Andy Thibodeau was called “Mr. School Spirit” by the alumni magazine of King’s College at Western University (London, ON) when they named him alumni of the year in 2014. This passion for leadership and school spirit started in late grade 7 when Andy successfully ran for student council Vice President. He won because no one ran against him! From organizing dances in 8th grade, pep rallies in high school and orientation week in University, Andy’s enthusiasm for leadership and community service led to his unique career of inspiring students and staff across the continent.
Since 1992, Andy has delivered thousands of fun inspirational presentations to schools and conferences across North America. Over two million people have experienced his IMPACT Presentations in all 10 Canadian provinces and 40 US states. Andy is a unique speaker who has presentations for all grades of elementary and secondary students, college & university programs, education professionals in all schools, leadership conferences, and the staff and participants of camp and recreation programs!
Through his hilarious comedy and true-life stories, Andy delivers a message that everyone can relate to. His presentations are unique due to his international speaking experiences, the personalization of each talk to the activities of the school or organization, and his high-energy style. You will be moved by his experiences having 3 new Canadian teens from Africa live with his family for 10 months in 2019. You will be transported back to 1984 and feel the hurt and humour of Andy trying out for the football team on his first day of high school. He didn’t win his first track and field ribbon until grade 11, and it was a 5th! Andy missed the last 2 days of Orientation week 1991 as the Spirit Leader of the Welcome team due to heat exhaustion! Yes, he had TOO MUCH spirit and energy! Andy rebuilt homes across 3 Mission trips to Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, visited his sponsor child in Kenya, and chaperoned most of the dances at his daughter’s elementary school! Thanks to those dances he knows “what the fox says”, how to “Whip and Neh Neh”, and has taught 10-year olds the words to “Living on a Prayer”!
Andy lives in his hometown of London, Ontario with his wife and two daughters. The experiences of his wife as a high school French and Computers teacher and his daughters as students are woven into all of his IMPACT Programs! Andy empowers leaders because he was always an active school leader: Student Council VP in elementary/middle school, Student Council President in high school, and Orientation Week coordinator at King’s University College. A highlight of his student leadership career was when Much Music named his high school the “Most Spirited School in Canada” while he was president in 1989.
Andy remains active in his school communities as he delivers at least one or more presentations annually at his elementary school and secondary school and is the welcome speaker each fall at King’s College!
Andy’s IMPACT keynotes and workshops are part pep rally, part comedy show, part inspirational keynote, part hands-on leadership training.
SPEECH AND WORKSHOP TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS
Keynotes and Assemblies
“Get Your Hand UP!” – SCHOOL ASSEMBLY for Grades 6 to 12.
On the first day of high school, I was 6 foot and 115 pounds. My #1 enemy … the wind! I tried out for the Junior football team and on the second day of school I experienced the failure of being cut. This hilarious and inspiring program encourages your students to have an attitude of “Pick Me, Pick Me”! Fight the fear of failure and be the student that “Gets Your Hand UP” to answer questions, ask questions, and volunteer. School is about balancing learning and having fun! Work ethic, School Spirit, Self-Confidence, Resiliency, and Volunteerism are the key themes of this assembly.
“Share your Care” – SCHOOL ASSEMBLY for grades 1 to 12.
What was my criteria to ask Leica to dance at my first dance in grade 7? That she was hot? That she was cool? No! Hot and cool are temperatures and not characteristics. My criteria was, “will she say no … nicely?!” Her kindness and character was why I asked her to dance! What would she say? This moving and comedic story about self-confidence and compassion will have everyone in your audience relating to my journey from shy grade 6 to high school grad. My message: Care about yourself, your friends, family, school, and community! My top 3 examples of care: Show up. Participate. Listen. A special version is available for grades 1 to 5. Themes of Community Service, Inclusion, Kindness, School Spirit, Self-Confidence, Bullying Awareness are woven into the program.
“Get Your Hand UP GRADS!” – GRADE 12 KEYNOTE & GRAD RETREAT
A special grade 12-focused version of my “Get Your Hand UP’ assembly, focusing on enjoying the final year of school, being an example of leadership for the younger grades, and successfully preparing for life after high school. Perfect for grad retreats and second semester visits.
“Get Your Hand UP at WORK” – GRADE 10-12 CO-OP/WORKPLACE TRAINING
A workplace focused keynote or workshop based on my “Get Your Hand UP” program. A fantastic complement to your Co-Op programs in Post-Secondary Preparation, Leadership, Communication Skills and Workplace Training. It now includes additional insights from my 9 months of working at Costco during a challenging 2020. I was a 50-year-old “retail rookie” being trained by people half my age! You learn a lot about your work ethic packing groceries during the tense times of April 2020 or pushing shopping carts in 40-degree Celsius heat!
“Initiate Inclusion by Invitation” – Andy’s Three “I’s” of Building Community. SCHOOL ASSEMBLY for grades 1 to 12. LEADERSHIP KEYNOTE for grades 7 to 12.
Inclusion is at the forefront of all schools’ goals. For 10 months in 2018-19, my family had three young women from Congo live with us until their housing situation was settled. The ongoing experience of being “Uncle Andrew” to new Canadians from Africa is hilarious, powerful, and insightful. When you initiate inclusion by invitation, my family’s experience shows that the rewards go both ways – blessing the giver and receiver! From this experience, my work at the King’s College Peace Camp, and working for 9 months in 2020 at Costco, I offer perspective to the following challenges: How can you initiate inclusion? What limits our courage to invite? How can one maintain enthusiasm for invitation and leadership when negative experiences and rejection challenge us in our schools and community? Include, invite, and lead by initiating! Keynote themes: Inclusion, Appreciation of Differences, Self-confidence, Communication Skills, Team Building, Community Service.
“The Look” Bounces off me! Dealing Positively with Negativity – STUDENT LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE Keynote for grades 6-12.
We have all seen it when we are in a leadership role … someone gives us the “look” of disapproval and we feel our enthusiasm for leadership fade a little. A hilarious and life-changing keynote where I give your leaders effective strategies on dealing with negativity while inspiring care. As a leader in my teens, when I learned to not let the negative judgement of others change ME, that CHANGED ME! I remind leaders that, “Care is contagious, but as a leader, it has to start with ME!” From my own school and community leadership experiences, I offer realistic, easy-to-implement insights that will motivate you and your team!
This has been my leadership conference keynote shared hundreds of times at regional, provincial, and state events across the continent.
“Making Care Contagious!” – Andy’s Habits of Successful Student Leaders.
Care is Contagious, but as a LEADER, it must start with ME! Lessons learned from being a grade 8 student council VP, a high school student president, and the orientation coordinator of my university. A powerful student leadership program that can run from 1 to 3 hours on improving communication and event marketing, handling rejection and negativity, being an example of good decisions and promoting inclusion!
“Can I Count on You?” Improving Your Reliability to Lead Yourself and Others.
Execution of ideas is the number one challenge for young leaders organizing events. This session will immediately improve the ability of your team to work together and improve their organization skills. For students and school staff! As a retreat, it can be a Co-Op/Workplace training program in Organization, Leadership and Time Management. A great PD program for school staff!
“Initiate Inclusion by Invitation” – Andy’s Three “I’s” of Building Community.
A leadership workshop version of my program on Inclusion. Leaders are the first “I” – Initiate. Leaders start the conversation, extend invitation, learn about barriers to inclusion, and work with others to find solutions!
Co-Op/Workplace Training Workshops on “Reliability”, “Inclusion” and “Communicating Care”.
I have created Co-Op class versions of my Leadership Programs, with presentation lengths from 45 minutes to a half day retreat. Complements your Co-Op and Workplace training programs in Organization, Leadership and Time Management. It includes insights from my 9 months at Costco in 2020!
“The Impact of Invitation” – An Appreciation Keynote or Workshop For ALL School Staff.
My 30 to 60-minute program to inspire and entertain your school’s staff at a PD session or educator conference. In the fall of grade 9, I received a letter inviting me to attend a “potential test” for track and field. That letter from Coach and Teacher Don Young changed my life! Also available as a one to two-hour Professional Development session!
“The IMPACT of the Advisor” – Two Options for Advisors and Leadership Teachers
Both “Making Care Contagious” and “Can I Count on You?” are available as adult advisor workshops. Each of these presentations empowers adult leaders to support their students when they return to school. Perfect for staff only workshops at leadership conferences.
In “Making Care Contagious”, Andy shares numerous activities and events that schools can run that support the 5 Habits. “Can I Count on You?” will give adult advisors the tools to keep their team organized. In addition, both programs are an empowering reminder to adult advisors about the difference they make inspiring youth leaders. These workshops can each run from 30 to 120 minutes.