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Jim Craig

Olympic gold medalist, 1980 U.S.A. “Miracle on Ice” Goaltender, Teamwork

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  • Olympic Gold Medalist
  • Goalie, 1980 USA “Miracle on Ice” Hockey Team
  • Owner, President & CEO of Gold Medal Strategies
  • Board Member of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation

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Jim Craig is best known as the backbone of the 1980 Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Team, whose ‘Miracle’ win was voted by Sports Illustrated as the greatest moment in sports history of the 20th century. Craig, who started every game in goal, was a leading figure in the team’s success. One of the enduring images of the 1980 Games was of Craig, wrapped in an American flag, searching the stands for his widowed father in order to share the gold-medal-winning victory.

Before the Olympics, Jim was an All-American goalie at Boston University, leading his team to a NCAA national championship. After the ‘Miracle’ game, Jim went on to play professionally for three NHL teams, where he sustained a career-ending injury while playing for the Minnesota North Stars. He is enshrined in the Boston University Hall of Fame, the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and is a co-recipient of both the Lester Patrick award and the Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year” award. He is also a graduate of Boston University and earned his doctorate in humane letters from Mercy College.

Following Jim’s professional hockey career, he transitioned his success into the corporate world as a motivational speaker, powerful salesman and corporate consultant. He has been inducted into the Sales Halls of Fame for two different companies, having increased a sales territory from $300,000 to $50 million in annual sales. Following this role, Jim moved on to become the Vice President of a promotional marketing agency. Under his guidance, the agency increased annual dollar sales by 80 percent and its number of clients by 30 percent in just two short years.

For more than 35 years, Jim has inspired, instructed and provided strategic and winning direction to some of the most prestigious companies across the world, including Kellogg’s, Bayer, Deloitte, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Disney, as the successful owner and president of his company, Gold Medal Strategies. Jim has been selected three times as one of the top five speakers on team building in the United States, and has evolved to not only deliver motivational speeches, but host immersive corporate training programs that teach participants how to think differently and believe in their possibilities. Jim is the co-author of the highly acclaimed business book, Gold Medal Strategies: Business Lessons from America’s Miracle Team and recently released his newest book and legacy piece, We Win! Lessons on Life, Business & Building Your Own Miracle Team. In addition to his role with Gold Medal Strategies, Jim serves as a board member of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and he has a passion for leveraging his athletic and business success to help others achieve their full potential and lives in integrity with his mission every day!

Power of Teamwork

Very few things great are done alone. Epic achievement is almost always the result of successful and enduring collaboration. Jim explains and details the elements of winning teamwork. He provides specific examples from the experience of the U.S. “Miracle on Ice” hockey team, and how it confounded the experts, made history … and made it to the top of the podium.

Fundamentals of Winning

Jim talks about the “stuff” and marrow of winners. Jim drills down and talks about the following: What winners share in the way of character. How they prepare. Their priorities. How they handle victory. How they handle defeat. Jim discusses what truly drives winners – the greatest winners.

Commitment to Excellence

Jim has studied … and continues to study and research … what inspires the pursuit of excellence in those who achieve greatness. He describes what is it that separates those content with good enough, and with all right, and with the okay … and those who have an unquenchable thirst and drive to make history and establish the highest standards.

Goal Achievement

As Jim often tells audiences, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Jim shares the elements and fundamental components of goal setting, defining missions – and then going confidently … and smartly … in the direction of your dreams.

Conflict Management

One of the nine “Gold Medal Strategies” that Jim teaches … that he writes and speaks about … is that Great Teams Manage Through Ego and Conflict. Jim tells the story of early on in their journey to Lake Placid and history, the players on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team were not working cooperatively; the team was beset by regional and personal rivalries. But the players got beyond the conflict – and they forged a team, and executed teamwork, for the ages.

Transformational (Change) Management

Had the members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team – under the guidance and direction of Herb Brooks – not thrown off the old ways and play of U.S. international hockey … had they not embraced a revolutionary form of the game … they would not have beat the team that couldn’t be beat, and won the game that couldn’t be won. There would not have been any gold medal, any stop atop the podium. Jim talks about how he and his teammates executed that transformation and change – and how the example of that transformation and change can aid your organization to perform more effectively.

Accountability for Action

Great Teams Hold Themselves and Others Accountable – this is one of the nine “Gold Medal Strategies” that Jim teaches. Accountability, as Jim explains and breaks down, is an exercise in looking inward and demanding accountability of yourself – and then working together as a team to make sure that every person on the team is accountable … and, as a team, helping people to be accountable and to better perform their job.

Confidence Building

How do you inspire and impart confidence? How do leaders and teams accomplish this critical task? How do you pull greatness out of people? How do you challenge and inspire people to get outside their comfort zone – and to reach for what they at one time not thought reachable, and not attainable? Jim shares with you the tactics and strategies of confidence building.

Risk Taking

Risk takers make history. If there is no risk, there is no great achievement. Jim talks about the risk taking enterprise that was the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He shares more examples of risk taking … in sports, business, and other areas of human endeavor … that enabled greatness and the epic.

Recruiting for Results

How do you find and identify the people who have the “stuff” and potential who will work for your system, culture, and mission? What is meant by the importance of not necessarily finding the “best” players but the “right” ones. Jim discusses and breaks down the elements of successful and winning recruiting.

Shared Dream

Success happens when you believe in winning then you prepare to make it happen. Great Teams accomplish more than great individuals, no one is bigger than the team. Jim shows you how to win collectively vs. individually.

How and Why Great Companies Win

The impossible becomes possible when you believe. Jim knows what it takes to be a winner and will explain what it really means to be a true professional. He will talk about winner’s character, how they prepare, their priorities, and how to handle victory & defeat. As Jim often tells audiences, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Jim shares the elements and fundamental components of goal setting, defining missions – and then going confidently … and smartly … in the direction of your dreams.

Bayer Healthcare
"Jim spoke for my organization this week. It was by far one of the most authentic presentations that I have ever seen. Dynamic, humorous, but pointed. Jim took the time to truly understand my organizational challenges and tailored his talk to address each one. I look forward to working with him again!"
Comcast West Division
“Jim is the most prepared guest speaker I’ve ever interacted with…and his message was a huge hit with my leadership team. We will have Jim back for a future meeting”
Executive Vice President and Chief Commercialization Officer
Great to see you. You really were spot on with your speech. Thanks for listening and personalizing to MiMedx. You should know that many in the room felt you were the best or one of the best motivational speakers they had seen. I look forward to staying in touch here.
UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement
Just wanted to connect and follow up as we have just finished up our AEP selling season. We had a great sales year! We exceeded our goals and it all started with you kicking things off at our National Sales Meeting. Attached is a picture of two of the members from our sales leadership team that won the signed hockey sticks. They loved them! It was a great motivator as we closed our annual enrollment season.
International Franchise Association
“The franchise industry is currently navigating through some very challenging public policy headwinds at all levels of government. In order to take on these issues successfully, Jim stressed the critical need for the IFA Board of Directors and Senior Management to be maniacally-focused on developing the right strategy and tactics in order to effectively execute for success. Jim was able to uniquely correlate our challenges to “How Great Teams Win and Why” through a very inspirational, motivational, passionate and riveting speech that captured the true essence of what it takes to win against long odds. Jim’s down-to-earth and proven real-world experience in sports and business was the right message, at the right time for us. Simply put, I’d have Jim back to address our Board in a New York minute.”
Digital Media Solutions
Jim recently presented at our annual corporate retreat on the topic of teamwork. Jim and his team put a significant amount of time and effort into preparing for the event by getting to know as much as possible about our corporate structure, the executive team, and what makes our company tick. His presentation was absolutely flawless and not a person in the room was looking at a cell phone, tablet, or computer while Jim was speaking. In the end we closed with a raucous round of applause and a jersey presentation to the entire team. I can say without a doubt that Jim’s presentation significantly contributed to what went down as an exceptionally meaningful and productive company event.
National Tax Management Consulting Operations Leader
We recently invited Jim Craig to speak to a group of future leaders in our industry and he certainly did not disappoint us. Jim opened with energy and passion that lit up the room for the final presentation at our conference. His enthusiasm immediately got everyone’s attention. His words, direct and meaningful, sent a motivating message of leadership to our developing business consultants. Jim brought a lifetime of experience to the table and shared how his steps to success can be applied to specific aspects of our business, including sales and marketing. What most impressed me about Jim was his desire to understand the goals and objectives of those to whom he is speaking and his level of preparation to ensure he delivered relevant advice to his audience. His universal message transcends beyond the ice and can be embraced by anyone looking to succeed in business, personal relationships and life. He knows how to overcome challenges, face them with integrity, and how to win. We are grateful for the insights he shared with us and his contributions to the professional growth of the aspiring leaders in attendance!
CertaPro Painters
Jim Craig was the keynote speaker at our most recent annual convention in Palm Springs in January 2017. Our goal at this conference was to inspire our network of franchise owners and staff to elevate our profession. Jim was instrumental in delivering our message. He brought to life key concepts from his life history and experiences as a gold medal winning goalie for USA Hockey. His story telling, points of emphasis, and charismatic delivery were a highlight of our opening plenary. Jim was a key part of CertaPro Painters delivering an extraordinary experience. However, what really sets Jim apart from any other motivational speakers is his commitment to getting to know the client. This isn't just a small token gesture but authentic interest in the company and our people. It made a difference in his delivery and our messaging without question. I emphatically recommend Jim to any organization looking to create memorable moments for your staff and network. He delivered on his promise to us and then some. Thank you Jim!
National MI
You were a tremendous hit at our annual sales meeting. You are a great speaker and motivator. The tone has been set for the year for my team based on your cogent commentary. My team now understands the importance of shared dreams. They want to be the victor not the victim. They know, they “can always recover from the truth.” I really loved the concept that everybody always should “have to make the team every year”! You took the themes from our introductory call and wove them skillfully into your presentation. Your message is timeless, a foundational message on what it takes to be successful as a team in sports and business.
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