Frank O'Dea


Frank O’Dea

Innovative Entrepreneur | Humanitarian

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 entrepreneur and a founder of The Second Cup chain of coffee stores. From there, he went on further to launch a number of other innovative and successful businesses and international not-for-profit organizations. O’Dea’s powerful message inspires audiences to hope for a better future and learn from his example.

As a young man, O’Dea was a homeless person who lived on the streets. At the age of 23, he began fighting back and overcoming the barriers that had been closed to him. Within a few years, he co-founded The Second Cup, and later went on to co-found Proshred Security and Samaritan Air Ambulance Services.

In the not-for-profit arena, O’Dea was also successful as the co-founder of Street Kids International, an organization developed to help homeless children in third world countries, and the Landmine Foundation, an organization that raises funds for the dismantling of minefields around the world. Together with the United Nations and world figures such as Colin Powell and Sir Paul McCartney, he led an 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. He is also the author of two books: his memoir, When All You Have is Hope, and Do The Next Right Thing.

In addition to currently leading two social enterprises, Frank is Chair of “My Idea of Canada”. In celebration of Canada’s 150 Anniversary, “Mu Idea of Canada” is a multi-million dollar national initiative by the Governor General and the Order of Canada to get young people energized and involved in the future of Canada.

The Power of Hope Vision Action

This is O’Dea’s signature message, in a speech that is constantly evolving as he takes on new projects that inspire his audiences everywhere.

With hope — all things become possible.

Frank demonstrates this power by using his own story as a real-life experience of hope, courage, change and persistence. You will see from his biography that much has been accomplished. The story becomes remarkable when you add the real life story to that bio. In real life, Frank was in the bowery– panhandling for nickels and dimes not so many years ago. Drawing on examples from both his personal and business experiences including his latest visionary projects, captivates and engages his audiences.

This is truly a motivational story. Audiences from all walks of life identify with this very real story of achievement, and Frank’s warm style convinces his audiences that he is speaking directly to them, personally.

Creating a Game-Changer: Blue Ocean Strategy

This is a speech for CEOs and senior management of organizations in highly constrained industries where margins are under huge pressures. Creating a game-changer is all about new thinking and new applications in established industries. Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, Samsung did not invent the cell phone and Second Cup did not invent coffee. What they all had in common is that they created new applications for existing products and services and completely changed the game in their industries, dramatically outpacing their peers.

O’Dea, who has created game-changers in several industries, shares with his audience how any organization can outpace its peers, using excellent examples from his own businesses and from others, such as Casella Wines and Bosch Chemicals. This is a business strategy that was dubbed Blue Ocean Strategy and was first documented in a book by the same name by two professors at INSEAD University. O’Dea leaves his audiences with the blueprint on how they can find a “Blue Ocean” for their own organizations.