Dr. John Gaines

Push Through Adversity & Defy the Odds

  • Topics:
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Professional Development
  • Resilience
  • Audiences:
  • Grade 6-12 Students
  • Teachers & Staff
  • Fundraisers

Fee: $3K-5K

Invite Dr Gaines

Former At-Risk Foster Kid to PhD
Practitioner of The Whole Child Approach
Advocate for Foster Youth and Diversity

Dr. John “Push” Gaines is a former at-risk kid turned mentorship advocate. His message is all about pushing through adversity and defying the odds.

John’s childhood was one of extreme adversity. Growing up surrounded by drugs and violence, facing personal struggles, and being bullied for his differences, he had every reason to give up, but he pushed through. Now, as a professional speaker and author, John strives to help & teach people to overcome and to rise.

He is driven to give hope to others because his own story grew from hopelessness. John earned his nickname “PUSH” because he believes in the power of perseverance and teaches others to “keep pushing” through life’s obstacles to become the best version of themselves.

He has devoted himself to the world community. He has proudly appeared as a guest speaker at Universities, Corporations, nonprofit events, NBA skill camps, school assemblies, and youth camps across the country. As a graduate of East Central University, where he was named Outstanding Student in Business and won a football championship as captain of the football team, he is the picture of success. With a Master’s degree in Business Leadership and a Doctorate in Business Administration, he demonstrates great dedication and personal achievement.

He is driven to give hope to others because his own story grew from hopelessness.


“John is an exceptional speaker for anyone who is interested in hearing an incredibly authentic story of perseverance. His message resonates with everyone and leaves a lasting impression on the audience. His message topics include the power of dreams, living up to your potential, living with no regrets, and never giving up. His life obstacles and challenges allow him to speak from a position of - I have been there! John’s message left me with the same feeling that I felt when I heard Jim Valvono's 1993 ESPY speech. Never, never, never give up!”
Wendell Godwin, Dean of East Central University
“John spoke at our school of 980 students on our yearly Diversity Day. His message on Pushing for your dreams left an impact on our students. John's candor about his life struggles and overcoming them inspired students. He is truly making a difference in today's youth.”
Melayne Jones, Principal of Washington State
“John has an ability to connect with others while he shares his personal experiences and passion for giving back to the community that helped shape him. While speaking at our Legacy of HOPE event, which is our largest fundraiser, he was able to attribute the impact of the Clubs to the success he has had which gave our donors confidence in investing in our programs because they’re investing in creating great futures like John's.”
Carrie Holden, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of South Puget Sound
“John shines a light that can inspire any audience—athletes, students, and staff. His message is pure, authentic and relatable. You walk away from listening to John wanting to find your purpose, pushing to be great, and most important share your gifts with the world. I have seen john speak many times and each time I learn something new. I am honored and blessed to call John a friend and encourage him to keep PUSHING in his purpose because the world needs more of John Gaines!”
Patrick Thomas, Senior Manager of Microsoft

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Invite Dr Gaines