"Happy people are harder to kill." - Conn Bertish


Conn Bertish is extraordinarily hard to kill.


He is a multiple internationally awarded creative director, cancer survivor and founder of the innovative world-changing social enterprise Cancer Dojo – which aims to turn cancer patients into active participants in their own healing using a mash of creativity, technology, and mindful thinking.


Conn’s creative, irreverent approach to challenges enabled him to not only beat his rare form of adult brain cancer but tackle massive waves as a Red Bull big wave surfer; ride steep mountains passes as a downhill extreme skateboarder; win South Africa’s first Fear Factor and raise numerous hackles as a conceptual artist and environmental activist.


He is one of South Africa’s most respected creative thinkers and performed the role of Creative Director for the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 after beating cancer in 2013.


Speaker on creativity, resilience and positive behavior change.


Speaking topics


‘Happy People Are Harder To Kill.’


Conn’s talk titled ‘Happy People are Harder to Kill’ details his remarkable, entertaining and harrowing journey through brain cancer. It showcases how his use of creativity, technology, and positive behavior change enabled him to overcome seemingly impossible challenges to beat cancer in 2013. His journey surprised his doctors - and some lofty professors of Oncology - who then urging him to share his thinking with others facing the disease. In 2015 Conn resigned from his job as chief creative officer of Africa’s then-largest digital agency, to launch Cancer Dojo, a 100% complimentary mobile support tool that aims to shift patient’s mindsets from helpless, to actively engaged in their own healing, together with their medicine, to help empower them with a more positive cancer outcome. 


‘Happy Brands Are Harder To Kill.’


What makes humans resilient, is also what makes brands and organizations resilient.

This talk focuses on how brands and organizations can survive crisis and times of rapid change, through the use of Purpose Strategy, Positive Behavior Change and simple Cancer Dojo resilience techniques for both management and employees.  


‘Don’t Fight The Ocean.’ 


This talk harnesses the key tenets of Conn’s Cancer Dojo ideology - focusing on his learnings from years as a Red Bull competing Big Wave Surfer, tenure as Creative Director of the World Design Capital Cape Town and Conn’s survival from cancer. This talk is tailored for both athletes and corporate leadership – and provides simple tools and techniques to enable a more agile and disruptive approach to attain higher levels of personal performance.

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