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Patrick Houlahan keynote speaker
6 Review(s)

Patrick Houlahan

    • Founder and CEO of Strategic Leadership Consultants LLC
    • Former United States Marine Corps “Top Gun” Fighter Pilot
    • Management Executive Consultant, Organizational Development Executive, and Entrepreneur
Full Bio
In Person-Fee 🛈

$15,000 - $20,000

Virtual Fee:

$10,000 - $15,000

Travels From


TOPGUN Lessons Learned

TOPGUN Lessons Learned

Strategic Leadership Consulting

Strategic Leadership Consulting

Patrick Houlahan Speaker Biography

“Experience is a cruel teacher: It gives the exam first and then the lesson.” – Redtails 2012.

Great leaders pass on valuable lessons prior to the exam. Organizations that succeed in any endeavor possess great leaders. Great leaders are also great teachers.

Patrick Houlahan is a world-renowned speaker, teacher, leader, and Founder / CEO of Strategic Leadership Consultants LLC. Patrick provides leadership guidance and business strategies to organizations nationwide. Patrick also works with numerous executive leadership teams, helping them gain consensus and alignment supporting and achieving the CEO’s mission.

Patrick is a graduate of The Citadel with over 27 years of military service. Rising to the rank of Colonel, Patrick flew the F/A-18 Hornet and graduated from the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, “TOPGUN.” Patrick was also recognized as the United States Marine Corps Instructor Pilot of the year and as a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Army War College, receiving a Master’s in Strategic Studies.

With a 15-year Speaking and Consulting background, Patrick founded Strategic Leadership Consultants to Build Inspired, Compassionate, Mission-Driven Leaders. Since 2019, Patrick has delivered inspiring keynote presentations, led invaluable workshops, and consulted with organizational leaders with companies such as 3M, State Farm, Technology Marketing Toolkit, the Association of Inside Sale Professionals, and Mission Produce.

BE THE TOP 1% IN BUSINESS: TOP GUN Principles for Mission Success.
Beyond being a cool movie, TOPGUN, and the more recent movie MAVERICK, displayed the elite of the elite: elite fighter pilots, elite teamwork, and the dedication it takes to succeed on any mission. In your business you need an elite team, a high-performing team, to complete your missions. But how do you lead a high-performing team? How do you create a high-performing team in the first place? What are the key behaviors and attributes needed?

Hard work, introspection, attention to detail, and a charge to hold yourself and all those around you to the highest standards are the attributes that identify a TOPGUN pilot. However, these attributes are not reserved for the top 1% of Naval Aviators. It is possible for you and your team to execute at the same level of a TOPGUN pilot.

As a kid, I thought it would be cool to be a TOPGUN pilot when the first movie came out. However, it wasn’t until I graduated from TOPGUN, that I began to understand what it really meant to be a “TOPGUN” graduate. I flew fighters for 21 years and was a TOPGUN graduate for 14 years during that time. I have been in the business world for 20 years and the lessons I learned from TOPGUN aren’t reserved for just the best of the best. When you apply those principles to your business, you create high-performing teams and succeed inside and outside your organization.

In my presentation “TOP GUN Lessons Learned,” you’ll learn the top six lessons (Purpose, Dedication, Humility and Honesty, Tough Love, Teamwork, and Debrief) from TOPGUN and how they can be used in business to develop and lead high-performing teams. Apply these lessons and your high-performing team will be the TOP 1% in your marketplace and achieve any mission they are given.

Patrick’s interactive presentation gives you and your team:
➢ LEARN six critical lessons from the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, TOPGUN.
➢ APPLY these lessons to the teams you lead and serve.
➢ BUILD high-performing teams to change the game in your organization.

Simplifying Leadership: Keys to Leading a Successful Team (especially in a crisis:)
Leadership happens at all levels, or at least it should. Leadership can make or break an organization in an increasingly competitive employment market.

Where do our rising leaders learn to be inspired, compassionate, mission-driven leaders?

What are the key principles they should follow?

You want to train and retain your best talent to achieve your company's strategic goals. Having simple, yet effective leadership principles for all organizational leaders is critical for success. As a TOPGUN trained Marine fighter pilot for 27 years and the founder of Strategic Leadership Consultants, Patrick understands and teaches the importance of creating a leadership structure that provides teams with the necessary training and empowerment to get the job done.

In “Simplifying Leadership: Keys to Leading a Successful Team,” Patrick delivers the key leadership principles necessary to take your leadership and team’s performance to the next level. He shares what he has learned as a TOPGUN fighter pilot along with 20 years of leading top executives and millennials alike in the business world.

When your team commits to these leadership principles, your business will retain your top talent and create the next generation of leaders to achieve your business goals.

The interactive presentation will help your team members:
➢ APPLY the key leadership principles required to INSPIRE and BUILD mission-driven teams.
➢ BUILD key leadership principles paramount to employee morale and productivity.
➢ FOSTER a team-first mentality to aid in retaining your most valued employees.

Communication is Key: The Art of the DEBRIEF and Building a Debriefing Culture:
The mission is complete, the sale is won or lost, and the quarter is over. What comes next?

Is it time to go after the next client or get started on the next quarter?

No. It is time to have a DEBRIEF. Reviewing what your team did right, what they did wrong, what they can improve, and what they can learn is critical to the growth of the team and the success of the next mission. As a military and business professional, nothing is finished until the DEBRIEF is completed.

Unfortunately, most organizations don’t DEBRIEF because they think they don’t have the time, they don’t plan for it, or they don’t know how. Further compounding the problem, they only DEBRIEF when something has gone wrong. This makes DEBRIEFING a negative experience.

DEBRIEFING is a Teaching and Learning opportunity. It is non-punitive in nature. The whole goal is to learn what we are doing well, repeat those actions, and negate the “others” that cause us to fall short.

In “Communication is Key: The Art of the DEBRIEF,” your teams will learn the steps and the art form of leading and conducting an effective debrief. Most reviews uncover surface-level causes and do not get to the root of the issue. Get the heart of the matter, so you don’t miss the opportunities to build best practices that can exponentially impact your business going forward.

Patrick’s interactive presentation will teach your team members:
➢ DEBRIEF principles and APPLY them to your business.
➢ LEAD and CONDUCT an effective debrief.
➢ CREATE an open, honest, and inclusive environment where a culture of debriefing can flourish.
➢ DRIVE agility and IMPROVE performance throughout the organization.

Resiliency: Build and Lead a Resilient Team:
Life is hard. Pandemics, politics, business setbacks, and personal setbacks can drag down even the most dedicated and successful person and team. Charles Swindoll says,“…life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it."

How do we bounce back and lead our teams?

How do we take a seemingly terrible experience and dig ourselves out?

How do we ensure the “bads” do not define our lives and careers?

In “Resiliency: How to Build and Lead a Resilient Team,” you’ll hear professional and personal stories of resiliency. Stories that nearly doomed Patrick’s TOPGUN dream, to being “let-go” in the business world leading to new found success.

Success isn’t predetermined. To succeed, leaders, teams, and any organization need to rise above challenging situations to persevere and reach great heights. Personal and professional resiliency is paramount for any high-performing team.

Your team members will experience:
➢ LEADING during challenging times and building resilient teams.
➢ PERSEVERING to keep moving forward, turning failures into successes.
➢ PROCESSING AND USING tools individuals and teams use to ensure the lows are never too low.

Fast and Effective Planning: Link Tactical Actions to Strategic Direction
“We agree all the time at the executive level, but then things break down below us.” Has this happened in your organization? We know it can, but why does it happen?

Unfortunately, many companies do not build effective, action-based plans throughout their organization. This dilutes their strategic direction. Planning takes effort, but as Yogi Berra reminds us, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

In “Fast and Effective Planning: Link Tactical Actions to Strategic Direction,” your teams will learn how to plan and ensure a line of sight from the frontline employees to the organization's strategic direction.

This interactive presentation will teach team members to:
➢ UNDERSTAND the “why” and REINFORCE the strategic direction when building a plan.
➢ BUILD a consensus and alignment behind the President’s/CEO’s strategic direction and WORK effectively across boundaries.
➢ BUILD effective, actionable plans and LINK tactical actions to the strategic direction.
➢ PLAN and EXECUTE during a crisis

Mastering the Art of High-Impact Presentations: Insights from a TOPGUN Speaker, Consultant, and Coach
Flying the mission should be the easiest part of evolution. In speaking, delivering the presentation should be the easiest part of the engagement. It’s the pre and post- work that makes all the difference.

Below is a process that ensures every engagement is TOPGUN-worthy. This process consistently delivers engagements that the leadership team and audience reflect on three, six, or 12 months down the road and state, “that was worth my time. I learned a lot and I can apply it.” Let’s review the process.
A. Engagement proposed: Learn everything the agent or planner knows. Attendees, meeting theme, client’s mindset, client’s desire, ROI, client’s expectations, etc..
B. Research client: Client’s website about page, history, products, services, news releases, leadership team, etc. Research industry, competitors, market.
C. Engagement questionnaire: 5-page document to customize presentation (who is in the audience, their environment, challenges, successes, etc.) as well as covering administrative items (where and when is the event, hotel, logistics, etc.)
D. One hour customization call: Purpose is to fully understand audience, so they never think, “that was neat, but how does that apply to me?”
E. Follow-up calls: If desired or required.
F. Request additional information: Client’s agenda, supporting documentation, and any additional articles or information that will enhance the presentation. Coordinate and communicate with other presenters to provide a uniform message.
G. Arrival: Always arrive a day early. Conduct AV check, be available to leadership team, and attend as many sessions as possible prior to the engagement.
H. Post presentation: “Never run out!” Always schedule time to engage with audience and answer questions post presentation. Seek Immediate feedback from client, event planner, and AV team.
I. Post event Debrief: Schedule a Debrief call less than two weeks post event to gather feedback and allow client to express their thoughts.

I follow this process every time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a one-hour keynote, a half or full day workshop, or a consulting/coaching engagement. This process is what I used as a Fighter Pilot and it allowed me to be the best of the best; a TOPGUN graduate.

I use this same process to deliver TOPGUN-worthy presentations and workshops to my clients. I look good, the speaker agent and event planner look good, the leadership team looks good, and together we deliver a memorable, worthwhile experience to the members of the audience.

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Customer Rating 5

Click testimonials tab below for detailed feedback.

May 8, 2024

Patrick is personable, relatable, and knowledgeable. Our attendees gave excellent feedback on his presentations and workshops. I highly recommend him!


March 25, 2024

Very engaging speaker, great message and easy to work with him and the team!

Navy Federal Credit Union

December 20, 2023

A fantastic speaker and a great example of how leaders are built to build future leaders.

The Witmer Group

October 17, 2023

July 12, 2023

Patrick was wonderful. Our members thought he did a great job with leadership. His real-world experiences as a Top Gun pilot really resonated with them.

Oklahoma Hospital Association

October 17, 2022

Patrick did a fantastic job at our conference. He was a perfect fit for us and highly recommend him.

Clarity Benefit Solutions


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