was the best speaker we have ever had for opening day."
"It was an incredible morning. Damon 'knocked it out of the park.' Our Staff was so inspired. I was so blessed to bring Damon to Huntington. It was the best Opening Convocation I have ever been a part of. APB did a fantastic job helping in every detail. We were 'socially distanced,' but it did not hamper the morning. Our 282 staff were truly inspired, motivated, and touched by Damon."
"Damon West spoke to our football team and to me, it was real truth. It was about as honest and as straightforward as you can be, and like I said it has a lot to do with ball and sports but mainly about life and the choices you make in life because we have a saying around here, 'the choices you make, make you.' There are consequences to every decision you make. We will make good choices and then good things happen and we make bad choices where bad things happen. But, it is also a great story of hope, that God can find you and he can change you and that we all need God in our life. The word Damon hit me the most with was hope. He gave people hope and his message was so real that if you make a mistake you can come out of it, but even if you make those mistakes, God can lead you in tremendous ways. It’s an amazing story, and something our players can really relate to. It’s a walking testimony to me and was one of the most amazing messages I have ever heard, and I have been a coach for over thirty years."
"Damon worked out so great! He was the absolute nicest, and I have received many great compliments about his presentation. You all were a pleasure to work with."
“Our players were very impressed. He did a great job of talking about servant leadership, did a great job talking about choices and decisions, cause and effects of those decisions. I think his story is very compelling because of the sacrifices he had to make to get his life back to where it needed to be. The message about helping other people and the power of controlling yourself, what you do and what you say, is so important for these guys to hear. I’ve never heard it done as well as what Damon did tonight.”
“I’ve been at Clemson 15 years and we just had a guy speak to the team tonight named Damon West. Easily one of the top, most powerful messages I’ve ever heard. Unbelievable presentation. A message all teams should hear. Watching my team and how he captured them was priceless. A great story and very inspirational.”
“The Damon West story is one of perseverance, faith, and recovery against great challenges. He has become a role model of servant leadership through his tireless efforts to inspire all walks of life with a stirring account of personal growth.”
“Your message stirred our community beyond what you could imagine. I met with the principal from the largest public high school in our area, sharing with him the emotioinal and spiritual experience from which you were the impetus. I did not ask him if wanted to share the message of your life with his students; I told him he NEEDED to share it… and that some student in his school was waiting and needing to hear the message from YOU.”
“All I can say is wow. Very impactful, very powerful, very poignant, very relevant in terms of the lessons that he taught our team and I saw the messages were so aligned with what we teach our players. Some of them so much that it will be displayed throughout our building. It's an unbelievable story about perseverance, mental toughness of pain for your mistakes and rebuilding your life and learning from your mistakes, but very powerful. Damon West, job well done. Thank you.”
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