Beyond Your WHY


Be a coffee bean!

Season 2, Ep. 23

Meet Damon West

His WHY is Contribute

Interviewed by WHY Institute Founder Dr. Gary Sanchez (Better Way)

DAMON WEST, M.S. Criminal Justice, is a motivational speaker and best-selling co-author (with best-selling author and motivational speaker Jon Gordon) of The Coffee Bean: A simple Lesson to Create Positive Change. His first book and autobiography, The Change Agent: How a Former College QB Sentenced to Life in Prison Transformed His World, was published just three years after his release from a Texas maximum-security prison.

Sentenced to sixty-five years in a Texas prison, Damon West once had it all. He came from a great family, in a home full of God, love, support, and opportunities to reach any goal. A natural born leader, an athlete with good looks and charm, he appeared to be the all-American kid pursuing his dreams.

Underneath this facade, however, was an addict in the early stages of disease. After suffering childhood sexual abuse by a babysitter at the age of nine, Damon began putting chemicals into his body to alter the way he felt.

Once he was introduced to methamphetamines, however, he became instantly hooked—and the lives of so many innocent people would forever be changed by the choices he made in order to feed his insatiable meth habit.

After a fateful discussion during his incarceration with a seasoned convict, Damon had a spiritual awakening. He learned that, like a coffee bean changing with the application of heat and pressure, he was capable of changing the environment around him. Armed with a program of recovery, a renewed faith, and a miraculous second chance at life, Damon emerged from over seven years of prison a changed man. His story of redemption, grit and determination continues to inspire audiences today.

Today, Damon lives a life of recovery and service, going to meetings and sharing his story all over the country with schools, church’s, athletic teams, corporations, conferences and inside correctional facilities. Over the past few years, he has been sharing the Coffee Bean lesson with dozens of college football teams such as Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas, and countless schools and businesses. His “Be a coffee bean” message has inspired thousands, winning him the Service to Mankind Award in 2017.

Professionally, he works as a legal assistant for the Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont, Texas and is an adjunct professor of criminal justice at the University of Houston Downtown.

Damon’s message connects with audiences on a level rarely before seen, as evidenced by the lengthy and thought-provoking Q&A following each presentation. His ability to articulate his story is proof that sometimes they lock-up the right person.

Damon’s story has been featured both nationally and globally. His second book, The Coffee Bean, co-authored with best-selling author Jon Gordon, became an instant best-seller. Damon is passionate about the Coffee Bean message, and loves sharing how it changed his life and how it can change yours, too.

“It is my hope that my story, my example, can show others they are capable of way more than they think. In order to stem the flow of pain in society, it is incumbent upon each of us, whether in life, in school or in business, to be like the coffee bean from my story.” – Damon West

You can learn about Damon West on his website,

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