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Leadership Lessons from the Armed Forces

Each November we take time to honour and remember our veterans,  and for many of us, last week was particularly meaningful.

Let’s not forget that we have the opportunity to learn valuable leadership lessons from our Armed Forces throughout the year! Consider bringing one of the following leaders to speak at your company or conference:


General Rick Hillier General Rick Hillier – Throughout his career, General Hillier has had the privilege and pleasure of commanding troops from platoon to multi-national formation level within Canada, Europe, Asia and the United States.In 2000, he took command of NATO’s Stabilization Force’s (SFOR) Multinational Division (Southwest) in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In May 2003 General Hillier was appointed as Commander of the Army and subsequently, in October 2003, he was selected as the Commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan.General Hillier was promoted to his present rank and assumed duties as the Chief of the Defence Staff on 4 February 2005. He retired from the Canadian Forces in July 2008. He has written two books: A Soldier First and Leadership Matters.
Angela Mondou Angela Mondou – While working for NATO in West Germany, Angela led the global logistics strategy to deploy the largest UN Peacekeeping contingent [UNPROFOR] in history into former Yugoslavia. After nine years in the air force, Angela moved on to the high-tech industry, where she worked in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As a global marketing executive she was responsible for many ‘rapid results’ programs and exciting new market and product launches.Angela is a director with the Canadian Forces Liaison Council, and is a recipient of the United Nations Peacekeeping Medal. In 2005, Angela was honoured to represent Canada’s peacekeepers in the Year of the Veteran campaign, featured on a special circulation 25-cent quarter released by the Royal Canadian Mint and a national television commercial campaign.
Lt. General Leslie Lt. General Leslie – Born into a multi-generational military family that includes Generals and Defense Ministers, General Leslie holds degrees in economics and military history. He has received numerous awards, not the least of which is The Order of Military Merit, one of Canada’s highest awards. Foreign governments have also recognized Leslie’s contributions with the Commander’s Cross Order of Merit from Poland and from the US, the Commander of the US Legion of Merit. General Leslie is the only non-American to receive this award to date.Equally at home in the bureaucratic environment as he is on the front: General Leslie is truly the modern military leader with a larger sense of purpose and a vision of the new normal.


To book General Hillier, Angela Mondou, or Lt. General Leslie  for your next event, give us a call at 416-420-4525 or be in touch via our site.

Introducing: Mike Robbins

Mike RobbinsMike Robbins is an expert in teamwork, emotional intelligence, and the powers of appreciation and authenticity.

Mike delivers keynote addresses and customized  seminars that empower people, teams, and organizations to work together  effectively and be more successful. He  has inspired tens of thousands of people around the world to reach new levels  of awareness and productivity, both personally and professionally. Through his  speeches, seminars, and writing, Mike teaches people important techniques that  allow them to be more grateful, appreciative, and authentic with others and  themselves.

Prior  to his speaking, writing, and consulting career, Mike was drafted by the New York Yankees out of high school. He turned the Yankees down and instead chose  to play baseball at Stanford University, where he pitched in the College World  Series. Mike was drafted by the Kansas City Royals out of Stanford and played  three seasons of professional baseball with the Royals organization before arm  injuries ended his playing career while still in the minor leagues.


To read more about Mike click here or better yet check him out in action below:

To book Mike for your next event, give us a call at 416-420-4525 or be in touch via our site.



Filed under: Adventure and Sports,Leadership,Motivation,Teamwork — Tags: — prospeakers.com @ 9:26 am
Welcome to the Team!

Prospeakers is proud to announce the addition of two wonderful speakers: Kathleen Taylor & Howard Behar.

Welcome to the team!

Taylor - 2013 - cropped(1)As a global executive, Kathleen Taylor attributes  her business success to an unyielding customer focus, strong core values,  constant innovation and authentic leadership. These key elements combined with  her ability to build high performing teams have enabled the ongoing delivery of  superior long term results. During  almost 25 years with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts – and over a decade  serving successively as its President, Worldwide Business Operations (1999),  Chief Operating Officer (2007) and CEO (2010) – Katie played an instrumental  role in establishing the Company’s global portfolio of luxury properties and  ensuring the brand’s international success. In that period, Four Seasons  quadrupled in size – growing to 90 locations operating in 37 countries – while  at the same time earning more consumer and industry awards than any other luxury  hospitality brand in history.

Katie’s unique leadership style, negotiating expertise, and strong relationship  management capabilities allowed her to drive the modern evolution of an iconic  Company with the support of almost 100 hotel ownership and development partners  around the world.

Katie is the recipient of numerous accolades for her business achievements, including  being the first woman ever to receive the Corporate Hotelier of the World award  from Hotels Magazine. She also received  the Cornell University Hospitality Innovator Award, the Schulich School of Business Award for Outstanding Executive Leadership, the inaugural Medal for Career  Achievement from the Hennick Centre for Business and Law at York University, and has been inducted into the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends.

Yet, despite myriad professional achievements, Katie has  made work-life integration her mantra, always describing her relationships with  her husband and their three grown children as her “greatest  achievements”.

Howard Behar(1)Howard  Behar’s career in business spans over 50 years, all in consumer oriented  businesses covering several industries. He retired from Starbucks Coffee after  21 years where he led both the domestic business, as President of North  America, and was the founding President of Starbucks International.   During his tenure, he participated in the growth of the company from only  28 stores to over 15,000 stores spanning five continents.  He served on  the Starbucks Board of Directors for twelve years before retiring.

Howard now serves on several Boards including for-profit and non-profit organizations.   They include Anna’s Linens, Sterling Savings Bank, Education Elements and  the advisory boards of Anthos Capital and Roadtrip Nation. His non-profit  commitments are to the University of Washington Foundation, and Washington  Business Alliance.

Howard is committed to the development and education of our future leaders and  has been a longtime advocate of the Servant Leadership Model.   He  has also authored a book on leadership titled “It’s Not About the  Coffee”

He lives in Seattle,  Washington, with his wife Lynn, and enjoys spending time with his children and  his five grandchildren.  Boating is his favorite hobby, exploring the  waterways from Seattle to Alaska.


To book Kathleen or Howard for your next event, give us a call at 416-420-4525 or be in touch via our site.




Michelle Ray: Lead Yourself First

Michelle Ray2Michelle Ray is a highly sought-after international business keynote speaker, consultant, author and educator who demonstrates a deep understanding of the importance of self-leadership in business and in life.

Creating her own successful international business, Michelle believes that  leadership is a state of mind and helps individuals at any stage of their career to master personal leadership, that is, the ability to take charge of oneself first in any situation. Michelle speaks passionately about self-actualization, the importance of outstanding leadership in the workplace, and the roles of positive communication and influence.

She has established the “Lead Yourself First Institute” to help individuals and organizations take the initiative in the face  of change and economic uncertainty.

Michelle’s latest book, Lead Yourself First: Breakthrough Strategies to Live the Life You Want, has continued to receive rave reviews. Lead Yourself First is now available on the Amazon Kindle! You can buy your paperback or digital copy here.

Once recognized as the top speaker in Canada for the world’s largest international public seminar company, Michelle offers in-house business seminars and consulting for leadership development, understanding changing  demographics, communication and improving workplace relationships.

You too can be encouraged and captivated through Michelle’s interactive approach!

On June 27th, Michelle is offering a complimentary webinar at 1:00pmPST (4:00pmEST). She will be discussing how to build high engagement, high morale and achieve an overall happier workplace. You can register for Michelle’s complimentary webinar here.

To book Michelle for your next event give us a call at 416-420-4525 or be in touch via our site.


Filed under: Communication,Customer Service,Leadership,Motivation,Womens Issues — Tags: , — prospeakers.com @ 11:55 am
Thank you, Mom!

In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, prospeakers.com is sending a heartfelt “thank you” to all the remarkable moms: thank you for providing unconditional love and support; for always extending your arms when we need to be held; and for even chasing away the monsters in the closet. Sometimes we wonder: “How do they do it all?”

This weekend is the perfect time to show your mom that you are truly thankful. With a card, a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates or even a hug to tell your mom (or someone else’s mom!): thank you.

Cyndi Desjardins is a hero and remarkable mother.

Cyndi DesjardinsShe did not think she would ever be able to hold her children in her arms again, hold their hands or wipe their tears. We could never imagine having these simple things taken away. But for Cyndi it was a reality.

In February of 2011 Cyndi was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as flesh eating disease. After five weeks of battling this ferocious disease, Cyndi woke to find her hands  and feet amputated in an effort to save her life. In May Cyndi was transferred to a rehabilitation facility, there she re-learned how to walk with artificial legs and perform basic every day functions. Things we all take for granted.

Cyndi is an amazing woman who has an extraordinary will to live, fight and to overcome this inconceivable challenge, she courageously recaptured the ability to care for her children, be a mother, a wife, and live life as best and as independently as possible. Cindy has accomplished so much in two years since becoming ill. She has reclaimed her title as a hands-on mom!

To book Cyndi for your upcoming event, give us a call at 416-420-4525 or be in touch via our site.


Filed under: Family and Parenting,Leadership,Motivation,Womens Issues — Tags: — prospeakers.com @ 3:03 pm
The Icing On the Cake for Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson, Canadian hockey icon,  has been battling cancer for the past four years.

But things are looking up.

Not only has his tumour shrunk, but he also received the Order of Canada last week. In his meeting with Prime Minister Harper to receive the award, he spoke about his cancer treatment:

“After seven months of this clinical trial that she was instrumental in getting me into, the tumour in my stomach is now the size of the end of my finger, and I’ve put 16 of those pounds back on and I am doing well,” he said, calling the Order of Canada reception, “simply the icing on the cake” of his life as a proud Canadian.

We couldn’t be more pleased for him – as a leader, a role-model, and encourager to many, his legacy extends well beyond the hockey arena, although he certainly has a strong influence there as well!


To book Paul for your upcoming event, give us a call at 416-420-4525 or be in touch via our site.

Filed under: Adventure and Sports,Leadership — Tags: — prospeakers.com @ 3:43 pm
Michelle Ray – Lead Yourself First

Michelle Ray, leadership strategist and international business keynoter, recently published her first book, Lead Yourself First.

Last week, she sat down with the Calgary Herald for an interview:

On the topic of why she decided to write this book, she shared that many “people opt for the status quo; justifying their position because staying stuck  is easier than creating change… Through my own experiences working with ineffective  managers and toxic workplaces, I came to realize that I could make different  choices … that it was up to me to change my circumstances and take personal  responsibility for my future career path.”

This wisdom from the road-less-traveled is shared in a format that combines personal anecdotes with proven principles; more than a simply theoretical approach, Michelle’s own life speaks to the possibilities of personal leadership.

She also speaks directly to women, on the best strategy to live the life they want: “Create your own reality…focus instead on what is within your control.  Individuals who choose not to buy in to negative news or doomsday thinking about  the economy are successfully realizing their goals, dreams and personal vision.”

“Self-confidence is key,” she says, particularly to those just starting their career, “It is important to view setbacks or  challenges as stepping-stones, rather than insurmountable obstacles. More than  likely, these challenges will come in the form of people who do either do not  believe in you or pull you into the quagmire of their own chaotic world. By  detaching from other people’s drama, you will be better equipped to stay focused  on your own path… Learn from every  interaction and experience as you build your business relationships, assume the  best rather than the worst, and always utilize positive communication.”


Each of us has the ability (and perhaps the obligation?) to lead our own lives. In Lead Yourself First, she outlines strategies for taking responsibility, having courage, and making the most of every opportunity that comes your way. An inevitable catalyst on the road to life & career growth, check it out today!


And of course, to have Michelle come to your business or association event, give us a call at 416-420-4525 or contact us today!


Filed under: Business Management and Organization,Leadership — Tags: — prospeakers.com @ 9:19 am
Bringing Clarity to Your Vision: Donald Cooper in the Globe & Mail

Donald Cooper, business innovator and thought leader, was featured in Sunday’s Globe and Mail. Founder of the highly successful Cooper Canada Ltd (a sporting goods manufacturing company), he also holds an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and spent 14 years as one of Canada’s most innovative retailers.

Clearly, he is a knowledgeable consultant, one whose chief aim is to help your company clarify its vision.

He starts by building a clear, understandable vision that can inspire others. Many companies, he notes, cram their vision statements with motherhood statements like “honouring their customers” or “having fun” that offer no real direction to employees…

When that’s completed, you can develop your mission statement: A clear, one-page statement of what you commit to do, this year, in every part of the business, to move toward the three- to five-year vision. You should create a fresh mission statement about two months before the end of each fiscal year, so you know what you intend to accomplish in the coming year. (from the Globe and Mail)


Too many companies have muddled their vision, overcomplicated their mission, and are floundering as a result, he believes.

Does your company have clear, identifiable goals? Are your central purpose and values practical and concise? Could Donald help bring clarity and direction?


For more information on booking Donald for your company, give us a call at 416-420-4525 or contact us via our website.


Sport Leadership: A Story from Doug Keeley

Doug Keeley, founder of The Mark of a Leader, is one of our top-rated speakers and a phenomenal storyteller. Here he shares an example of integrity and honour in a world currently shaken by those determined to win at any cost…


Sport has always been one of the world’s favourite metaphors for achievement and leadership.

Why? Because sports stories are chock full of lessons about competition, commitment, struggle, learning, teamwork, triumph… they’ve got the whole spectrum of the human experience covered! So what’s not to love?

Well, the fact is, the past year has also contained several major sports stories that shake that theory a bit. They also raise the question: what really drives athletes at the world-class level? How far will they go, and how much will they give up, in pursuit of the big Win?

Lance Armstrong was simply the best at what he did. He lied, bullied, and cheated his way to being better. He was not better than the other riders though; he was better than the dope testing system! Bike racing was all about winning for him – at any cost. Even if it meant betraying every other value he had ever learned or, theoretically, taught his kids.

“The beautiful game” is also apparently not so beautiful. A huge Interpol investigation just uncovered conclusive proof that hundreds of world-class football matches including some of the top clubs in the world, have been fixed in the last few years. Billions of dollars have been made as a result in a sophisticated ring that stretches through Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. And that’s just the most recent scandal.

American baseball has a dubious history as well…and American football is now under the same scrutiny…And on and on…

But thankfully, for every example like these there are thousands of others which demonstrate the true, positive values at the heart of competitive sports.

On December 2, there was a cross-country race held in Burlada, near Pamplona, Spain. It wasn’t a critical race with careers or medals in the balance… just a regional competition, which had drawn a varied group of runners.As they came toward the finish line, a Kenyan runner named Abel Mutai had a clear and definitive lead. He had represented his country in the London 2012 Olympics in July, and had won the bronze medal in the 3,000 metre steeplechase.

Some distance behind him was a 24-yr old Basque runner named Iván Fernández Anaya – thought by many to be Spain’s next big hope in cross-country running.

As they entered the final straightaway, Mutai passed what he thought was the finish line, slowed to a walk and began waving to the crowd – thinking he had already won. As he did not speak Spanish, he could not understand when spectators waved and tried to tell him that he still had 10 meters to go.

Coming up behind him, Iván Fernández Anaya had a choice to make.

He could do what his coach would advise, and what the crowd was calling out to him to do… take advantage of Mutai’s mistake, and speed past him to win the race.

But he knew that Mutai had been the leader, by a wide margin. He deserved the win.

And so in that split second, Iván made his choice.

 “I did what I had to do” he said. “He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake.”

First he shouted at Mutai, telling him to keep going. When the other runner did not understand, Iván gave him a push toward the finish line… and eventually got his point across. Mutai crossed the line as the winner, with Fernández Anaya coming in second.

The crowd, watching this little scenario unfold, exploded into applause… The only person who wasn’t impressed was his coach, Martin Fiz.

“The gesture has made him a better person, but not a better athlete,” said Fiz. “He has wasted an occasion. Winning always makes you more of an athlete. You have to go out to win.”

Shame on you Mr. Fiz. It is this attitude that drove Lance. It is this attitude that has created some of biggest bullies in C-suites in business. It is this attitude that is ruining sports as early as my son’s age, which is 11… Heaven help us all.

Iván Fernández Anaya, on the other hand, should be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and turned into the poster-boy in every locker room in the world.

Here’s to you Iván Fernández Anaya. You are a leader worthy of emulation.



(this story has been condensed from its original format)



Filed under: Adventure and Sports,Leadership — Tags: , , — prospeakers.com @ 10:48 am
Seven September Speakers: New Books, Olympians, Leaders
We may hesitate to admit that September is here, but the return of autumn can be positive! Lots of good things are in store. So as kids head back to school and offices fill up with returning vacationers, here is just a glimpse of what prospeakers.com has to offer you this fall:

  • Three popular speakers with brand new books,
  • Two incredible Olympic athletes, and
  • Two leadership experts we’ve recently added to our roster.
Scott Stratten Scott StrattenUn-marketer, Business Expert, AuthorScott Stratten’s new book, The Book of Business (Un)Awesome, is now out. An expert in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing, Scott cites this as “one of the only business flip books in the world!” His engaging, often humorous perspective on businesses that triumph and fail also provides actionable input on increasing customer and employee engagement to help your business thrive.

If you’d like more info on booking Scott to help your business boom, just click here.

Catherine Kaputa Catherine KaputaBrand Strategist, Speaker, Coach, AuthorCatherine Kaputa has had a long and noteworthy career in brand strategy, leading the award-winning “I Love NY” campaign and teaching at NYU’s Stern School of Business. Her most recent book, Breakthrough Branding: How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform a Small Idea into a Big Brand, demonstrates what makes a brand thrive, as seen in the stories of US and international brands, and provides you with tools to build the brand you need.

To have Catherine coach your team, visit her page on our website.

Jeffrey Simpson Jeffrey SimpsonAuthor, Journalist, TV personality, Member of the Order of Canada.Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail‘s national affairs columnist, has won all three of Canada’s leading literary prizes: the Governor-General’s award for non-fiction book writing, the National Magazine Award for political writing, and the National Newspaper Award for column writing (twice), and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. His newest book, Chronic Condition: Why Canada’s Healthcare System Needs to be Dragged Into the 21st Century is a head-on exploration of the “huge changes and real choices” that our country faces.

To hear Jeffrey’s perspective on updating our healthcare system, book him here.

Rosie MacLennan Rosie MacLennanLondon 2012 Gold MedalistFour months ago, Rosie MacLennan was virtually unknown. Today, she is Canada’s Gold Medal Girl, the only athlete to bring home the gold from the London 2012 games with a first place finish in Women’s Trampoline. A graduate from the University of Toronto and an athlete with over a decade of international experience, Rosie is a well-spoken and incredibly talented young leader.

If you’re interested in hosting Rosie at an upcoming event, her details are all right here.

Simon Whitfield Simon WhitfieldOlympic TriathleteSimon Whitfield’s Olympic career has spanned four games, from Sydney to London. As a leader within the triathlon world, an advocate for amateur sport and an experienced speaker, he is a man of international influence.

To have him come share his Olympic stories and lessons-learned along the way with your company, visit us here.

Robert Murray Robert MurrayStrategy and Leadership DevelopmentRobert Murray is a passionate storyteller and leadership mentor with more than twenty years of Senior Executive Business experience in Fortune 100 and small start-up organizations over 12 countries. Robert is, among other roles, Board Director for Russell Breweries, Associate Professor at the Sauder School of Business and the BCIT School of Business, Executive Advisor and Strategic Facilitator to many companies and author of the highly acclaimed book on leadership, It’s Already Inside.

His leadership insights will be of undeniable value to your business. Find out more about booking him here.

Chantal Vallee Chantal ValléeSports Psychologist and Transformational CoachChantal Vallée is the Head Coach of the University of two-time Canadian University Champion Windsor Lancers Women’s Basketball, and has a winning percentage of 90%; in the 2 years prior to Chantal’s arrival, the team had won only 8 of their 60+ games. Chantal is fluent in French, English and Spanish and has a Masters Degree in Sport Psychology. She is a talented coach and dynamic leader whose passion for excellence and pride in performance can change the way that teams and individuals see themselves and their potential.

If you’d like to bring her performance & leadership expertise to your team, click here.

Please call us or be in touch if you would like more information on these or any other speakers. As always, we look forward to working with you to create dynamic and engaging events.

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