#27: Simon Keith
Simon Keith is a business coach, keynote speaker, and former professional soccer player with the distinction of being the both the first athlete to ever play a professional sport after receiving a heart transplant as well as one of the longest-living organ transplant recipients in the world.
He is also the founder of the Simon Keith Foundation, which supports children who have undergone organ transplants and raises awareness for organ donation.
In this episode, Simon shares his journey through multiple organ transplants, the challenges of getting back into professional soccer post-surgery, and his entrepreneurial endeavors – including selling multiple businesses and turning a sleepy non-profit organization into a powerhouse driven by business principles.
Simon also speaks about:
- His upbringing in a super-competitive household and the impact it had on his drive to succeed
- His father's sacrifices, and how he learned to be a better father himself
- Moving to London to play professional soccer, but eventually needing to return to Canada due to a heart issue
- Undergoing a heart transplant in 1986 in Canada, where the procedure was still in the experimental phase
- The challenges, complications, and short lifespan of heart transplants
- His return to professional sports with a lack of nerve connections between his heart and brain, and limited cardiac capacity
- Transitioning from professional athlete to entrepreneur
- How he was able to extend the lifespan of his heart transplant to 32 years through his own unconventional methods and determination
- Meeting the father of the 17-year-old who donated his heart to him
- The need for non-profits to adopt entrepreneurial strategies – including branding, marketing, and profit-making – to attract talent and drive success
- Receiving the Order of Canada, one of Canada's highest honors
- The significance of choosing the right life partner for long-term success
- The importance of checking one's ego and understanding that success comes from asking for help
- His private venture that has the potential to revolutionize organ donation and transplantation
Simon’s charitable cause:
The Simon Keith Foundation, which “is dedicated to providing financial support primarily to youths who have undergone a life-saving organ transplant who desire a return to an active and healthy lifestyle, and strives to increase organ donor registration through public awareness campaigns”.
Connect with Simon on socials: