Sam Cawthorn

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Sam Cawthorn
Samuel Cawthorn

(1979-12-15) 15 December 1979 (age 39)
ResidenceSydney, Australia
OccupationMotivational Speaker
Years active2007 – present
Known forFounder of Be Motivated
2009 Young Australian of the Year for Tasmania
Kate Cawthorn (m. 1999)
ChildrenEmelia Cawthorn (born 2003)
Ebony Cawthorn (born 2005)
Jacob Cawthorn (born 2008)

Samuel "Sam" Cawthorn (born 15 December 1979) is an Australian motivational speaker, success coach, self-help author and entrepreneur. Cawthorn is best known as the 2009 Young Australian of the Year for Tasmania and his work as a motivational speaker.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Cawthorn was born in Perth, Western Australia to an Indian mother,Annie (Kharagpur, West Bengal) and Scottish father,Peter, in a family of 11 children. While still a young child his family relocated to rural Tasmania where he grew up on country farm outside of Hobart. He now resides in Balmain, Sydney with his wife Kate Cawthorn and their three children.[2]


Early career[edit]

After completing Matriculation College, Cawthorn worked in sales at Pizza Hut before discovering a passion for helping people. This inspired him to work as a trainer in Northern Tasmania and lead to his promotion as a training manager. He later established himself as a Regional Industry Careers Adviser and assisted local industry to identify skill shortages and provide solutions for youth entering the workforce.[3]

Cawthorn was also involved in numerous musical theatre productions and established his own music and dance studio.[4]

Near Fatal Car Accident[edit]

In October 2006, Cawthorn was involved in a head-on collision with a semi-trailer, he was travelling at a speed of 102 km/h and needed to be resuscitated. He faced severe injuries including the amputation of his right arm above the elbow and severe damage to his right leg. Initially distraught by the prospect he may never walk again he maintained a strong mental attitude and conceptualized "Be Motivated" during his nine months of rehabilitation.[5]

Be Motivated and Motivational Speaking[edit]

In 2007 Cawthorn established Be Motivated, a program aimed at providing young people with skills to improve their confidence and self-belief in order to attain personal goals while remaining positive when faced with adversity. To deliver this information he regularly conducts motivational assemblies at schools in Australia and around the world.[6][7]


A large part of Cawthorn’s teachings focus on challenging people to discover a purpose and develop goals. He strongly emphasises the importance of a healthy mental attitude and not allowing excuses to hinder achievements.[8]

Cawthorn also advocates "bouncing forward" after a crisis and not being discouraged by challenges and setbacks which may arise. According to his philosophy, a "Plan B" is unnecessary. He encourages audiences to create environments which leverage collective thinking in order to reach challenging decisions that enable recovery from difficult situations.[9][10]

2009 Young Australian of the Year for Tasmania[edit]

In November 2008 Sam Cawthorn was awarded the 2009 Young Australian Year Award for Tasmania.[1]

Encounter with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd[edit]

Before gathering at The Lodge with fellow Australian of the Year finalists, Cawthorn accepted a dare from his young daughter to play a practical joke upon then Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. As the two shook hands, Cawthorn detached his artificial hand from its prosthetic arm leaving a surprised but highly amused Rudd holding the artificial hand. The former prime minister later told the reception honouring the finalists he had not recovered from shock and was still "in therapy".[11]

Cawthorn Foundation[edit]

In 2009 the Cawthorn Foundation was established to assist disadvantaged youth in developing countries to enjoy basic human rights. The foundation partners with like-minded organisations to create awareness in businesses and schools across the world.[12]

Throughout 2009 Cawthorn travelled to India and held a series of motivational seminars for students and the Indian army.[13]


In mid-2009 CBM Australia approached Cawthorn to become ambassador for their human rights advocacy movement which creates awareness for people living with disabilities in developing nations. Under a campaign titled ‘Create2Change’ Cawthorn travelled around India with a film crew to find stories of individuals living with a disability in the most poverty stricken communities.[14]

Today, I am very pleased and honoured to be the Ambassador for the CBM youth campaign called ‘Create2Change’ and now am very passionately involved and a strong advocate to end the cycle of poverty and disability.

— Sam Cawthorn, ''[15]


Sam Cawthorn is a musician and one of the few people in the world able to play a guitar with an above elbow amputation.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Tasmania's Australian of the Year award recipients announced". Australian of the Year Awards website. 26 November 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  2. ^ "About Sam Cawthorn". Be Motivated website. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Sam Before Losing His Arm". Be Motivated website. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Singers are tuned up for Gigantic Carols Evening". Tasmania: The Examiner Newspaper. 15 December 2005.
  5. ^ Blewett, Danielle (2006). "Alive and planning for a miracle future". Tasmania: The Examiner Newspaper.
  6. ^ "Sam Cawthorn – Be Motivated". Young Entrepreneurs Network. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  7. ^ Fidler, Richard (26 March 2009). "Sam Cawthorn – ABC Radio". Brisbane: Conversations with Richard Fidler. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  8. ^ elbow amputation-1-dd1WgrkbQuE.html "Sam Cawthorn BOUNCE!" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  9. ^ "Thought Leader Topics". Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Sam Cawthorn - Bounce Theory". o2 Speakers. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  11. ^ Rehn, Alison (24 January 2009). "Armless prank stumps Kevin Rudd". Sydney: The Daily Telegraph.
  12. ^ "About". Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  13. ^ "Sonnamucki School Project". Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  14. ^ "Create2Change". Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Kidger, Jason (13 October 2009). "Sam Cawthorn – Tasmanian 2009 Young Australian of the Year Back From the Dead – A Life Inspiration for All!". NewsMaker. Retrieved 18 November 2010.

External links[edit]