Ask about Dave Jacka OAM
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Key Points
  • Dave Jacka OAM represented Australia at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games in Wheelchair Rugby.
  • The first person with quadriplegia to fly solo around Australia, 2013.
  • The first person with quadriplegia to paddle an adapted kayak the 2226 km length of the Murray River from Lake Hume to the sea, 2016.
  • Victorian Australian of the Year Finalist, 2014.
  • Received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), 2015, for contribution to people with disabilities through sport.
  • His first book Six Percent, published in 2019, retraces Dave’s story from an ICU ward to learning to fly, 2019.
  • Doing it differently
    This keynote focuses on how to become adaptive in a changing environment. We become adaptive by constantly thinking about how we can do things differently. Dave draws on his own experiences of being thrown into an uncertain, changing world as he is faced with having to rebuild his life following a devastating motorbike accident that left him with quadriplegia.

    Dave talks about barriers he’s faced and insights that have enabled him to achieve extraordinary feats including following his dream of learning to fly and two world firsts; flying solo around Australia and paddling the length of Australia’s longest river, the Murray.

    The key message is that by ‘Doing it Differently’—having an open mind, creativity, courage, perseverance, and support—individuals and organisations can achieve far more than ever imagined.

Dave Jacka was special guest speaker with CASA this year as part of our International Day of People with Disability celebrations. Dave’s key messages of resilience, determination and courage were powerful and authentic. His extremely personable manner and honesty ensured that his presentation struck a chord with the audience. Dave’s aviation achievements also resonated and inspired the CASA audience. Dave stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people and how, with this unwavering support, anything is possible regardless of whether you have a disability or not. The feedback received from so many of the CASA attendees has been wonderful. Dave, your speech was truly heartfelt and inspirational. Thank you.
Executive Diversity Champion
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

Dave Jacka presented to the MCC staff this year, and the feedback from his session sharing his experiences was particularly positive. His key messages of resilience, determination and courage, as well as his insights regarding breaking down tasks into small parts and achieving progress incrementally was powerful. His personable manner and openness ensured that his presentation really struck a chord with the audience. It was a delight to have Dave as part of our MCC Learning Hub week.
General Manager People and Culture
Melbourne Cricket Club

Each year for our major fundraiser (Dinner Under the Stars) we look for a special guest presenter with a story that resonates, challenges stereotypes and inspires. Dave Jacka’s story hit the mark perfectly. His presentation took every one of our 200 guests on a personal journey through his life and made us all wonder how we would cope if we were in his shoes. It also stressed the importance of support from family and friends for anyone who is transforming or rebuilding their life after such a life changing event. Dave’s story proves yet again that anything is possible with determination, support, commitment and a refusal to accept boundaries imposed by others.
Wallara Australia Ltd