Bernie Kelly: An Extraordinary Teacher and Coach

Bernie Kelly’s story started three decades ago when he founded an inspirational youth development organisation now called ‘yLead’. Today, ‘yLead’ annually serves 20,000 students across hundreds of secondary schools with powerful leadership development experiences. All of these experiences are summarised by Bernie’s original mantra …


“Leadership is any Action that makes the World I touch a Better Place”

His ‘yLead’ days have come and gone, and graciously he has left the leadership of his vision to the very students, who once graced his lessons. In last chapter of his working life, he has begun his new creation … GLOBAL IMMERSION, which brings the youth of the world together to serve Africa schools, climb Kilimanjaro and form global leadership networks capable of making a real difference now and into the future.

People often asked who was Bernie Kelly, that enables him to initiate and drive such outstanding concepts. In reality, it all started for Bernie in 1986, when in front of a 10,000 live Reno, USA audience, Bernie Kelly won 3rd place in Toastmasters ‘World Championship of Public Speaking.’ In doing so, he became the youngest Australian ever to win a place in this global event.

Three months later, he ran the New York Marathon in 3 hour and 16 minutes. He ran rim to rim of the Grand Canyon as preparation !  He’s run the New York Marathon in 3 hours and 16 mins. That’s 4min and 40 seconds a kilometre for 42 klms. (I think he’d struggle now !) He’s climbed to the ‘Roof of Africa’, Kilimanjaro, 9 times and in the process been responsible for over 600 young Australians doing the same.

In his young adult years, he was voted ‘Young Australian of the Year’ by Jaycees Australia and played State Under 19’s and 23’s Cricket for Queensland.

Bernie has been nominated for ‘Queenslander of the Year’ twice. bernie004

Currently, he’s directing young Australians to visit and build third world schools in Nepal, Peru and Tanzania. Through Bernie $ 400,000 is currently being raised by Australian Youth to build Gemma Sisia’s  ‘School of St Jude’ a Science Block, and a brand new school for 122 disabled students in Kathmandu called ‘Khagendra’.

Despite being one of Australia’s most sought after Corporate Teambuilding and Leadership Development Trainers, Bernie’s remains equally committed to the development of Vision-driven and Values-centred Student Leadership.

“Developing leadership confidence and skills in our youth is the one true investment in tomorrow. I love having shares in this project,” Bernie claims.

His unique experiential teaching style of music, games, story-telling and fun problem-solving challenges make his programmes most appealing, but it is the power of his superb facilitation that hits ‘the right buttons’ and penetrates hearts, minds and souls.

“I once asked Bernie was he a trained Psychologist. He quickly said ‘No’, but also added that people, their responses and their behaviours had been his source of study for 30 years. To me that explains his extraordinary skills at reading and understanding people of all ages. He certainly has a gift.”

In 2009, Bernie was awarded the Pride of Australia Medal for two decades of service to the Youth of Australia. Later that week he took 16 young Aussies to Everest Base Camp ! They all stood at the base of the highest Mountain on Planet Earth.

For more details on the life and offerings of Bernie Kelly, listen to this extraordinary interview conducted on ABC Radio … The Inspirational Bernie Kelly or read the extraordinary application ‘Bernie Kelly is my Dad’ submitted to ‘The Pride of Australia’ Committee by Bernie’s children James and Bernice.