Meet John Riley


John graduated from Abbeville High School in Abbeville, Alabama, in 1966 as an Honor Graduate, and then went on to Auburn University, where he graduated in June of 1970, with a degree in Business Administration.


Started speaking full-time in 1976 and has spoken over 13,o00 times, in 26 countries.

John’s Story

As a motivational speaker and humorist, John reaches thousands each year. His teachings have spanned the globe, encompassing 22 countries and totaling more than 10,500 times over the course of nearly 4 decades. Born in the small town of Abbeville, Alabama, he was taught early on about the importance of hard honest work and building lasting relationships.

He went on to play football for Auburn University and was drafted by Oakland. When his football career came to a sudden end in 1970, John explored the business world. After six years he answered the calling deep down inside and began speaking full-time. He has been teaching companies how to incorporate those honest values that he learned so long ago into building lasting working relationship with each other as well as the companies they work with.

John has received countless awards and recognition, but nothing is as rewarding to him as when he is sharing the simple but important principles of living with a group of people. He has spoken for multiple companies in all parts of the world. He does team building and coaching for some of the most recognized brands. John is sure to stir and motivate anyone who is looking to excel and reach to new heights within themselves and the world around them.

See Where John Speaks

John Speaks Anywhere

John has given a variety of speeches on various motivational subjects for Annual Meetings, Associations, Banks, Churches, Conferences, Keynote and Closing addresses, Real Estate Agencies, Sales Meetings, Schools, State Organizations, and Universities. John has also spoken for many Government Organizations, Military Bases, for the state of Alabama and Florida, Judges Conferences and Court Clerk Conferences, Annual Civic Club Dinners, Annual Chamber of Commerce Dinners, inspiring messages for Mayors Prayer Breakfast, Retreats, Conferences and Churches. He has also done television and radio interviews in the US, Canada and Russia.


Dupont Chemical
Alabama Power
Pursell Technologies
Stay Green Plant Company
Georgia Lighting
Large Auto Dealerships such as Capital Chevrolet
Community Banks

John is a personal coach, working with individuals in the areas of Goal Setting, Mission Statements and Vision Statements.

Listen to John’s Archives

Audio Samples

Click on the title to hear the sample in your browser.


Spirit of Courage

The Golden Rule

John is Ready to Speak for You

Book John

For more information or to schedule a life-changing seminar, please contact Joy Cannis via telephone or email.





“Mr. Riley did exactly what I had requested of him when speaking to our employees and that was to lift everyone up with laughter and at the same time give us words of inspiration and encouragement! Comments from employees ranged from “best speaker I have heard in 13 years!”, “Mr. Riley helped set the tone for a wonderful school year!”, “his message to all of us are words to live your life by!”, along with many more compliments. Eufaula City Schools are off and running with renewed enthusiasm for the 2015-16 school year! Thank you John Riley!”
-Eddie Tyler,  Superintendent, Eufaula City Schools

“Because of John’s influence and impact in our company, we have made him our CIO (Chief Inspirational Officer). He speaks for every manager’s meeting as well as other meetings for our employees, suppliers, and customers. You will be glad to have him speak for your organization!”
-Mark Callender,  Chief Operating Officer, Great Southern Wood Preserving

“John Riley is a very gifted speaker. He has an uncanny ability to inspire and lead. His facial expressions, body language, appearance, voice and gestures are sure to captivate any group of people. His character, sense of humor and story tellling combine to keep you captivated by his message. He is a genuine Christian and Bible student. If I was looking for someone to bring a message to a congregation, be it a sermon or an after dinner talk, I would get John Riley to be the speaker. I trust hime to deliver the message that I would want my congregation to hear and to use.”
- Riley Short

“Having spent 25 years in corporate America, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing some of the greatest, most recognizable speakers in America. Now that I’ve experienced John Riley (on more than one occasion) I put him at the pinnacle of the list of the finest communicators on the planet. His blend of motivation and humor is incomparable, and he delivers both with an infectious enthusiasm. Pat yourself on the back for booking him for your next corporate event.”
- Robert Alston, Certified Southern Humorist

“John Riley is truly “one of a kind”; dedicated, sincere, humorous and thoroughly inspiring. Hear him. You’ll be better as a result.”
- Zig Ziglar, Author and Speaker

“I first met John Riley in 1976. He has spoken for our companies hundreds of times; sometimes as keynote speaker at conventions, and other times just talking in small groups to our 500 associates about motivational and inspirational things. Everyone needs to hear John’s message, with his wonderful, humorous style of delivery. You never get tired of hearing him speak.”
- James T. Pursell, Sr., Chairman, Pursell Technologies, Inc., Est. 1904

“John Riley is a combination of motivation, inspiration, charm and humor. He is truly one of our great communicators.”
- William J. Cook, Jr., International Speaker, Author, Founder and Director of The Cambridge Group

“John Riley is a great inspirational speaker. He has the unique capacity to communicate great truths in a simple, understandable manner. People respond positively to his presentation!”
- Dr. John Ed Mathison, Pastor, Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church

“I have had the pleasure of working with John Riley on several conferences over the last few years. He is an outstanding speaker and an outstanding person who receives outstanding evaluations! I look forward to working with him on future projects.”
- Thomas (Tommy) D. Pow, Ph.D., University of Alabama

“Your presentation was the exact motivational push we needed at the Professional Development Conference for State Secretaries and Administrative Staff. You were ranked as one of the highest speakers at the conference and must be brought back each year. The standing ovation let us know how much they loved you.”
- Sharleen Smith, Training Director, State of Alabama.

“Our Company is in the process of making major changes. Your comments on keeping things in proper perspective, and learning how to accept change, were very appropriate and timely. Your well-chosen words were moral boosters.”
– James T. Crawley, Vice President The Hudson Companies, Inc.

“It has been my privilege to know John Riley as both friend and speaker. He excels at both! You really owe it to yourself and your organization to hear his message and to get to know him.”
– John A. Rogers, CAE, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Florida Retail Federation

“ Against the backdrop of the Alaskan mountains and majestic scenery John spoke to busy, harried executives bringing them the most important part of their restoration… the word of God. John is one of the most capable and listened to speaker we have hosted in the last 20 years.”
– Rocky McElveen, Owner, Restoration through Relaxation Alaska Hunting and Fishing Lodges

“Thank you for the outstanding presentation to our State Board and County Farm Bureau Presidents. Both audiences considered the talks highlights of their respective meeting’s. Your vision challenge fit perfectly with the goal setting session.”
– Carl B. Loop Jr., President, Florida Farm Bureau Federation

“John Riley was a pleasure to work with. He started our Saturday morning off with just the right amount of inspiration, motivation and humor. John’s presentation was talked about throughout the rest of the convention. In working with John, you don’t feel like you’ve just booked a speaker, you feel like you’ve made a friend!”
– Cindy Molnar, CMP, Meeting Planner, Florida Association of Insurance Agents

“John’s wisdom and insight of the “big picture” relative to both the corporate world and one’s personal life are invaluable to me as a family man and business owner.  He will hook you with his southern humor, but underneath those clever and witty lines, are pearls of advice from years of experience and knowledge based on his study and understanding of God’s Word.  Business owners do not have many true friends without an always pending agenda.  I do, and his name is John Riley.”
- Joe Carroll, President

“John Riley is a challenging speaker whose winsome message will capture a wide variety of audiences. His listeners leave with a heightened sense of what they can do and who they can be.”
- Katherine Mitchell, PhD, Alabama Department of Education

“I have known John Riley for approximately 15 years and have heard him speak many times, to varied audiences. He is winsome, articulate and adaptable to any group; but most importantly, his messages have depth and meaning.”
- Dr. C. Eugene Brown, Orthodontist

“The warm, friendly meetings and outstanding presentations by John Riley are the highlight of the week each time we are fortunate enough to have him visit us.”
- James W. Crysel, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army

“I have heard John Riley with pleasure and profit. His message is real, for real people, in real situations. He is a conduit of blessing.”
- Fred Smith

“John Riley will show you how to do big things in life and business and still stay on course. I can’t imagine any group whose employees at all levels would not benefit from hearing him speak.”
- William O. Cullom, President, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

“John has the God-given ability to communicate great truths in a simple, understandable and often-humorous manner anyone could appreciate. Anyone who hears John will not only be well entertained, but will leave feeling deeply enriched… guaranteed!”
- Representative William J.Posey, National Legislator of the Year 1999

“John Riley is absolutely the funniest humorist I’ve ever heard in my life, but even more than that, he is extremely motivating and inspiring.”
- Dr. Tom Owen, Stunt Actor, Entrepreneur –Master’s Mr. U.S.A. 2001, 2002

“Planning a conference for association executives is always a challenge – especially finding a speaker for the keynote sessions. John Riley was a pleasure to work with – and the attendees comments reflect how well-received his message was!! ‘Keynote speaker needs to be brought back again.’ ‘John Riley is always a joy.’”
– Linda S. Chreno, CAE, Florida Society of Association Executives

“If you are reading this, chances are that you are considering hiring John to speak for your company, church, small group, etc. If that is the case, there truly are no words to accurately describe how great of a speaker this man is. As a man and a teacher, he uses his God-given gifts and abilities as effectively as any person I have ever met. Do not miss the opportunity to sit under his profound and inspiring teaching.”
– David Pollard, Raymond James and Associates, Stockbroker

“In the 35 years that I have managed our company, few things have had the impact as the motivation and inspiration that John Riley brings. The addition of John to our company has helped us focus and set the priorities that are moving us forward. Our management team and employees have positive attitudes and are finding ways to help us become more productive and efficient. Communications between our staff and with our customers is great.”
– Lester H. Killebrew Pres./CEO, Henry Farm Center-ValCom, a 5 location company with John Deere and IBM as major vendors

“John is one of the great speakers of our time, clearly articulating how to be a leader as well as a member of a thriving team. He is a man with a level of integrity and honor that is unparalleled. His energy is contagious and his wisdom inspiring. He has enabled me and countless others to find the motivation within to do great things and continue reaching for more.”
– Joy Cannis, Store Manager and Corporate Trainer, Starbucks Coffee Company, San Diego, California

“Dear John: You are the best! Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to spend three days with us. Each program was truly inspirational and our members could not believe how your insight and love of life could touch them so deeply.”
- Lawrence E. Scovotto, CAE, Executive Director, Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association

“The Georgia Oilmen’s Association Board of Directors and I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak at our Breakfast during the Sunbelt Petroleum Conference in Mobile, Alabama. I had many fine comments from our members on your presentation. It was very inspiring and motivating. We hope to have you with us again soon.”
- Roger T. Lane, President, Georgia Oilmen’s Association

John Riley is one of the most compelling and captivating speakers I have ever heard! His innate ability to inspire, motivate, and capture the minds and hearts of his listeners is absolutely phenomenal. His cogent message is communicated with extraordinary enthusiasm, passion, and polish. To be sure, John’s audience departs totally galvanized and refocused.
- Dr. Linda C. Young, President Wallace Community College, Dothan, Alabama