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Overcoming challenges through the pursuit of excellence

Dream big, achieve more.

Cam Calkoen dreams of a world where everyone is inspired to embrace their opportunity and our physical being is no barrier to succeeding in our dreams and aspirations. It is dreams that have brought the world to what we see today and our aspirations that will propel it into the future.

No one can walk and talk at birth. Some people like Cam, are presented with this likelihood for the rest of their lives. He chose to defy the odds and now showcases what can be achieved when we identify a challenge, leverage our opportunities and uniqueness, and indeed live for awesome!

Born with Cerebral Palsy, Cam was told that his biggest challenges would be the way he walks and talks; he dreamed big of becoming an athletic gold medalist, highly effective charitable fundraiser, social entrepreneur and now a globally renowned inspirational speaker who ignites a connection and clarity between inspiration, dreams and people.

Through strength of human attitude and potential Cam chose to embrace the challenges he was born with, and harnesses his gifts to live in the pursuit of excellence and make life as awesome as it can be.

Current work
He is a living example that life is what we make it, and the values needed to achieve awesomeness are simple - we need to believe! In doing so, we leave no stone unturned. Through charisma, stories and artistic flair Cam's presence sees people identify the unturned stones on the path, he ignites, inspires, enlightens and delights others by modeling what it looks like to dream big and achieve more!

Talking Points

Dream big achieve more (Goal setting | Confidence | Resilience)

Often when we start a dream, we think that our most desired outcome is a successful result and while that’s certainly something to celebrate it often leads us to so much more. It is through the process of attempting the seemingly impossible that the most extraordinary outcomes are achieved!

The only constant in this world is change and we need to embrace everything we’ve learnt from previous challenges and understand the value and growth that comes from being outside our comfort zone. From this resilience we learn persistence and we achieve great things!

Confidence is also a huge factor to achieving goals. Everyone has a dream but some of us let our perceived reality get in the way, we stop taking risks, we stop doing what’s different. Let’s ignite the power that comes from confidence and a success mindset.

Bend Perception and eliminate assumption (Diversity and Inclusion)

There is a well-known Maori Proverb which translated is says, “What is the most important thing in the World? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people!”
In having Cerebral Palsy Cam could have been a victim of exclusion on all levels but chose to look for what is common where most people look for what is different. Cam shows that difference is an important and wonderful thing once we connect on similarities, we can appreciate the value in difference, and use that value to improve our businesses and personal lives.

Live For Awesome (Excellence - Attitude - Giving back)

To exceed expectations we need to be stepping outside of our comfort zone and striving towards a personal best each and every day.
By standing on the shoulders of giants - the people that we look up to - we can see something that we can (and should) all strive to become!
When you become a giant yourself, you get the opportunity to reflect on your own journey. Often, journeys are so future focused but it’s through reflection that we gain great strengths and our success in life.
Cam’s story shows that it is not about what we achieve individually, but from how we can learn from others so that we can continue to inspire and maintain excellence.

Workshop: Dream Big Achieve More - Goal Setting

We’ve been inspired to achieve something big, something new, something that will potentially take us to a whole new level of awesomeness. Maybe this inspiration has come from a talk, a book, a vision, a story…and then we step back into reality and we start seeing all the distractions, the challenges and the dream stays a dream. This workshop is an immersive experience, where Cam will take participants through the foundation of building dreams. The tool kit people will acquire will not only give them clarity on their goals but the confidence to achieve them. The workshop will be built around:
• What accomplishments are you most proud of?
• What is your dream?
• Who are the people who can get you close to that dream?
• What are the next steps you can take to get closer to that dream?
• How to speak the dream confidently?

Together Cam will work with the participants to create a plan to see them dreaming big and achieving more. Along with this personalised plan they will learn and practice tips, tricks and resources for growing confidence in their dream and remaining resilient in times of challenge / disruption.

Workshop: Turning rejection into affection - Resilience

The workshop is an immersive experience, where Cam will take participants through the model of going from ‘defeat' and a fixed mindset, to a growth mindset and 'awesomeness'. Adopting this mindset and learning how to identify where people TRULY sit will unlock greater levels of affection within and towards them.
The workshop will be built around:
• Identifying defeat and a fixed mindset
• What really is potential and how this can HOLD US BACK
• How to identify when commitment is getting in the way
• And finally what an awesome and growth mindset looks like

At first glance none of these aspects may look like problems, and they’re not unless they start to become part of an individual’s identity. From this workshop participants will gain a new perspective on identifying where they are, this intern identifying why rejection may be occurring in areas that they don’t want it to be.

Workshop: Bend Perception and eliminate assumption

On my journey I meet a lot of people who live with the perception that they can not be a speaker, that communication is just not their thing. I have not met anyone yet who couldn't be a speaker. I have met a lot of people who do not say YES to giving it a go, or let their fears cripple them…maybe that person is you. This workshop is packed with experiences, tips, tricks and resources designed to help you say YES more confidently next time you have to speak. Whether speaking to hundreds and thousands of people, your staff, your clients, your employer or the local shop owner, being able to identify what makes us, telling our stories, and knowing how to position our story for different audiences / aspects of life enables us all to bend perception and eliminate assumptions.
When was the last time you sat down and reflected on your story from the point of view of seeing it as a tool? Imagine using that to its fullest potential?
In this workshop participants will identify their stories of:
• Conflict - what makes them resilient
• Decision - why they do what they do
• Discovery - how their lives can build, inspire, empower others
• Awesomeness - Those stories that make you and have so much wisdom within them
Bending perception and eliminating assumptions comes through clarity of what makes you YOU and knowing how to tell your story. By the end of this session participants will have a framework for better communicating who they are and will be speaking with more confidence.
Cam was incredible - he not only has a powerful story to share but his passion, energy and humour are infectious. Our team was captured by Cam and he made many fans through his electrifying presentation. Yes we were awe struck - and as you describe it Cam, it was awesome! With many thanks from all at ChildFund New Zealand. ChildFund New Zealand

I had heard how motivating Cam Calkoen’s presentation at the Leadership Summit for Ministry of Social Development was and was looking forward to hearing him at the Managers Workshops in Auckland and Wellington. My expectations were far exceeded. The aftermath of Cam’s presentations was so positive, staff were lining up to meet him and obtain contact details for future speaking engagements.

Ministry of Social Development

Cam is a role model New Zealander who proves that any obstacle can be overcome if you are willing to dream big and back yourself with hard work and determination. Cam’s life story is awe inspiring. He is a powerful communicator who connects with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Cam is a regular presenter at Vodafone events and I am proud to recommend him as a speaker of the highest quality.

Vodafone New Zealand

In the corporate environment Cam is able to use the example of his own experience to challenge people to be the best they can be in their chosen roles and to stretch themselves to achieve more. He encourages people to look ahead and to believe they can achieve more than they may think possible. A strength of Cam’s presentations is the message of looking out for others and helping them to their goals. His presentations are entertaining as well as imparting a simple and strong message.


Cam presented to over 400 of our residential salespeople at the Bayleys National Sales Conference. Cam is a truly inspirational speaker who engages his audience with his positivity, amazing smile and AWESOME personality. He is a great role model and ambassador for New Zealand, and certainly proof that any obstacle can be overcome if you dream big, are willing to work hard and have a determination to succeed. We have all been touched by Cam’s story… dream it, believe it, achieve it.


Cam quickly captured the attention of the audience and kept them engaged for the entire time!

New Zealand Steel

Cam was AMAZING! Everyone loved him and found his speech incredibly engaging and interesting.


We were looking for an engaging, entertaining, stimulating and informative presentation which is geared to challenging and lifting everyone's performance and helping them achieve their goals and maximise their potential. Cam’s “dream BIG, because with big dreams comes a big life” presentation delivered everything we asked for and heaps more. He was absolutely sensational as he told his gut-wrenching story of how he pushed through his physical limitations, set his own goals and achieved more at a young age than most able bodied people do in a whole lifetime. His raw and honest example is truly inspirational and he presented a real challenge to everyone who heard him. Cam is absolutely “awesome” and should be seen and heard by everyone, from the very young to the very old, as he is truly a living example of how to live each and every day to the max.

BrokerWeb Conference

Cam not only shared his unique story, he managed to connect his experience and his learning from these experiences, to a wide and diverse range of delegates. He had us shedding tears of laughter one moment then tears of sadness and empathy for his struggles the next. Cam was the consummate professional and the most polished speaker that I have heard in decades. His ability to read the audience and take them on a journey was outstanding.

Physical Health & Outdoor Education

It’s always a little daunting booking a speaker for your national conference, hoping they hit the spot, connect to the theme of the conference and endorse the message you want your team to take away. I needn’t have worried as Cam smashed it out of the park! He was literally AWESOME! He connected his message with ours and our team were totally engaged. I always judge the engagement of a speaker by how many of the audience want to speak to the presenter after their session and Cam was swamped! The feedback from the network and several suppliers we had invited into the session was tremendous - they were all buzzing!

Kitchen Studio Group

Cam was so inspiring and engaging. His messages in his speech were very relevant to our audience (which was a wide audience) and he made them laugh, almost cry and gave our audience a number of “ah ha” moments. The feedback we have received from our staff and community has been overwhelmingly positive. Such a nice guy that not only did a professional and inspiring presentation/speech but also engaged with the audience before and after the speech.


He was AWESOME! Such an inspiration, great sense of humour and had everyone in the room interested and captivated.

Matamata-Piako District Council

Cam was engaging, funny, and had the audience fully tracking along with him.

Streetwise Coffee

Cam's ideas and philosophy are so well in tune with what Quest is about... pure awesomeness.

Quest Apartments

His energy and charisma he brought to his presentation and the day set the tone for what continued to be a great event. He is so passionate about his purpose and hearing him articulate that in front of an audience makes you believe it even more. We have had nothing but exceptional feedback from our attendees for Cam’s keynote.

Edge Creative

Cam tailored his presentation to suit our organisation. It was a smaller venue than I expect he is used to, with a more subdued audience but his energy was excellent. His honest enthusiasm and his authenticity came through and our staff responded well.

Tasman District Council

He was fantastic, we have had nothing but positive feedback from the team.

Goodman Fielder

He picked up quickly our audience and their mood and his theme hit the mark 100%

Aotea Electric

What an incredible man, a total inspiration.


So inspiring. We loved Cam and his can do attitude to life but more than that, realise your dream and don’t let anything stand in the way.

Eves Realty Group

So inspirational and really brought the energy to the last speaking slot of the conference. People left energised and inspired, which was our aim. Thank you Cam!

Conference Innovators

I would recommend Cam for any group wanting to have an engaged audience and think about open mindsets.

Trev Terry Marine

For many participants, he was the highlight of our year-long programme.

The University of Auckland

Cam Calkoen was an awesome and inspirational speaker. His ability to engage with the audience and encourage positivity and to create our own awesome life was motivational.

Howick Intermediate

Cam listened to what we wanted to achieve for both our own crew and also those of our clients and tailored the presentation to be relevant to both.


OUTSTANDING! Received a standing ovation. I have never seen such a response to a keynote speaker ever.


I would recommend Cam for any group wanting to have an engaged audience and think about open mindsets.

Trev Terry Marine

Cam connected beautifully to the audience and received a standing ovation.

The Learning Network

Cam was awesome! He was engaging and took us on a journey that took us from laughing out loud to feeling emotional and everything in between. His content fit perfectly into our day and really set us up for success. The team were energised and talking about it for days.


Cam was fantastic. Was able to incorporate parts of what he had heard throughout the day into his speech. His interaction with the group was exceptional.

Cookie Time

Cam was incredibly engaging and inspiring to host at our Team Day event! Cam brought so many laughs to our audience of approx 180 people and ended our day on such an AWESOME high!!

Foodstuffs North Island

Cam's session was brilliant. Cam had great energy! Cam was inspirational. Cam has to be one of the best speakers I've had the pleasure to listen to at one of our events. He was inspirational, chattered with people before and after his presentation, just an all round great guy. Be awesome!

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