Frank O'Dea

Inspiring people to achieve inspiring results

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Frank O’Dea’s story of triumph over adversity in business and in his personal life inspires audiences around the world. Against all odds, O’Dea went from being a homeless panhandler to a successful international entrepreneur and humanitarian. He is a founder of The Second Cup chain of coffee stores and is the founder of an international document security service. He has also launched a number of other innovative and successful businesses and international not-for-profit organizations. His message resonates with audiences who are looking for hope for a better future and want to learn from his example.

Alongside his businesses success, Frank co-found Street Kids International, helping homeless children in third world countries, and the Canadian Landmine Foundation, an organization that raises funds for the dismantling of minefields around the world. Together with the United Nations and world figures like Colin Powell and Sir Paul McCartney he led the international fundraising event “Night of A Thousand Dinners” that was taken up in 29 countries around the world.

Among his many honours, O’Dea is an Officer of the Order of Canada and holds honorary degrees from two universities. His current ground-breaking projects are social enterprises including a youth employment program across Canada, and developing sustainable affordable housing in Brazil, using Canadian technology. His remarkable story is retold in his book, When All You Have is Hope, which is now in its fourth printing by Penguin Books.

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Speakers Like Frank O'Dea

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Speaking Topics

Inspiring Generosity

Speech: Hope Vision Action

As an excellent, inspiring and motivating speaker, Frank O’Dea is in demand by fundraiser organizers as a draw for ticket sales. People want to hear from the homeless man who is a founder of the Second Cup, a humanitarian and an Officer of the Order of Canada. His very intriguing and moving story draws people to attend. Truly one of the most inspiring speakers in the country, Frank instills in his audiences a sense of hope for the cause and a genuine feeling that their money and their efforts really are making a difference. Attendees are motivated to be very generous as Frank’s speech touches them emotionally.


Inspiring Performance

Speech: The Spirit of the Entrepreneur

Business people, from owners to managers to professionals, feel they have something to learn from Frank’s broad and innovative and entrepreneurial experience in business. He tailors his speeches with his stories and lessons that fit his audience, so that attendees come away with tangible lessons of perseverance, vision and innovation, leaving them with a “can do” attitude. Through his personal anecdotes, his audiences see a perspective that enables them to think differently about what they need to do to get different and better results in what they are doing. He is the perfect speaker when organizers are introducing new ideas to their people or wanting to get the attendees to push the envelope to do better and be better.


Inspiring Pride

Speech: Celebrate your Successes

There are people in a wide variety of occupations who need and want to be reminded that what they are doing is important and it is working. They are the people on the front lines of social services, the professionals in healthcare, teachers in the classrooms and many others. So often, they are not witness to the success of their own work and, over time, can be overwhelmed by the on-going stream of people that they deal with daily. Frank O’Dea’s story of homeless panhandler to successful business person and humanitarian, speaks directly to those people, restoring their energy to do their work, restoring the pride in what they do and restoring the enthusiasm that brought them to this work, originally.  


Recent Publications by Frank O'Dea

When All You Have is Hope


"You could have heard a pin drop when Frank was speaking; he had the audience spellbound with his emotional and inspirational message." Queensway Carleton Hospital

"His message hit home and certainly got our folks out of the comfort zone." Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation

"What makes Frank O'Dea a master is his virtuosity as a story-teller. As a former theatre critic, I appreciate the man's technique: the strong voice, the rhythmic pauses, the pacing, and the unerring sense of structure. As a member of his audience I am swept away like the rest of the room. Rapt, enthralled, moved. It's a heck of a combination. It's hard to recommend him highly enough." M. Burrows, former theatre critic