My name is Thando Zono.

I’m a 26 year old Motivational Speaker and Author from  Grahamstown, South Africa. I’m also a University of Massachusetts graduate student completing my Master of Science degree in Resource Economics. 

Growing up I played hockey and it was the first area in my life where I worked towards a goal and experienced a great deal of success.

Throughout high school and my early twenties I was part of the South African Junior Hockey teams. Field Hockey is what brought me to the United States. In 2010 I was recruited to play field hockey for the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). In my time at UMass I was part of a successful team winning the A-10 championship twice, making the NCAA tournament in as many times and being named First Team All American in my Senior Year. 

After graduation I moved to Perth, Australia to pursue my hockey career and played for Rockingham Redbacks hockey club. At the end of my season I tore my ACL for the second time and moved back to South Africa in October 2013 to have surgery. During my recovery, I decided to continue with my studies, obtaining my Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Economics at Rhodes University. Going from the field to the books was a difficult adjustment for me. I felt as though I left my dreams behind in Australia. Field Hockey was my passion and it was devastating to not be able to play anymore.

Never one to ignore the positive in each situation, I decided to try a different route and use the experiences and lessons learnt from my journey in sport to encourage those around me to go after their dreams and do so passionately.

This also gave me the idea to write my first book called The Pursuit of Excellence: Learning to be nothing short of EXTRAORDINARY" where I lay out my story and use it to help inspire and motivate people across the world.

I enjoy public speaking and addressing students, sports teams and any platform available to spread this message of positivity and encouragement. After speaking at an Annual University Sports Banquet, one of the parents came up to me and said, 

“In your next life you should be a Motivational Speaker.”
I responded, “No sir, I already am one.” 

Decide who you want to be and work towards it. Get out of your own way and believe that it's possible for you. Let's get to work. 

Keep Thriving! BOOM!