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Alvin Law

Remarkable Motivational Speaker, Born Without Arms

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Alvin Law: Remarkable Motivational Speaker, Born Without Arms

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Over 13,000 babies around the world were deformed in the early 1960's because of a morning sickness drug, Thalidomide. Alvin Law was born without arms after his birth mother, thinking it was completely safe, used just a couple of the tiny pills and their lives were forever altered.

Yet, what may have become a tragic life-story did not turn out that way. Today, Alvin Law is not only a completely independent, remarkably successful professional speaker, but proof that out of nothing can arise one of the most inspiring stories you will ever witness.

Faced with no hope in their minds, Alvin's birth family courageously gave him up for adoption, hoping and praying that someone else may be more prepared for the welfare of this pitiful newborn. Their prayers were answered.

Hilda Law was a fifty-five year old foster mother, who, along with her husband, Jack, took in neglected and abused children, loved and encouraged them back from their hopelessness and through social service programs, sent them to couples yearning for adoptions. They were truly special people.

One day in 1960, the most disturbing case they had ever seen was presented to them. Take in a sickly, deformed baby whose future seemed certain. He would never possess any quality of life but he deserved more. Who knew?

Not only did Hilda nurse him back to health, but her intuition said lurking inside this impossible scenario was hope. Through the Law's faith, dedication and infinite belief, little Alvin Law learned to use his feet for hands.

Alvin attended regular schools in a day when handicapped children were relegated to institutions or at best, schools that segregated them from the normal students. Remarkable teachers saw his potential and worked with the family to encourage that potential.

Then like a genie in a bottle, Alvin was recognized for his musical ability and he joined the band. Within an impossibly short time, he became an award winning musician playing trombone, then the drums and then piano.  He is also a talented singer whether in band or choir, his enthusiasm for life led to him being chosen  by his fellow students for a special spirit award the night he graduated from high school with honors. He then enrolled at Mount Royal College, now a University and in 1980 graduated with a diploma in Broadcasting & Communications, again with honors.

A short time later, he was hired by an FM Radio station in Regina, Saskatchewan to be a disc-jockey and although it was a dream job, something bigger, and ultimately prophetic came along. 1981 was declared a United Nations International Year of Disabled Persons and a friend persuaded Alvin to leave radio to be a UN spokesperson. He then conducted awareness seminars in hundreds of schools across the province of Alberta, Canada. Thus began his adventures in the field of motivational speaking.

When the UN gig ended, he continued his commitment to disability awareness but this time, back in his beloved home province working for the Saskatchewan Abilities Council, an Easter Seals agency.  His speaking even gained national press attention and the word got out about his remarkable story and unparalleled musical talent. 

But Alvin was never good at settling in to something for too long so loving a challenge, he threw his name in the political ring running for a seat in the Saskatchewan Legislature.  He ultimately lost but the experience changed his life path.  After the birth of his son, Vance, in 1985, he decided to follow the money away from non-profit work and became an advertising director which then led to a cushy government job managing the newly minted employment equity division.  It seemed beaureaucracy wasn't Alvin's thing and with a marriage on the rocks, Alvin did something that at the time seemed crazy.  He quit his job, got a divorce and started his own company, AJL Communications, a vehicle that returned him to his real passion; speaking!

Since then, lots has happened.  In 1991, while speaking at an event in Alberta, he met Darlene and if the notion of a "soul-mate" exists, they found each other and in a mere six months, Darlene moved to Regina to not only share Alvin's life, but run his, then their company.  In fact, their job titles say it all; Alvin/Talent, Darlene/Brains.  This little company has taken Alvin & Darlene to five continents and Alvin has presented to over 2,000,000 people in over 7,500 programs.  He has earned his Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation and in 2009, was the sole inductee in the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.

In 2006, another dream came true and the book everyone had been asking for was finally released.  "Alvin's Laws of Life...5 Steps to Successfully Overcome Anything" is a Canadian best-seller.

Alvin has been recognized in ways too numerous to mention but for him, a highlight was playing a role on the hit television series, "X-Files".  He has also been in numerous documentaries and even has an Emmy Award for a special on ABC-TV in the States.

Perhaps the most important illustration of what drives Alvin Law is that since 1976, he has played a direct role in raising over $165,000,000 (yes million) for charities, mostly ones who work with disabled kids.  Alvin is the real deal!

Alvin and Darlene (and Vance too) live in beauiful Calgary, Alberta, Canada and being empty nesters, they now have two Border Collies, Jazper & Raymond and a precocious cat, Trixie.

The Attitude Effect

Focus: leadership, for leaders, personal leadership
Format: opening or closing keynote

You’ve probably heard of The Butterfly Effect – a principle of chaos theory which states that a butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico, at the right point in space and time, can cause a hurricane in China. It might take a while, but the connection is real. It’s an interesting way of expressing the fact that seemingly very small actions can have drastic effects.

The Attitude Effect works the same way. A team leader, manager, supervisor or C-level executive with a poor attitude tends to pass it on to employees and co-workers, lowering morale and creating a negative work environment. And employees tend to pass it on to customers…who then decide to take their business elsewhere. To put it plainly, a leader with a bad attitude can have a drastic effect on the productivity and profitability of the entire company.

The good news? Our attitude is the one thing we have complete control over. We can’t always choose what happens to us on a day to day basis, but we can choose our attitude. And when a leader adopts and practices good attitude habits, it ripples throughout the entire organization. Productivity, innovation, engagement, quality, service and customer loyalty can skyrocket when you have a positive company culture.

In this presentation, you’ll learn how to make The Attitude Effect work for you. You’ll learn how your interpretation of business and personal stresses impact your work, your attitude and your co-workers, and how to be aware of and re-interpret your attitudes on a day-to-day basis. This presentation won’t teach you how to do your job – you can hire an MBA coach for that. What it will do is demonstrate how practicing good attitude habits helps you become the type of leader people are excited to work with, and give you the tools you need to practice The Attitude Effect at work and in your personal life.

There Really Is No Such Word As Can’t

Focus: change management, culture, accountability
Format: opening or closing keynote
Alternate titles: There’s Always Something You Can Do; When Amazing is Your Normal

Companies and organizations are constantly facing change. New markets and labour pools open up. New technologies make once-powerful business models obsolete. You may need to implement a simple process change, or completely overhaul your organization’s overall strategy and policy.

No matter what the change is, it’s never easy. According to a 2013 culture and change management survey, the success rate of major change initiatives is a dismal 54%. And although company culture plays a critical role in successful, sustainable change, most companies do not involve lower-level staff in the process and do not leverage the power of culture to navigate that change and ensure it sticks. The result? Employees are confused, productivity plummets, opportunities are lost and morale bottoms out. “Change fatigue” sets in. Cynicism and resistance become the norm. The company stagnates.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can successfully implement sustainable change, no matter how drastic – as long as your people feel like they are an important part of the process.

In this presentation, your audience will learn how to adapt to and embrace change, and recommit to their role in your organization. There are no buzzwords or jargon here – just Alvin using his story and his life to model adaptability, resilience and drive, and inspire your people to stop seeing problems, and start seeing possibilities. By the end, they will see themselves as champions who can make the company and its people more successful, and be excited to jump in and take ownership of their role in the process.

It may sound simple, but this session is a powerful strategic tool in your change management process. It is best used as an opener for a company conference, when you need to either avoid or break through an attitude of resistance and create excitement about and commitment to change. We’ve found the best results occur when the CEO and/or the person leading the change initiative introduces Alvin, as this helps set the tone for not just Alvin’s session but for the overall conference

Yes, You Can: 5 Steps to Successfully Overcome Anything

Focus: team-building, employee engagement, employee appreciation/motivation
Format: opening or closing keynote; half-day workshop; breakout session

No matter who we are or what our job title is, one thing is true: we are all the leaders of our own lives. We are all creative problem solvers, and we all have unique value we bring to our personal and professional relationships. Thing is, we don’t always remember this about ourselves…or about our friends, family, co-workers, employees and team members. Caught up in the day-to-day grind, it’s pretty easy to forget.

Personal leadership? Responsibility? Resiliency? They are attitudes. And these attitudes can be learned by anyone. They can become habits we practice at work and at home, in our personal and professional relationships. And they can become tools we draw on to successfully face, and overcome, any challenge.

Combining lessons from his remarkable life of being born without arms with his unique insight into personal and workplace challenges, Alvin has developed a series of proven strategies for enhancing and sustaining attitudes of leadership, responsibility and resiliency both on the job and in your personal life. You’ll learn how to apply these time-tested techniques to spark your creativity, recognize your value and the value of those around you, and step into your natural role as leader in your own life.

Safety Counts Because Everybody Counts

Alvin Law has been challenging perceptions and attitudes his entire life.  He is actually one of Canada’s first “Thalidomide Babies”.  This description was tied to a drug from the early 1960’s used to treat morning-sickness in expectant women.  The drug company claimed it was safe; the testing process was almost non-existent; and the result was thousands of lives irreversibly damaged by something that could have easily been prevented.  But that was then.

Focus on safety in the workplace has been around a long time but it still faces resistance by some workers as being a “waste of time” or something else cooked up by the human resources department to get in the way of my job.

Well, if you ask Alvin Law, maybe the Good Old Days weren’t really so good.  We live in a new and uncharted world where things like our attitude towards our job really matters and Alvin Law should know.  He may not be a safety expert but he is certified in life, one that hasn’t always been easy.

Alvin has no arms.  He was also written off by experts who said he would have no quality of life. But today, he is married, a dad, and owns a communications company that has taken him to five continents where he has spoken to over two million people.  His message is simple…attitude makes a difference and he is living proof.  He is so much more than a predictable story of overcoming challenges.

When Alvin is in the room, he has an incredibly energy but his presence also exhibits a harsh reality…he has no arms!  It is a reminder to all who attend his safety sessions that life is not bulletproof.  It is frail, and it is valuable.

Alvin uses the stories of his life to contrast the failures and success of humanity.  Some stories are truly sad but that’s not what people remember about Alvin.  They will never forget that although life can be tragic, it doesn’t have to be and as to safety…maybe it is a good idea after all.
“I am confident your presentations motivated those in attendance to make the best of whatever situation they find themselves in. I know listening to you motivates me to be a better husband, father, son and police officer!!”
B. Penner, Saskatoon Crime Stoppers

“You are Amazing! Not because you can read a book on the airplane, or brush your hair, or even play the keyboard the way you did. But rather because of the message you gave everyone in the room on May 1. And, I am sure everyone took away something a little different. Once conference delegate / presenter who came from Utah wrote on her evaluation: “The whole trip was worth just having Alvin speak.”
K. Jones-Galley, Bloorview MamMillan Children’s Centre

“I would have been quite happy to have each of the Keynote speakers provoke the feelings and thoughts one of the words from our theme, Motivate. Inspire.Lead., to our delegates. You however, encompassed all of them. I appreciate the preparation and time you invested in the presentation made specifically for the AMM. It truly contributed to the success of the Convention.”
D. Belbin, Association of Manitoba Municipalities

“Your program was rated by our delegates at an outstanding 4.97 out of 5, placing you as one of our top ranked speakers for the conference. We were delighted that our overall rating on this conference was a 4.8. The time and effort you put into your presentation and into getting to know our attendees had a direct impact on the success we achieved.”
P. Goodberry-Dyck, HealthCare Service Excellence Association

“Mr. Law, you are truly fascinating speaker to witness and experience. You inspire with your boundless energy and passion for life and all it has to offer, and you intrigue us with your tried and true philosophies on human beings in general. Your message is effective and is one the vast majority of us will carry with us throughout life, thanks to the superior job you do in delivering it.”
M. Appleton, Lord Beaverbrook Senior High School

“Your candid depiction of your life was both heartwarming and inspiring. It was also a timely reminder to our staff of the value of each person as well as the importance of taking the time to see the potential in every child.”
K. McGee, Brunswick County Schools

“Your address entitled “Everybody Counts… Especially You” was both insightful and inspiring to all of the conference attendees. You contributed to this success by helping provide participants with the means to meet their professional and personal challenges and making them aware of the importance of believing in themselves.”
C. Lachapelle, Canada School of Public Service

“Your participation as a speaker created value for the more than 350 delegates who attended and contributed significantly to the overall success of the Conference. Your preparation and work to present and share valuable information with colleagues from across the country was appreciated.”
J. Fralick, Canadian Society of Safety Engineering

“We have hosted many different speakers at our school assemblies and, without doubt, Alvin was able to motivate, inspire, entertain and challenge every single student in both assemblies. He was able to relate to students of all ages. His ability to have the same effect on the over one hundred teachers and parents, was also evident. Alvin not only moved his audience, but also left them with a message that was repeated numerous times in the evaluations that were submitted. The balance between laughter and hushed silence was incredible!”
B. Yakichuk, Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School

“I must say that your presentation was one of, if not the best I have heard. In our industry as in others, we all have many opportunities to sit and listen to various types of motivational speakers. Some are very good and you leave the room with something and some you feel you have just wasted your time. Today, I definitely left the room knowing that I had just received an education from you in attitude, in overcoming adversity and in celebrating one’s life. I found at various moments your presentation to be filled with such emotion that I was close to tears and yet at other moments I was chuckling with laughter at an incident you recalled.”
R. Elliott, McKeough Supply Inc.

“Your presentation was the highlight of our meetings. You touched everyone in the room with your passion and drive. It was a very timely presentation, as we are currently undergoing major changes. There is no such word as can’t, has become a symbol for our staff.”
J. Phillips, All Weather Windows

“Your energy, passion and zest for life is phenomenal! You did an outstanding job of energizing and facilitating students and played a key role in the success of this year’s conference! Your Keynote address was both intriguing and inspiring. It had just the right balance of humor and hardcore-life-leadership lessons! It is moments at events like this year’s conference that leaders such as yourself step forward and show others just what the true meaning of passion is.”
R.Mayuk, SADD Alberta
ACTION International
Alberta Geometrics Group
Alberta Learning Corporate Services
All-Weather Windows
AMJ Campbell Van Lines
Arizona Machinery Company
Bata Shoes
Boardwalk Rental Community
Booster Juice
Brandt Tractor
Canadian National Railway
Canadian Western Agribition
Capervco Limited Partnership
Carstar Automotive
Casino Regina
Cisco Systems Canada
Community Futures Development Corporation
COPIC Companies
Dauphin Broadcasting Corporation
Direct West
Elliott Lake Northshore Corporation
Enrich International
Far West Equipment Dealers
Husky Energy
Hydro Ottawa
IED Limited Partnership
IWA Forest Industry Ltd
Lincoln Electric Company
National Staff Development Council
Oxford Properties Group
Parklane Homes
Polygon Homes
Puratone Corp.
RIS Resource Information Systems Inc
Royal LePage Real Estate
SAP Canada
Saskatchewan Housing Corporation
School Plant Officials Society of Alberta
Shoppers Home Health Care
South Calgary Café Inc.
Station Forces Child Care Corporation
Sun Media Corporation
Telus Corporation
Thai Life Insurance Company
Transcanada Pipelines
United Van Lines
Weyerhaeuser Canada

1199 Child Care Corporation
Adoption Options
Alberta Association of Municipal Districts & Counties
Alberta Cattle Feeders Association
Alberta Congress Board
Alberta Forest Products Association
Alberta Home Builders Association
Alberta Human Resources Association
Alberta Recreation and Parks Association
Amity Good Will Industries
APEX/World Council of Service Clubs
Association for Community Living
Association for Manitoba Municipalities
Association of Alberta Co-op Seed Cleaning Plants
Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staff
Association of Municipal Clerks & Treasurers
BC Association of Broadcasters
British International Greenskeepers Association
Building Owners and Managers Association
Calgary Co-Op Association Ltd.
Calgary Crime Stoppers Association
Canada West Equipment Dealers Associaiton
Canadian Air Services Association
Canadian Association of Career Educators & Employers
Canadian Association of Nephrology Nurses
Canadian Association of Rehab Professionals BC Society
Canadian Construction Association
Canadian Federation of Music Teachers Assoc
Canadian Golf Superintendants Association
Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating
Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association
Canadian Management Centre
Canadian Public Personnel Management Association
Canadian Society of Civil Engineers
Canadian Society of Safety Engineers
Central Alberta Family Day Home Association
Community Futures Network Society of Alberta
Credit Union Managers Association
Credit Union Professional's Association
Easter Seals Society
Gyro Club of Calgary
Heavy Duty Distributor Council
Home Builders Association
Human Resources Association of London
International Association of LIONS Clubs
International Bison Conference
Kenora Association for Community Living
LeLeche League International
London Access Awareness Conference
Manitoba Heavy Construction Association
Manitoba Hotel Association
Mine Safety & Health Administration Association
Ontario Hospital Association
Ontario Municipal Social Services Association
Ontario Private Campground Association
Ontario Sewer & Watermain Construction Association
Organization of Small Urban Municipalities
Peterborough Ad and Sales Association
Purchasing Mgmt Association of Canada
Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington
Saskatchewan Abilities Council
Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association
Shuswap Training and Employment Program
Small Business Club of Niagara
South Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre
St. Albert Association for People with Disabilities
St. Thomas More Lawyer's Guild of Alberta
United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Ltd
United Way of Burlington, Hamilton, Wentworth
Volunteer Programs Association Ft Saskatchewan
Windsor Advisory Council On Disability Issues

Abbotsford Tech Centre
Alberta 4-H Selections Program
Alberta School Board Association
American Association for Employment In Education
Arlington Heights School District #25
BC Student Leadership Conference
Brunswick County Schools
Calgary Catholic School District
Calgary Teachers Convention
Canadian Student Leadership Conference
Canadian University College
College of Staten Island
Coquitlam Principals and Vice Principals Association
Costal Parents Actively Sharing Conference
Dalhousie University
Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board
DuPage Interagency Council on Early Intervention
Educational Computing Network of Ontario
Eisenhower Centre Inc.
Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario
Fraser Valley Adventist Academy
Frontier School Division
Galt Collegiate Institute
Hanover Teachers Association
Herzing College
High School Principal Association of PEI
Illinois Association of Student Councils
Illinois State Board of Education
Institute for Inclusive Education
Kappa Delta Pi
Lesser Slave Lake Forest Education Society
Manitoba Association of School Trustees
Manitoba Student Leadership Conference
Michigan Association of Student Councils
Mississippi Department of Education
Montana State Student Conference
Moose Jaw Teachers Convention
Morgan County Board of Education
Mount Royal College
NAIT Student Association
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Student Speech, Hearing & Language Association
Nebraska Department of Education
Nevada Association of Student Councils
Newfoundland Student Leadership Conference
North Battleford Teachers Convention
North Central Edmonton Teachers Convention
Northern Caribbean University
Ontario Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
Ontario School Counsellors Association
Ontario Student Leadership Conference
PEI Teachers Convention
Quebec Association of School Administrators
Red Deer College
Renfrew Educational Services
Round Rock District Student Council Conference
SADD Conference
Saskatchewan Provincial Student Leadership Conference
Saskatchewan Valley Teachers Association
Sault Ste. Marie District Separate School Board
School District of Onalaska
Southwestern Adventist University
The American School Foundation of Guadalajara
Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
Transcona-Springfield School Division
University of Manitoba
University of Memphis
University of New Brunswick
University of Saskatchewan
University of Wisconsin
Vancouver Catholic School Board
Washington State Student Conference
Westwind School Division
Wisconsin Association of Student Councils

American Society of Military Comptrollers
Canada Customs & Revenue Agency
Canada Employment & Immigration Union
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Canada School of Public Service
Catholic Social Services
City of Edmonton
City of Thunder Bay
Community Futures Development Corporation
Conferences & Special Events School of Public Service
Cree Social Services Namaska
Department of Justice
Department of Public Works & Government Services
HRDC Office for Disability Issues
Human Resources Development Canada
Indian & Northern Affairs
Industry Canada
Ministry of Family Services
National Institute of Disability Mgmt & Research
National Parole Board
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Ontario Ministry of Transportation
Ontario Police Services
Orangeville & District Chamber of Commerce
Public Service Commission of Canada
Public Works & Government Services Canada
Region of Peel Children's Services
Sarnia Lambton Training Board
Statistics Canada
Toronto Metro Social Services
Transportation Agency of Canada
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariate
Veteran Affairs Canada

Health Care
ACMS District Health Council
Alberta Health Records Association
American Nephrology Nurses Association
Assistive Technology Partners
Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre
Bonnyville Health Unit
Calgary Healthy Start Alliance
Canadian Society of Hospitals
Capital Care Group
CF Foundation
Columbia Rehabilitation Centre
Community Care Access Centre
Deer Valley Dental Clinic
Disability Resource Network
Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre
Extendicare Canada
Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation Inc.
Middlesex-London Health Unit
Partnerships In Assistive Technology Association
Phizer & Boehringer Ingelheim
Regina & District Dental Society
Society of Urologic Nurses & Associates
St. Joseph Hospital and Home
Sudbury Regional Hospital
Wisconsin Rehabilitation & Transition Conference

Financial & Insurance Institutions
Appraisal Institute of Canada
Assente Financial Management
AuGanne Inc
Bank of Montreal
Brightside Financial
BTR Financial Planning Inc
Canadian Association of Insurance & Financial Planners
Canadian Western Financial Planners Ltd.
Capitol Management
Credit Union Central of Alberta
Credit Union Central of Saskatchewan
DBO Dunwoody
Edmonton Life Underwriters Association
Equion Financial
Fortress Equity Management Inc.
Fundex Investments Inc
Henry Hicks & Associates
Hurdman & Associates
Insurance Corporation of BC
Investment Planning Council of Canada
Investors Group
Kofin Financial
Life Underwriters Association of London
Lifetime Financial Planning
Manulife Financial
Manulife Securites
Maude Financial Inc.
Mennonite Mutual Fire Insurance Company
Murrick Insurance Services
Nova Scotia Co-operative Council
Ontario Mutual Insurance Association
Richmond Savings & Credit Union
Scotia Bank
Spectrum Financial Services
Sunquest Meetings & Incentives (Client TD Cd)
TD Asset Management
TD Canada Trust
TD Canada Trust - Special Events and Production
TD Waterhouse
Tercyn Capital Inc.
Walker Planning Associa

Alvin's Laws of Life
5 Steps To Successfully Overcome Anything

A Attitude is more than just being positive…it’s a way of looking at life, ours and everybody’s. It is said to be Everything because it is Everything. It defines who we are and what we become!

L Learning is the greatest gift we give ourselves. It can transform us from nobody to somebody and is the great equalizer. To not learn as much as we can is to disrespect the gift of life. In learning, we must also ask questions. That’s good because people need to listen more and Talk less. There is knowledge all around us… we just have to listen for the answer. To listen is to learn and to learn is to grow.

V Value your life and spirit. Too many people live another “V”, that of Victim. It’s true, Bad things happen to good people and there are victims. The trouble is there’s no answer to the question, “Why Me?” Even worse, Victims often get stuck in their past when what they need is to live for today and move toward the future. When you focus on moving forward, you never know what you’ll discover. Everyone has value…finding it, that’s the trick.

I Imagination is the key that unlocks the power of potential. It is not owned by the young but they are best at using it. It defines the difference between Obstacles and Possibilities! Imagination leads to dreams and dreams make life worth living. Dreams can Come True…This I know.

N Never give up!! Easy to say, hard to do. The biggest enemy we will ever have we encounter every time we look in a mirror. Yet mirrors do not reflect who we truly are…our lives do