Andy Thibodeau

Andy Thibodeau

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.


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.


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.


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.


  • "“I just finished watching your presentation. I’m literally typing this on my phone through the tears that are flowing freely down my cheeks. You got me, friend. I’m so very excited for our delegates to become part of your powerful and important message. Thank you for caring so much and for sharing your care with the Ohio Association of Student Leaders.""Ohio Association of Student Leaders, 2020 Summer Camp
  • "“You’re already getting rave reviews, bringing humour and joy to our kids during a trying time! THANK YOU! Eva (our littlest) is in grade one and she thinks you’re pretty darn funny!”"Maggie Savage, Parent Council, Westmount Elementary, Peterborough ON
  • "“Thank you! You have made an impact among our students. Both presentations were well received. We had done a small debrief near the end of the day and you had a major impact. Students loved you suggesting to turn on their cameras and doing the energizers. It got them out of their chairs. Your messages transcend their stay at our college and will follow them for years to come.""Bill Mahon, Student Activities Advisor, John Abbott College, Montreal
  • ""Everyone loved the strong story at the end about the value of education and the far-reaching impact it has on individuals (and our society)! You are most definitely a passionate promoter of public education! It was a very energized presentation”"Jeff Pratt, CPA, CMA, Associate Director of Education & Treasurer, Thames Valley District School Board

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