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Dan Pontefract

Speaker Exclusive

Victoria, B.C., Canada

Leadership Strategist & Culture Change Expert

Dan Pontefract is a Future-of-Work Expert and the former Chief Envisioner at TELUS, a Canadian telecommunications company, where he headed the Transformation Office, a future-of-work consulting group that helps organizations enhance their corporate cultures and collaboration practices. Dan is the bestselling author of FLAT ARMY  and THE PURPOSE EFFECT. Not a typical motivational speaker, Dan is a thinker, connecting dots & providing insights that help attendees understand the critical importance of leadership, culture, purpose, and thinking.

Keynote Speeches

Virtual Keynotes & Webinars
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No one talk is ever the same!

Dan works with each client to determine what the best for the big day. These are some of the key themes, stories and concepts that serve as a basis for the content:

Decoding Work: The Unpredictable Path to Workplace Joy

For far too long – including throughout the pandemic – organizations have functioned in ways that make us feel like every day is a root canal at the dentist’s office. We need to first understand why it’s been this way, but we also require a pathway to adjust – both personally and organizationally. Join this session to find your path to joy by becoming experts at decoding work.

Key Takeaways/Applications:

  • Discover what organizational impediments get in the way of our workplace happiness.
  • Ascertain the personal hurdles and hindrances that cause workplace dissatisfaction.
  • Employ tactics to help you develop virtues, character, agency, autonomy, affiliation, ambitions, competence, and networks.
  • Develop strategies to circumnavigate organizational barriers such as org charts, HR policies, strategy statements, decision trees, and more.
A Field Guide To Genuine Leadership

Genuine leadership—how leaders act as human beings in their daily and strategic work with employees, customers and stakeholders—is arguably missing in many of today’s organizations. The reasons are all too familiar. It has to stop. Author Dan Pontefract recommends several leadership strategies and techniques that are sure to get you thinking about your own leadership habits and track record. The Field Guide to Genuine Leadership tackles the many taboos of bad leadership, while outlining practical, meaningful ways in which to become a more humane and effective leader.

Open to Think: Slow Down, Think Creatively & Make Better Decisions

Many of our current systems train us merely to function. We learn the routine. We master the process. The regiment starts at school, continues at university, and goes into overdrive when we begin to work. The problem? Ultimately we have lost the ability to think critically, to be creative, and to contemplate ideas of the unknown. Standards, procedures, technology, and incessant demand for short-term results over long-term planning are the big winners. In order to mitigate such calamities including the relentless pursuit of action and the pressure to “do more with less,” individuals must return to a state of balance between the three components of productive thought: dreaming, deciding, and doing. In this talk, author Dan Pontefract introduces tangible, actionable strategies to improve the way we think as organizations and individuals through the cyclical process of Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking and Applied Thinking. To become an Open Thinker, one must understand the relationship between reflection and action, and how it can negatively or positively affect an outcome. Dream. Decide. Do, Repeat.

Why Purpose Matters For Employees & The Organization

Leaders may not know it yet, but having a sense of purpose has become table stakes for many employees at work. Equally important, today’s organizations are being pressured to begin exhibiting purpose in their operating practices. If there is a positive interconnection between the three distinct categories of purpose–personal, role and organization—the benefits will be felt by all stakeholders. Author Dan Pontefract refers to this balanced state of purpose as the ‘sweet spot.’ The alignment of purpose between self, role and organization is important not only for employees, but for leaders in the organization itself. The more a leader can assist employees to understand the alignment of personal, organizational and role purpose, the quicker everyone will recognize how important the ‘sweet spot’ is to an engaging and fulfilling lifetime of work. The quicker an employee defines, develops and decides their purpose—alongside how bought in they are to the organization’s purpose—the more engaged and innovative they will be in their role … and in their life in general.

The Critical Importance Of Workplace Culture To Employee Engagement

Ever wonder why global levels of employee engagement in organizations continue to wane and remain so incredibly low? For leaders in any organization seeking to improve productivity and business results, they must first start with its own operating culture. To improve organizational culture is to build up and unleash behaviours that permit employees to connect and collaborate with one another effortlessly and full of goodwill. An employee only becomes engaged when the culture is open, transparent, communicative, collaborative and trustworthy. These are just some of the behaviours that must define how an organization operates. Author Dan Pontefract implores organizations to rethink its workplace culture by instituting systemic-wide behaviours that encourage one another to work together versus in silos or competitively. Engagement of employees occurs as a result of how they feel about the organization’s culture and its purpose. There is a way to fix it, and Dan has a way to help you out.

Speaker Biography

In 2023, Dan Pontefract was named on the 2023 Power List of the Biggest Voices in Leadership by leadersHum. Dan is also honoured to be on the Thinkers50 Radar list. HR Weekly listed him as one of its 100 Most Influential People in HR and Inc. Magazine listed him as one of the top 100 leadership speakers.

Dan is the best-selling author of four books: LEAD. CARE. WIN. How to Become a Leader Who Matters, OPEN TO THINK: Slow Down, Think Creatively, and Make Better Decisions, THE PURPOSE EFFECT: Building Meaning in Yourself, Your Role and Your Organization and FLAT ARMY: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization. Dan is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria, Gustavson School of Business.

His fourth book, LEAD. CARE. WIN., is the 2022 Nautilus Book Awards silver medal winner in the leadership/business category. His third book, OPEN TO THINK won the 2019 getAbstract International Book of the Year and the 2019 Axiom Business Book Award Silver Medal winner in the Leadership category.

Previously as Chief Envisioner of TELUS, he founded the Transformation Office to help organizations enhance their corporate culture, leadership, learning, work styles & collaboration practices. As the Chief Learning Officer, Dan was responsible for the overarching leadership, collaboration & learning strategy for the company. Dan championed the introduction of the TELUS Leadership Philosophy (TLP), a collaborative-based leadership framework for 50,000+ team members. In parallel to these actions he drove a philosophical and cultural shift in the way TELUS views and experiences learning called “Pervasive Learning” the shift to a social, informal and formal learning model. He further championed the use and deployment of collaborative technologies to complement both the leadership and learning frameworks.

During his time at TELUS, employee engagement soared from 53% to nearly 90%. Dan’s innovation also led to the introduction of the TELUS MBA—run in partnership with the University of Victoria—which allows TELUS team members the opportunity to garner an MBA over a two-year period. The program has won three international awards and delivered new revenues and savings in excess of $300 million.

Dan has been awarded with numerous awards throughout his career: CLO’s ‘Vanguard Award’ and ‘Learning in Practice Innovation Award’, a 2x recipient of the Corporate University Best-in-Class Award for ‘Leader of the Year’, and SkillSoft’s ‘Learning Leader of the Year’. He is also the recipient of the Brandon-Hall ‘Gold Award in Strategy & Governance’ and the first-ever recipient of the ATD Hall of Fame distinction. Under his leadership, TELUS became a 10-time winner of the prestigious ‘ATD BEST’ award and placed in the top ten of the Learning! 100 Awards.

His career is interwoven with both corporate and academic experience, coupled with an MBA, B.Ed and multiple industry certifications and accreditations. Dan is also a renowned speaker and has been invited to deliver over 300 external keynotes and presentations, including four TED Talks. He appeared on the front cover of T+D Magazine and Chief Learning Officer Magazine and also writes for Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and The Huffington Post.

Previous to his ten years at TELUS he held senior positions over twelve years with SAP, Business Objects, Crystal Decisions and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).