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Adam Kreek

Olympic Gold Medalist, Adventurer & Social Entrepreneur

Peak Performance. Shared Leadership. Managing Change. Reframing Failure. An Olympic Gold Medalist turned Engineer, Journalist, Adventurer, Adam is a Social Entrepreneur who walks the talk. Adam is a Journalist with CBC Sports, writing on topics of health and wellness for peak performance. He is a Champion with the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, an organization dedicated to bettering health through science-based strategies. Adam also serves on the board of Cowichan Energy Alternatives, a low carbon start-up on Vancouver Island. As a Corporate Trainer, Adam teaches strategies of high performance to clients globally. 

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Adam conducts an extensive pre-event interview to ensure that his story speaks authentically to each unique audience as well as fit within the broader context of conferences and events.  He works closely with his team to craft an authentic message that reinforces the best organizational goals, interests and cultures

How to Empower Drive, Engagement and Growth: Why Our Fear of Failure Fails Us 
We’ve got the balance wrong. A healthy fear of failure is essential. It reminds us of our accountability and emboldens the threat of consequence.  But excessive emphasis on failure can paralyze productivity and stop us from achieving our best work. Risk aversion, inner-resistance, self-sabotage, procrastination, anxiety and perfectionism are all signs that we hold an unhealthy fear of failure. Successful teams and organizations require a healthy relationship with failure. Too much fear – or too little – signals future disaster. Managing your fear of failure effectively allows for individual authenticity and reclaimed confidence.  And we need both for sustained success and performance. It’s time to re-frame our fear of failure.

Inches: Creating and Sustaining Peak Performance: It’s not Sexy and it’s True: Slow and Steady Separates the Best from the Rest 
At the Beijing Olympic Games, my team’s goal was to gain one inch over our competition with every stroke. We won Olympic Gold by just over one second—or 220 inches. That’s one inch for every stroke. The inches add up. The same is true in business, entrepreneurship, career and life: quick fixes do not drive excellence.  Too often, we race for quick fix solutions, clinging to claims of easy success: “If only we could fail faster, schedule smarter or work harder”.  We maintain unsuccessful strategies at all costs to evade slowing down, re-strategizing and regaining our focus. The truth is, it takes focus and consistency to establish effective habits. We achieve peak performance when we prioritize the inches: powerful habits, strategies and tools that drive results. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.  It’s time to take time. Step back and implement the inches that will create and sustain peak performance.

Teamwork and Leadership in Times of Change
An incredible power is released when we work effectively together. When teams function optimally, they can be excellent tools to ensure resiliency, manage risk, and maximize achievement in times of change. When the whirlwind takes over, busyness gains priority and stress levels run high. In a fast-paced environment, we often let communication and team dynamics suffer, and the costs are significant.

Strong team culture is essential to sustain success. How can we foster authentic and lasting team culture? Reunite your team under a higher goal. Embolden the professionals on your teams to lead from within. Adam combines inspiring stories with an interactive presentation to share the concept of Shared Leadership with teams across sectors. It’s time to hit the refresh button. Empower your team to navigate current and future uncertainty with confidence. Participants will gain my best practices for managing change, and the tools that are necessary for consistent self-improvement. 

Adam also offers up a Free optional Conference Fitness Program with a Keynote or Workshop Booking. View this and more of his presentations here.

Platform Plus

Workshop | Be an Executive Olympian: High-performance Tools for a Stressed Out and Off-balance Workforce

The best Olympians and the best executives know that there is only one thing more important than focused and persistence hard work. What is it? Recovery. The best will recover as hard as they work. The best figure out what works for their body and their physiological conditions. Then they exploit that knowledge. If you can recover quicker and more completely than your competition, you will be happier and get more done.
This workshop will focus on your physical, mental and spiritual states so you can return to work and family with passion, drive and vigour. Take enough time to exercise sleep and eat properly and you will create more time for the things that matter. Adam shares with you his secrets on balance, stress management and self-care. Attendees can expect to be very active and therefore should show up in comfortable clothing and be ready to move! Adam will run a workout with workshop attendees and/or teach them exercises they can do on the fly. At the end of the workshop, members will leave with a clearer picture of how their physical health affects their effectiveness in the professional world.

Workshop | Leadership and Team Building in Times of Change: Navigating Your Team through Rough and Calm Waters

It’s not innovation, finances or strategy. It’s teamwork that will give you and your business the advantage. Why? Because excellent teamwork is so unbelievably rare. When we have it, we achieve with joy and purpose. When we don’t, shards of anger, envy and mistrust destroy our work.
In this workshop, Adam shares strategies for you to lead your teams to greatness. Great teammates communicate effortlessly. They pick slack up without any form of malice or expectation of future payback because they know the action is reciprocated. The result? Success, satisfaction and high spirits.
But then there’s that pesky thing called change. Markets change. Business strategies changes. A technology disrupts your industry. You get new personnel or new management. Family is no different. You get a new child. You get divorced. You get married. Adam has served on teams in diverse situations, from recourse extraction in Canada’s North, to racing shells in European rivers, from journalism in world cities to board rooms in Toronto and Vancouver Island, not to mention being one of a four-man team who took a little row boat across the Atlantic Ocean. He has seen some of the best team and leaders of teams operate and wants to share these secrets with you.
This workshop is geared towards leaders and managers of teams who want more skills to manage times of stress and change. At the end of this workshop, members leave with a set of communication tools and management techniques. They are emboldened to lead their teams by example. Members will have participated in interactive exercises where Olympic rowing and adventure is used as a metaphor for building effective teams.

  • Adam was masterful at integrating our core themes from the day into an energized, motivating, involving presentation.  Immediately after Adam’s presentation, hundreds of team members were committed to identifying and taking bold action towards their “gold medal moment”.  Adam was the highlight of our rally!

    - Manager, Marketing & Communications, Bell Media
  • I have seen dozens of Olympians speak at off-sites in the last 19 years, and Adam was by far the best. He was relevant to our business, and had a fascinating story. He wasn’t spewing business dogma. He spoke to the people in the room, leaving a lasting and positive impact that traveled through our office. I have heard nothing but rave reviews from all our employees.

    - VP Marketing, General Mills
  • Thank you Adam. You were wonderful! The entire team raved about your keynote. It had all the elements we were looking for – energy, entertainment and the messaging about teamwork, leadership was spot on.  The team loved hearing from you and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews. I thank you for being the perfect “energizer” for our team. It was a great start to our conference.

    - Manager, Internal Communications, Direct Energy Services
  • By tailoring and customizing his presentation, Adam ensured our corporate messaging remained on target. Adam's charismatic personality shines through as someone who is warm with passion and excited by life. This translated into several staff members speaking about him for days following the event; true evidence of a gold medal performance!

    - President & CEO, Concentra Financial
  • Adam did a fantastic job. His charisma and storytelling was very well received and he wove in safety and health messages impeccably. Audience was very impressed so I am extremely happy

    - Manager Health and Safety, Vancouver Airport Authority
  • Adam made our conference an incredible success. He had us up on our feet, cheering and laughing, and he even shared his Olympic gold medal with us... Adam has the ability to connect with a diverse group in a really meaningful and relevant way - this makes him an exceptional speaker and role model.
    - Student Leadership Development Coordinator, University of Waterloo
  • Adam was amazing and received a standing ovation at the end of his speech. Everyone should hear Adam Kreek speak at least once in their life. He is a kind, caring, genuine person with great stories and inspiring messages to share. He does it in a very motivating, engaging and entertaining way. I could not recommend Adam enough. He would be a great fit for any group, event or conference.

    - Coordinator, Student Life Programs, University of Lethbridge
  • Adam did a really exceptional job at engaging the audience in his stories, and allowing them to really see “him” (his wittiness, humour and realism). He very nicely tied in the teamwork theme as well as directly relating his message to dietetics – a somewhat difficult task for those speakers who aren’t necessarily in the health care industry.

    - Dietitians of Canada Conference

Summary Profile

A world-class and interactive storyteller, Adam’s timeless performance philosophies serve to embolden organizational culture, re-boot team performance, and expand resiliency. Adam delivers keynote addresses and workshops on the topics of Peak Performance in the workplace, Shared Leadership, Managing Change Successfully and Strategies to Reframe Failure . Relevant, powerful, and transformative, Adam’s keynotes motivate, inspire, educate, and entertain.  

During his 13-year rowing career, Adam won over 60 medals, including 43 gold medal performances. After a disappointing loss at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Adam and his team powered their way to a gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Following his Olympic career, Adam was named Athlete Leader of the Year at the prestigious Canadian Sports Awards, and was elected to the Canadian Olympic Committee to direct sports policy in Canada. Adam and his teammates were inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in June of 2014, the fourth hall of fame to recognize their momentous accomplishment. 

Always eager to take on new challenges, Adam made the first ever attempt to row unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to North America in January 2013. His goals were to advocate for adventure as a tool for self-development, to educate youth about the importance of sustaining the health our ocean resources, and to collect scientific data about the state of the Atlantic Ocean. After four years in planning and 73 days at sea in their 29-foot rowboat, Adam and his three teammates capsized just 10 days short of their destination. Fortunately, the crew’s exceptional safety and emergency planning ensured that all four members survived and much of their equipment and data was salvaged.  

Adam also serves on the Board of Directors of the Island Biodiesel Coop and is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the BC Biofuels Network. He is a spokesperson for Whitehall Spirit rowing boats and clubs, and an active volunteer with Power To Be, bettering the lives of disadvantaged and disabled youth through cutting-edge outdoor adventure programming. Adam is former Board Member of the Canadian Olympic Committee where he worked in a leadership role to ensure the benefits of sport spread to the broader Canadian society, and of Clean Air Champions, where he worked for many years to educate Canadians about the importance of the link between personal and environmental health. 

Adam is a Big Brother, with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He recently served as Honorary Co-chair of the Elk Lake Boathouse Renewal Project and helped to raise $1.3 million to renovate the community facility that houses Canada’s Olympic Rowing Team. In addition to his work with organizations, Adam has worked with tens of thousands of youth in schools, instilling within our next generation the idea that the “secret to happy living is giving.” 

Adam holds a degree in Geotechnical Engineering and Hydrology from Stanford University. He lives in Victoria, BC, with his wife and three children.

@Nour_hach @CPA_Ontario @CCES_UWindsor @OdetteBusiness @UWindsor @CPAcanada Wonderful to meet you, too! (2017-05-27 12:36:45)
RT @Nour_hach: TY @CPA_Ontario for hosting a gr8 #CPALeadership17 conference! We met Olympic Gold Medalist @adamkreek with exceptional insi… (2017-05-27 12:36:17)
What an incredible day at the @CPA_Ontario Conference. Great talk by @scotiabank's CTO Michael Zerbs.… https://t.co/ev69Gqm6WH (2017-05-25 11:07:18)