Anthony McLean

Anthony McLean

Leadership | Mental Health | Inclusivity

With a background in theatre, Anthony McLean delivers lively presentations on mental health, diversity, and inclusion. He has delivered hundreds of inspiring talks across Canada, the US, and Australia, and, as a respected voice in his field, appeared on CBC News, Global Toronto’s Morning Show, and Breakfast Television. Delivering research-backed tools and actionable strategies, McLean always leaves his audiences inspired to bring their best every day.

McLean is also an actor who has starred in television commercials for Ford, Milk, Tim Horton’s, Sprite, Verizon Wireless, and Bell. He also hosted the CBC Television show The X and was featured in the documentary films Colour Me, SOAR, and Rising Above. In his theatre career, McLean participated in the renowned Stratford Festival, where he developed his passion for Shakespeare. He also loves to freestyle rap — give him any topic in the world and he’ll make up a rap on the spot about it.

McLean is currently writing his first book, Mental Health for High Performers.


Building a Positive School Culture

Every student plays a role in making their school a safe and welcoming place. Anthony McLean empowers bystanders with practical steps they can take when they see someone being bullied. He helps students understand the difference between everyday conflict (which should be expected) and serious bullying (which should not be tolerated). Finally, McLean challenges students to “think before they click” when posting content to social media. This is an energetic and fun assembly that students will be buzzing about for weeks!

Mental Health for High Performers

One in five people will deal with a mental illness in their lifetime. Five in five people deal with mental health every day of their lives. If athletes stretch before a game, what do executives do before a big pitch? Anthony McLean offers high performers practical skills to build a sustainable work-life balance. From figuring out “prime-time”, to carving out space for self-care and thinking through a personal “come back down” routine for the commute home, McLean helps executives perform at their best, for the longest, with the least amount of wear and tear.

Inclusivity: Better Than Diversity

Anthony McLean delivers a powerful message about creating an inclusive climate in our organizations. He argues that regardless of our race, religion, socio-economic background, or sexual orientation, we all want to feel a sense of belonging at work. McLean also challenges audience members to think critically about unconscious biases. The top talent we want to recruit and retain in our organizations will come from every conceivable background in the world. Are we open-minded enough to recognize talent when it looks different from us in age, ability, gender identity, or cultural expression?

Creating a Culture for Kids to Thrive

Youth who know they have a caring adult looking out for them are more likely to succeed in school and less likely to be involved in crime, drugs, and gangs. But how do we ensure that we are connecting with every child in our classroom? This presentation will give teachers and caregivers practical strategies to help students feel welcome and celebrated in our schools. Anthony McLean will challenge teachers to think through the tone of voice, body language, and approach to discipline they are using with students. Caregivers will be reminded that “the kids who need love the most will ask for it in the most unloving ways.” Overall, this is a passionate plea for teachers and caregivers to see the powerful role they play in shaping the lives of kids.

In Celebration of Teachers

This is an encouraging, morale-boosting talk to inspire teachers who give their best every day. Teachers and administrators are often overwhelmed with bureaucracy, curriculum, and difficult students (and even more difficult parents!), and sometimes feel burnt out by the end of the week. In the midst of a busy year, it’s easy to forget that the daily interactions we have with students are sometimes the most valuable moments of our day.

In this laugh-out-loud presentation, Anthony McLean tells funny and inspiring stories about the teachers who changed his life by acknowledging his effort, encouraging his strengths, and pushing him to give his best. Every teacher needs this reminder — the reward for not giving up on our students is the ability to make a difference and change the world one student at a time.

Mental Health in Times of Change

Counseling services have seen a 400% increase in people reaching out for help during the COVID-19 crisis. This time of massive change has left many feeling vulnerable and uncertain about the future, but there are scientifically proven skills that can help boost our resiliency so that we can cope with challenges.

In this interactive presentation, Anthony McLean shares practical coping skills for stress as well as the importance of reaching out for help when we’re really struggling. Above all, he reminds us that mental health is a journey we take as a community, and that when we support each other, we break the stigma around mental health and empower those who need it the most.

Audiences will learn:

  • The difference between everyday ups and downs, temporary mental health problems, and mental illnesses.
  • Healthy coping skills to deal with stress and anxiety.
  • The role exercise, sleep, hydration, and nutrition play in mental health.
  • How to empower themselves to reach out for help when they need it.

Becoming Anti-Racist

George Floyd. Amy Cooper. Ahmaud Arbery. These names and others have put the reality of anti-black racism on full display. People everywhere are asking how they, and their organizations, can be allies to people of colour. It isn’t enough to hide behind a generic diversity statement — leaders need to be actively engaged in dismantling racism. In this presentation, McLean shows participants how they can move from being “non-racist” (passive) to being “anti-racist” (active) at work, at home, and in their communities.

Audiences will learn:

  • The barriers of systemic racism facing people of colour.
  • The impact micro-aggressions have on workplace culture.
  • Actionable strategies to move from “non-racist” to “anti-racist”.