Teardown with Dave Meslin

Political Entrepreneur & Engagement Specialist Dave Meslin believes that right now our democracy is a train wreck. Our elections feel hollow, our legislatures toxic. Fierce partisanship, centralized power, distorted election results and rigged systems all contribute to our growing cynicism. Voters are increasingly turning towards the angriest candidates, or simply tuning out completely and staying at home.

He has compiled a collection of solutions aimed at bringing our democratic ecosystem to life, not only in our legislatures but also in our daily lives. They can all be found in his new book ‘Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up,’ which has already listed as an official Canadian non-fiction bestseller!

The book begins by exploring the basics: our broken voting system, the role of lobbyists, the influence of big money, the hollowness of our political parties and all the ways that our democratic spaces are designed to be alienating and hostile. It then digs deeper, by exploring the harm caused by the polarization of ideas and the adversarial battlegrounds that preclude constructive dialogue.

But don’t think the book is purely a commentary on politics. It’s much more than that. It’s a look at power: who has it, and how it operates.

He applies this lens to some key industries:

Education – By cracking open our schools, Dave reveals not only a broken civics curriculum but also a top-down environment that rewards both obedience and conformity, forcing kids to slowly unlearn their own leadership skills. 

Non-Profit – Dave deconstructs the sector and the ways that political advocacy is financially suffocated, and he uncovers how we’ve drowned out community voices in our public spaces by commodifying the visual landscape.

By now, you’ve likely seen one of his many media appearances: From The Globe and Mail to the Walrus, to the Spacing Radio Podcast, or read some of the positive reviews in the Toronto Star, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, and the Hill Times Review.

But that’s not the best part…

Dave’s used some of the key pillars of his book to craft some brand new insight-filled talks for event professionals!


The Three New Teardown Keynotes:

Teardown: Reinventing Your Structure’

This presentation, based on the overarching message of Dave’s new bestselling book, shows audiences how to re-imagine structures to create innovative change. It is customized for each audience to show how the lessons in Teardown can be applied to your industry & your organization. Key takeaways include:
• The techniques for more effective communication.
• How to develop the next generation of cross-sectional leaders.
• The ways to reduce divisiveness and getting more people to care about your organization’s mission.

Seeds of Change: Innovating the Non-Profit Sector

In this presentation, Dave provides non-profit organizations with a roadmap for innovation. He shows audiences how to bring about real change by re-imagining the sector & the ways their organization conducts its operations. This presentation will help organizations create a vibrant community of strong advocacy that is sustainable, independent & disruptive. Key takeaways include:
• The proven strategies to use for your on-the-ground community organizing.
• New models for decentralizing philanthropy that will lead to sustainable long-term funding.
• How to attract disruptive entrepreneurial talent & how to cross-pollinate talent with the businesses sector.

‘Reframing Leadership: The End of Heroes

Our modern view of leadership is flawed. It centers around the hero narrative – one where faith is placed in a single person to solve organizational problems. Non-participatory in nature, our search for heroes is shifting attention away from policies towards personality and marginalizing the greater majority of an organization. When it comes to the leaders themselves, the pressures being put on them in a hero-obsessed culture are enormous. Key takeaways include:
• How to round your power structure to boost teamwork, productivity, engagement, enrolment & more.
• Innovative organizational structures to make life easier for those on leadership pedestals.
• How to encourage more people within an organization to take on leadership roles.
Read more about ‘Reframing Leadership’ here.

This presentation also works great as an in-conversation format. Check out the #OnCivilSociety talk delivered shortly after Dave’s book launch:


Reimagine our corporate, political and non-profit structures to create innovative change by having Dave Meslin speak at your event: