audio close compressed excel CS_logo_icon_solid_yellow_alt Created with Sketch. x x image insta-black menu pdf Print BTN - Shortlist Created with Sketch. Share Asset 1 word


Shark Attack Survivor, Surfer & Storyteller

Nothing is more powerful than a second chance at life.

Turning the worst day of your life into your best is no easy feat, but sometimes there is simply no other option. In Brett Connellan’s case, this day included the moment every surfer’s worst nightmare became his reality when he was attacked by a Great White Shark.

As the light was fading at Bombo Beach on the evening of the 30th of March, 2016, Brett was inches from death. He had lost three-quarters of his left quad, and emergency responders on the scene were sure Brett would not make it. Fortunately, the cards fell in Brett’s favour, and he managed to pull through with the help of a brave friend, timely emergency support and a healthy serving of luck.

Current Work:

The events that saved Brett’s life were not lost on him, and that perspective was needed as he faced a long and challenging road to recovery. With a bleak outlook prescribed to him by doctors, it was evident that Brett’s life as he knew it would never be the same.

These moments in time are pivotal in any person’s life as they often lead to a questioning of purpose and identity. However, what Brett did not know at this time was that the following months were even more life-changing than just the injury itself. The recovery forced Brett to “climb a new mountain” in his words and develop a different mindset towards resilience, which helped him defy the odds to be able to walk again and eventually get back in the water and do what he loves most, surfing.

Although this may sound like the perfect end to Brett’s story, it was only the beginning. Brett soon realised that the lessons he learned through his recovery could be applied to all areas of his life. This has pushed him to be the best version of himself, both personally and professionally. This new version of Brett, fuelled by purpose, drives him to use his unique and powerful story to help others make the most out of their journeys.

Talking Points

RESILIENCE - Turning the worst day of your life into the best

Brett doesn’t think he would believe the advice he’d share with a younger version of himself because he believes that there’s no greater teacher than the experience itself.

That’s not to say that everyone has to be attacked by a shark in order to gain some great perspective on life but a fact of being a human is that everyone will experience their own version of what Brett has been through. The key in getting through these experiences is knowing what to do in order to be resilient. Resilience is something that’s inside all of us and sometimes we need a little reminder of what that looks like. Here Brett shares the tools required to overcome some of life’s obstacles as he relates it to his recovery post shark attack and how he navigates the many challenges he faces in life today.

Key Takeaways:
- Normalise and understand the role that setbacks play in the human experience
- Build your ‘resilience toolbox’ through Brett’s 3 key areas (Perspective, Pathways and People)
- Understand that the ‘resilience toolbox’ can be used not only to overcome obstacles, but to reach new heights in life

*This presentation can be 45-60 minutes and can include overarching themes of both motivation and/or mental health

INSTINCT - The hidden tool to success

As humans, we often find ourselves in pursuit of high-performance habits or hacks that will lead to success, whether it be in our personal or professional lives.

We’ve heard it all when it comes to these strategies and the more we look into them the more complicated they become, but it doesn’t need to be this complicated. As human beings, we have evolution to thank for our simplest and most effective tool for motivation and high performance; its roots are based on our instinct. This may seem like an odd way of looking at this, but looking at situations through a different lens is what someone like Brett does best as he explains how his near-death experience at the jaws of a great white shark helped him harness his instincts to not only defy the odds in his recovery but to excel in life from that point forward.

Key Takeaways:
- Gain perspective on the role that instinct plays in helping us as humans achieve the best outcome
- Learn how to use instinct to create purposeful goals/direction in life, both personally and professionally
- Learn the framework to follow your purpose and achieve fulfilment and success

*This presentation is 45 minutes

PURPOSE - Why do you do what you do?

Whether it’s work, education or parenthood, sometimes it’s easy to get stuck travelling through life on autopilot. How often do we actually stop and ask ourselves why are we doing what we do?

The answer to that question can unlock so much when it comes to achieving what we want in life. Whether it’s to reach your own goals or to service your clients better, when you learn how to pause and take a moment to connect with your purpose, you’ll soon realise the importance of one of life’s greatest drivers. Allow Brett to place this in context with his own experiences to see how purpose can be found in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Key Takeaways:
- Identify situations when we need to pause and ask ourselves “why?”
- Discover the role that purpose plays in directing the actions of our everyday life
- Learn how to find your own purpose through personalised ‘pillars’

*This presentation is 20-30 minutes
Thanks for your awesome presentation Brett. Your story has had a lasting impact on us and has inspired us to take action professionally and personally. I know of some staff - me included, who are already implementing some of your ideas. Thanks again for trusting us with your story and then delivering an engaging, impactful and memorable webinar. Department of Communities & Justice, NSW

Brett's story is something everyone needs to hear. Not simply just because it is a raw and emotional story, but because it is a story that evokes a passionate and inspiring response from those that are lucky enough to be present for the experience. Instantly engaging Brett presents his story and his learnings from his own experiences in a format that is adaptable to any setting and that would be of great benefit to any audience listening.


Brett is an amazing, engaging speaker with a story that is relevant and inspiring. Brett's message of resilience and achieving your goals was clear through his storytelling approach. He had our audience fully engaged for the whole keynote.

Allambi Care

Brett is an excellent storyteller with a calm and composed persona. The way he presented his life experience left the audience spellbound. A few amongst the audience were able to share their experience and challenges. Brett managed those conversations very well. It was an invigorating experience for many of us.

Blacktown City Council

We had Brett speak at an investor conference we held in March 2023. Brett had the entire audience captivated from start to finish. His story is an amazing and ever-evolving one, but the way Brett breaks it down from the incident in 2016 to now, and especially how he has dealt with it was truly inspiring. Having Brett speak at our event gave a unique and priceless element to it, and the feedback from our guests has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope I get to hear him speak again soon! Thanks again Brett!

Cloud Break Wealth

Brett Connellan is an extremely engaging speaker, whose story of purpose and resilience through challenge is inspirational for all. Brett's message was transferable and relevant to our work and as such gave his audience powerful take-aways for future challenges and how we may approach and respond to these. His approachable manner and willingness to engage thoughtfully with his audience was so well received and absolutely appreciated. We couldn't recommend him highly enough!

Wollongong Primary Principals’ Council
Let us know

and we'll send all the latest Saxton Global updates and news direct to your inbox
Thanks, you have been subscribed
View Shortlist