Frank O’Dea’s story of triumph over adversity in business and in his personal life inspires audiences around the world. Against all odds, O’Dea went from being a homeless panhandler to a successful entrepreneur and a founder of The Second Cup chain of coffee stores. He went on to launch a number of other innovative and successful businesses and international not-for-profit organizations. His message resonates with audiences who are looking for hope for a better future and want to learn from his example.
As a young man, O’Dea was a homeless person living on the streets. At the age of 23, he began fighting back and overcoming the barriers that had been closed to him. Within a few years, he co-found The Second Cup, and later went on to co-found Proshred Security and Samaritan Air Ambulance Services.
In the not-for-profit arena, he co-found Street Kids International, an organization developed to help homeless children in third world countries, and the Canadian Landmine Foundation, an organization that raises funds for the dismantling of minefields around the world. Together with the United Nations and world figures like Colin Powell and Sir Paul McCartney he lead an international fundraising event “Night of A Thousand Dinners” that was taken up in 29 countries around the world.
Among his many honours, O’Dea is an Officer of the Order of Canada and holds honorary degrees from two universities. His current ground- breaking projects include a youth employment program across Canada, and developing sustainable affordable housing in Brazil, using Canadian technology. He is also the author of two books: his memoir When All You Have is Hope and, in response to the demand from people who have reached out to him for help in dealing with their challenges, his newest book: Do The Next Right thing, Surviving Life’s Crises.