Conor Cunneen is an Irishman, happily exiled in Chicago where he says the Guinness is good, the natives are friendly and he has been force fed more corned beef than he ever had in Ireland.
Cancer is not funny, but keynote speaker and business humorist Conor Cunneen has developed an inspirational, fun-packed keynote speech about his prostate cancer experience. It is probably only a Chicago-based Irishman who could develop a keynote titled “It’s Just a Flesh Wound” about the experience of prostate cancer.
Conor is a two time cancer survivor and an in demand humorous motivational speaker for nurses week, nurse leadership, healthcare and oncology conferences.
“I do believe every cloud has a silver lining. As a motivational and humorous speaker who has had both prostate and thyroid cancer, I can now bring a credible message to cancer survivors and caregivers that will leave them with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.”
Conor’s explanation for his speech title It’s Just a Flesh wound reflects his general attitude to life.
“There are a number of treatment options available ranging from radiation to prostatectomy, in other words the removal of the prostate,” he says in his light lyrical brogue. “I did a lot of research on the topic, spoke to a lot of people and ultimately opted for the prostatectomy. My information systems, i.e., my wife, advised I had to purchase new pajamas for the hospital, so that is why I entered Northwestern Memorial Hospital with pajamas bearing the Monty Python legend ‘It’s Just a Flesh Wound.’ I’ve been blessed with a great attitude and I believe every cloud does have a silver lining. As a result, I created a keynote of the same title. It is perfect for all conferences and events where an uplifting feel-good message is appropriate, which is basically everywhere.”
This is Cunneen’s second bout with cancer. “I had thyroid cancer some years ago when living back in Ireland. The whipped that out as well. I tell my audiences when I keynote that having had a prostatectomy and a thyroidectomy, I now have a unique Irish condition called ‘there’s not much left-o-me.'”
This ebullient Irishman’s communication style has been likened to an “Irish Dilbert,” and “Mark Twain with a brogue.” His keynotes combine business experienced garnered in Ireland, UK and USA with a truly impish sense of humor. “As a keynote speaker and business humorist, I endeavor to provide Substance with Humor. I often develop purely humorous business material which I can then weave into serious business messages. That is when it becomes a real win-win.”
He has the pedigree to back it up. A native of County Cork, his proudest moment was when he won the coveted Chicago Humorous Speaker of the Year award for a speech on Customer Service in San Quentin Jail. “That was a blast and a great career catalyst also. Since then I have spoken internationally in places as diverse as Helsinki, Madrid, London, Malaga and Glasgow, but there are few better groups to speak to than nurses and healthcare professionals. Professionals in high stress work know how to laugh and enjoy themselves when they ‘escape!’ That means nurses know how to laugh and they surely do deserve to also.”