Testimonials

RedefiningSuccessCraig Dowden is a leader’s best friend. He understands what the future of business looks like – it’s a combination of doing what’s right for yourself, your community and your business. If you can do all three well, you have truly become a success and I don’t know of many experts who are better at helping leaders grow into this new paradigm than Craig. He is way ahead of the curve and I’m fortunate to have been able to grow as a leader thanks to his ideas.

W. Brett Wilson - former star of CBC's Dragon's Den, Order of Canada recipient, widely respected philanthropist and business person

Craig’s expertise in the fields of communication, leadership, and organizational behaviour has given our audience the exclusive opportunity to grow themselves as leaders in a wide variety of fields. Craig combines professional wisdom with factual case studies and research-driven data to deliver lectures that are engaging, informative, and entertaining. These workshops encompass the best form of professional development. It is a pleasure for both myself and our audience to continually learn from Craig’s one-of-a-kind insight.

GiveAndTakeCraig Dowden is passionate about bridging the gap between science and practice. He integrates innovative, leading-edge research into his consulting work, and his enthusiasm for bringing out the best in others is contagious. It’s very rare to encounter an expert who can match Craig’s engagement and commitment to making his clients successful.

Adam Grant - WSJ and NYT best-selling author of "Give and Take"

Craig Dowden is the consummate professional. He is intellectually rigorous, socially engaging and deeply ethical. His knowledge of organizational behavior is extensive and his research on entrepreneurs is highly creative and important. He is a rising star in the applied field of organizational behavior. He is an extraordinary lecturer and keynote speaker and is passionate about wedding solid science with the applied concerns of business leaders and professionals. As a bonus, he has a wonderful sense of humor and is a delightful colleague.

Dr. Brian Little (PhD) - award-winning Harvard professor, taught at CambridgeDistinguished Research Professor Emeritus at Carleton University in Ottawa

Keynote Speaking

Craig led our full-day HRRC retreat and delivered a thought-provoking and compelling presentation on building a positive and engaged workplace culture. I was impressed with the emphasis he places on setting out evidence to inform his work. He was able to provide concrete tips and strategies that we could bring back to our workplaces and apply on an individual, team, and organizational level. His approach and passion for the subject matter made for an inspiring and enjoyable day. Craig takes a refreshing approach to learning and development and makes you think differently about what is possible and how it can be achieved.

Marian Campbell Jarvis Assistant Deputy Minister, Minerals and Metals Sector Natural Resources Canada

Craig was the keynote speaker at our annual offsite. He shared his insights on the importance of positive leadership and its impact in business.

Craig has a very approachable and accommodating style and we enjoyed working with him. He delivered a high quality presentation that showcased his expertise in leadership, while providing practical strategies. He made it easy for the audience to work together, discuss ‎and suggest strategies that could strengthen teamwork and collaboration across the firm.

I appreciate that Craig was able to quickly understand the objectives and priorities to make positive and quality contributions to our offsite. His expertise was recognized, appreciated and put into practice by our team members.

I am pleased to share our experience.

Judy GoldringEVP and Chief Operating OfficerAGF Management Limited

After hearing Craig speak at the APEX conference about positive leadership, I invited him to be the keynote speaker for a recent all-staff event.  We have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback about his content and approach. His knowledge and passion about civility in the workplace set the stage for our gathering on that day and on a go forward basis.  People across all levels have talked about how much they took away from his presentation and identified real lessons they could apply in their day-to-day work. Through his enthusiasm and humour, Craig can effectively drive his message home to any audience.  I would highly recommend Craig without exception.

Anna RomanoDirector General, Public Health Agency of Canada

Thank you for taking the time to address our management team at the ATSSC Management Assembly. The keynote you delivered on how to build a positive and respectful workplace was invaluable and generated thoughtful discussions among the group. It truly captured the participants’ attention and the feedback we received was very positive.

Marie-France PelletierChief AdministratorAdministrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada

We had the pleasure of having Craig at our Executive Town Hall to present the topic of civility. His presentation was the perfect mix of a strong theoretical foundation that explained why Civility matters and why our senior leaders should care about it, combined with a very entertaining and interactive delivery that left us with a clear understanding and some unforgettable images. The feedback was extremely positive, with many commenting that this was the best Town Hall they have attended. Craig knows his stuff and how to speak the language of the audience to ensure the message is clear and relevant.

Stefanie BeckAssistant Deputy Minister - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

I invited Craig to deliver his workshop “Civility Matters” to two all-staff groups in our regional office.  The participants’feedback was very positive and they especially appreciated his evidence-based approach to the importance of civility in the workplace.  His humour and engaging delivery were a great bonus.  Several participants told me that the content of Craig’s presentation resonated with them and prompted them to reflect on their own experiences as well as identify opportunities to improve their work relationships.  Some attendees have already shared examples where they successfully applied some of Craig’s strategies, which was very satisfying to hear.  I would highly recommend Craig as a keynote speaker or trainer.

Susan WongRegional Director and General Counsel Business & RegulatoryLaw Department of Justice Canada

Delegate feedback [at recent Ottawa and Toronto One Day Conferences] has been excellent. The audience enjoyed both the information delivered as well as [Craig’s] presentation style. [His] level of energy and use of humour certainly enhance the information delivered on leadership issues. We would also like to thank [him] for contributing great articles for our IPM Associations Members Quarterly Newsletters. It is a pleasure featuring [him] as a regular expert contributor.

Nathaly Pinchuk, RPR, CMPExecutive DirectorIPM- Institute of Professional Management

We invited Craig to speak at our Management retreat on the topic of civility. Although his presentation was delivered at the end of the day, the audience was highly engaged in his talk. His energy and passion for the topic were evident. He was able to skillfully review the research and talk about how attendees could incorporate these findings into their daily leadership practices. He provided a great mix of content, interactive exercises, and small- and large-group discussion. Craig is an outstanding keynote speaker who could bring considerable value to any event. Following his appearance at our event, several participants mentioned to me that they would be seeking him out for future events they were planning or attending. If you are looking for an inspiring and knowledgeable thought leader to present at your next session, keep Craig at the top of your list.

Lynn Lovett Assistant Deputy Minister Tax Law Services PortfolioDepartment of Justice Government of Canada

We invited Craig Dowden Ph.D. to be a guest speaker for our annual Leaders Network event, which was attended by managers and supervisors in our regional office.  Participants were very impressed with his evidence-based approach as well as his ability to make the research quite engaging.  The audience also very much enjoyed the interactive exercises and several people have shared that they are thinking about ways they can apply these concepts in managing their own teams.  I highly recommend Craig for both his style and content.  We appreciated his ability to connect with an audience and provide practical and powerful tools for leadership.

J.S. (Bill) Basran Regional Director General Justice Canada  - B.C. Region

Craig spoke to our entire employee group – 100 employees in both office and field occupations as part of a one-day training session with several other presenters. His presentation on resilience was both insightful and humorous. He had everyone’s attention throughout his talk; and on the post-training evaluation tool, his score was the highest of any of our external presenters. I highly recommend Craig for an informative and entertaining staff training session.

Baynish Bassett Human Resources ManagerEQUS

I initially asked Craig to deliver a keynote on employee engagement for our Divisional Representatives. His presentation was so well – received, we invited him back to provide a half-day session on resilience for our all-staff development session. Both sessions were very informative and thought-provoking. The audience really responded to his enthusiasm and approach. Craig ensured that he provided practical takeaways and I was very impressed by his ability to tailor his content to different audiences and to provide examples that were applicable and actionable. I highly recommend Craig for his knowledge and ability to provide a fresh look at learning and development.

Jean-Claude CamusAssistant Deputy MinisterCommunications and Marketing Division - Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

I was fortunate to have Craig facilitate part of our all-staff retreat and I have heard only positive feedback from everyone who attended. Personally, I was struck by his level of energy as well as the insights he shared about how our team can work with and relate to each other more effectively. He shared concrete strategies, backed by evidence, which were both practical and inspiring. The team-building exercise he used to apply the content from his keynote was also quite enjoyable. It drove home the point that the power of a high-functioning team far outweighs the power of an individual. I would highly recommend Craig to any executive who is looking to take an innovative and engaging approach to team-building.

Danika GoosneyDirector General - Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Craig was a keynote speaker for one of CFA Society Toronto’s events , Blind Spots: The Psychology of Effective Decision Making, on 17 November 2015. His session was highly rated, as attendees found it both thought-provoking and practical. Craig’s passion for the subject matter was evident in the clear and confident tone used when delivering his presentation. He elevated the engagement of our audience by providing examples of how research findings apply to real-life scenarios. He encouraged audience participation, which energized the attendees and made it more enjoyable. We look forward to partnering with Craig again in the future and I would encourage you to do the same.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society - Toronto

Craig was an inspiring and informative facilitator of a one-day leadership workshop with me and my staff. We learned from the research he presented so creatively, his personal insights and the small-group working sessions that he organized. I highly recommend him as a provider of leadership training.

Danièle MénardDirector General and General CounselYouth Justice and Strategic Initiatives Section - Justice Canada

I invited Craig to speak at one of our all-staff events about building a positive and respectful workplace. The audience included individuals at all levels of the organization, from front line personnel to Deputy Minister. I was amazed at how engaged everyone was in his talk. Following that experience, I asked Craig to facilitate a retreat for my team, building on the concepts he introduced that day. My group left inspired by what they heard and with a concrete roadmap outlining how we wanted to work together moving forward. He also spoke at one of our senior executive meetings and his presentation was very well received. I highly recommend Craig for his leadership, for his passion, and for his ability to energize and connect with any audience.

Nicole KennedyDirectrice générale / Director General Direction générale des politiques stratégiqueCabinet et affaires parlementaires/ Strategic Policy, Cabinet and Parliamentary Affairs Branch

I am grateful for coming across Craig’s work on employee engagement and leadership, which I encountered through papers he wrote for federal public service executives on the topics of engagement and civility in the workplace. I got a chance to see him in action on a webinar, where Craig led us through a discussion of how to create a respectful workplace and strengthen employee engagement. I was really struck by how engaging HE was – even through a webinar format. And I was inspired by his message of the importance of working with employees, celebrating successes, and fostering a sense of meaning at work. All leaders would benefit from hearing his call to action on employee engagement.

Angela BateRegional Director, Policy, Pacific RegionFisheries and Oceans Canada

Craig was a keynote speaker at our annual executive retreat for the largest Portfolio at the Department of Justice.   Although he was the last speaker of the full-day session, he successfully engaged and captivated the audience. I was impressed by his ability to present an evidence-based business case for his primary ideas while providing tips and strategies that were highly practical for our leaders. I have reflected on and referenced his presentation several times and will continue to do so. If you are looking for an energizing speaker who can translate science into leadership practices, I would highly recommend Craig.

Natalie D. Cormier Director, Business Management Business and Regulatory Law PortfolioDepartment of Justice Canada

We asked Craig Dowden (Ph.D.) to speak at one of our all-day learning events, which included almost 600 leaders. He spent a lot of time upfront asking the right questions, getting to know our organization as well as the goals for the session, which proved invaluable.

While on stage, Craig provided a thought-provoking, insightful, and entertaining talk on what it takes to be a positive leader. Being an IT crowd, the audience appreciated him referencing the science when presenting his case. He also shared valuable takeaways that attendees could bring back and apply within their respective areas as soon as they returned to work. These tips and strategies were applicable for junior managers all the way up to senior-level executives. I highly recommend Craig as a keynote speaker, as his passion, expertise, and approach deliver exceptional value. You can be confident that people will be engaged and learn a lot from the experience.

Shelly KovacsTeam Leader, Training and LearningCanada Revenue Agency

We appreciate you facilitating elements of our ‘Leadership Training Program’ to management staff of the Ross Memorial Hospital and Haliburton Highlands Health Sciences Centre.

You are recognized as an experienced subject matter expert imparting knowledge with enthusiasm and energy. Your refined facilitation skills reached all learning styles with an engaging and fun approach. Managers are positive about the training you provided and are excited to share information with their teams.

We would recommend your services without hesitation.

Sandra JordanSafety and Training Coordinator Ross Memorial Hospital

Recently, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Craig Dowden give a presentation on ‘The Cost of Incivility at Work’. He spoke at our Human Resources Professional Association – Peterborough (HRPAP) Chapter dinner meeting coming to our group highly recommended by another chapter. We were not disappointed.

Dr. Dowden’s passion for his profession and his topic were palpable. He is an excellent and engaging speaker whose presentation is fact based and generously peppered with humour. His presentation style is participatory and he happily stayed after the presentation to speak to the audience and answer questions specific to them. He was a great hit. The response we received from our members was exceptional and he has agreed to speak to our group next year as well. If you are looking for an evening of education and entertainment, I have no hesitation in recommending Dr. Dowden.

Linda van der Wel, CHRPMeeting Coordinator and Program Committee Member, HRPA- Peterborough Chapter

Coaching

Working with Craig as a coach has been transformational. He helped me to discover new perspectives on leadership through engaging and thoughtful discussions on what matters, and most importantly, why. Craig also has a respectful and constructive way of challenging perceptions which is one of his best qualities as a coach. It encourages a much deeper exploration of the topics we discuss. It’s obvious that Craig is passionate about his work and is constantly pointing me to the most current research that ties into our discussions. For me, the coaching experience has absolutely been worth the investment and has shaped who I want to be as a leader.

Michelle DodokinSenior Vice President, Strategy, Marketing & Operations at Echelon Insurance

Executive Coaching is an art that requires an understanding of human nature and is most impactful when it is set in a forum that allows leaders to explore the subtleties of their decision making and their results when pulling those levers.

This blend is a delicate balance that requires intellect, care and an assertive confidence in the coach’s abilities to support their clients rather than lead them to an answer.

I have tried countless coaches… Craig Dowden is undoubtedly one that displays that balance in its purest form. He brings to every session the respect, psychological know how and refined understanding of business that allows me to exhale, communicate and find my own path to creating my best version of leadership.

It is without any reservation but with full conviction that I recommend Craig Dowden to any leader that is looking for a coach that can enhance their “play book”!

He most definitely has an elegant approach to his craft.

Gina IbghyChief People OfficerRandstad Canada

After working with Craig, I can attest to his unbelievable ability as a coach to gently guide me to some fundamental conclusions about myself and my leadership style. His ethical approach, coupled with endless energy and enthusiasm, was precisely the right impetus to reenergize my dedication to the craft of management. I also genuinely appreciate his rigour and dedication to the science underlying leadership development. And as a former researcher, I was reassured by his obvious efforts to examine and critically assess empirical evidence and integrate it into his practice.

Jeff Latimer (Ph.D.)Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Craig’s coaching was instrumental in helping me navigate my organization’s  culture and effectively position my new mandate. As a senior executive, it was valuable to have Craig provide a different viewpoint that challenged my own cognitive biases and perceptions. I would highly recommend Craig as an executive coach, as I credit a lot of the work we did together as a key reason for my success.

Jonathan Anderson Vice President Innovation & Operational ExcellenceGenworth Financial Inc.

Craig has helped transform me both as a leader and as a person.  He brought a level of expertise and insight that assisted me in identifying and overcoming the roadblocks to my success as a leader and a person. He employed the right assessment tools and more importantly asked the right questions at the right time.  These streamlined my focus and allowed me to better understand and prioritize my different challenges.

A couple of things stood out for me.

1. Non-judgemental feedback – Craig has a tremendous ability to discuss a person’s short-comings in a non-judgemental way while balancing them against the positives, yet while challenging me to better myself.  I felt safe to talk about what I was struggling with and had the freedom to explore my options. This type of support and approach really benefitted me.

2. Scientific Rigour – Craig also brings scientific rigour to his coaching work through his referencing of research/science-based resources. This added a lot of value by validating his perspective and by providing reference / learning materials that I use daily.

I learned a lot from working with him and I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone who is looking for an executive coach. If anyone questions the value of executive coaching, I would urge them to work with Craig and see the benefits.

Fergus GroundwaterPresidentPegen Industries Inc.

Craig is a thought-provoking executive coach who inspires and motivates people to aim higher and rise up to their full potential. His insightful questions are balanced with candour, patience, and remarkable knowledge. Craig helped me grow professionally and personally, providing unconditional support and encouragement. I highly recommend Craig!

Lisa HutniakSenior Manager, External CommunicationsMcDonald's Canada

I had the privilege of working with Craig during an important period in my career. Craig challenged me to test some of my “go-to” viewpoints. His perspectives, knowledge and compassion made our coaching sessions eye-opening, refreshing and tiring – in such a good way! Not only did Craig inspire my own thinking and imagination with respect to my leadership styles, strengths and weaknesses; he invested in me, both as a person and a leader. He helped me see self-imposed hurdles more clearly, find my own answers to get past them, and discover renewed conviction in my leadership. He has helped me grow as a leader and arrive at a peace of mind that I didn’t realize was wanting. Craig is honest, respectful and dedicated to his coaching clients. I would recommend him to anyone who wants to achieve insightful personal and professional development.

Jesse SchwartzSenior Director, Corporate Human ResourcesNatural Resources Canada

Craig Dowden supported our management team in Coaching Circles after providing his expertise through 360 evaluations and psychometric assessments. His in-depth knowledge combined with his ability to demystify the factors that influence behaviors, provided insight, ideas and strategies to effectively make a difference.

Angie TinorVice President, Human Resources - Brookfield Energy Marketing inc.

I am writing to both endorse and recommend Craig Dowden as a provider of executive coaching. The coaching I received provided me with additional “tools” that I could use in dealing with the complexities of rapid organizational growth. The best measure of success for me is the applicability of techniques and approaches suggested which compliment my own skill sets and competencies acquired over my career. It was a great learning experience and further equipped me with knowledge to be a better leader and mentor.

Jeff BurrySenior DirectorYouth Services Bureau of Ottawa

When I started working with Craig in a coaching capacity, I was seeking to define my career goals, learn from my experiences so far, and build strategies to show my leadership competencies. Craig provided me with excellent reading materials, personal assessment tools and research to help me better understand my strengths, weaknesses and personal style of leadership. He worked with me on aligning my professional experiences with key leadership competencies, and helped me to understand how my unique experience could translate into future success – whether it was my experience with staff, stakeholders or senior management, I was able to build on my success to create a leadership style that fits my personality. Craig provided solid coaching that I have translated into strengthened relationships in my professional networks and with stakeholders, as well as a leap in my career.

Tonya BruinAssociate Director - Health CanadaGovernment of Canada

I engaged Craig to provide executive coaching services for one of my managers facing some leadership challenges. Craig took the time to get a sound understanding of the context, and helped me and the manager to identify and articulate clear goals for the coaching sessions. While the coaching sessions were confidential, Craig routinely checked in with me to gauge progress.

My manager and I were both impressed with the range of qualitative and quantitative assessment tools and instruments Craig employed to help the manager gain insights into his own leadership skills, and to help identify his strengths and weaknesses. Craig then developed a practical work plan with the manager to address the identified weaknesses.

Based on my own observations, and feedback from employees, the coaching sessions clearly had a very positive impact with respect to leadership effectiveness.

In addition to the coaching services offered, Craig is proactive in sharing information on new resources and developments in the area of leadership development, which I have found both insightful and helpful.

I would fully recommend Craig’s services to any organization interested in developing leadership competencies.

Jeffrey BullardDirectorOrganizational Development, Employment and Social Development Canada

Consulting

I met Craig at a speaking engagement in Ottawa, Ontario. His delivery relative to employee engagement was poignant to the degree that I approached him afterwards in an attempt to secure time with him to further the conversation. In my role at the time as the business lead for two contact centers his words resonated very strongly with me. A focus of engagement primarily through empowerment versus other rewards were things I had heard before but never had I heard them in person from an individual who seemed to so clearly understand it from both management and employee’s perspectives.

Upon having a follow-up conversation with Craig I decided that it was probably worth my management team’s time to hear what he had to say. Craig took away some key points that I was looking to achieve for my team and came back in short order with draft materials for a full-day course. His draft materials demonstrated his ability to hear what I was saying and very cleanly expose my intent.

During the delivery of the course there were a few things that I noticed:

  • The energy level of the managers matched Craig’s; they were upbeat, exceptionally engaged and highly interactive with him
  • The topics caused significant amounts of reflection and interaction between the team and Craig clearly knew when to step back and let the participants explore on their own
  • Craig’s research and questions about the company’s culture allowed easy transitions from examples
    on a page to tactics participants could employ

Although an acquisition, and accompanying transitional activities, kept us from specifically measuring results for the program I will say that the benefits I heard and observed gave me confidence that we made good progress with Craig’s help. Roundtable sessions with the participants’ direct report teams gave me firsthand accounts of changes in approach to coaching, goal setting, delivering feedback and even team meeting structure. Both the material and the environment that Craig created for the session directly drove the genesis for those changes.

I highly recommend Craig based on my experience with him. He is a genuine, intelligent and professional. I could not have found a better partner for the above endeavor.

Please contact me directly if you would like to discuss my recommendation further.

Thank you.

Richard MedaughSr. ManagerTD Bank

Media

Craig Dowden has been a regular and valued writer for The Canadian Manager, the official publication of the Canadian Institute of Management, since 2009. His professional background and knowledge, along with his natural ability to articulate relevant information, make him a much sought-after and respected writer for the quarterly magazine, whose audience includes leadership and management professionals, corporate decision makers, entrepreneurs, business owners, as well as management and business students.

Sheila SprouleEditor - Canadian Manager Magazine

Craig’s articles on leadership and organizational excellence are thought-provoking, insightful and bring an intelligent perspective. I always learn something from reading his ideas.

Tim RedpathChair - Ottawa Chamber of Commerce - Canada's National Capital RegionTEC Chair (The Executive Committee)
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