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In September 2017, I invited Gordon and Jill Vigianno to speak to 70 of my financial advisors at our regional meeting in Nebraska.  What an impactful story we heard!  We saw and heard, firsthand, how a disability can strike at any time.  In Gordon’s case, this was a massive stroke that nearly killed him on his 51st birthday.  If it wasn’t for his disability coverage, the Viggiano’s would have been financially ruined.

Gordon and Jill have experienced great hardship and many trials since Gordon’s stroke, but their perseverance, faith and love for one another helped them conquer these great storms.  After hearing from Gordon and Jill, people will come away inspired and truly blessed.  Financial advisors will have a renewed passion and desire to share the need for disability insurance (aka income replacement insurance) when doing holistic planning for their clients.

The book they distributed following their presentation, Painful Blessings, written by Jill is outstanding.  I started reading and couldn’t put it down.  I finished it in one night!

Ken Kolosso, ChFC® , CLU® , MBA
Managing Partner
Nebraska Region
Thrivent Financial®





Gordon’s presentation was not only inspirational, it was entertaining. His story alone is captivating and he tells it in a way that is both somber and humorous. His use of technology was fun and engaging, and he employs strong audience participation. At the end of the presentation we all came away with the foundation of a personal plan to move forward in our own lives whether professionally, personally or both. Gordon was funny, entertaining, serious, engaging – one of the best speakers we’ve had. I highly recommend him.

Laura Cleland
Communications & Operations Director
Association of Oregon Counties







We invited Gordon and his wife Jill to speak at our Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters annual symposium. Gordon and Jill were engaging and their presentation was incredibly moving. Their story provided such a powerful message to all of our brokers and carriers in attendance as to the importance of why we do what we do within the healthcare industry. Our attendees left the symposium both inspired and reminded about the value that they bring to their customers. It was an honor to have Gordon and Jill there with us to share their story.

Hope you and Jill are well.

Scott Lilley, ChHC® | Underwriting Manager
CO Producer Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters
Delta Dental of Colorado


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Gordon and Jill presented to our team and I was very pleased with the outpouring of gratefulness afterwards from our team.

Some teammates were in tears when they asked Gordon and Jill follow-up questions and thanked them for sharing their story.  Many thanked me for allowing them present, were happy to receive their book and asked me for direct contact information to follow up.

Several had been touched by stroke or disability and we had a heartfelt discussion as a team about what is really important in life.  We also reviewed our corporate benefits options and I know of at least one Associate that purchased additional disability coverage immediately on himself for his family.

We hope to share this presentation beyond out Market by having the Viggianos present at a Regional gathering in the future.

The presentation is surprising, gripping, educational, motivational and inspirational and I recommend Gordon and Jill for any group that could use a little of any of the above!

Bob Cook
SVP Market Executive


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I invited Gordon and his wife Jill to be the keynote speakers for Deloitte’s National Sales Meeting and they knocked the cover off the ball! I’ve hired sports heroes, navy seals, and other terrific motivational speakers in the past but Gordon’s story was the most powerful. The hundreds in attendance unanimously agreed that Gordon’s inspirational story of loss, recovery, hope and faith was a real eye opener and provided all of us with a reminder of what’s really important in life. #perspective

Tom Lutz
Managing Director of Sales





Gordon and Jill,

During our sales kick off in 2016, Gordon delivered a compelling and thought provoking presentation to our sales organization.  Our team was inspired to hit their daily goals and focus on small steps every day that make a difference.  During the event, Gordon shared milestones that he made throughout his rehabilitation and identified how hard work enabled him to achieve goals despite seemingly insurmountable personal obstacles.

Gordon & Jill’s achievements as a family and a couple served as a strong, inspirational message for our team.  The goal setting activities also helped our team visualize how they were going to make the changes in their daily activity to maximize personal and professional results.

Stephen Molen
VP Sales








On behalf of the MassMutual South Carolina agency, I would like to extend our appreciation for presenting the keynote speech at our annual kickoff meeting.

Although planning for the unexpected is integral to our profession, it is commonplace to take for granted that a life-changing event can-and-will happen at any time to anyone, including us personally.  The ability to share your story with humility, humor and strength is beyond inspirational and your motivational call to action has been one of the best takeaways.  Thanks to you numerous important reconnections are occurring agency-wide.

It was a true pleasure to meet you and an honor to receive your message.  The importance of your story is immeasurable, thank you again.

Best Wishes,
Ry Hudnall
General Agent


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We had Gordon speak to our full sales and marketing teams- over 60 people.  Gordon’s speech was engaging, inspirational and actionable. You walk away ready to get to work and tackle the challenges in front of you. Gordon does a great job of relating his story back to his love before the stroke – sales. If you’re on a sales team and your every day grind the goals in front of  you begin to feel too difficult to conquer, hearing Gordon’s story and struggle makes you realize everything in front of you is achievable with a little GIRD – (Goal Setting, Instruction, Repetition, and Discipline). Thanks Gordon.

 Henry L. Schuck, Esq.
 Co-Founder and CEO


 Legacy Emanuel




Gordon Viggiano was the key note speaker at our recent Comprehensive Stroke Center celebration. Gordon gave a moving presentation on the stroke survivor’s experience from the Emergency Department, waking up in ICU, working hard in Rehab and then the continual recovery over the past 7 years.  He is an engaging speaker who shares his personal story with humor and honesty.  The audience was made up of nurses, therapists, physicians and hospital administration. Gordon’s presentation gave everyone in the room a fresh perspective on stroke survivorship.

Gordon was joined at the end of the presentation by his wife Jill to answer questions and share how this experience has shaped their lives.  They are an example to healthcare providers of how life post- stroke can be full of meaning and purpose.

We are so thankful that Gordon was able to join us for our celebration.

          Linda Stanford, MSPT
          Project Lead Comprehensive Stroke Center
          Legacy Emanuel Medical Center



Dear Gordon and Jill:

After opening the Oregonian newspaper this morning it actually came as no surprise to me that you and your family were on the front page. Your talk that you gave at the Dotter Technologist and Nurse meetings here in Portland was one of the most compelling patient perspective talks that I have ever heard. Your insight into what you and your family experienced as a stroke patient was one of the most thoughtful and rewarding discussions addressing the issue of stroke, and the recovery process from a stroke. The combination of your slides and images, with your ad lib discussion was truly amazing in all regards. I, like many people in the audience, had welling up with tears from time to time during this program. You have reached out and communicated a very difficult subject with such insight and sensitivity that I think everyone was truly amazed. You created tremendous the patients who have had strokes and what they experience during the healing process. I can only think that many organizations, both inside and outside of the medical community, will benefit from hearing your discussion. You gave lessons that are relevant to many life experiences, even beyond stroke.

I was glad to see you that day, some years after I originally treated you, and to hear the perspective you and Jill. The comments you all made are seldom relayed to physicians, and it was absolutely tremendous to hear these insights.

Stanley L. Barnwell, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical Director, Interventional Neuroradiology
Department of Neurological Surgery and the Dotter Interventional Institute
Oregon Health and Science University



bay area 2




Gordon and Jill Viggiano’s presentation, “My Brain Has a Hole in It” is an inspiring talk. Designed in an interesting format—a mixture of video clips, pictures and humor—it is thought provoking, humorous and provides insight from differing perspectives: the patient, the spouse and the children. Gordon was a wonderful speaker to work with because of his organization and follow through that made planning this event so much easier. This message is applicable to anyone.

The unexpected suddenness of Gordon’s stroke illuminates the fact that we are all susceptible to being incapacitated at any moment of our lives. This talk motivates participants to be prepared, but additionally provides the hope of recovery through determination and the faith to overcome setbacks. The vulnerability of both Gordon and Jill in opening up to share their lives is touching and memorable.

          Patty Clark
          Program Coordinator








Jill Viggiano spoke at Inspire+Aspire,™ a women’s conference focused on both personal and professional development.   You could hear a pin drop as Jill drew us into the quiet, courageous stories of the women in her family who came before her.   As she then recounted her own story of sacrifice and commitment, Jill connected the generations and the faith that sustained them.  Jill challenged the audience to reflect on our own stories and ask “Do the women who came before you matter today?  Will you matter tomorrow?”
Life-altering events can happen to any one of us at any moment, although we often forget this truth.  Jill’s story showed us the power of the human spirit and how commitment, courage and faith can see us through.  I recommend Jill for any audience seeking perspective, inspiration, and appreciation for the people in our lives.

           Robyn Knox
           Executive Solutions, LLC







Hi Gordon,

I apologize for being so late in sending a big Thank You!

Your story that you shared with the Idaho Association of Health Underwriters in Boise has brought many positive responses from our members.  It forces us to think about our lives in a different way-both from a personal and professional stand point.  Change is a part of all of our lives, but we somehow think that terrible and traumatic events will never be a part of our lives.  You show us how we can overcome small and enormous adversity.

Your wife Jill is a true hero.  Her perspective is especially helpful because many times we are the ones helping someone else through a life changing event.  Her unyielding faith in you and God is truly inspiring, and your story needs to be told to as many people as possible!  I fully recommend your presentation for any group or business that wants to face their fears and challenges and be inspired to reach inside of themselves a little more to go beyond their perceived limitations.

Gordon and Jill, thank you and may God bless you always!


                     Vance P. Nielsen





Dear Gordon,

Thank you for speaking at the recent Oregon Bank Executive Exchange.  The story you and Jill shared was inspiring, thought-provoking and a welcome departure from our typical speakers at this event.

Traumatic, life-altering events can happen to any one of us with no warning.  On one hand, your story reminds us of this scary fact.  But much more important, your story shows us the power of the human spirit and how determination, courage and faith can see us through.  You and Jill both exemplify triumph over tragedy.

Given that your remarks were part of a business meeting, I appreciated you focus on achieving success in the face of challenges.  Your “GIRD” — goals, instruction, repetition, and discipline — is an important message for any person and any business.

I am fortunate to have met you, Gordon.  I also look forward to reading Jill’s book —  Painful Blessing — which I purchased, along with many others in our audience.  That alone is a testament to the impact of your story.

Thank you again for sharing your story of courage, perseverance and triumph with our members.

Warmest regards,

                      Linda Navarro
                      President & CEO, Oregon Bankers Association



"Every Child Deserves To Be Empowered to Say Hello!"






There are times in business when you do a small thing but it evolves into a much more powerful experience than you intended. This was our experience with Gordon Viggiano. I had arranged for our staff of speech pathologists and occupational therapists to hear Gordon’s story as a learning experience . . . we so rarely get to see the long-term results of therapy we are often key to initiating. What we received was so much more. Despite an audience aware of medical details and the exercises we often coach clients through, you could have heard a pin drop in the room folks were so riveted by Gordon’s experience. Some in the audience noted they felt personally inspired in an area of their life of which I hadn’t known the details. Others in the audience reported feeling reconnected to the passion of their work, emotional work that doesn’t always feel rewarded. Gordon’s story reminded us, our work matters, our dreams for our client’s well-being matters and it’s okay to hit the pause button because we matter, too.

Sharon Soliday, MS, CCC-SLP
The Hello Foundation







Gordon Viggiano and his wife Jill were the inspirational speakers at The Standard’s Summer MGA Conference in July 2013.

Gordon shared his story, focusing on how he has approached his recovery from a nearly fatal stroke that could have been devastating. Jill made their experience relevant to our audience by sharing how the disability insurance coverage that their family had purchased made it possible for them to meet their financial obligations. Gordon’s presentation was well rehearsed and professionally delivered. I would highly recommend him as an inspirational speaker.

Everyone in attendance at our conference was able to reflect on their role in the insurance industry and how impactful stories like this one from Gordon and Jill reinforce the very important message of the need for disability insurance coverage.

Janet Schober | Manager, IDI Sales Program
The Standard
1100 SW Sixth Avenue, P6D | Portland, OR 97204
Phone 971.321.7488 | Mobile 503.330.3891





Dear Gordon and Jill,

I just wanted to send you a quick note to thank you again for your recent presentation given during our Worldwide Sales Meeting. We try every year to find an external speaker to provide some interesting and compelling perspectives that help the group think about some of the larger issues in all of our lives – and that still have relevance to our professional responsibilities. I think your presentation succeeded admirably in both of those areas and was widely praised by our group who are representative of some fairly diverse geographic and cultural backgrounds.

Thanks again for sharing your story and your insights. Your willingness to provide some personal insight is really powerful and will have a lasting impact on all who attended.

Best Regards,
Tom Molamphy
Vice President Worldwide Sales


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Dear Gordon and Jill,

I want to thank you for coming to Zapproved to share your inspirational story with our sales team. The courage, determination, strength, and faith that you both have demonstrated is truly inspiring. And the discipline and drive you have shown in the face of profound adversity showed us all that with great effort, great accomplishments are possible.

Unlike most motivational sessions, your story connected with each member of our team on a personal and emotional level, and is destined to make a lasting impact. Thank you!

Randy Weber
Vice President of Global Sales
Zapproved, Inc.



The OAHU board was lucky enough to have Gordon Viggiano at our 2013 State Convention. Gordon’s presentation kept all who attended engaged throughout. Listening to how Gordon and his family were able to cope with an unexpected life event and overcome it with strength and confidence was found as inspirational and encouraging to all. We will most likely think twice about Disability policies after witnessing Gordon’s presentation – there are some things you just cannot fully map out in your future, but when you are allowed a safety net, perhaps it is a smart thing to take.

The poise, humor and knowledge Gordon provided throughout his presentation, was an excellent way to kick off our 2013 OAHU State Convention and I would highly recommend Gordon for future conferences.

Andrea Roozen
McGriff, Seibels & Williams of Oregon, Inc.
1800 SW First Ave, Suite 400
Portland, OR 97201


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August 7, 2013

Dear Gordon & Jill
Thank you for coming to ColumbiaSoft to share your inspiring story. Your message resonates with everyone on both a personal and professional level. It challenged all of us to take inventory of where we are in our personal journey through life. Having worked with you prior to your illness I was especially impressed with how you have used the same tools that made your consulting business so successful to help rebuild your life. I’m speaking of course about the GRID system (Goals, Repetition, Instruction & Discipline) your message was spot on, because in today’s competitive environment the GRID system applies to everyone.
All of us at ColumbiaSoft want to thank you for the insightful and thought provoking presentation.

Best wishes to you, Jill and the children

Sincerely Yours;

ColumbiaSoft Corporation
Richard A. Day
CEO & Founder



Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 2.42.11 PMGordon,

On behalf of my sales team across the country, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for sharing your amazing journey with us.

Having watched you interact for the last couple of years, I am amazed at both your progress and your commitment.  I was curious to see how you were going to tie that back to sales and sales success.  You did it very well!  Your Acronym GRID focus of Goals, Repetition, Discipline and Strategy are perfect for both your success and for anyone in business.  The real important thing, however, is that this message relates to your audience personally as well. I think that is one of the reasons it was so well received.

In life, we all want to learn from those who have succeeded. I think your success from such a debilitating injury gives us all hope. It resonates in all aspects of our lives.  I encourage you, Gordon, to keep sharing your story.  Thank you for sharing it with us!


Mark Wilcox

Mark Wilcox
VP of Global Sales
Exterro, Inc.



Gordon & Jill,

Hello to you both. I just wanted to write on behalf of Starve Ups to thank you both for your My Brain Has A Hole In It presentation to our group this week. It is clear that in the end that you have one of the most inspiring presentations many of us have seen in a long time. I heard from a number of the members of the group after you all left (as many stayed another hour or so) and they loved it, especially the parallels of the presentation to business life and personal life.

So, thank you from all of us as it was truly heartfelt, candid, real and powerful. As discussed, I will talk to my brother about this hopefully being a part of their annual fundraiser at Incight.





Gordon and Jill,

On behalf of my management team I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for sharing your amazing journey with us.

Your story reminds us that life can take unexpected turns at any moment and reinforces the importance of being present in every moment and to truly appreciate the relationships in our lives that will help get us through difficult times.  We were all most impressed with your commitment to each other and to doing whatever it took to overcome the obstacles you faced.

Working, as we do, in the health care and insurance fields your presentation helped reinforce how important it is for us to always remember that the work we do is ultimately about being there for our members when they need us most.  Your story is a window into what others may be experiencing and how critical is the need for compassionate, competent healthcare.

I know everyone left that afternoon inspired by the strength, tenacity and courage you both embody and we wish you much success as you can continue to share your story and inspire other groups.


Mark Charpentier
Vice President
Marketing, Sales and Business Development


My sales team really enjoyed Gordon’s recent presentation, My Brain Has A Hole In It. Often in life we don’t appreciate just how good we have it. Gordon’s presentation, reminded each of us that just having the opportunity to come to work and be successful is a pretty great gift that we should each appreciate every day. One thing Gordon’s wife said that has stuck with me is that Gordon wanted to go back to work within a month, but upon questioning wasn’t able identify what exactly he did or for whom he did it for. Gordon’s story reminds us that we all face adversity, if we want to succeed we have to work hard and smart and we can overcome any barrier…even having a hole in your brain!


Daniel Laun
Vice President of Sales & Services

t 503 688 5784 f 503 688 5890
10200 SW Greenburg Rd. Suite 600, Portland OR 97223

connecting people, projects + profits

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Dear Gordon,

Sorry for my delay in writing, but please accept our sincere thanks to you for coming to speak with the Faith Community Nurses at their meeting at Emanuel Legacy hospital recently. Your story (and your wife’s story) is so very inspiring and encouraging to us all, no matter what the obstacle in our lives. You are overcoming a doozie, and at such a young age!!

We tell folks that the leading causes of life (as coined by Gary Gunderson and Larry Pray in their book of that name), are agency, blessing, connection, meaning/purpose, and hope. You demonstrated them all, and folks were in awe of your ability to not lose hope and to never stop healing.

Your presentation was so to-the-point and interesting. I’m hoping folks all over the state, region, and beyond can hear it. I am cc’ing Marilyn Johnson, who is a Faith Community Nursing Coordinator in Vancouver, WA, as well as Debbi Saint, who works with FCNs in the Tacoma area. And I’m so glad that you have contacted some of the Rotary groups and that you are going to contact David Leslie or Jenny Pratt at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.

Thank you SO much for your time, and your presentation. May your healing journey continue, as you continue to bless others with your story of remarkable determination and grit.

Deborah Patterson

Rev. Dr. Deborah L. Patterson
Executive Director
Northwest Parish Nurse Ministries


Thank you to both you and Jill for coming to Wellsource and speaking to our employees. Your story – not the Gordon story, but the Viggiano story – is truly amazing and inspiring. Your life has become a testimony to the power of faith, hope, and love – faith that long-term improvement is possible, hope that tomorrow will be better because of the choice to work hard today, and the amazing love that God, your family, and friends have for you.

This is a story that every corporation, community organization, and church group in America needs to hear!

Chris McReynolds
Chief Operating Officer

Ph 800.533.9355
F 503.650.0880

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I had the pleasure of bringing Gordon into a large association meeting of financial advisors and insurance agents. The nearly 200 in attendance saw great value in the personal story and motivational message shared by Gordon. Not only was he a fellow salesman, bringing relevance to his message; but he also gained life-changing benefits from insurance that he owned. (Quite pertinent given the audience.)

His tenacity through adversity caused sincere reflection on the work ethic and motivation of those who heard him. I also left the meeting questioning my past unwillingness to be as proactive as possible, and thankful for the myriad blessings I realize I daily take for granted. Just seeing him struggle to share his message through his limitations was deeply meaningful. Realizing that he gave a presentation that was more polished than several other speakers we enjoyed the same day was humbling.

Ben Davis
President, NAIFA Portland



Dear Gordon and Jill,

Thank you both so much for taking the time to come to ADP and share your story. Your journey is one of inspiration and education. We enjoyed the humor as well.

Best wishes as you continue your recovery and encourage others to plan for the unexpected.

Jan Newport
HR Assistant 



Gordon and his wife Jill gave a very moving presentation to students in the OHSU-PSU MBA in Healthcare Management and OHSU Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management programs. The context for both presentations was a course that I lead entitled Organization, Financing, and History of Healthcare Delivery in the US. Throughout the course we read from experts who are very knowledgeable about health policy, and one of the concepts that we emphasize is “patient-centered” healthcare. However, we had never talked to patients about this until Gordon and Jill spoke to our class—which they did with deep conviction. This was a unique opportunity for our students because Gordon and Jill helped them understand that healthcare management was not some abstract concept but something that when practiced correctly could have far-reaching impact on the people (i.e., patients) whom the healthcare system is supposed to serve. Thank you, Gordon and Jill.

Jim Huntzicker
Head, Division of Management
School of Medicine
Oregon Health & Science University


Gordon and Jill,
I had the opportunity to listen to you speak today in one of the classes I am taking for my masters program at OHSU. I cannot tell you the amount of admiration and respect I have for the both of you and your two children. What you are doing is a truly powerful thing. In healthcare we so rarely sit and take the time to hear the story of those impacted by our system and the harsh realities they face after they are discharged from our care. Your message of hope and faith is an extremely powerful one that I will never forget. From you I have learned to always push forward and believe, even in the face of such adversity. Your story is also a reminder to not sweat the little stuff. I cannot thank you enough for opening up your personal lives and experience to us. You are incredible people and your message is one that I hope many more get to experience. I wish nothing but more progress for both of you on your journey and the opportunity for you to reach many others with your message.

Thank you again for your time,
Emily Barclay

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I was introduced to Gordon’s story when he volunteered to come in and speak with the local American Heart/Stroke Association staff. I have been working at the American Heart/Stroke Association for 8 years and have met many survivors that have touched my heart. Gordon’s story and life message was such an up-lifting inspiration to me and I think of his story every day when I set out to work.

Lindsie Campbell
Vice President, Youth Market
American Heart Association
Western States Affiliate

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It was great to have Gordon speak to over 150 students at the University of Portland. These juniors, all business majors in my professional development course, told me his talk on overcoming life’s unexpected obstacles really moved them and got them to think about managing their own career strategies. Gordon and Jill were generous with their time answering many questions and talking one-on-one with those students who lingered well past the scheduled end of the talk. I was extremely pleased with Gordon’s preparation and his talk and highly recommend it for companies and other organizations looking for inspiration and motivation. Thank you Gordon and Jill.

Jon Down, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Portland


Gordon and Jill,
I wanted to let you know how much both of you are to be admired. Your speech, first of all was amazing! I believe your real self definitely powered through with humor and real meaning. Your courage alone to get up in front of eighty people and speak so beautifully. It is obvious you have tremendous courage. I loved the way you communicated with Jill at the back of the room.

Your whole family showed a great deal of strength and support during the worst time imaginable and continued support.
May God continue to bless all of you and a continued recovery for Gordon.

Thank you so much for speaking to our Rotary Club today.

Lynn Miller




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