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Hendry

Interview with John Hendry

John Hendry is an advocate for disability rights and inclusion and has over 30 years experience as a public school trustee. He has done a bit of everything including stand-up comedy but focuses on public education and the challenges that come with having a disabled child from both perspectives. Read his interview and learn more about him and his speaking career.

How did you begin your speaking career?

My love of public speaking actually started when I won a public speaking contest in my first year of high school. My more serious aspirations began shortly after I became an elected public school board trustee. I had the opportunity to give twenty or more speeches and presentations a year to groups ranging from twenty to more than a thousand. When I served as Chairperson of the Board that number increased considerably, including several opportunities on television. I joined the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers to enhance my career and opportunities. I must say I love speaking to groups more with each opportunity.

 

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

During the next five years I would like to become one of the top keynote speakers in the area inclusion/disabilities advocacy, and education special education and governance. I would like my bookings to expand internationally and average between twenty and thirty appearances per year. Increasing the opportunity to participate in international disability and education conferences is definitely a career goal.

 

Who or what inspires you the most?

I would have to say there are many things that inspire me. Being so closely involved with children with special needs has given me many inspirational moments watching them achieve a personal success. My youngest son, born with cerebral palsy has been the most positive inspiration in my life. His unbelieveable courage and attitude has taught me to always stretch beyond my limits and never give up. As a result I have dedicated my speaking career to making the world a better place for everyone, regardless of their physical or intellectual challenge. Making a difference is definitely a motivator for me.

 

How should clients use you for their next event?

Clients should use me in venues that call for inspirational/motivational addresses that support calls for improving the lives of children (or adults) that struggle in a “normal” world.

With respect to my addresses in education school boards, and school board associations could benefit from my thirty plus years as an elected, award-winning advocate of public education. Specifically in the areas of inclusion, special education and governance. How trustees perform as an elected board directly have an impact on the success of the school system. I can assist helping boards work better together as a team.

 

How much does humour factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?

I believe humour can appropriately be part of every presentation. However, that being said, I emphasize “appropriately”.  There are situations where humour is simply not appropriate. I research every engagement before I begin writing a speech.

Humour is one of the best ways of engaging the audience, making them feel relaxed, and increasing their level of participation. Humour also breaks down any perceived barriers between the speaker and the audience.

 

Describe yourself in three words.

Passionate, inspirational, humorous