About Frank


Frank O’Dea has been speaking professionally for more than 15 years. He has a warm captivating style that is both humorous and profound.

A brilliant speaker who inspires and motivates audiences from all walks of life wherever he speaks, Frank is the highlight of the event, never failing to engage his audiences. He delivers a “pin-drop” speech, with his audiences hanging on his every word, as if he is speaking to each one personally.

With his quiet passion, he is low key and down to earth, using anecdotes ranging from his days on the street and the start-up of The Second Cup to a happenstance meeting that gave rise to Street Kids International. Because he talks about ordinary things his audience can easily identify with him and his message. In fact, by the end of his talk, his audiences invariably feel moved, empowered, and full of hope for themselves.


Hope Vision Action

“The standing ovation for Mr. O’Dea was remarkable. In 35 years at York, Guelph and now Royal Roads, I have never witnessed a standing ovation for a convocation speech.” Royal Roads University, B. Abercrombie

“An incredibly inspiring story … and one that shows we really can make a difference.” Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce, Carolyn Bones, President

Frank O’Dea’s life went off the rails in his early teens. Within a few years, he was living in 50-cent-a-night flop houses in Toronto’s bowery district where simply surviving was a challenge.

Against all odds, at the age of 23, with the courage to hope for a better life, and the spirit to forge ahead, Frank began the long road back. Fighting the formidable obstacles that hold back the homeless, the impoverished and the destitute, he overcame and rejoined society.

Then, as if that were not enough, he turned that same determination to the many obstacles in life that we all face. Within a few short years, he co-founded The Second Cup, which soon became the largest chain of gourmet coffees and teas in the country. Building on that success, he went on to co-found Proshred Security, a company that pioneered the entire industry of on-site document destruction. This company soon became an international organization with franchised operations in Canada, Europe and the United States.

Early on, Frank took steps to give back to the community. He began by serving on the boards of directors of charities and not-for-profit organizations. But the entrepreneur’s desire to innovate and build was not to be denied. In 1985 he co-founded Street Kids International, an organization developed to help homeless children in third world countries, through education and self-reliance programs. A few years later, he became the founding Chair of War Child (Canada), an organization that provides assistance against suffering and abuse of children in war affected countries. In the same year, Frank co-founded the Canadian Landmine Foundation, an organization that raises funds for the dismantling of minefields around the world. He went on to initiate that organization’s most successful fund raising program, “Night of a Thousand Dinners”, with participation of people in 29 countries, raising millions of dollars.

Recognition for his achievements

Recognition for Frank O’Dea’s achievements includes Ontario Volunteer Award, Lifetime Board Member Renascent Treatment Foundation, Paul Harris Awards, Doctor of Laws Royal Roads University, Doctor of Laws Carlton University and Officer of the Order of Canada.

His inspiring story is retold in his book, “When All You Have is Hope” published by Penguin and available through this website or in bookstores across the country.