Mercedes Ramirez Johnson

Speaker Expertise
Injured in the Workplace, Inspiration/Motivation

In 1995, Mercedes Ramirez Johnson narrowly survived a commercial airplane crash that killed 160 people, including her parents. As one of only four survivors of this tragedy, she vowed that she would make her second chance at life count…and that she has – not only for herself, but also for the tens of thousands of people who have heard her story and her message. Transformational, passionate, inspiring and genuine. That is how clients and audiences describe Mercedes and her programs. Many speakers who have overcome great adversity are deeply inspiring, but rarely offer their audiences more than momentary motivation. Content-driven presenters provide practical advice, but are often short on inspiration. Mercedes offers both.

Presentation Description & Topics

Safety: Don’t Count on Second Chances

Can too much experience be a bad thing?

The pilots of Flight 965 were expertly trained, highly skilled and very experienced. Yet they were lulled into a false sense of security and a disregard for standard operating procedures that led to a series of human errors and, ultimately, the deaths of 160 people.

This one-of-a-kind presentation puts safety into the proper perspective and vividly demonstrates that the mistakes these pilots made are the same mistakes that anyone, in virtually any industry, can make on any given workday. Using the factual account of the crash of Flight 965 and safety investigation findings as anchors, Mercedes drives home the profound impact of individual choices and the devastating results of ignoring safety procedures. Participants will distinctly understand the difference between knowing about safety and putting safety into action.

Captivated audiences frequently comment that Mercedes’ true-life story of tragedy, survival and recovery is unlike any safety presentation they’ve ever experienced. A Hispanic woman in a male-dominated market, Mercedes is hailed as a fresh voice in the safety industry. Her genuine and personable style, combined with her knowledge of safety issues, ensures this presentation and its lessons won’t be forgotten.

Organizational Payoffs:

Professional safety associations, the U.S. military and organizations from a wide array of industries – including construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, transportation and aerospace – have utilized this topic to:

  • Establish and enhance a culture of safety where safety is not just a priority, but a key organizational value
  • Introduce or reinforce behavior-based safety success
  • Develop individual responsibility and accountability for safety on the job every day
  • Provide a memorable, world-class program that leaves a long-lasting impact

Individual Takeaways:

Participants leave Mercedes’ presentations with a whole new mindset about safety, as well as tools they can put to use immediately on the job. Key takeaways include:

  • An acute understanding that safety is a mentality not a mandate
  • A commitment to personal accountability for safety
  • The inescapable truth that experience and familiarity are no guarantee and can, in fact, create a dangerous complacency and false sense of security
  • The hazards of disregarding standard operating procedures and taking “harmless” shortcuts
  • The dangers of “going through the motions” and the importance of being fully intentional and engaged in the task at hand
  • The significance of Situational Awareness and cross-accountability

Safety: Don’t Count on Second Chances is applicable for individuals at every level who deal with safety issues, from front-line workers to safety experts. Mercedes appeals to the diverse ages, ethnicities and genders that comprise today’s workforce. The keynote format ranges from 45 to 90 minutes and is customized to your organizational climate, meeting theme and objectives.

Hear what others have to say

By far the best presentation I have ever attended for safety. Makes me completely rethink my safety policies. – Jay Caviola, 153rd Det Commander, Army National Guard

Very informative and captivating. A message that makes you think heavily about our own safety culture and a message we can take back to our employees. Very, very well done. – Shawn Mydynski, HSE Coordinator, Suncor Energy

Excellent tie-in of real life experience into a presentation on safety values and culture. – James Ringwall, Health & Safety Manager, Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association (Mercedes was the first woman and first non-athlete VPPPA had ever invited to speak at their national conference)