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David Irvine

Building Cultures that Attract, Retain, and Unleash Greatness

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David Irvine: Building Cultures that Attract, Retain, and Unleash Greatness

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As the Leader’s Navigator™, David is a connector and a communicator. He has dedicated his life to building productive, engaging and vital cultures through authentic leadership. He has a unique ability to create a trusting learning environment through the power of his authentic presence. David inspires and guides leaders in all walks of life to connect with their authentic self, so they may, in turn, inspire and guide those they serve and love to find their authentic voice, thus enabling greatness within the culture around them.

David is an international authority on the human dynamics of business leadership. He tackles the toughest problems today’s leaders face, proposing unique strategies to:
  • Build trust
  • Sustain high performance
  • Engage people in meaningful ways
  • Build loyalty and morale
  • Deal with change
  • Develop leadership capacity
  • Implement accountability
  • Find personal balance
David holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Brigham Young University (where he made the Dean’s List of Outstanding University Students in America in 1980) and a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. During the 1980s, David trained extensively with world-renowned psychotherapists Carl Rogers and Virginia Satir, and poet Robert Bly. Since 1982 he has been introduced to and impacted by the teachings of Joseph Campbell, Bru Joy, Scott Peck, Peter Block, Geoff Bellman, Matthew Fox, Parker Palmer, Alan Savory, and Thomas Berry. His parents, Joyce and Harlie Irvine, also greatly influenced his philosophy.

As one of Canada’s most respected voices on leadership and personal development, David has more than 30 years of experience as a family therapist, workshop facilitator, professional speaker, and advisor. He has taught at three universities and the Banff School of Management.

David is the best-selling author of five books that have sold more than 250,000 copies world-wide: Authentic Leadership: It’s About PRESENCE, Not Position (co-authored with Jim Reger); Becoming Real: Journey To Authenticity; Simple Living In A Complex World: A Guide To Balancing Life’s Achievements; Accountability: Getting A Grip On Results (co-authored with Bruce Klatt and Shaun Murphy); and his most recent publication, Bridges of Trust: Making Accountability Authentic (2009).

David presents to thousands of people each year across North America in a wide range of venues — from huge conventions to small retreats. He has worked with CEOs and senior executives, as well as all levels of management, front-line service providers, salespeople, educators, and health care professionals. His approach is down-to-earth, simple and powerful. He not only moves you, but gets you moving. The results for his audiences are organizations and lives that are more connected, more accountable and more real.

David’s clients tell us that his organization — at every level — embodies what it means to be both authentic and accountable. He lives what he teaches. While his presentations and workshops are inspiring, engaging, and life-changing, his real message is not in his words; it is in his authentic and accountable presence. When you hire David, his candidness makes it easy for your group to be open.

He connects and interacts; he listens before he talks. David clarifies complex issues and offers pragmatic solutions. He brings an authentic experience that will renew and rekindle the vitality of your organization, your work, and yourself. You will leave inspired and guided to build and renew your culture — starting from within.

David offers a wide range of products and services. Through his books, engaging keynotes, workshops and retreats, and consulting, David promises an inspiring, engaging, and results-based learning experience. Every engagement is a uniquely customized learning event — rich in content and applicable to your audience’s current challenges and opportunities.

On a personal note, David trained with members of the US Olympic Team in the late 1970s. A nationally ranked 10 mile, 10 k and 5 k runner for more than 25 years, he retired from competitive running after his first and final marathon — at the age of forty. Living on the edge of the Bow River in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada, David enjoys hiking, biking, gardening, an active Ashtanga Yoga practice, and relaxing with his wife and daughters. He also volunteers several hours each week in the field of mental health and addictions.

If you are committed to attract and retain the best talent, provide the best possible service to customers, get a grip on results that matter, remain profitable, and reach your fullest potential as an organization, then culture will be your most critical competitive advantage. This is because organizational culture trumps everything else in business.

After helping organizations build aligned, engaged cultures for more than a quarter century, the passion and promise in David Irvine's work is to build cultures of trust that attract, inspire, and unleash greatness.
Take this rare opportunity to learn the essentials of organizational culture from one of Canada's most respected voices on leadership and organizational culture. In this inspirational and thought-provoking keynote address, David Irvine provides practical perspective and strategies to build an aligned, high performance organization that will unleash the potential of your people.
  • Discover the power of alignment, and why organizational culture is the key to employee engagement, retention, motivation, accountability, and sustained commitment.
  • Leave with practical ways to build a cohesive, engaged, high performance organization – that engenders trust, loyalty, and ownership.
  • Be inspired to be a Culture Maker™: a leader who defines, owns, and fosters a great culture around you, with or without a title.


Great leadership cannot be reduced to technique, position or power.
Great leadership comes from the strength of one's authentic presence – the identity and integrity of the leader.

While you might get promoted to be a boss, you don't get promoted to be a leader. Leadership isn't something that you get from your title. Leadership – your capacity to influence others - is something you earn by the decisions you make and the actions you take. Leadership is about building trust, enrolling people in a compelling vision, engaging others, and achieving results through those you serve. Leadership is about accomplishing this with presence, not position.

Take this opportunity to step back and gain a new perspective on leadership from one of Canada's most respected voices on leadership and organizational culture. Based on David Irvine's best-selling book, The Authentic Leader, you will be inspired by a new view of who you are as a leader and a fresh vision of leadership in today's changing, demanding world.
Learn the difference between a transactional boss and a transformational leader, and the true source of leadership power: your authentic, accountable presence.
  • Discover how a strong leadership presence can inspire trust, engender loyalty, engage people, dispel entitlement, and get a grip on results.
  • Be inspired to be a leader, with or without a title.

A Keynote Address with David Irvine, The Leader's Navigator
With everyone talking about the need for more accountability in the work place, why is it that accountability is so likely to turn people off? Why is it that unearned entitlement remains so prevalent, both in the workplace and in society? You have to get to the deep meaning and application of accountability. If you don't, it becomes a hammer to blame and punish people, or at best, just another organizational buzzword.

David Irvine's proven and practical philosophy and approach to accountability helps leaders build trust, respect, and integrity. It reveals how to banish blame and fear, transform entitlement into ownership, close the gap between intention and success, and get a grip on results.

Take this opportunity to step back and gain a new and positive perspective on accountability. Based on David's inspiring best-selling book, Bridges of Trust, this keynote presentation will illustrate how accountability is not a "program" to be "installed" throughout an organization or a "flavour of the month" management fad. Accountability is an inspiring leadership philosophy that lies at the foundation of both labour and life.

Accountability promises five vital results
  1. Clarity - about your role, direction, and promises
  2. Communication - at a new depth, with the right focus
  3. Alignment – of values, purpose, passion, and agreements
  4. Energy – to build sustained engagement and commitment
  5. Trust – the one thing that changes everything.
  • Inspire people around you by being accountable
  • Inspire your employees to think like owners and foster an accountable attitude at every level of your organization.
  • Transform blame, entitlement, and fear into courage, personal responsibility, and commitment – through the power of agreement.

EMBRACING CHANGE:The Power Of Possibility
A Keynote Address with David Irvine, The Leader's Navigator
"In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." Eric Hoffer, philosopher.

To survive – and thrive – you have to adapt and embrace change. When you have made a decision to be a leader, you become an agent of change. But where is your road map? Where are your tools? There are eight stages of change. The first is chaos; the eighth is possibility. Once you lead yourself and others to embrace possibility, transforming chaos into confidence, resistance into wisdom, and fear into possibility, you have done your job. Once you've mastered the art of embracing change, you will not only build a strong, vital organization, you will build a strong, vital life.

Take this opportunity to step back and gain a new perspective on embracing and leading change from one of Canada's most respected voices on leadership and organizational culture. You will leave this inspiring keynote address with renewed clarity, confidence, and compassion to lead those you serve through the stages of change.

Make change inspiring, productive, and creative - through the power of possibility.
Turn fear and resistance into confidence and commitment - through the power of connection.
Recognize and lead people through the stages of change in a way that supports both people and change.

"I am always inspired when hearing David Irvine speak, which I have done on several occasions."
Rick Ehlers, Executive Vice President Transmission & Distribution Services ENMAX Corporation

"Over a five year period, David Irvine worked with our firm on several occasions, both as a keynote speaker and session presenter, to develop the leadership and management capacity of our senior team members. David provides significant knowledge in the area of accountable leadership and his presentation skills have been met with respect and admiration with our senior team. David is a knowledgeable, committed writer and presenter with the ability to help others begin the process of enhancing their leadership style."
Daryl Ritchie, CEO, Meyers Norris Penny

"You can do all you want in an organization about team building and training but accountability and authenticity can only start with the individual. An individual’s values, knowing who you are, need to be in sync with the values of their organization. This is David’s strength – helping us get the internal alignment. David speaks to business, but you get the feeling that he is really speaking to society - we need more accountability and authenticity. It is easy to see his personal commitment to these two principles. His message is very simple, almost intuitive, but so valuable in today’s world where we often look to somebody else to solve our problems for us. Many of us think of accountability and think of blame, of the negative side. David helps us see that it is something to get enthusiastic about. Our work with David has helped shape our leaders and impact our culture."
Ed Rodenburg, President & CEO, Lilydale Inc.

"David's works have meant a tremendous amount to me, both professionally and personally, as I manage my way through life as a father, husband, and leader in one of the most incredible and diverse industries imaginable. I recommend David highly to anyone who believes they are a student of life and career."
Sean Durfy, Former President and CEO, WestJet

“... morale has increased ten-fold. We are having fun in the workplace again… I have a renewed understanding of my position to help us be the best we can be.” - Alan Christie, Wildrose Territory Manager,
United Grain Growers

“David's presentation challenged everyone to look at things differently and focus on our values. David shared his personal insights and experiences on how to create a balance between one’s work life and personal life. His presentation stimulated a lot of thinking among our staff of how we can do things differently to achieve a better balance.” 
Province of Alberta
“I hired you to inspire and to motivate. Based on the post-presentation comments received from my staff, you not only met but exceeded my expectations.” - J. Larry Wilson, Regional Director, Canadian Coast Guard,
Maritimes Region

bridges o trust

Bridges of Trust: Making Accountability Authentic

Trust, the most important issue facing the world today, lies at the foundation of every relationship. Trust is the keystone of success in work and in life. It crosses cultures and generations. Building and restoring trust is our number one challenge today.



the authentic leader

The Authentic Leader - It's About Presence, Not Position

Great leadership cannot be reduced to technique or position or power. Great leadership comes from the strength of one’s authentic presence — the identity and integrity of the leader. Drawing on the wisdom and experience of thirty-seven authentic leaders — from CEOs to community leaders to parents — The Authentic Leader gets to the heart of what it means to amplify your impact in the world by being more authentic. If you are committed to evolving your soul and the souls of those you serve, this book will inspire and guide you to find and amplify your voice, while inspiring and guiding others to find theirs. In the process, you will discover meaning, significance, and deep satisfaction in your life.



becoming real

Becoming Real: Journey To Authenticity

Best-selling author David Irvine takes us on a journey to authenticity in business and in life, and proposes a "roadmap to the real." Challenging the conventional definitions of corporate success, Irvine claims that genuine, effective leadership does not come from position, but from presence – from the soul rather than the role. Irvine shares his personal quest for authenticity in lively anecdotes, and provides a compelling case for the benefits of shedding façade, pretence and the need for prestige. Personal, provocative and practical, this book offers enduring wisdom for our image-obsessed times.