Former Computer Salesman Shifts Gears into Public Speaking Career

With a passion for motivating people, this orator went after his purposeful dream

Motivational Orator: Jonathan Sprinkles (Image: Sprinkles)

Boasting an 11-year public speaking career, complete with accolades such as Disney/Eastman Kodak’s “Mentor of the Year” award, Jonathan Sprinkles has more experience than his youthfulness lets on. The self-proclaimed “Connection Coach” knew from a fairly young age that he wanted to be a speaker.

As a student at the University of Texas, Sprinkles became a recruiter and discovered a command for attention. But after graduation, with no idea of how to parlay that talent into an actual career, Sprinkles took a job with Dell, selling computers to small businesses. He quickly made the correlation between public speaking and salesmanship, and soon began honing his skills via Toastmasters International public speaking classes, becoming even more drawn to his ability to inspire.

The Toastmasters classes paid off–at just 23 years old he was making more than $80,000 a year thanks to his charismatic sales pitches–but still, something was missing. Sprinkles found that his dream deferred was on the verge of exploding. “I was literally getting headaches at work,” he recalls. “I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there. No matter how much money you make, if you don’t love what you do, you aren’t successful. It was time for me to stop chasing a paycheck and start chasing my purpose.”

Finally, two years after starting his lucrative career with Dell, Sprinkles decided to pursue his love for motivational speaking. But not everyone supported his ambition. “My boss told me ‘There’s no way you’ll ever make money as a professional speaker,’” he remembers. In a twist of irony, just three years later, Sprinkles found himself face-to-face with his naysayer after being hired to give a motivational speech to Dell’s top leaders.

But it took a dash of humility for Sprinkles to reach that level of success. He admits that he initially had a poor understanding of business planning. “I knew about the stage,but I had no clue how to market myself or how to brand myself.”

Sprinkles then discovered the value of having knowledgeable mentors. “Most people, especially in [African American] culture, place a high value on getting over with improvisation, but that’s not how you run a successful business,” he says. “In our culture, we have a mindset that will always make us the talent, but not the business owner.” A church friend became Sprinkles’ business mentor, and provided insight on how to master the market. Once Sprinkles was able to understand his talent as a business venture, he saw rapid success. He’s now able to command up to $20,000 per speaking engagement.

It may sound like an unrealistic goal to some, but Sprinkles stresses that everyone has the capability of bringing similar dreams to fruition with faith and determination. “We always have a lot of excuses like, ‘I want to write a book, but I can’t find the time,’ or ‘I want to start that business, but this job pays me too well’” he says. “I say, get off your butt and get started! There’s an old saying in my industry: You don’t have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great.’ ”

  • Shannon Cormier

    What a tremendous inspriation story!

  • Gabrielle

    Proof that hard work, purpose and a good plan makes dreams come true.

  • Candace J

    Wow, this is such an amazing story and great inspiration for me. I am studying to become a motivational speaker, and I always get funny looks when I tell people that. I love my speaking and writing talent. So this story just gave me the extra boost!

  • Dianne M. Daniels

    Jonathan may be one of the best-kept secrets (no longer, thanks to BE!) in the speaking world. I’ve attended his speaker training events, including the recently-completed Presentation Power in Houston, Tx, and he provides terrific content, action plans to get you moving NOW, and opportunities for networking with other professionals. If you are even THINKING about becoming a professional speaker (a Messenger) then check out Jonathan on the web or on Facebook. You’ll cut YEARS off your learning curve and learn how to craft a message that speaks to your passion. Can’t say enough good things about this polished and integrity-filled professional!

  • vicki

    Jonathan is hands-down one of the most riveting speakers I have ever heard and I an glad BE recognized him. A lot of people speak, but Jonathan is a speaker on a level of his own!

  • Tieuel Legacy! Motion

    Big timer! TLegacy

  • Dia

    Jonathan brings joy, love and inspiration everywhere he goes. This man is a must have for all your events!

  • Ayo

    WOW! Very nice article. Heard JOnathan Sprinkles speak at a Black Student Govenrment Leadership event and I was blown away. This man is full of wisdom!

  • LadyRJ4

    What an inspirational story. Love Jonathan’s “Sprinklisms”. They are always applicable to something going on in my life right at that moment. Very insightful young man that is beyond doubt driven to help others succeed. If you’re not already connected to Jonathan, get connected. You will be inspired.

  • mstrammell

    He’s using the gift God has given him Im very proud of him.

  • Shaun

    I was inspired just from reading this article. Great work Jonathan!Keep pursuing purpose and watch the doors continue to open for you. God bless!

  • Jennifer Gibson

    Mr.Sprinkles gave invaluable leadership advice as well as motivational and inspirational information that applies to life everyday at our Leadership College’s event. I feel like he has helped me become a better leader and person.

  • Tanisha

    Congratulations on your success!!

  • RK Vaughan

    Recently attended a Boot Camp that Jonathan presented. I left with 43 pages of notes!!! Every page was filled with career-changing take aways. Thank You Jonathan!


    Great article!

  • Alan Skidmore

    I have known Jonathan for quite a while and I can say that he is the real deal. He walks the talk.

  • C. Woods

    Congratulations on all of your success! I knew you’d make Longhorn Nation proud!

  • Dina Proctor

    Jonathan is a tremendously engaging, inspiring speaker. His story and down-to-earth nature enable people like me (who have a great message to share but are intimidated on getting started) to know that you can make a living doing what you love. Jonathan is a master at motivating fellow “messengers”!

  • Sherri Fisher

    So proud of you my friend for being just as inspired as he is inspiring. Mr. “Destined for Greatness”, so glad you embraced your destiny. Thank you for chasing your purpose and helping others learn how! God bless you! 😉

  • Dave Espino

    Jonathan is a fantastic speaker who knows how to impart wisdom through his talks and infuses them with excitement, humor and inspiration, all while teaching great stuff at the same time. I’ve gained a ton from his presentations!

  • Helena

    What a motivational story. I’m ready to pursue my dreams from reading what Jonathan has done in his life. Great article!

  • Tracy Hanes

    Jonathan is a rising star. He is in the outer atmosphere already. What an inspiration to up and coming speakers and coaches. I hope we share the stage one day.

  • Jerome

    Very inspirational. I heard Jonathan speak before and he is amazing. These are the types of positive stories the media should focus on.

  • Terri

    Saw him speak when he won the Disney award. He is amazing and gifted to get his message across to diverse ethnic, racial, gender and age groups!

  • Zerbin

    He’s one of the best

  • Chad

    Jonathan is an amazing motivator. I’ve seen him speak several times and he never disappoints!

  • Karen P

    Certainly an awesome speaker and motivation. Keep up the great work Mr Sprinkles.

  • D Love

    From the first time I encountered Jonathan, he has always been full of life and energy. Nothing seems impossible to this guy. That enthusiasm is contagious.

  • Onyii Brown

    Jonathan, because of you I started a high-end custom sofa business two years ago, and about to open a second business this fall. You challenge me to take it higher every time. I’m going higher!

  • Leslie

    Jonathan is a charismatic and inspirational person with an infectious attitude of positiveness that is contagious!I had the pleasure of working with Jonathan through the Disney Dreamers Academy and it was amazing to see the children’s faces light up when he was on stage. They couldn’t wait to talk to him and is why they have voted him “Mentor of the Year” every year that he has been there! Fantastic work Jonathan, I can’t wait to see more great things from you!

  • Sarita Maybin

    Great article Johnathan. So glad you pursued your purpose!

  • ZsaBroca Hughes

    Jonathan is and always will be the TRUTH! He is tuly passionate about serving people and enhancing their lives. He inspires so many to be their best and embrace their individuality. When Jonathan gives you a “Sprinklism”, take it because it works and will change your life. He is approachable, sincere, knowledgeable, and extremely humble. He is a blessing to all and thank God for sharing him with the world!

  • Brian

    His story really motivates me to chase the life I deserve.

  • Christina

    Totally inspiring article.

  • Denise Hutchinson

    I just recently had the opportunity to hear Jonathan Sprinkles speak at Vicki Irvins Superwoman’s Lifestyle Event and his “Sprinklism” changed my life. You often hear the path to greatness is by service and Jonathan Sprinkles is a walking testiment to that. Not only is he brilliant at delivering his message but he connects with you in such a way that you have no choice but to believe that you to can do it and that anything is possible.


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