After receiving his B.S. in Communications and Public Relations from Illinois State University in 1987, he began working with young people, families, and educators, first as a Youth Minister, and then as a high school Teacher and Development Director. Throughout that time, John was thrilled to be called upon to speak to schools, service organizations, hospitals, corporations, and churches. Over the past 28 years, John has spoken to more than two million people.

In 2004, John was recognized for his tireless efforts against intolerance and injustice by Rosa Parks, co-chair for the National Campaign for Tolerance. His name is engraved on the Wall of Tolerance in Montgomery, Alabama.

Since 2010, John has served as Director of Retreats at La Salle Manor Retreat Center in Plano, Illinois, where he gives presentations, directs team building, and facilitates small groups with adolescents and educators.

He has been married to Laureen Donahue-Grossman since 1987, has three adult children, one granddaughter and resides in Big Rock, Illinois.

John is the real deal. He has an awesome ability to relate to both students and adults. He is a gifted and fabulous storyteller whose passion radiates throughout his entire presentation.
— Deborah Tracy, Principal, Nazareth Academy, Lagrange, IL
John, Maine West was definitely talking the highest things about you as soon as you left! Thank you for opening our eyes! SO inspired!
— Jincy Joseph, Student, Desplaines, IL
John was so engaging at our Snowball, he was asked to speak to the entire student body, staff and parents at an all-school function. After students saw him speak during the day, their cell phones came out to encourage their parents to go see him speak that night. Parents left with strategies to use to have an open, honest conversation with their teens. When John speaks he is able to captivate his audience whether it’s students and staff or parents. He connects with his entire audience and challenges them to reflect on their experiences and behaviors to be better, stronger people.
— Darin Sullivan, Special Ed. Department, Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook IL
He is one of those presenters that afterward you could sit with a cup of whatever your preferred beverage may be, and have a 3 day introspective philosophical discussion about his sharing’s. Yep..he got my 70’s soul jiving!
— Barb Ludwig, Manager, Payer Authorization, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
John’s presentation was amazing. I’ve never seen 450 sixth graders stay so focused for 80 minutes before. John had such an effect on the students. I had at least 2 students come back to my room crying because he moved them so much with his message.
— Julie Pytko, Faculty, Indian Trail Junior High School, Addison IL