Candace Carnahan

Candace Carnahan

Workplace Safety Advocate | Culture Change Agent | Inspirational Speaker

Candace Carnahan believes sharing stories saves lives. Lauded as one of the “faces of the future” by Maclean’s magazine, Carnahan relates her unique life lessons to the challenges, obstacles, and goals of the organizations she works with to inspire audiences to put caring into action. She helps people understand that they can and should take the lead with their own well-being, and challenges people to think about safety as an opportunity, not an obligation. With irrepressible energy, her transformational talks leave audiences motivated and poised for change.

Carnahan’s path as a speaker resulted from a devastating workplace incident in which she lost her leg at the age of 21. It was an incident that could have taken her life, and it was completely preventable. Since that day more than 20 years ago, Carnahan has continually challenged herself, both personally and professionally. Outside of her work she has taken the road less-travelled — literally — including trekking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago.

With nothing more than a microphone and a breadth of stories, Carnahan captivates. She is just as at home on conference stages as she is on offshore rigs, or production facilities — anywhere employees are making decisions about their safety. More than half a million people worldwide have already experienced Carnahan’s keynotes and sessions, and she is constantly finding ways to connect and provoke real change in attitudes. Her mantra “See Something. Say Something” ends each of her talks, leaving her audiences ready to ignite the “courage to care”, to act, and to be safe.

Bringing a unique approach to companies tackling their biggest challenges around safety, Carnahan changes the way people and companies think. She has shared her message with companies across the world, including Weyerhaeuser, ExxonMobil, and BASF.


It Could Happen to You

Candace uses her personal story of the loss of her left leg below the knee to address the details surrounding what went wrong in her situation…with the hope of making it right in yours.

With her ever-present sense of humour and passion for her message, she discusses how roles played by the education system, the company she worked for, it’s employees and management team, resulted in her injury. She discusses the importance in recognizing the opportunities that are constantly presented to us, in our day-to-day lives, to make a choice; safe… or sorry.

Candace recalls the details of her incident, as well as the many contributing factors, i.e. poor leadership, lack of training, and unsafe work environment – an unguarded conveyor belt system in her case. However, Candace places great emphasis on her own role and responsibility in what happened in an effort to encourage people to “own” their right to a safe workplace. The absence of Candace’s left foot is an ever-present reminder to her and her audiences that pointing fingers and placing blame will not make your limbs grow back. This truth causes Candace to place great emphasis on the importance in landing the leading role in ensuring your own health and safety.

Holding strong in the belief that “no man is an island”, Candace explores how we as individuals can begin fostering positive attitudes and changing cultures within the realm of health and safety that can collectively contribute to injury reduction within our workplaces.

The First Step

Candace has learned what she believes to be an important life lesson the hard way; ‘the first step in not getting hurt is knowing that you could be’.

Needless injuries can be avoided by simply being aware and realizing that the potential for injury exists. In her one hour presentation, Candace speaks about her typical life as a university student, working summers to pay for school in the fall, and how one step in the wrong direction changed the course of her life… forever.

Candace’s presentation explores the details surrounding the loss of her left leg below the knee, while at the same time offers education and awareness in preventing needless workplace injuries and fatalities to her audience.

Candace’s energy and enthusiasm is contagious, and through her many stories, she sends a message far beyond that of workplace health and safety. Candace encourages her audience to use their education, knowledge, experience, and awareness to expand and focus on the importance of workplace health and safety within their own workplaces, homes and public places.

The Yellow Chair

The Yellow Chair is a message that centers on the importance of hope. Candace recalls a pivotal moment in her recovery from a workplace incident that most certainly set the tone for the path she has been travelling since losing a limb.

Candace demonstrates the roles that hope and positivity have played in her life, and celebrates the little things in life that can lead to big changes. The Yellow Chair is a story that Candace shares with honesty and humour that will offer inspiration to all. She encourages her audience to never underestimate the power we have to speak or act in small ways which can be life changing, to themselves and others.

Candace has incorporated this inspirational aspect of her experience with loss into every presentation, and has recently begun speaking solely from an inspirational platform at various events across the country.