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- Extreme Sports
- Keynote Speaker
Imagine waking up blind. One moment you can see, and in the next moment, your vision is made up only of childhood memories.
At the tender age of 16, this became a reality for Ben Pettingill when overnight he lost 98% of his eyesight to a rare genetic syndrome, Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. While the shock, then grief of losing one's eyesight cannot be discounted, once Ben processed his new reality he realised that he had to make a choice that would define the rest of his life. Ben believed that a blind man could see, and his miracle was the activation of ‘True Vision' and 'Limitless Vision'. Vision enabled through purpose, perception and empowered decision making.
Like many people living with a disability, Ben is faced with challenges every day. He is also faced with choices every day. We all have the power to be intentional and we the ability to create positivity from adverse situations. In Ben's case, harnessing the right mindset, and developing resilience have been paramount to his happiness.
Ben is the guy who water-skis with direction through an ear piece, coaches’ basketball teams without being able to see the ball, and has even driven a car! He is not limited by circumstances and his potential is infinite. He is currently the only legally blind person in the world to have competed in a Spartan obstacle course race, untethered, and water-skied the Southern 80, the fastest water skiing race in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2017 Ben also walked the Kokoda Trail with plans to hike it again twice in 2019. Overall, Ben views life as an oasis of opportunity to learn and grow. While he may not be able to see physically, what he can see is that ‘life has no limits' other than what we impose on ourselves, and it is up to us to create the life that we ‘see' for ourselves.
As a speaker, Ben's energy is infectious, and it is hard not to walk away feeling empowered to live your best life, regardless of the obstacles life throws your way. He is passionate about sharing the tools he has used to build resilience and to ‘see' opportunity even in the face of adversity. Overall, Ben has a clear purpose to empower people from all walks of life to harness True Vision and Limitless Vision. He is especially passionate about acting as a role model for visually impaired people, and enabling them to live a life where what they see is only limited by what they perceive.
Ben has experience talking about his life and his key topics - Limitless Vision and True Vision - in a corporate, school/educational and community environment. Here are some testimonials to his work:
“Everyone thought that your presentation was outstanding! It was truly inspirational and thought provoking.” - KPMG, Australia
“Fantastic! Simple messages – very powerful and inspirational. It has changed my life!” - Tony Corrigan, Director, NAB
“Ben is an impressive individual who sets an example to anyone in the way he has responded to adversity in his life. I am very pleased that Ben is a member of the Vision Australia family and I commend him to others as a great coach, mentor and inspirational speaker.” - Ron Hooton, CEO, Vision Australia
“Ben has an amazing way of connecting with the audience through clear understanding of his message. He has an extremely inspiring story which can relate to all walks of life in any sector. His message changed my life and I would highly recommend booking him at your organisation, today.” - Rich Cohen, CEO, The Lab
“I highly recommend booking Ben to inspire, motivate and challenge your students. He will transform them and truly help them to reach both their scholastic and personal potentials.” - Shirley Patterson, Head of Secondary, Bayside Christian College
“Ben’s presentation was both engaging and thought provoking, delivered with humour, style and substance. Ben exuded the 3 C’s: confidence, charisma, and charm. Staff were visibly moved upon hearing that Ben acquired his vision loss at such a young age but admired his strength of character embracing and conquering challenges which many able bodied individuals would not attempt. To anyone seeking an inspiring and motivational speaker for any engagement, I have no hesitation in recommending Ben Pettingill.” - Community Development Officer, City of Whittlesea Council
“Thank you for motivating and inspiring our students at the commencement of such an important year. Your relatable manner engages the listeners who can identify with your experiences. Thank you also for sharing your story and how you not only faced adversity head on, but gained strength and determination to achieve your best.” - Head of Senior School, Plenty Valley Christian College
- Only legally blind person in the world to have competed in a Spartan obstacle course race, untethered.
- Water-skied the Southern 80, the fastest water skiing race in the Southern Hemisphere.