Michael Ballard

Motivational Expert

Attended KCSS • 1968–1973

Inducted 2011

A true resilient survivor.

I have many wonderful memories from attending KCSS both in and out of the classroom. I gained a deeper appreciation and respect for several subjects and teaching styles. My after school activities included intra-mural volleyball, dodge ball, jamming in the music room, fund raising through walk-a-thons, dance-a-thons, arm wrestling contests, and 50/50 draws. Plus playing in both the Symphony and the Concert Bands while deepening my appreciation for a wide variety of music also taught me quite a bit about mastery, relationships, team building and communications. Also while working on the Year Book I learned quite a bit about project management. Last and not least attempting (emphasis on attempting) to be athletic in the cross country, track and field and the rugby teams were all great experiences. The opportunity of increasing my fitness capacity and enjoying myself while doing it was a large gift that I gained from the KCSS Fitness Guru’s that stays with me till this day.

After KCSS I attended Humber College. There I took a General Business program while I decided my future. After a year I switched and majored in Marketing. That investment in education served me well. I landed a career position with a major packaged goods firm before I graduated. Those relationship and organizational skills that KCSS helped me hone helped me build the business, coach staff and clients and my career. A real highlight for me was getting to travel and develop new business and land a high dollar volume account that helped us secure employment for others. It was a great journey through five positions in ten years.

I then founded an organization called Resiliency for Life. After sitting on several Not-for-Profits boards including the United Way, being the Executive Director for the Children of Chernobyl Quinte (Volunteer), the Non Government Organization Coordinator for Operation Parasol with the Red Cross (Kosovo Refugee’s), developing and delivery a program on The Resilient Job Seeker in two colleges for 12 years, the issue of stress, behaviour, burnout and breakdown came up repeatedly as a large and very expensive issue at all levels of society including personal, family, organization and in the community.

Also because of my intense 7-year battle with two bouts of cancer, several treatments and an emergency life saving medical intervention I’d experienced first hand how under resourced and fractured our mental health system is for those experiencing life’s big issues.

So, being bold I decided to focus on helping people of all ages become more resilient. It’s been a very interesting 20 plus years since I started. It’s taken me from Bermuda to Singapore and all over Canada. It’s allowed me to do work with IBM where we developed a three hour video program for 10,000 staff, work with The Foster Parents Society of Ontario, and recently a major Canadian School board has hired me for a second round of consultations. The goal is our Imagine Yourself program will be come standard issue to all children and families. Each of us deserves the ability to have the skills and ability to have a greater sense of inner calm. It's a foundational skill set and a key to mental health and managing our behaviour.

Attending KCSS was a remarkable journey. I owe a large thank you to the staff; teachers and fellow students and more than a few parents who helped enriched my life then. Many thanks to those who took the time to offer the lesson(s) and ensure the lesson were understood! I’m very grateful for each of you. Thank you.


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