Professional Portrait: John Gains

This is the first entry in what will be an ongoing series devoted to highlighting the accomplishments of professionals who have not only achieved great success but dedicated themselves to helping the community around them. There is no better place to start than with the story of John “Push” Gains.

As a child, John was inspired by Doctor King who famously dreamt of a world where a man would be judged on the content of his character rather than the color of his skin. John now works to spread the message that the content of one’s character is not defined by their past and that no one should be limited by adversity . Growing up surrounded by drugs and violence, facing personal struggles, and being bullied for his differences, he had every reason to give up, but he pushed through.

John is an inspiration by the sheer fact that he has overcome so much and become the accomplished professional he is today. But what really sets him apart is his dedication to helping others to overcome hardships and accomplish greatness. As a motivational speaker, John has spoken around the country and inspired thousands of people. As an Author, he strives to expand his reach and spread his message to a much larger audience.

John’s story began as too many do. As a child, John remembers his mother reassuring him that the sounds in the streets at night were just fireworks. They were not. Living in an area surrounded by drugs and gang violence, his story was the sort that rarely came with a happy ending. His mother tried to protect him from the harsh realities outside their door, but her own addiction was a reality he could not escape. John had a speech impediment resulting from his mother’s addiction at the time of his birth making him a frequent target for bullies.

One day at the age of seven, after navigating the bullies and social dynamics of another day of elementary school, John came home where he found his mother dead. Chronic drug use had taken it’s tole and left John and his sister hopeless and alone. This would have been the moment for many to give up, but it was after this that John learned the lesson that would push him forward.

While learning about Doctor King in school, Gaines was inspired by the strength King had to overcome seemingly impossible odds and to create change. He realized that hurdles are not walls, and that you can overcome the obstacles in your life and help others to do the same. Inspired, he said that he wanted to chase his own dreams. He wanted to play college football, and he wanted to become a Doctor to help people. Both statements were fuel for mockery and laughter by his classmates, but received encouragement from his teacher. Labeled by learning disability and dismissed by many, his teacher, Alisa Keolker, encouraged him. This support helped him to shut out the voices telling him what he couldn’t do and to work for what he knew he could do.

With inspiration from his teacher and support from his older brother who took him in, John pushed himself to learn and to grow to his full potential. He went on to become Captain of the Football team at East Central University in Oklahoma and later earned his Doctorate in Business Administration proving himself and his teacher right. Perhaps most importantly, John Gains didn’t stop at personal accomplishments. He has fully dedicated himself to passing on the help and encouragement he received to get where he is, to the youth facing seemingly impossible struggles.

John “Push” Gains encourages those around him to “Keep pushing.” He started the nonprofit P.U.S.H organization to encourage people to “Persevere Until Something Happens” a message that has brought him a long way and that he hopes will help others to achieve their dreams.


John’s book Kia the Queen is available now and takes note from his childhood to show children that their struggles are not limitations and that they can achieve greatness.

Digital and paperback available on Amazon

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