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Dan  Cnossen

Dan Cnossen

Navy SEAL, 6-Time Paralympic Medalist & Harvard Graduate

Dan Cnossen

Navy SEAL, 6-Time Paralympic Medalist & Harvard Graduate


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.

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.

Speaker Videos

The Power of Coaching

Navy SEAL veteran Dan Cnossen now eyes Paralympic medals for Team USA | NBC Sports

Wounded Veteran Surfs with Friend's Help | More In Common

Speech Topics

Inspiration/Overcoming Adversity

If you’re looking for a keynote speaker to share 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.


‘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 principles Dan demonstrates in this presentation targeted to your company’s directors and team leaders.

Mental Toughness/Grit/Goal Setting Workshops

Navy SEALs 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. Dan shares the mental tools that got him through the most grueling military training in the world, and how those tools translate to business and life.