Darren McBurnett

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McBurnett is an accomplished speaker and motivator, presenting to companies and groups including CDW, Wells Fargo, AIG, Budweiser, Morgan Stanle, Atria, Cetera, Infinex, Kelly Paper, Walk -Ons, Tripp lite, Hilton Hotels, Thrivent Group, LPL Finance, Rite-Aid,AstroTurf, Hilton Hotels, BMO, Walk-Ons, National Quarterback Club, Arbor Pharmaceuticals, and many others.  


His message is not only motivational and inspiring on a corporate level, but also promotes individual and personal growth—how to navigate in an ever-changing adverse environment where critical decision-making and leadership skills are vital for success. Understanding a culture of winning along with positive behaviors, comminication skills and embracing your uniqneness. His visually breathtaking multimedia presentation highlights the untapped potential and Never Quit intestinal drive that is the cornerstone of Navy SEAL success and shares the defining characteristics that promote leadership and sacrifice in the SEAL Teams.


  • Holds a bachelor of arts degree from Purdue University where he was on the cycling and water polo teams and was captain of the rowing team.
  • Earned high school MVP and state honors in cross country, track, indoor track, and swimming. He's completed hundreds of road races, endurance and swimming events, marathons, and triathlons, including the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon,Los Angeles Marathon, Tucson Marathon, San Diego Marathon and two Ironman triathlons.
  • Joined the Navy after college and started a 24-year SEAL career that included numerous deployments to combat zones in support of missions such as Operation Iraq Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Kosovo crisis, Liberia, and Operation Inherent Resolve.
  • The SEAL platoon leader and senior enlisted advisor; trained and operated with SEAL Teams Two, Four, Eight, One, Three, and SDV (SEAL Delivery Vehicle).
  • Developed military free fall course of instruction; deployed two years to the Middle East with a Joint Special Operations Task Force working with U.S. SOF in support of all U.S. engagements in the region; member of the U.S. Navy Parachute Team; instructor at the Naval Special Warfare Basic Underwater Demolition School.
  • Received 53 individual, unit, and campaign honors, including a Bronze Star.
  • He is proud to be an ambassador for Uncommon Grit Foundation, a nonprofit he started in 2020 to assist the military, first responders, and their families—those who answer the call. His photography and artwork have raised over $5 million for multiple charities across the spectrum.


McBurnett is the author of Uncommon Grit, a 224-page fine art photography book about the journey through Navy SEAL BUD/S first phase training. It's a unique look at the military's toughest training from the point of view of someone who has lived it. McBurnett includes descriptions of evolutions along with his sense of humor, allowing the reader to laugh, cringe, gasp, and imagine themselves participating.



  • High-energy delivery with a sense of humor.
  • Real stories from his SEAL career and how they apply to all teams.
  • Visually breathtaking presentation using his photography and video.
  • Leadership points from his SEAL experience that motivate and inspire.
  • Your life is a journey, embrace what makes you unique.

Darren McBurnett's Experiences

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  • What is your favorite quote? We don't define our future, we define our habits and behaviors. it's our habits and behaviors that define our future.
  • Is there anything else we should know about you? Life is 10% experience and 90% how you react to the experience. When life comes at you, be yourself as you were meant to be.