One Tuff Bird Inspirational Speaker


One Tuff Bird Inspirational Speaker

About Me

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Retired USAF Colonel Laurel “Buff” Burkel highlights the power and positivity of our support to and for each other and its fundamental connection to our personal resiliency via a personal

account of her survival and recovery from a 2015 helicopter crash in Afghanistan. In July 2015,

Colonel Burkel deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, where she and her team worked with and

advised Afghan Air Force leadership on their training, education, personnel, manpower, force

management, recruiting, and gender integration portfolios. On Sunday, 11 Oct 2015, Colonel

Burkel and three members of her team boarded a British Puma Mark 2 helicopter for the short

flight from Kabul International Airport to NATO’s RESOLUTE SUPPORT Headquarters, also

in Kabul. While positioning to make a second attempt to land, the helicopter struck the tether of

the Persistent Threat Detection System balloon overhead the Headquarters. The tether damaged

the helicopter and caused it to crash into the compound, killing five NATO members on board

(including two of Colonel Burkel’s teammates) and injuring five. Colonel Burkel was the sole

US military survivor and was subsequently aeromedically evacuated from Bagram Air Base,

Afghanistan, to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to continue her recovery. In this

presentation, Colonel Burkel will recount the story of the crash, rescue efforts, her recovery

journey, and the central and crucial role the outpouring and many forms of support she received,

and continues to receive, played and continues to play in her healing. Her story is a powerful reminder that resiliency is not an individual sport.

Resilience is not an individual sport



We are only limited by the things that we allow to limit us. The keys to success and productivity are already in our pocket. You just need someone to show you the lock and encourage you to open the door. 

Workshops and Keynotes



As an invested speaker and innovator, I will bring new life and connection to your next event. Contact me, and we can design a workshop or presentation that fits the needs that you have today.


Embrace the Future



What is it that is holding you in the present and keeping you from accessing your brightest future? This presentation is built on years working with incubation groups who are trying to stay ahead of the next wave. I will help you and your team figure out, not just what is coming next, but how to shape what is coming next. 

The Real Connection



I developed this interactive presentation while working with NGOs in South America. While there were plenty of interactions between different teams, the connections between them were never utilized efficiently. We worked to establish how to form inter- and intra-network connections that allow for better workflow and results with longer term stability.

Connections and Their Power



We all know how to start a sale, but what are the final steps that only the most successful salespeople know about? Using my patented Beyond Closing techniques, this workshop will help your sales team learn how to leverage their sales into the future and feel great about the work that they are doing, both for themselves and their clients.



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For more information on fees and availability, send me a message. Tell me about your event, and I will get back to you soon with more information.

One Tuff Bird