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Silken Laumann

Olympic Hero | Mental Health & Child Advocate

Silken Laumann
My Only Choice Was to Be Vulnerable
Olympic Hero
Silken Laumann
My Only Choice Was to Be Vulnerable
Olympic Hero

A world champion single sculls rower and a four-time Olympic medallist, Silken Laumann knows what it takes to be the best in the world. She also knows what it means to overcome adversity. While at the peak of her game, a boat crashed into her leg, almost ending her chances of competing in the sport she loved. After three weeks in the hospital, still needing a cane to walk, she competed in the Barcelona Olympic Games to win a bronze medal for Canada. This launched Laumann into the public eye and created a platform for her work as a child advocate, champion for mental health, and a world-class speaker and writer.

Today, Laumann is the founder and president of a visionary not-for-profit, Unsinkable, that runs programs centred on mental and physical well-being. Still in its infancy, Unsinkable has reached five million people worldwide with stories of courage and tenacity, and has inspired thousands of people to move further along their mental health journey. Last year, Unsinkable produced a national television special aired on CTV titled Unsinkable Youth, which explored young people’s experience during the pandemic. It was nominated for a Canadian Academy Award.

A bestselling author, Laumann has written several books including her raw and revealing memoir aptly titled Unsinkable. Called a story of “courage, tenacity, and the resiliency of the human spirit,” by the Globe and Mail, it not only shares her inspiring Olympic story, but also reveals the trauma of growing up in a family where undiagnosed mental illness led to childhood abuse and trauma.

Laumann is a warm and charismatic person who brings herself fully into each presentation, whether virtual or in-person. She believes in the universality of experience. Although not many have competed and won medals for Canada, all of us have dreams, are faced with challenges, and are sometimes flattened by life’s most difficult moments. In her keynotes, Laumann brings together a lifetime of tools and strategies to help all of us live our lives more fully and from a place of self-respect and compassion.

Speaking topics

Presentations listed below include in-person and virtual keynotes, as well as workshops, fireside chats, and other presentation formats.

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Client reviews

  • Silken was an outstanding success… lots of great feedback and quite honestly, Silken is one of the most down-to-earth keynotes we have ever had.  She is personable, not afraid to be vulnerable and really connected with my team and the people she spoke with.

  • We heard such great feedback about Silken’s talk. Literally she blew the audience away. People were touched and heartened to hear her story. She graciously took photos with people and wrote personal notes in their copies of the book.  Even the next day people were still sharing some of her thoughts.

  • The event with Silken was fantastic. She was well received by our audience and was a big hit with your youth mental health group. She even went out of her way to visit our local rowing club and say hello to the kids there…Silken made time for interviews and photo ops with local papers. Also we had a local bookstore there to sell her book which she was available to autograph. Overall a fantastic event…I wouldn’t change anything!

  • As you could tell by the group’s standing ovation, your speech moved us emotionally and was a highlight of our weekend.

  • I have never had the pleasure of working with such a professional. Your speech truly touched the hearts of our members.

  • You provided our sales team with valuable new skills, applicable to both their business and personal lives.

  • If you only hear one speaker, it should be Silken.

  • I’ve seen several motivational speakers and she’s by far the best.

  • My staff are still buzzing about the whole conference, Silken is a star, she set the scene for the rest of the day – she’s worth every penny.

  • Truly inspiring. Her spirit and the essence of who she truly is came out. I thank her for sharing that with me and for being such a role model for humankind!

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