Hein Wagner has been blind since birth…and he is an exceptional motivational speaker for any conference event.
Despite this Hein Wagner has many accomplishments to his name. He has completed the Absa Cape Epic, ran the Antarctica Marathon, the Two Oceans and New York Marathons, completed full Ironman,
Hein competed in the World Triathlon Series in Cape Town, finished several Cape Town Cycle Tours, tackled the white waters of the Zambezi River, Climbed the ten highest mountains in the Western Cape, completed the Cape to Rio Yacht Race, holds the World Blind Land Speed Record at 322.52 km/h, and more.
Wagner matriculated at the Pioneer School for learners with visual barriers in Worcester, South Africa.
His parents made the difficult decision of sending their blind five-year-old son to boarding school a hundred kilometres away from their home in Durbanville.
This was a decision the terrified youngster could not understand at the time, yet today he recognises this decision as the best one they could have made in their quest to prepare their son for the real world.
Hein’s first school report is testimony to his adaptive nature and early sense of adventure stating that he ‘is on a constant journey of discovery’.
His teenage years proved to be more challenging as he dealt with the normal pressures of growing up and also struggled with the question of why he had to be born blind.
Not finding the answers he desperately needed made him rebellious and he subsequently made life difficult for those around him.
It took a couple of extreme adventures to make Hein see the light.
Today he sees his blindness as the biggest gift he could ever hope for.
Hein started his career as a switchboard operator, but the rapidly growing technology sector soon inspired him to enter the IT industry.
He worked for companies such as MWeb and Thawte Consulting, where he quickly worked his way up to international sales manager, managing a team of sighted individuals.
Hein’s unique experiences and out-look on life afforded him numerous invitations to share his story and in 2004 he decided to take up motivational speaking as a full-time career.
His humorous approach to everything in life has illuminated the lighter side of living in darkness and resonates with audiences around the world.
Whether he has his audience rolling with laughter or doing introspection, he aims to leave them with the realisation that they have the capacity to achieve anything they set their minds too.
In August 2014, Hein received an honorary Golden Key award from the University of Stellenbosch for his ongoing commitment to social upliftment.
He is also the inspirational brand ambassador for SAP in the EMeA South region in Europe.
He was the first South African to break a World Land Speed Record in September 2005 reaching a speed of 269 km/h in a Maserati Gran Sport:
“In 2005 I drove a Masirati at 269.3 KM/h braking the world blind land speed record. 2 years later a blind Belgium guy topped my record by driving a Lamborghini at 308 KM/h.
I went back at it in 2009 and reclaimed the world record by driving a SL65 AMG Black series at 322.52 KM/H.”
He was a player in the South African blind cricket team that won the World Cup in India during the inaugural Blind Cricket World Cup in 1998.
He has tackled the white waters of the Zambezi River in a rubber raft.
Completed the Cape to Rio Yacht Race at the age of 22.
He has run several Marathons and climbed the 10 highest mountains in the Western Cape.
Hein achieved Western Province colours for athletics (1989 & 1990).
Hein also performed his autobiographical show, Bat Magic, at all the major art festivals in South Africa.
He completed his APM (Advanced Professional Management) through the Open University of London.
“Over the last year I’ve completed 3 Ironman 70.3 events. The event is made up of 3 disciplines i.e. swimming, cycling and running.
The distances for the 70.3 is 1.9 km swim, 90 km cycle and a 21.1 km run.
WE are currently training for the full Ironman in P.E. during April this year and the full Ironman distances are a 3.8 km swim, 180 km cycle and a full marathon 42.2 km run. All in one day.”
As a blind person tackling extreme adventures it requires very detailed planning, loads of trust in your partner and lots of self belief.
We can discuss the different aspects of the planning, trust, partnerships and communication with the audience.
“I’m further planning to pilot a Boeing 747 – 400 from London to South Africa later this year to raise 1 million pounds towards the Kaleidoscope.
The Kaleidoscope is a foundation I started somewhat 4 years ago to help make the world as we know it a more accessible place for persons living with disabilities.”
A BLIND MAN WITH VISION™
This presentation takes the audience on a moving journey of Hein’s view on the world he lives in. He shares some of his light and dark moments as well as his personal recipe to achieve extraordinary results.
Hein recommends this keynote for any kind of conference or seminar that deals with any theme or topic including sales, marketing, leadership, strategic planning, team building, project planning / kick-off or just pure staff motivation.
AGAINST ALL ODDS™
This presentation is guaranteed to open the eyes of those that are simply too lazy to see. It is loaded with humour and suitable for diverse audiences of all ages, religions and cultures. Hein leaves the audience with the burning question: “I am blind… What is your excuse..?”
Hein recommends this talk for corporate dinners, award ceremonies, gala & fundraising events, product launches etc. Basically any function, formal or informal.
A slightly adapted version of this talk is also available for schools, colleges and universities.
DINNER IN THE DARK
A unique and unforgettable experience without comparison.
What?: A three course meal is served in total darkness.
How?: Hein facilitates the evening and guides the guests through their experience in the dark. As there are a number of technical requirements to hosting Dinner in the Dark, Hein prefers using preselected venues for this event. The venue is blocked out completely ensuring that no light seeps in.
Please Note: mobile phones, lighters and watches that glow in the dark will be kept in safe keeping during dinner.
Guests do not see the venue prior to the event and are normally unaware of the fact that they will be served dinner in total darkness. The venue is loaded by table and guests meet their highly skilled blind waiter, who will assist them to their table, in the dark. Guests are not aware that their waiters are blind. This will only be revealed once the lights are switched on.
Why: With one sense temporarily removed guests have to rely on their other four senses and the people around them to navigate through the evening. This concept can be linked to various themes including:
Leadership and Respect
Hein can tailor-make the messaging of Dinner in the Dark to suite your company’s core values and/or goals, product launches, client experiences and staff motivation etc.
Dinner in the Dark Quick facts:
Suitable for 20 – 250 guests
No light generating devices will be allowed into the venue
Venue loaded table by table
Detailed table list including dietary requirements essential
I tailor-make my keynote presentation to include the key objectives of your business in a way that will be fresh and impact upon the audience.
I will leave your audience inspired, motivated and equipped to turn perceived challenges and obstacles in to opportunities.
As a keynote motivational speaker, he holds audiences’ attention. His motto: “Anything you believe is not possible, is actually possible; you just have to change the way you look at things. If you do that, the things you look at will change.” With so many accomplishments under his belt, he always states: “My excuse is that I’m blind, what’s yours? By opening my mind to turn the unachievable into the achievable, I moved myself from being filled with pain to being filled with joy, from negative to positive; from unhappy to happy, from uninspired to inspired, a taker to a giver, a loser to a winner, from unsuccessful to successful, from ungrateful to grateful and from just being blind to being blinded with possibilities.”
Hein Wagner is living proof that despite the challenges that come our way, anything is possible. He does not allow his blindness to stand in the way of his dreams and people often refer to him as the blind man with exceptional vision.
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