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.