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Keynote Speakers 2018

Day 1 Opening Keynote Address (9:15AM - 10:15 AM)

Bruce Kirkby: Change, Risk, and Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort 

Acclaimed Explorer | Writer | Photographer

Bruce Kirkby’s incredible adventures have taken him to every corner of the earth – from Everest to Arabia, from Ethiopia to the Arctic. An acclaimed explorer, travel writer, and adventure television host (who also has a degree in engineering physics), Bruce’s expeditions – and the formidable adversities they’ve entailed — have made him an authority on change leadership and risk management. In his engaging talks, Bruce draws on the tests and trials he’s faced in his travels to offer simple strategies from the field that encourage people and organizations – wherever they find themselves – to move toward possibility and opportunity to create lasting success.

With three decades of international expedition experience behind him, Bruce has crossed Mongolia on horseback; traversed Borneo by sea-kayak; reached mountaineering summits on five continents; and trekked coast-to-coast over Iceland. Recently, he spent six months travelling to and living in a Himalayan Buddhist monastery with his young family – an experience chronicled on Travel Channel’s Big Crazy Family Adventure.

The former host of CBC’s No Opportunity Wasted, Bruce is also the bestselling author of two travel books, and his work appears regularly in The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, Outside, and EnRoute.  His photography was selected by National Geographic as among “the most compelling adventure images of the decade.”

Between today’s comfortable routines and tomorrow’s possibilities, lies a maze of uncertainty, unfamiliarity and discomfort. The ability to confidently and competently complete this journey — the archetypal journey of all human growth — stands as one of the greatest determinants of success, both organizational and personal.

Unfortunately, there is a broadly-held assumption that teams and individuals either have the magical ability to lean into fear and seek sustained uncertainty, to stomach failures and brush aside judgements — or they don’t.  And that is simply not true. Navigating change and growth is a trainable, repeatable skill.

Drawing on experiences from three decades of expeditions, and sharing his learnings from the competitive realms of television production, photography, and writing, Bruce Kirkby lays out the universal obstacles to change and growth — fear, failure, judgement, crisis, and paralysis – and shows audiences how to transform these obstacles into signals, illuminating the path towards future innovation, creativity, and success.

Day 2 Opening Keynote Address (9:00AM - 10:00 AM)

Dr. Samantha Nutt, M.Sc.: The Role of Healthcare Providers as Advocates and Change Makers


DR. SAMANTHA NUTT is an award-winning humanitarian, bestselling author and acclaimed public speaker. A medical doctor and a founder of the renowned international humanitarian organization War Child, Dr. Nutt has worked with children and their families at the frontline of many of the world’s major crises—from Iraq to Afghanistan, Somalia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone to Darfur, Sudan. 

A leading authority on current affairs, war, international aid, and foreign policy, Dr. Samantha Nutt is one of the most intrepid and recognized voices in the humanitarian arena. With a career that has spanned more than two decades and dozens of conflict zones, her international work has benefited hundreds of thousands of war-affected children. 

With a mix of personal storytelling Dr. Nutt will talk about the current trends and threats to global health throughout the world and the role of healthcare providers as advocates and change makers.  It’s funny, it’s serious, it’s inspiring and it’s practical. 

Dr. Nutt is a respected authority for many of North America's leading media outlets. She is a regular panelist on Canada’s premier nightly news show, CBC's The National with Peter Mansbridge.  She has been published by Maclean’s Magazine, Reuters, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, and The Huffington Post, among many others. She has been profiled by Time Magazine, More Magazine, Marie Claire, and has appeared on NBC Nightly News, BBC World News Service, CBC, CTV, Global Television, WGN, and NPR, to name just a few.

Dr. Nutt’s critically acclaimed book, Damned Nations, was a #1 bestseller in Canada.

Dr. Nutt was named one of Canada's 25 Transformational Canadians by The Globe and Mail, and has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Time Magazine has featured her as one of Canada's Five Leading Activists. In July 2011, Dr. Nutt was appointed to the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour, for her contributions to improving the plight of young people in the world's worst conflict zones. 

Dr. Nutt graduated summa cum laude from McMaster University, earned an M.Sc in Public Health with distinction from the University of London, and holds a Fellowship in Community Medicine (FRCPC) from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She is further certified by the College of Family Practice and completed a sub specialization in women’s health through the University of Toronto as a Women’s Health Scholar. Dr. Nutt is the recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates from universities in Canada and the US. She is also a staff physician at Women's College Hospital and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto, and is on the board of the David Suzuki Foundation. 

Day 2 Closing Keynote Address (1:45PM - 2:30 PM)

Michael Kerr: Putting Humour to Work for Less Stress and More Success! 

You’ll laugh while you’ll learn how you can create a truly inspiring workplace and discover how inspiring leaders, teams, and organizations are tapping into their humor resources to drive success. International business speaker Michael Kerr will share three powerfully effective Rs for tapping into your sense of humor in the face of stress and share real-world examples of how businesses are leveraging their humor resources to attract and keep customers, motivate employees, communicate more effectively, build stronger teams, and inspire more creativity and innovation at work.

Address will cover:

  • It’s not about being funny, it’s about how humour can help you choose a more positive workplace attitude
  • Why humour at work makes dollars…and sense: The compelling business case for more fun at work
  • Three reasons why humour is one of the most powerful stress busters
  • The “3 R’s” of putting humour to work to manage stress and deal with change in the workplace
  •  Using humour to communicate effectively: It’s not always what you say, it’s how you say things in the workplace that matters
  • The humour advantage: Using humor stand out from the herd to be heard and to turn customers into raving fans for your business
  • Why teams that laugh together, work better together
  • Sparking creative thinking through the power of humour: Why HA + HA = AHA!
  • Practicing “safe” workplace humour: Humour that laughs with people, not at people

Michael Kerr is a Hall of Fame business speaker who travels the world researching, writing and speaking about inspiring workplace cultures, inspiring leaders, and businesses that leverage their humor advantage to drive outrageous results.

Michael’s ideas on building a great workplace culture have been featured in hundreds of publications worldwide, while his Inspiring Workplaces blog has been recognized as a Top-75 Workplace Blog on the Planet. 

Michael is also the author of six books, including Inspiring Workplaces - Creating the Kind of Workplace Where Everyone Wants to Work and The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank.


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