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Janine Shepherd Travels from Sydney, NSW

Janine Shepherd


  • Achievements
  • After Dinner
  • Author
  • Female Speaker
  • Inspirational
  • Motivational
  • Overcoming Adversity
  • Resilience
  • Sport
  • Top Speakers

Janine Shepherd is an inspirational speaker and writer whose books have become classics in the survivor genre. A champion cross-country skier in training for the 1988 winter Olympics, Janine’s life changed forever when she was hit by a truck during a bicycle training ride in the Blue Mountains of Australia.

Doctors warned her parents that—even if she somehow miraculously survived her massive injuries—Janine would almost certainly never walk again. After a risky procedure to rebuild her shattered vertebra, and almost six months flat on her back in a hospital spinal ward, Janine came home to heal. With the promise of a career as an elite athlete now gone forever, Janine faced a daunting recovery and an uncertain future.

Struggling to rehabilitate with permanent disabilities, Janine rekindled her defiant spirit in a dramatically improbable way. Sitting outside in her wheelchair one day and watching a small plane fly overhead, she declared, “That’s it! If I can’t walk, I’ll fly!”

Still encased in a full body cast, Janine had to be lifted into an aircraft for her introductory flight lesson. But within a year she had defied the odds and succeeded in gaining her private pilot’s license. Her talent and skill as a pilot subsequently earned Janine a commercial pilot license and ultimately, her flying instructor’s rating. She then decided to learn to fly upside down, and finally, to teach aerobatic flight to other pilots.

Janine went on to succeed not only as a professional pilot but also to attain her university degree, raise three children and author several best-selling books. Her remarkable life story ultimately captured the interest of a prominent film company, which produced the feature length movie, aptly titled Never Tell Me Never.

In recognition of her service to the community and her tireless efforts in raising awareness for spinal cord research, Janine was awarded the Order of Australia, her nation’s highest honour. She is an ambassador for Spinal Cure Australia and Red Bull’s “Wings for Life” and a contributor to Deepak Chopra’s workshops. Janine’s story has been featured on 60 Minutes, This is Your Life and CNN’s Turning Points with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Her inspirational and emotional TEDx talk, “A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person,” has been viewed almost 2 million times.

She was recently named as an “Architect of Change” in Maria Shriver’s “Sunday Paper” Her latest book, “Defiant: A Memoir” was published for worldwide distribution by SoundsTrue®.

Keynote Titles

  • The power of the defiant human spirit
  • Never tell me never
  • A patient’s journey


Janine's story is one that needs to be shared with any of us who may be harboring thoughts of self-pity, defeat and desperation. It should be shared with ALL as a reminder on the importance of laughter in our day-to-day lives irrespective of our own difficulties. But importantly, it is a story that needs to be shared with all who are intimidated by, or who are unwilling to confront the many life challenges of today. We remain humbled and positively energised by your unforgettable story.

Sara Lee

"Renew the Spirit" was our conference theme and your story was an inspiration to us all. Feedback from the team was overwhelming. What a truly moving story. I hope participants appreciate how fortunate they are and the importance of strength and determination in our lives.


While Janine’s story is extraordinary, her message is universal. She was able to connect with our audience and drive home the concepts of gratitude, perseverance, and addressing challenges with grace and a positive attitude. As our opening keynote speaker, our attendees left the session energised, humbled, and ready to attack the challenges ahead of our industry. Following her keynote, Janine met with attendees in our exhibit hall and completed a book signing. The sponsor of the program had a line at their booth to meet Janine that extended well past the closing of the hall. Thank you Janine, you have set the bar for all future keynote speakers!

National Home Infusion Association


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