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Spotlight On: Stephen Shedletzky, Leadership Speaker and Start With Why Facilitator

Spotlight On: Stephen Shedletzky, Leadership Speaker and Start With Why Facilitator

Stephen Shedletzky helps leaders and their people accomplish remarkable things. Inspired by–and in partnership with–Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” movement, Stephen speaks, leads workshops, consults, and coaches organizations to help them discover and articulate their driving purpose and, in doing so, become  more sustainable and successful than ever. We’re thrilled to put Stephen in the spotlight today:

What inspired you to want to be a speaker?

I was a child, teenager, and young adult who struggled with a speech impediment. Not as severe as in King’s Speech, though my stutter certainly stood in the way of my confidence, which generated much fear speaking to a crowd, group, or even an individual. In university at Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business, I took a presentation skills class with an amazing and inspiring professor, Denis Shackel. He tasked us with homework to prepare and deliver a five-minute speech for the next class that had as much, if not more, passion that Martin Luther King Jr.’s I have a dream speech. Easy task, right? As soon as he assigned the work, I knew with clarity and with some fear that I had to share my story of overcoming my stutter with my class. That next class I experienced a feeling of fulfillment like never before. The words, experience and ideas I shared benefited the listeners. It was the first time I felt I truly inspired others. From that point on, I was hooked.

Any advice for aspiring speakers?

Show up to give. Show up to give something to your audience that you find valuable. No one likes being sold something or told something. Share, offer, give. My dear friend and colleague Simon Sinek has some AWESOME speaking tips that I espouse and strive to follow with every talk I give. You can download for free here, and check out the Skillshare course designed from the same content here.

What do you like to leave audiences with?

Ideas, stories and tools that offer different perspectives on how they can be more effective and empathetic leaders, listeners and human beings.

How do you prepare before a talk? Any special rituals? A good luck talisman?

I usually like to zone out while my bio is being read and I utter the mantra show up to give, show up to give. Our bios are these awesome paragraphs about how great we are and all of the great things we’ve done, and we’ve often written them ourselves! I find that hysterical. Instead of focusing on my bio, I choose to shift my focus to my audience and how I can serve them. This helps me show up that way I truly want to show up.

Is there a charitable cause that you feel passionate about? Why?

There is a local organization to the Greater Toronto Area that does some amazing work with youth – Future Possibilities for Kids. They exist to grow leaders so they can transform their world. I love them because they practice what they preach from the inside-out. I’m very close with Future Possibilities for Kids, their staff and leadership. I’ve given much time and effort to help the kids in their program and their efforts as an organization. It feels amazing to contribute to such a wholesome, inspiring and for-purpose organization.

Desert island album?

Paul Simon, Graceland.

Best subject in school?


Last book you read?

Adam Braun’s Promise of a Pencil.

Last film you saw?

The Theory of Everything.

Celebrity crush?

My wife, Julie.

Who would you love to hear speak?

Adam Grant, author of Give and Take.