Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Colonel Mark Johnson is one of America’s top motivational speakers, traveling the world and the United States inspiring audiences to achieve great success, above and beyond their expectations. Born in Warrensburg, this native son has made presentations in every U.S. state and twelve nations overseas. Mark has led a fascinating life, full of travel and death-defying adventure. He survived numerous harrowing life and death situations during his twenty-one years as a Colonel in the Green Berets. He commanded specially-trained and educated teams that our nation selected for the most dangerous and hazardous missions. He conducted operations, many of a sensitive and classified nature, in over fifty- five nations on four continents. The invaluable lessons he learned in Leadership, Motivation, and Team Building, were shaped in times of extreme danger on the battlefields of the world. He learned to inspire those in his care to fearlessly excel despite enormous odds and he now translates those valuable lessons to today’s business world, community leaders, and classrooms of all levels. He is a highly decorated combat veteran; having received over twenty awards, including the Bronze Star, earned for his heroic leadership during the first Gulf War. He also fought in Somalia, popularized by the movie “Blackhawk Down”. He is a Master Parachutist, having made over two-hundred jumps, and has been awarded the foreign parachutist badge from fourteen nations.

Since 9 / 11, Mark has been continuously called upon to assist our nation in the Global War on Terror, returning frequently to the Middle East and Asia. He has spent months in Iraq and Kuwait, teaching Counter Insurgency to battle staffs and commanders of all services. Mark spent 8 years on the faculty of the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, working for General David Petraeus, among others. He instructed and mentored many Special Operations leaders of today, including the current commander of SEAL Team Six, the unit responsible for conducting the Osama Bin Laden raid. Despite the fact that Mark is in high demand on the speaking circuit, he finds time to teach multiple leadership courses each semester at two Community Colleges in the Kansas City area, including Longview College in Lee’s Summit, MO. He also provides leadership and planning training to state and community leaders, as well as academic leaders from numerous colleges and universities in the U.S.

He is the author of two books: “How to Get Anyone to Follow You Anywhere: Green Beret Secrets to Leadership and Team Building”; and his latest, “Lessons in Leadership: Straight Talk from a Green Beret”, in which he was invited to the White House to present to former President Bush and wife Laura, and who kept his signed copy in the den at the White House.

Most Requested Programs

How to Get Anyone to Follow You Anywhere
(Leadership / Motivational Keynote, 60 or 90 minutes)
Mark's most popular Keynote presentation

This presentation dissects the essence of leadership and is summarized into a simple formula that any leader can follow, and more importantly, understand, utilize, and put into everyday practice. It is called simply..."C.E. X Three." Each "letter" is embellished with success stories and unique experience gained in over twenty years as a Green Beret officer, and from overcoming adversity seemingly unimaginable! This presentation will inspire you to embrace the responsibility of leadership and assist in building self-esteem in your people.

Trendwest Resorts needed a motivational speaker to inspire the sales force in meetings across the western U.S. Mark Johnson entered each room, an imposing figure at 6'4", and immediately radiated a "command presence" along with a big smile. His voice, his body language, his eye contact all shouted "ENERGY" and he launched into his presentation. His enthusiasm was so contagious that people in the audience had a hard time sitting still.

They wanted to jump to their feet and cheer as Mark related one story after another where he led his people into incredible situations around the world. In every case, Mark Johnson inspired, motivated, and "fired-up" his people to win. All the meeting participants appreciated Mark Johnson's energy, enthusiasm, and how he leads with his heart. I heard one person say, "If my son or daughter has to go to war someday, I hope they are led by a Mark Johnson.

"If your company is "at war" with the competition, I recommend Mark Johnson as a motivational speaker capable of injecting energy and confidence into any organization. They will leave the meeting ready to win and leading with their heart. William Peare, President and CEO, Trendwest Resorts, Redmond, WA

Lessons in Leadership: Straight Talk from a Green Beret
(Leadership Keynote, 60 or 90 minutes, or 1/2-day seminar)
Another of Mark's most popular Keynote presentations

The American baseball legend Jackie Robinson was quoted as saying "the value of your own life is judged by how significant an impact you have had on others!" As leaders, we have that influence on the people who work under our supervision. This presentation will not only inspire your staff and give them faith in themselves and each other, it will deliver actual how-to tips on subjects such as organizing and evaluating your personnel effectively, how to manage and conduct meetings that are an organized and successful event, how to hire the correct person who fits that particular position, facilitation skills, building a positive work environment, how to motivate your employees, overcome adversity, and other topics involved in being "The Exceptional Leader!".

We were privileged to have Mark Johnson as the speaker for our convention. His energetic presentation kept everyone glued to his message and inspired all of us to have the confidence to tackle our goals. His leadership ability is contagious. Tom Patchen, President, Patchen Electric Group

Capture Your Energy...Transform Your Life!
(Inspirational Keynote, 60 or 90 minutes)
One of Mark's numerous presentations for College students

A presentation designed specifically for college/university students. Particularly popular with Student-athletes and Student-leaders. Learn to transform your current energy-level into future $$$$$ and a successful career. Focus on energy and strengths and relate that directly to your future. Each Student will be inspired and motivated to be a contributor and a producer in the 21st Century. Numerous practical examples are utilized to provide positive reinforcing of the challenges of being a successful leader.

I highly recommend Mark Johnson... he has the unique ability to channel his excitement, enthusiasm, and vast experience into thrilling, motivational, and inspirational speeches. He is highly sought out... he establishes instant rapport with his audience... I know you will be as impressed with him as I am. Dr. Tom W. Bryant, President, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS

His enthusiasm is inspiring and motivating. I was struggling with how to define my leadership abilities, but after attending his presentation...I have a NEW SENSE OF CONFIDENCE AND EXCITEMENT!...I AM able to MOTIVATE and LEAD People!" Therry Eparwa, Student President, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, University of Kansas

Feel The Excitement! Build your Future Today, Achieve Your Dreams, Become a Huge Success
(Inspirational / Motivational Keynote, 60 or 90 minutes)
One of Mark's numerous presentations for Teens

A specific presentation for university, high school and middle school / junior high school students. Excitement comes from within...and stems from internal and external pride...which comes from your own self-esteem, which is founded in hard work. Focus is on dedication to yourself, your school, your team; the sense of duty, and how each student can "fit in" and excel in life. How and Why the student's determination and loyalty are an important part of character and can translate directly into future success.

It's an incredible thing you do...your dedication, loyalty, and service to our country, and our citizens is unspeakable. Your speech has undoubtedly left footprints of ambition, courage, leadership, and success on my life, as well as many others that were fortunate enough to meet you and listen to your words. Stefanie Schurr, President, District B FCCLA

Your presentation was a great way to begin our year. The positive energy was a joy! I have read your book and it has re-energized me. Thank you for your splendid dedication!" Todd Kissick, Superintendent of Schools, U.S.D. 102

Green Beret Secrets to Team Building
(Motivational Keynote, 60 or 90 minutes, or 1/2-day seminar)
Mark's most popular Team work presentation

There is simply nothing like this powerfully connecting presentation of team building and team leading! The audience will be gripped to their chairs are they hear of life-and- death situations encountered in remote and quite primitive areas of the world, as well as Green Beret combat operations during the Gulf War, Somalia, and other trouble-spots. Learn how effective teams saved human lives, and how you, utilizing similar methods, can transform your team to greater responsibilities and greater rewards!

I was very impressed with how energetic and enthusiastic Mark was throughout. The day was thoroughly enjoyable. I have certainly used many of the ideas presented to my benefit and have improved my company utilizing his insights on teamwork. Steve P. Carter, American Express, Southhampton, England

We Are Champions; "Feel Good About It!"
(Patriotic / Inspirational Keynote, 30 or 60 minutes)

A dynamic presentation of patriotism. There is simply nothing like this powerfully delivered and moving TRIBUTE to the great strength of this nation...its people. This is an action-packed and moving address which leaves the audience feeling not only GOOD about THEMSELVES, but PROUD to be an IMPORTANT piece of the bigger picture of making this nation the undeniable WORLD LEADER. This keynote is an absolute 5-STAR HIT with BUSINESS corporations, VETERAN'S Groups, MILITARY organizations, and NEWLY-FORMED businesses. The audience is left INSPIRED and
INVIGORATED. Examples from real-world struggles in overcoming ADVERSITY are highlighted.

AWESOME, ENERGETIC, AND INSPIRING! Patriotism is alive and well and you are continuing to bolster it and keep it alive. You served our nation with honor and continue to provide leadership and inspire people to lead and do their job with honor. GREAT JOB!!! David W. Sukup, General Manager, Heart of America DHIA

Mark shook the rafters with his enthusiasm and message. Mark shared his talents detailing his life altering leadership experiences. His style was engaging and attention grabbing. His energy and message was so strong that if any of our participants weren't patriotic before Mark made his presentation they were at the top of the list of Patriots by the program's conclusion. Outstanding! A true Green Beret hero! Jack Lindquist, President, Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership, Inc.


“I just want to thank you for helping us find Mark Johnson as our keynote speaker. It was a truly EXCELLENT day. We were honored to have Mark as our speaker. His presentation was fun, sincere, honest, and reached many hearts. He made us think about our responsibilities and how we must earn our respect in leading others to be responsible ethical leaders in this free country….. I have been involved in our organization since 1995 and have never witnessed a “Standing Ovation” after the conclusion of our guest Keynote Speaker until this past Friday. Many people were moved to tears during his conclusion…it made us all want to be a better person. Again, thank you for helping us find Mark Johnson.” - Dennis Holler, CPCU, Are, Treatly/Program Casualty Underwriter, RD-RC-Casualty II, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., Overland Park, KS, (609) 243-4459,

“Mark the Spark” is a very telling nickname. Mark Johnson ‘sparks’ interest, enthusiasm, and patriotism whether he is speaking to a group of high school or university students, a mixed group celebrating a holiday, or to one or two people. He has spoken to the same group of high school students on multiple occasions and they are always eager to hear him again! The stories in his speeches and books are true experiences of an American hero and are very motivational. He has a true love for America and her people. My wife and I counted him as one of our very good friends after meeting him the first time. A remarkable talent and as motivational a person as I’ve ever come close to meeting.” - Ronald W. Ryckman, State Representative, 115th District, Topeka, KS,,

“Mark the Spark”, Colonel Mark Johnson, was EXACTLY “what the doctor ordered!” The staff has been walking around here this afternoon with an extra skip in their step and a stronger sense of PURPOSE!! We’ve had a tough year this year at school with budget cuts, and saying goodbye to 22 colleagues who have had to lose their jobs because there was no funding…..but today, we walked away feeling grateful and thankful and knowing and feeling that what we do really does matter and we needed to be reminded of that. NEVER in my years at working at Centennial have I ever known a staff to stand up and give a STANDING OVATION to a guest speaker that we’ve had on staff development day. Today, our staff did that for Colonel Johnson. All eyes were on him, and we could have heard a pin drop. And in between, he made us smile and he made us laugh. Everything he had for us today, was exactly everything we needed. Colonel Johnson on behalf of Principal Bruening, the Staff Development Team and myself: Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!! - Ruth Resendiz Olson, Licensed School Counselor, Centennial High School,, Circle Pines, MN 55014, (763)792-5001 / 763-792-5050

“I would like to thank Mark Johnson for taking the time to speak to us at our MoAPCO Conference. All our citizens and government workers were thoroughly impressed with his energy, passion, and knowledge of motivational leadership. From the Chief of Police to the office workers, all came away feeling invigorated with newfound energy to do the Hard Right over the Easy Wrong. I received only positive comments from every single participant who attended and we appreciated his message immensely.” - Pam Gilligan, Jefferson City Police Department, Support Services – Public Safety Communications, Jefferson City, MO, 573-634-6400, ext 384,

“We were so excited to have you thrill us with your incredible presentation during our Annual Leadership Conference in Springfield. You were the epitome of our slogan for the event: “Superheroes”. Your words filled our hearts with inspiration and I know every one of the audience members is a better person for having heard your words. You are an awesome speaker and entertainer and I look forward to booking you again in the very near future!” - Jill Talken,, Executive Secretary, Missouri Veterans Commission, Jefferson City, MO, 573-751-3779,

Ashland USD 220 has had the privilege of hosting Mark for back-to-school teacher in- service twice. We will schedule him again if we can. He gives our staff a real ‘spark’ to start the new school year! Teachers leave his presentation fired up and ready to go! He is sincere and honest and his positive attitude and enthusiasm are contagious!” - Bill Day, Superintendent, USD 220, Ashland, KS,