Against All Odds

A conference with 6 remarkable speakers and 6 life changing stories.

Thurs Nov 15th 2018. 7:00pm

Clayton Silversprings Hotel Cork


TELL it Talks was founded by Philip O Byrne in 2017. After over 40 years of working with and meeting people from different walks of life he was inspired by their life stories, and particularly by their resilience, resolve and resourcefulness and how this empowered them to succeed against all odds.

It was from these encounters that the idea grew to bring to you 6 such speakers with 6 life changing stories with the maxim “To Share, Enlighten and Inspire”. These 6 life changing stories as told first hand by the 6 remarkable people will give you a rare insight into how they succeed Against All Odds and were then able to explore what is possible. This Inspiring Conference “Against All Odds” takes place in Cork on Nov 15th at Clayton Silverspring’s Hotel, Cork.

Queries on corporate and sponsorship packages are available through our direct line 089 9730635 or


Dave O'Brien - 64 years old. Lives in Cork in the South of Ireland. Married with four grown up children aged between 27 to 41. Worldwide Inspirational Speaker on Health and World Record Holder. His passion is infectious as he thrills audiences across the globe, sharing his story with over 90 flights alone in the last 12 months. In 2010, Dave became, Oldest man in the world, the only Irish man ever and one of only a handful of people on the planet to complete the 4 Deserts, 1000 Kilometres, in a 38 week period, carrying everything on his back to survive across the hottest, Windiest, Driest and Coldest Deserts on the planet. A true Desert Runner, in fact his exploits, the inspiration for “Desert Runners Movie”, winning 8 film awards worldwide… In 33 years of running and with over 560 races completed worldwide, he has never been injured or sick, or missed a race due to sickness or injury. As he say’s himself, “it is not just good luck or good genes …. It’s good “Health” And in more recent times – a Barefoot Runner, having run over 4,000 Kilometres to date – totally Barefoot.

Karen Underwood - Vocals “When I came to Cork, I landed on my feet. I became alive to the music in me. At my lowest point in 2012, music gave me hope. The banks reshaped my life and made me the Chicago diva. I was not the Chicago diva before I came to Cork!” Karen Underwood is a singer and performer based in Cork. A Chicago native, Karen has lived in Cork for nearly two decades and enjoys collaborating with a host of Cork based musicians. She is the creative director of Cork’s first annual Soul in the City festival. This April, she was favourably received as she returned to the National Concert Hall, performing her favourite, inspirational songs crossing the genres of spiritual, gospel, jazz, American folk and popular music. In 2015, The Paul Dunlea big band invited Karen to perform at the Cork Opera House, where she joined the stage with Camille O’Sullivan, Mick Flannery, John Spillane and Laoise Hanlon. Karen also debuted her new show Feeling Good with Karen Underwood and her friends in the beautiful walled gardens of Marlay Park, Dublin. In 2014, Karen played Motormouth Maybelle in the Cork Opera House summer production of Hairspray, directed by Joseph Walsh. She has toured the width and breadth of Ireland singing and storytelling at numerous venues and festivals including: The National Concert hall, Vicar Street, The Olympia, The Gaiety, Everyman Cork, and the INEC. She has been a contributing artist for many years at the Cork Jazz Festival. Karen has also performed Clonmel Junction Festival, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival Belfast, Marlay Park, Castlepalooza, Body and Soul, Townlands Carnival, Oxegen and Electric Picnic. Karen’s radio and television appearances include TV3, TG4, The Marion Finnucane Show, The Pat Kenny Show, The Miriam O’Callaghan Show and John Creedon. Karen has written: The Nina in Me, an autobiographical show of her life and her many transitions from Chicago to Cork; Singing Nina, the life of Nina Simone; The Story of Soul, the journey of soul music in America; Of Ladies lost and found, the stories of divas that left us too soon and women that inspire her today. Her latest show is, Feeling Good with Karen Underwood and her friends a light hearted and beautiful selection of favourite songs. Karen continues to do charitable work for suicide prevention organisations, adoptee rights and Fr Mathews basketball. She is a keen gardener and cook and has dedicated 25 years to working with people with disabilities. She has a BS in psychology from University of Illinois

Henk van der Klok is a serial adventurer with a passion for long-distance, non-motorised expeditions. He wasn't very good at nine-to-five but discovered he’s a lot better at being cold, tired, and enduring blisters. In the past seven years he walked from England to Rome, cycled from Holland to Istanbul, spent several months leading pack horses across the Canadian wilderness, and paddled the entire Mississippi River in a kayak in 110 days. Henk is currently on an 6000 kilometre charity walk from Holland to Jerusalem without money. He is trekking through 13 countries, across Europe and the Middle East, and with no idea where his next meal will come from. Without cash, credit card, or back-up plan he is depending on his wits creativity, and the kindness of strangers to find food, water, and shelter. On November 15th, Henk will fly-in from Jerusalem— blisters still fresh on his heels— and share his extraordinary journey with us. In his talk he will explain how you can sustain your vision in a world of naysayers, how he gets people to give him free food (without speaking the languages), and Henk will share his unique strategies for overcoming the fear of the unknown.

Karen Dwyer is an empowerment coach, speaker and all round harbinger of happiness, success and personal achievement. In 2012 she would encounter the greatest challenge of her life when she was diagnosed with the incurable disease, Multiple Sclerosis. Today Karen is completely symptom free of MS. Through her unique mindset, she specializes in supporting people with MS and is dedicated to using her own personal experience as a catalyst to help others to be ‘at ease’ with the disease. Karen is a multi-faceted talent which she applies to her teachings and is focused on encouraging MS sufferers not to be defined by their illness. From this was born.Her first business venture was on a multi-million-pound scale and resulted in harsh but valuable life lessons both in business and in people. She has also pioneered other successful ventures including the single-handed revival of a flailing national radio station and the introduction of Jimmy Choo shoes to Ireland. In 2017 she produced My Gratitude Attitude Journal which has garnered many followers and serves as a useful tool in Karen’s positive and life affirming approach to teaching people to be their most extraordinary self. Karen Dwyer is a personal masterclass in overcoming adversity, unravelling potential and shining light on those who only see dark. Her authenticity and warm, fun approach makes her stand out from her peers and leaves visitors truly inspired.

John Lonergan is a native of Bansha, Co. Tipperary. He served in the Irish Prison Service for over 42 years. He was Governor of Mountjoy Prison for over 22 years and Governor of the top security prison at Portlaoise for almost 4 years. He retired in June 2010 and later that year his autobiography “The Governor” was published. In 2013 he wrote a book on parenting with the title ‘Parenting – raising your child in Ireland today’, with all royalties going to Barnardos, the children’s charity. Nowadays he delivers talks on a wide range of subjects to communities, voluntary groups, workers and students. He is an active supporter of many charitable organisations. His philosophy is that change, personal or otherwise, cannot be enforced on people, believing that real and meaningful change only comes about through dialogue, consent and agreement. He is convinced that human beings change from the inside out and suggests that the big challenge for all of us is to find the humanity in others and then to nurture it. He is satisfied that the more people are in touch with their own humanity the more likely they are to treat others with humanity - show respect to gain respect.

My name is Angie Benhaffaf and I am the very proud mum of four beautiful children, two boys and two girls. I am married to Azzedine and we have been together 21 years! My two girls are Malika (14) and Iman (11), and two very special twin boys Hassan and Hussein (aged 8). My twin boys were born conjoined on the 2nd December 2009 and I found out at my 12 week scan that they were joined together sharing everything except their hearts. I was told they had no hope of survival and if I continued my pregnancy there was a 70% chance all three of us would die. But I had hope, faith and unconditional love. The odds were a million to one they would survive but they did and at (4) months old they survived a 14 hour surgery to separate them also. They shared the chest, pelvis, liver, gut, pericardium sac, bladder, bowel and also had scoliosis and one leg. My precious boys Hassan & Hussein have been affectionately known as "The Little Fighters" as with over 50 medical procedures to date, & constant ongoing trips to Great Ormond street hospital London & Crumlin hospital, as well as physio and several other appointments they continue to defy the odds and live remarkable lives. Their wheelchairs have never gone to school as their wear a prosthetic leg everyday. They play a huge amount of sports including wheelchair basketball, swimming, athletics & wheelchair track racing! Their journey is one that will never end, but they live everyday as if it were their last. 'Against all odds' they are here and I am honoured to have been chosen to be their mum.


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Early bird tickets - up to Sept 30th €30
Standard ticket €37.50
Platinum ticket €50 - limited 100 tickets on first come basis

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