American Training hosts famous inspirational speaker Jono Lancaster
Mikaela Reynolds, Director of Marketing
Jono Lancaster has traveled around the world, sharing his story and message of empowerment with thousands. His story is so captivating and inspiring, it was even featured in a BBC documentary, Love Me, Love My Face, that aired worldwide.
But just a decade ago, life was different for Jono, now 32.
“Just ten years ago, I was hiding away. Now I’m on the other side of the world, sharing my story with you,” he said, as he spoke to a crowd of well over 100 at American Training in Andover on July 6.
Jono, from Leeds, England, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome. For him, that means “I have no cheekbones so my eyes look a little different,” and his ears formed differently so he uses a hearing aid.
As an infant, Jono was abandoned by his parents, then bullied as a child, and eventually harassed as a teen. He reacted with anger and self-hate. He believed his face would prevent him from ever getting a job or falling in love, from ever finding true happiness.
But a job as a bartender and a first girlfriend named Beth in his late teens and early twenties proved otherwise. He realized it wasn’t his face that had held him back, it was his attitude.
He embraced what made him different and eventually fell in love with himself and his face. He adopted a positive attitude and outlook on life, which is what he spreads as he travels the world sharing his story.
Hearing of his powerful story, American Training, who serves adults with disabilities, invited Jono to share his story with their Guests, Colleagues, Students, and even opened the event to the community.
ATI Colleague Kristen Murphy, who has a son with TCS, became friends with Jono several years ago and made the connection.
“He has inspired me and my family so much and I wanted to share that with everyone at American Training,” she said. “Jono is an amazing role model for all children and adults with physical disabilities or anything they feel makes them different from their peers.”
Jono’s words really hit home for many in the audience, but particularly with Guest Shaun Sharpe. “I’ve been bullied before because of my special needs and my weight, but he helped me realize I need to forgive people and move on,” said Sharpe. “I thought he was really awesome. He really got to me.”
As Jono wrapped up his speech, he encouraged his audience to spread love and kindness with positive attitudes, kind words, and simple gestures like a friendly smile.
“This was such an incredible experience, not only for our Guests, but also for our Colleagues and members of the community who attended,” said Colleague and event organizer Adam Jackson. “Jono proved to us all that no obstacle is too large. Our Guests and everyone here took that with them.”
See more photos from Jono’s visit, and more information on his Foundation, Love Me, Love My Face at americantraininginc.com/events.