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Dan  Cnossen

Dan Cnossen

Navy SEAL, 6-Time Paralympic Medalist & Harvard Graduate

Biography

A true patriot, raised on the farmlands of Kansas, early on Dan knew he wanted to serve his country. Upon graduating high school, he was accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy and spent the next four years relentlessly pursuing selection for SEAL training. One of only 16 members of his class given the opportunity to enter Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL training as officers, Dan successfully completed the grueling process in the fall of 2003. Read More >

Over the next six years, Dan was deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan and rose in rank to become the officer-in-charge of an 18-man SEAL platoon.

In 2009, Dan was deployed to Afghanistan, into an area of heavy combat. There, on a night mission in the mountains, he stepped on an IED, losing both legs in the blast. He would later be awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor.

For the next two years Dan fought for his life, enduring over 40 different surgeries, while readjusting to civilian life. It was during this time, as part of his rehab, that he was introduced to the sports of cross-country skiing and biathlon. Never one to shy from a challenge, he eventually earned a spot on the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team.
In 2015, Dan returned to graduate school, earning two degrees from Harvard University. At the 2018 Paralympic Games Dan stole the show, remarkably winning one gold, four silver and one bronze medal over a period of eight days earning the honor of Best Male Athlete of The Games.

Dan Cnossen knows something about leadership and overcoming obstacles. Dan delivers powerful presentations on leadership, motivation and mental strength targeted for a variety of audiences and events. Dan has shared his remarkable story, and the inspiring insights he has uncovered along the way, to corporations, military audiences, professional associations, charities, and schools across the country. With captivating stories from his time in SEAL training, his numerous military deployments and his pursuit of athletic excellence at the Paralympic Games, Dan will leave your audience both in awe of one man’s will, and inspired to take on any personal or business challenge in their own life. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Power of Coaching

Speech Topics

Overcoming Adversity

An astonishing story of survival, grit and resiliency in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. Dan’s personal journey from the battlefields of Afghanistan to the podium at the Paralympic Games is sure to inspire your audience to confront any challenge head-on. Dan’s tone is that of a humble warrior who isn’t bragging about his remarkable accomplishments, but rather sharing his hard-earned lessons learned through some incredibly difficult life experiences. When he shares the story of being dragged off a craggy, mountain peak in Afghanistan, through a live minefield, with his legs blown to shreds, racing to get to the evacuation helicopter before it runs out of fuel, it’s like listening to a Tom Clancy novel come to life… but this is not fiction. It’s intense, inspiring and not soon forgotten.

Key Principles in Action

'Servant Based Leadership’, ‘Constantly Improving Your Tactical Position’, ‘Succession Planning’ and the counter-intuitive, ‘Not Knowing Is A Position of Strength’ are some of the many principles Dan demonstrates in this presentation targeted to your company’s directors and team leaders.
Dan believes some leadership principles come naturally to certain people, other principles can be learned, and all principles can be continually developed. Read More >

Dan Cnossen considers being put in charge of a Navy SEAL Platoon, being directly responsible for the lives of other men, to be his most significant military accomplishment. The lessons he learned during his military career, both as a soldier and as a Lt. Commander, are the basis of this insightful presentation. Read Less ^

Mental Toughness & Goal Setting Workshops

Navy SEALs and gold medalist don’t tolerate inefficiency, excuses and mediocrity. If you’re looking for a speaker to not only inspire your team, but to equip them with tangible steps to set and achieve far reaching goals while navigating any obstacle, this is the presentation you’re looking for. Read More >

Dan shares the mental tools that got him through the most grueling military training in the world and to the highest levels of athletic competition, and how those tools translate to business and life. Under Goal Setting, Dan takes a deep dive into how to formulate a long range plan for success, utilizing and breaking down the very same Personal Performance Plan he employed to win six Paralympic medals. In Mental Toughness he defines and teaches the mental skills needed to weather the storms that inevitably accompany the pursuit of any meaningful achievement. Read Less ^