144: BounceBack Leadership with Brian Wagner

The Business of Meetings –Episode 144 – BounceBack Leadership with Brian Wagner

We are delighted to be speaking with Brian Wagner from Radical Vision today!

Brian experienced a major setback at 43 that left him blind, apart from having a slight bit of vision in one eye. He joins us to share his unique and encouraging story and to discuss how he uses his life-changing experience to influence and motivate leaders to keep moving forward!

We hope you enjoy listening to today’s inspiring conversation with Brian Wagner!


Embrace your own personal blindness to drive better performance. That’s what Brian Wagner has done through BounceBack Leadership.

He is the founder and CEO of A Radical Vision. His mission is to help people embrace their own personal blindness to achieve a greater focus and drive better performance. Brian has worked with boards and organizations to clear the path for growth.

On March 4, 2011, he awakened on the couch and couldn’t see. For the next six months, he was blind. Only brain surgery and multiple eye surgeries have allowed a portion of his vision to return.

Since then, Brian has become the author of the semi-autobiography book Sometimes It DOES Take a Brain Surgeon.

Brian is the Immediate-Past President of the National Speakers’ Association, Ohio Chapter.

Brian’s journey

Brian’s journey began when he was ten years old. He had fluid on the brain and a shunt was inserted into his head to drain the fluid into his abdomen. When he was 43, a malformed blood vessel in his brain began to bleed, and the pressure on his nerves caused him to go blind. In 2011, he had brain surgery to remove one of three malformations on his brain stem. Recently, however, the remaining two malformations bled, putting pressure on the nerves that control his voice, so he now has a speech impediment that comes and goes.

What Brian does

All Brian wants to do is help people along in their journeys. He has a disability, so he encourages others to recognize their disabilities, whether visible or not and helps them bounce back.


Brian was able to drive a motor vehicle for ten years. He no longer does so because his eye with vision sometimes tends to close during the course of the day.


Brian spoke at his high school graduation when he was seventeen and that helped him realize he wanted to be a speaker. So, he went to Toast Master meetings to practice speaking in front of crowds. He also had opportunities to speak at NSA.

Managing his life day-to-day

Brian has worked at the Ohio School for the Blind for the past five years and finds it incredible to see how well blind people can cope! He sometimes finds it hard to do day-to-day things like writing emails and making phone calls, but he is motivated to do whatever he can to get by because he knows there is a good reason for his disability.

Making a better experience for people with disabilities

To those with disabilities, it means everything to them when workers at hotels and function venues ask them what they can do to improve their experience!

Inspiring and influencing leaders

When speaking to leaders, Brian encourages them not to discount or disregard their disabilities. He hopes to inspire them to be more confident in doing whatever their work requires and to become successful without becoming boastful or cocky.

We can all make our own past

Looking at our past, reliving it, and telling others about it, helps us to engage and tell our stories in the way we want them to be heard.

Helping executive leaders

Brian enjoys speaking to executive leaders looking to inspire their teams. Apart from speaking to groups, he serves leaders via his book, and through retreats and workshops. He has also done a TEDx Talk.

Empathy versus sympathy

Brian does not want sympathy from others. Even though he does not want anyone to feel sorry for him, he appreciates it when others authentically try to put themselves in his shoes.

Bouncing back

Brian advises people facing challenges to embrace their setbacks, to do whatever they can to avoid being pitied and to ultimately find purpose and meaning from their setbacks.

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Connect with Brian Wagner

A Radical Vision

Call Brian on 614 946 1635

On LinkedIn

Brian’s TEDx Talk

Eric Rozenberg

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