Skip to content
Special pricing for virtual meetings! Call us for details & ideas
David Okerlund

David Okerlund

Hall-of-Fame Motivational speaker who helps inspire others grow to through change!

Price icon An icon of a dollar sign, signifying price

Price range

  • $15,000
Expert icon An icon of a lightbulb, signifying expert


  • Agriculture
  • Attitude
  • Change
  • Humor
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Negotiation
  • Sales
  • Training
Experience icon An icon of a gear, signifying experience


  • Colleges and Universities
  • Healthcare/Medical
  • Sales
Career icon An icon of a microphone, signifying career


  • 34 Years
  • About

    David Okerlund is one of those select few Hall-of-Fame Speakers. He’s a rare, cross-over presenter who can deliver a powerful, tone setting keynote – followed by a sales or leadership seminar.

     David Okerlund grew up in a rural, Midwestern town of Manchester, Iowa where as a young teenager he saved up money- to go on to college by working on the town’s garbage route.  Till this day he still says that, “It was the best job I have ever had in my entire career.  It taught me more about the value of commitment and endurance than one might ever dare to believe.”

     From there he went on to Hastings College in Nebraska where he became a nationally ranked speech and forensic speaker.  After graduation he became a teacher in Iowa where in his first year he was nominated as the Outstanding Young Speech Educator for the state.

     After leaving teaching, David became what he affectionately calls a “road toad warrior.” He defines that as a salesperson who can drive over 100,000 miles a year and still love selling.

     In the late seventies David moved into management as a special assistant to the college president.  Shortly after that he became fund development director for a large heart hospital.  And then an administrator for a 350 bed trauma center hospital.

    In 1983 David’s speaking abilities gained national attention when he finished in the final three of the World Championship of Public Speaking; a contest that includes over 20,000 contestants from over 45 different countries.

     In 1984 David was an instructor at Oxford University where he taught speech and debate.

     In 1987 David decided to pursue a speaking career on a full-time basis.  He is a member of the International Hall of Fame for speakers and has shared the platform with American greats like Bob Hope, Lee Iacocca, and Warren Buffett.

    He taught a masters degree class in organizational ethics and persuasion at the University of Minnesota.    

  • Videos
  • Program

    Keynote | Humorous | Inspirational | Motivational

    As David tells people, “If you were to make a list of all the challenges farmers face today, you would probably run out of paper or ink.”  And the list would include everything from devastating floodwaters on the Missouri River, cornfields buried in North Dakota snowdrifts, trade wars, and now this historic pandemic.  It’s a heavy mental and physical load for anyone in agriculture to bear.

    But there is light at the end of the tunnel.  And His eye is still on the sparrow!

    David Okerlund has seen the bad years and the great years of agriculture, but most importantly David has learned how farmers can make the best of a challenging situation.  He has seen both the highs and the lows.  He was doing crisis counseling back in 1984 and he also got to celebrate $14 soybeans with farm families in 2013.

    David’s challenge is this:  Every farmer nurtures their land, their crops, and livestock conditions religiously, but how many nurture their own state of mind, their passions, and their self-empowerment needs?  And that goes for every person who sells products and services to farmers as well.  He calls it, “Applying your own mental and spiritual fertilizer.”  It’s learning how to make your own chicken soup.

    This newly redesigned presentation is packed with content; five specific areas where ag individuals can nurture and strengthen their resilience.  So if you are looking for a truly uplifting, motivational presentation to restore and renew the human spirit, then this is one program you must consider.

    Keynote | Educational | Entertainment | Technical | Motivational

    David Okerlund has over twenty five years of selling experience. He has sold everything from soap, farm chemicals, construction material, Foley catheters and medical lasers to $200,000 electronic inserters. In addition to that, he has trained salespeople from a multitude of different companies all over America.

    David believes that his program, When It Comes Down To Price. . . . Don’t Come Down! is one of the most valuable investments sales organizations can make. “I think it can be a bigger problem than even “Call Reluctance”. However, if the problems of price buyers were to be revealed the way they should be, price no longer becomes a hang-up and can be one of your best selling tools.”

    In this program David will address:

    √ What is a price buyer and just how prevalent are they.

    √ Why price a bigger concern to the seller than it is to the buyer

    √ The four distinct types of buyers – how they will act, and how do you manage them.

    √ The two cardinal sins of selling price

    √ Why value is such a key ingredient to diffusing the price bomb.

    √ Why your customer has got to totally, absolutely, without question believe that you are going to get that price.

    √ Making your price your best selling tool


    (How to create a positive mindset about coping with change) 

    George Bernard Shaw once stated, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

    As David always says, “Sometimes you have to go beyond getting out of the box.  Sometimes you have to even throw the damn box away.”  And for some people, that’s not easy to do.  However, when they have heard this keynote, most individuals are better prepared to dance with all the change and chaos this pandemic is thrusting upon us today and will continue to do so for a long time to come. 

    David confronts his audience with their reluctance to change and helps them understand the critical difference between change and transitions.  As he says, “Change is external, and most of the time we have little control of it.  However, transitions are internal, and that’s where we can and must take control.  And if you look closely at all the bad news, you will find those individuals who have risen above the chaos and conquered.  They chose a proactive approach instead of a reactive stance.”  This keynote address is a great way to kick off a conference or send people home with a fire inside to do just that!

    Keynote OR Breakout | Educational | Entertainment | Humorous | Inspirational

    One of the world’s greatest experts on stress, Hans Selye said, “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.

    This keynote address is all about changing the way we think about the stress in our lives.  David’s approach is learning how to laugh a little more at ourselves and our mistakes.  It’s understanding that stress is not the ogre we’ve made it out to be, and in fact, can and should be a positive force in our lives. It’s not easy controlling the external things that happen, but we are the masters of how we control what happens within.

    David will take you on a roller coaster ride as he looks at how stress can be turned from a negative into a positive force in our lives. 

    Keynote | Educational | Entertainment | Motivational

    (Growing from good to great and then beyond)

    Over the years David has been able to observe the leadership styles and habits of many Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, more intimate organizations. His study groups have included great entrepreneurs like Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz and his book, “Pour Your Heart Into IT.” He learned much through a personal conversation with business giant, Warren Buffett.  David also became the personal coach for the famed Thunderbirds’ Precision Flying Team, Commander Ron Mumm, and Hall of Fame great, Ozzie Smith of the Saint Louis Cardinals. 


    And from their input, David has digested their vaulted secrets of success into four core values they all shared as the foundation of their successes.  This keynote address is based on David’s book by the same title.  It’s about the traits your leaders and managers need to master to go from good to great and then beyond.  It’s about mastering the art of emotional intelligence, stimulating creativity, embracing flexibility, the power of being a passionate leader, and much more.  And these self-development skills will determine our nation’s success in rebuilding our nation’s economy after the devastation this pandemic has brought upon us!

    Keynote OR Breakout | Humorous | Inspirational | Motivational

    (The greatest formula for success)

    Charles Franklin Kettering was one of the greatest minds and inventors in the history of America.  While with DuPont, he became the holder of 186 different patents.  However, his greatest gift can be found in a quote he wrote that gives anyone a simple but profound path to success. He said, “Nothing ever rose to touch the sky unless at least one man thought it could.  At least one man thought it should.  And at least one man willed it must.”


    The “could” is the discovered vision.  The “should” is the passion for the vision.  And the “must” is the perseverance to bring the vision to fruition.  To get anything significant accomplished today, one must have a clear vision of what the outcome will actually be.  Then one must master the art of drawing others into that vision where they claim ownership and become as committed as you are.  And then, as Kettering says, “One then fails forward” relentlessly until success is achieved.


    This keynote is all about those three margins of greatness and how to apply them to your own leadership skills.  It is one of David Okerlund’s most intense and powerful keynotes and a lynchpin to recovery in 2020!


  • Review
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “He was great!!!”

    Reinke Mfg. Stacey B
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “David Okerlund exceeded my expectations for both of our Sales Rep events. He was able to connect with the crowd using real-life scenarios.”

    Corteva Agriscience Miranda M
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “David did a fantastic job! We’ll receive feedback from participants on the survey we distribute at the end of the session. I can tell you that it will be positive.”

    Syngenta Andrew L
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “He was outstanding! His presentation was a mesmerizing experience.”

    High Point University Nido Q
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “David did a great job in his keynote address to our group. David is a pro! He sensed that the speaker before him bombed out and he wooed the audience with his unique style, seasoned delivery, and powerful message. We surveyed our attendees and on a scale of 1 to 7, David scored a 6.3. For our group, that’s simply OUTSTANDING!!!”

    Tennessee Farmers Co-op Keith H
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “It was an honor to have you participate in our team meeting today. Your message resonated with our team on many levels with takeaways that inspired everyone.”

    Crop Growers Jeremy F
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “Our group greatly enjoyed Dave Okerlund’s presentation last night!! We received wonderful comments and he was a joy to work and visit with!!!”

    FCS North Dakota Teresa K
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “David did an outstanding job with his presentation. He hit a home run with our customers. His messages, tied into the messages we (BASF) have been using with our customers---Overall overview of sales, Trusted Advisor, Selling Value, Don't be ashamed of your price if you are showing value, etc. The other great thing about David--he related to each of the customers, with his understanding of the ag industry. He is highly passionate, has a great message and was humorous as well. So he was a hit and added a bunch to our meeting. His presentation was also a call to action for them to get Passion back in selling so we sent the group off (since his was the last presenter of the day) very motivated. I would highly recommend David!!”

    BASF D.H.
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “I heard wonderful comments from attendees; best speaker they have heard in a while; just what we needed, were a couple of comments! Lots of laughter in the room! He was great!”

    Dairy Farmers of America Karilyn K
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “One of the finest presenters we have ever had!”

    Ntl. Assoc. of Mutual Insurance Companies Planner
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “Thank you for your presence & your passion! We also appreciated your perspective and the message you brought to North Star employees at our recent meeting. It was just what we were looking for, and with the positive feedback we received from attendees, it really resonated! Great to work with you.”

    NorthStar DHI Bridgette V
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “The comments regarding your session have been extremely positive.”

    Nebraska Bankers Assoc. Ron A
    Thumbs Up icon An icon of a thumbs up

    “We were very pleased with David Okerlund’s presentations to our group. He did a great job of presenting his key points and maintaining the attention of the audience the entire time. During his speech he had the audience rolling in laughter, to sitting on the edge of their seats waiting on the next point. I also noticed many of the crowd taking notes. After his presentation attendees complimented how well David performed. We even had a few of our members ask how they could book Mr. Okerlund. We were very satisfied with how well everything turned out and how well he addressed our members.”

    UniSouth Genetics Stacy B
David did a great job in his keynote address to our group. David is a pro! He sensed that the speaker before him bombed out and he wooed the audience with his unique style, seasoned delivery, and powerful message. We surveyed our attendees and on a scale of 1 to 7, David scored a 6.3. For our group, that’s simply OUTSTANDING!!!
Tennessee Farmers Co-op Keith H