Major MJ Hegar
Leadership Speaker and Foreign Policy 100 Leading Global Thinker
A member of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers for 2013, Major Hegar is a captivating speaker, plainspoken and gracious. In keynotes that have a “pin drop” quality, she talks about teamwork and emboldens us to embody the change we seek. With the Air National Guard, Hegar served three tours in Afghanistan, flying Medevac and Combat Search and Rescue missions. On her third tour, she was shot down behind enemy lines. Injured and without backup, she was pivotal in rescuing her crew and patients, and became only the second woman in history to earn a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device. She was also awarded a Purple Heart. After being denied a position in the Air Force, essentially for being a woman, Hegar sued the Secretary of Defense, asserting that the Combat Exclusion Policy—which, at core, prevented women from entering direct combat—was unconstitutional. In a historic decision, the policy was repealed in 2013.
Be the Change
In this talk, Major MJ Hegar reveals how to be a catalyst for change on a large scale, be it in your career, at home, or on a national or global level. When someone tells you that something cannot be done, she says, the only way to prove them wrong is to do what they believe to be impossible. Her heroic actions in Afghanistan—when she was shot down on a Medevac mission and was pivotal in rescuing her crew and patients, and became the second woman in history to earn a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device—changed the perception of women in the military. And, her historic lawsuit against the Secretary of Defense opened the door for women to participate in ground combat, a significant step forward for equal rights for women in the military. How did she do it? And what can we learn from her experiences? A magnetic speaker, she combines harrowing war stories and powerful lessons on social change with practical advice on leadership, diversity, teamwork, and motivation.
Performing Under Pressure
How will you react when you are tested? When Major MJ Hegar’s helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, she discovered what it truly is to perform under pressure. Injured and without backup, she was pivotal in rescuing her crew and patients and became the second woman in history to earn a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device. She was also awarded a Purple Heart. In this talk—appropriate for a wide variety of audiences, from corporate to college to military—she delivers valuable lessons for not only keeping a cool head in a tense situation, but performing with distinction. The difference between those of us who react well under pressure and those who don’t, she says, comes down to a few important principles. Who do you hope to be when all eyes turn to you?
Lead Your Team to Victory
Leadership is about more than just setting an example, taking care of people, and having integrity. In this talk, Major MJ Hegar draws on her 15 years of multi-industry experience—from leading hundreds of troops in logistics and combat operations to leadership roles in the corporate sector—to identify the three most important elements that make a good leader: character, decision-making, and knowledge. From team-building and problem-solving to risk-taking and understanding tactics and strategy, Major Hegar offers a unique look at this timeless topic.
University of Maryland School of Law
Major Hegar was everything we could have hoped for and more. Engaging, professional, knowledgeable ... [she] maintained the perfect balance between seriousness and humor throughout her address.
You kept us all riveted with your story and storytelling skills, taking us from racing hearts to laughing and crying.
Metropolitan Breakfast Club Meeting
Your confidence, competence, planning, preparation and professionalism were all on display as you engaged our audience with ‘edge-of-the-seat’ stories sprinkled with your own unique ‘MJ brand’ of humor.
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