Christopher Novak


Professional Speaker Author


Christopher Novak is author of Conquering Adversity: Six Strategies to Move You and Your Team Through Tough Times, (Cornerstone Leadership, 2004) a true-life, compelling roadmap to discovering the hero we all have inside. Conquering Adversity is a valued resource for more than 25,000 professionals in business, education, government, and non-profit organizations. Novak has also published more than 20 articles on business, political science, and history in magazines that include Newsweek, HR Magazine, Human Resource Professional, Smithsonian’s Air & Space, Retired Officer Magazine, and syndication of several articles by The New York Times.

A professional speaker, Novak has presented the Conquering Adversity message to organizations both nationally and internationally. His audiences include professionals in education, healthcare, business, human services, military and students. Presented with the passion and power of the person who lived the experience, Novak guides participants through an insightful, interactive journey of self-discovery and motivation.

Novak started The Summit Team in 2001 as an extension of over 20 years of professional experience in positions that included Director of Human Resources for Cornell University (campus life), Human Resources Manager for Syracuse China Company and a military officer and aviator. An experienced human resources executive, his professional expertise includes leadership development, training facilitation, employee relations, recruitment, negotiation, strategic planning, and team building.

He has a master’s degree in business management from the State University of New York’s College of Technology, specializing in human resources management, and a dual bachelor’s degree in aeronautics-mathematics from Miami University (Ohio).


  • Conquering adversity: 6 strategies to move you and your team through tough times. Background: On August 10, 1998, my 37 year-old wife, 7 months pregnant with our 2nd son, was driving home from work, when a man high on drugs and out to sell them ran a stop sign. He killed both mother and baby. In its aftermath, my 9 year-old son and I have rebuilt our lives and moved forward with purpose and passion.
  • Purpose: Conquering Adversity is about discovering the hero we all have inside. It is an inspiring roadmap to help us navigate the storms of our life – personal and/or professional – and an unforgettable reminder that we are stronger than any challenge.
  • Designed for: Conquering Adversity is a message appropriate for any audience from high school student to adults. Its high impact self-discovery and motivation content make it ideal for business, education, service organizations, trade associations, government, or military functions. It can open, close or be used as a mid-event motivator.
  • Subject Focus: Personal and professional development; life-work balance; self-discovery and motivation; overcoming challenge, crisis or adversity; reaching difficult goals; redefining communications; embracing optimism.

Topics Covered: The keynote covers six strategies to overcoming any challenge or adversity. These strategies – affirmation, expectation, communication, locomotion, collaboration, and celebration – are presented with parallel personal and professional learning points to maximize message effectiveness. Interactive audience exercises, called Insight Activities, are conducted in the presentation to reinforce the message and elevate it from lecture to experience. These in-seat activities are simple but effective in engaging the audience and provide tangible takeaways they can use.

Keynote length: Minimum: 45 minutes – Ideal: 60 – 90 minutes

Results: Participants will leave Conquering Adversity with a renewed feeling of self-empowerment, a deep sense of personal discovery and the motivation to make active, positive changes in their personal and professional lives to maximize their effectiveness in each. This is an unforgettable experience.


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