Born a twin in low-income Liberty City in Miami, Florida, Les and his twin brother were adopted when they were six weeks old by Miss Mamie Brown. As a single woman with a big heart, Miss Brown had very little education or financial means. With young Les’ inattention to school work, his restless energy, and the failure of his teachers to recognize his potential, Les was misdiagnosed as educable mentally retarded. Suffering for years by the label and the stigma, Les was nevertheless driven by his passion to learn and his hunger to achieve his goal as a radio disc jockey.
In a humorous twist of fate and cunning, Les rose from a hip-talkin’ morning DJ to a broadcast manager; from voracious reader to author; from community activist to community leader; from political commentator to three-term state legislator; from a banquet and nightclub emcee to a premier keynote speaker for Fortune 100 companies.
In 1986, Les entered the public speaking arena on a full-time basis and formed his own company, Les Brown Enterprises, Inc. Aimed at individuals and organizations, the company provides motivational products, personal development programs, speaker development workshops, keynote presentations and interactive business trainings.
In 1989, Les received the National Speakers Association's highest honor: The Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE). In addition, he was selected one of the World's Top Five Speakers in 1992 by Toastmasters International and became the recipient of the Golden Gavel Award.
Commencing in 1990 and recording the first in a series of six PBS specials, Les launched You Deserve which was awarded a Chicago-area Emmy. It became the leading fundraiser for pledges to PBS stations nationwide. In 1993, Les became the host of his own nationally syndicated daily television talk show, The Les Brown Show, in which he focused on solutions to the day’s challenges rather than the problems.
Recognized internationally, Les is the author of three bestselling books: Up Thoughts for Down Times, Live Your Dreams, and It’s Not Over Until You Win. With his Sunday morning radio talk show, Chicago Speaks with Les Brown, Les’ outreach embraces the homeless and the world’s most powerful leaders.
A leading authority in understanding and stimulating human potential, Les’ electric and powerful delivery, stage presence and personal insights have built his international brand of “It’s Possible.” Les' customized presentation is driven by his approach to each unique audience. Before he gives a speech, he builds a speech. The end result is that Les teaches and inspires each audience to new levels of awareness and achievement.
- Turning Up the Energy After Downsizing
The aftermath of downsizing includes traumatic impact on those who lose their jobs and those left in the wake. Les challenges audiences to step up the level of energy, be resourceful, and tap into their creative energy, in order to bounce back and break new ground.
- Live Your Dreams Now
In the early '90s Les published his best-selling book, Live Your Dreams. Now, having faced health challenges in his own life and losing a best friend, Les warns against putting dreams on the back burner. Les challenges companies and individuals to get going on their goals and dreams, because they are the stuff life is made of.
- Achieving at the Next Level
Les outlines the all-essential mindset for high-level achievement, which begins with making the case that such achievement is possible. Once it is established that the goal, though difficult, is at least possible, Les sets the course for the frame of mind it takes to actually achieve at higher and higher levels.
- Coping with a Changing America
The events of September 11th and the sagging U.S. economy have combined to create an air of uncertainty in America. Les urges audiences to have the fear, acknowledge it, but don't let the fear have you. America is changing, yet enduring, and we can all be part of an emerging new American legacy.
- You've Got to be Hungry
In efforts to achieve at the highest level, Les says, you have to be untiring, relentless…huunnngry! In challenging audiences to reach, Les tells his own story of achievement over the odds, and when asked, tells his famous deejay story, recounting how he broke into broadcasting.
- Harnessing the Power of Diversity
Les Brown's approach to a more and more diversified American workforce is grounded in the great possibilities in such a work force. Rather than seeing diversity as an obstacle to overcome, Les challenges leaders to create an atmosphere of openness to great possibilities, and treat diversity as an opportunity.