It is rare to find a true Renaissance man anymore, but that’s just that you get with Ben Utecht. Ben has always chased his dreams, finding his way from a small river town in Minnesota to a Super Bowl championship field. Whether it was becoming a world champion in football, singing with major symphonies, serenading Muhammad Ali on his 70th birthday, or stepping into a national advocacy role, Ben has found success in many realms. He honed his already keen public speaking skills at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with a degree in communications and even started a master’s degree in sports management before being swept up into the NFL.
Ben has established himself as a prominent national leadership and motivational speaker for corporations, conventions, and non-profit events. Both of his programs, The Champion’s Way™ and The MVP Program™, stem from lessons he learned in the locker room with Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy and in the huddle with future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning. The Champion’s Way™ spotlights and breaks down “The 4 Ls” of leadership: listening, learning, language, and love. The MVP Program™ comes from Ben’s experience with concussions. It inspires audiences to truly care about their minds and to discover how integral memory is to identity. Both programs illuminate dynamic ways to succeed in business and life.
I believe, as a speaker, that vulnerability equals connectivity. This is why I approach my keynote presentations with a mission of bringing you on an emotional journey through my life, into a hall-of-fame huddle, and onto a field of high-impact lessons. All our lives tell a story, and this is how I tell mine!
As an influential advocate for brain health, Ben served as the national spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology and currently sits on the prestigious board of the American Brain Foundation. Ben was given the AAN’s most esteemed honor, the Public Leadership in Neurology Award, in 2014. Also at that time, Ben released a music video for his song “You Will Always Be My Girls,” written as a love letter to his wife and daughters with the goal of emotionally connecting people to the importance of their memories. The video has impacted the lives of many, garnering over 1.3 million YouTube views to date.
Ben can now add “author” to his résumé, with the release of his new book Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away, published by Simon & Schuster. The book is the first memoir from a former NFL player who left the game as a result of concussions. It takes the reader on a heart-felt journey through the ups and downs of Ben’s life with faith, family, and football. Ben has a message of hope that has reached a nation-wide audience, inspiring people to value every moment to its fullest.
Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away is available in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook formats wherever books are sold.
2003 Team Captain – University of Minnesota
2003 First Team All Big Ten Tight End
2006 Super Bowl XLI Champion
2012 Dove Award Nominee
2013 Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance Ambassador Award
2014 Public Leadership in Neurology Award
WORDS From clients
Ben took the time to familiarize himself with the profile of our graduating class, and even mentioned a few of them by name during his speech. He personalized his message to his young audience, building on his athletic and other life experiences, his faith in God, and his love for family. We’re inviting him back for other opportunities to speak to both our student athletes and our general student population.
Not only is Ben dynamic and engaging, his personal story resonates with others and increases awareness on the needs to support research to help brain injury patients, especially those with sports concussion. Ben was a natural choice to receive the 2014 Public Leadership in Neurology Award from the American Academy of Neurology and our foundation, the American Brain Foundation.
Ben Utecht is a remarkable example of someone who has turned a tragedy into a life-affirming effort to educate the public, especially parents and young athletes, about the potential serious consequences of sports concussion and other head injuries.
Ben genuinely aimed to make each person feel special. Ben's keynote speech moved the audience from laughter to tears to standing ovation! Afterwards men commented "he was one of the best speakers yet!" and "good luck topping that!". Ben was so easy to work with and very accommodating. His message was powerful and captivating and his passion for his family and brain health touches the heart of every listener.
Ben emceed our annual gala and was simply awesome! Our event is attended by nearly 1,300 of our donors and friends, it is our flagship event for the year. Ben’s care and concern for our mission was evident in his preparation for the big night. As we reviewed the scripting and order of events, Ben brought significant insight to the process. The night of the event showcased Ben’s ability to engage the audience with his genuine warmth, humor and overall charisma. He was the paramount professional in also keeping the event on time and focused. We were blessed to work with Ben and would highly recommend him to others.
Your evaluations were excellent and you received many wonderful comments such as… “Awesome…Wow…Excellent speaker and topic, Made me cry, Moving, Powerful, Great message, beautiful story, fun to listen to, and many thank you’s for sharing your story!” This was my last convention, as I retired after 31 years of planning workshops and conventions and I have to say my that meeting you and having you a part of my last convention was very special.
Ben was amazing! It’s clear that Ben knows how to gear his talk to the audience. He was in a roomful of the best neuroscientists in the world (including a Nobel Laureate), and he clearly knew how to connect the science to the human perspective. It was such an inspiring way to start our session on memory loss; many attendees came up to me later to let me know how inspired and impressed they were by Ben.
Ben did a fantastic job. On our program evaluation from the participants, he scored a 9.1 on a 10 point scale. He scored higher than Dr. Omalu. Our board chair said “he hit it out of the park”. During our board meeting one of the CEOs said she will change the way her organization treats brain injury patients based on Ben’s comments.
Ben provided a great message to our group of financial representatives. He was engaging by providing humor alongside the seriousness of his story of perseverance in working to overcome injuries that took him down a different path he never imagined. He was inspiring to all! Ben received an average of 9 out of 10 on our post-event survey. During the planning process, Ben was great to work with. He took the time to get to know his audience and our organization and was able to weave in messages that were relevant to the group. I appreciated that Ben was very down to earth! I would definitely work with him again and would recommend him to others.
Ben recently spoke at an industry conference sponsored by our firm. By all accounts, our group was greatly impressed by Mr. Utecht’s powerful life story and the positive impact he is making by bringing greater awareness to the medico-legal issues of sports concussions and brain trauma. His presentation was passionate and inspirational. Ben provided an excellent testimonial for our attendees, and it is evident he is a man of great character and faith. On a personal note, Ben also did a nice job in talking with many people in our group (which was greatly appreciated), and even hung out with us well after his speaking engagement was over. Mr. Utecht received very high marks from our attendees (who can be a tough crowd) on the quality and content of his presentation. Well played Ben!
Ben emceed our 2017 Twin Cities Heart & Stroke Gala. His positive energy, sincerity, well-known name and personal connection to our mission of improving brain health inspired our sponsors and donors, and elevated the tone and focus of our event. Ben was professional, open to brainstorming creative ways to combine his many talents into our program, and an overall delight to work with.