Change can start with one shirt and one person…

Change can start with one shirt and one person…

Today I spoke at an event in my hometown and shared a story and a message that I am really passionate about. I wanted to share it here with you and ask that you join us on Wednesday, February 25th to create change with your shirt.

Before you read on, I want you to know something:


Once upon a time (2007) in a land not so far away (Nova Scotia), a boy showed up for his first day of Grade 9. It’s kind of a big deal, that first day, Grade 9 in a new school with so many new people. You want to make a good first impression. You want to be cool. You want to look good. His first day didn’t go as planned. He found himself to be the target of a group of boys who called him names and threatened to beat him up. Why? They didn’t like his pink shirt. The bullies followed him around, tormenting him, all day. It sucked.

It didn’t go unnoticed. Two students decided to do something about it. Travis and DJ were In Grade 12 and had seen things like this going on in their school for years. Enough is enough.


They went to the store and bought 50 pink shirts. They went home and emailed everyone they knew and asked them to email everyone that they knew. They said that “tomorrow we are creating A Sea of Pink. Wear pink to stand with this boy. Wear pink to stand up to the boys who bullied him. When we stand together wearing pink the bullies will be forced to step down.”

Travis and DJ showed up the next day and saw that their message was heard. Hundreds of students showed up wearing pink.


That grade 9 student walked in and saw everyone in pink and he smiled and he sighed and he knew it was going to be ok. He was not alone.

Today, the pink shirt has become a symbol against bullying all over the world. Pink Shirt Day is on February 25th and it is a day that we come together, creating a sea of pink.

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For those of you who are empowered and ready to make a difference but don’t know where to begin – wear a pink shirt this Wednesday and let people know why you are wearing it. Pink Shirt Day empowers us to stand up against bullying because we do it together. It reminds us to be better people and create better, safer and more inclusive communities.

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Change starts one shirt, one person, one school, one community at a time.

To learn more about Pink Shirt Day, visit

Follow on @PinkShirtDay on Twitter. You can also follow my friend and founder of Pink Shirt Day, Travis Price, on Twitter @ThePinkDeal.

Find and Like Pink Shirt Day on Facebook too!



There is so much more to this story than a really cute penguin wearing a red sweater.

There is so much more to this story than a really cute penguin wearing a red sweater.



This story has been making the rounds online today and I couldn’t resist sharing it here. On my blog, I talk a lot about finding your passion and using what you are good at to take action and make a diffeence. The oldest man in Australia, Afred Date, who is turning 109 years old this year, is using his gift of knitting to make sweaters. These aren’t just any sweaters for anybody – they are for Little Penguins (a species of a Penguin) in Phillip Island that had been affected by an oil spill in 2012.


I wanted to dig deeper and find out more about the issue of oil spills, how the wildlife is affected and more about this project. I was surprised to learn that a dime-sized drop of oil on a Little Penguin could kill them. The  oil separates and mats their feathers allowing water to get in and this makes them very cold, and less able to move around well and get food?

Here is a video of a Little Penguin rescue showing the dangers of oil spills:


The campaign, Knits For Nature was created by the Penguins Foundation. The foundation has a Wildlife Clinic in Phillip Island, where 438 Penguins came to the center for urgent care because after an oil spill in the waters where they live. The Penguins Foundation asked for experienced knitters to knit Penguin Jumpers (which is what they call sweaters) for the Penguins. The sweaters prevents the Penguins from swallowing the toxic oil when trying to clean themselves. Ingesting the oil can kill them. The wool keeps the Little Penguins warm and it also absorbs lots of the oil from their skin and feathers.

So, back to the request for knitters for these sweaters – that is where Alfred Date, the man from Australia comes in. His retirement home wanted to take part in this issue and they asked Alfred to help make the sweaters. Alfred has been knitting as a hobby for 80 years and is using something he loves to create change. Alfred is yet another example of you are never too young – OR TOO OLD –  to make a difference.

Here is another video by the WWF releasing Little Penguins back into the ocean after they have been cleaned and healthy enough to return:

As a result of this program and the amazing and caring people who care for the penguins, 96% of the Little Penguins were saved and are now fully healthy! Lots of knitters made the sweaters and helped so many penguins. This is also a great example of little things adding up to make a big difference. Something as small as knitting a sweater can save a life. That is definitely inspirational.

Want to learn more about the Penguins Foundation, Knits For Nature and how you can take action and help these awesome Little Penguins? Go to for more information!

We Day California Is Announced – And I’ll Be There!

We Day California Is Announced – And I’ll Be There!


Today, We Day announce the star-studded lineup of speakers and performers for We Day California taking place on February 25, 2015 at the SAP Center….and I’ll be there! We Day California will bring together 16,000 students and teachers in an inspirational setting celebrating the commitment they have made to take action locally and globally.

Taking to the stage this year is a cast of returning favorites and new faces, including Cody Simpson, Colbie Caillat, J.R. Martinez, Cher Lloyd, Kid President, Lt. Colonel Eileen Collins and Marlee Matlin.

Along with others, this all-star lineup will join international activists and We Day co-founders, Craig and Marc Kielburger, to share their passion for change, international experiences, and energize the crowd with unforgettable performances and motivational speeches.

“Performing at We Day this past fall was such a fantastic experience, I’m so happy to be back and part of this inspiring event in California,” said Grammy® Award-winning pop singer and songwriter, Colbie Caillat. “The strong commitment and level of involvement from these students is incredibly inspirational. I’m grateful to be part of this celebration, honoring the hard work and actions they have taken.”

“Today’s generation of young people – the Me to We generation – have the power to create and lead real systemic change through We Day, North America’s celebration of service,” said We Day co-founder Craig Kielburger. “Over 200,000 students, coast to coast from 5,000 schools, earn their tickets to We Day by committing to take action on local and global causes they care about. They are truly moving the needle on some of today’s most important issues.”

We Day is the movement of our time – a movement of young people leading local and global change. We Day celebrates and inspires this generation’s shift from me to we – towards acting with intention, leading with compassion, and a belief in the power of community. We Day is one of the world’s largest registered charities on social media, with more than five million followers. This year alone hundreds of thousands of young people will come together in stadium-sized events in 14 cities to take part in this unprecedented educational initiative.

You can’t buy a ticket to We Day. Young people earn them by committing to take action on local and global causes of their choice. We Day provides a platform for youth to learn about some of today’s pressing social issues, helping to inspire them to become leaders and global citizens and to take action on the issues most important to them. We Day is free of charge to the thousands of students and educators in attendance, thanks to the generous support of National Co-Title Sponsors Microsoft, Allstate and Unilever Project Sunlight.

More than a one-day event, We Day is connected to the year-long We Act program, which provides educational resources and campaigns to help young people turn the day’s inspiration into sustained action.

We Day and We Act are cause inclusive, empowering young people to find their passion and create the change they want to see. Together, We Day and We Act are a blueprint for building the next generation of global citizens.

Here’s the whole list of speakers and performers who will be joining us at We Day California:

  • Cody Simpson – Award-winning Australian singer/songwriter and worldwide music sensation
  • Lt. Colonel Eileen Collins – First female space shuttle commander and United States Air Force colonel
  • Marlee Matlin – Academy® Award-winning actress and devoted social activist
  • J.R. Martinez – Actor, motivational speaker, bestselling author and former U.S. Army soldier and winner of Dancing With The Stars
  • Mia Farrow – Award-winning actress and activist
  • G.R.L. – Platinum-selling international girl group
  • Luke Bilyk – Actor from the Emmy-nominated TV series DEGRASSI (@Degrassi)
  • Dana Michelle Cook and Sarah Moshman – Filmmakers and creators of “The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things”
  • Public Figures – A dance team collective of five dance groups from the San Jose/Bay area
  • Spencer West – Me to We motivational speaker, Free The Children ambassador and author
  • Ezra Frech – 9-year-old athlete and motivational speaker
  • Zuriel Oduwole – 12-year-old film maker, presidential interviewer & Girl Child Education advocate
  • Hannah Alper – 12-year-old Me to We inspirational speaker, Free The Children ambassador, blogger and youth activist

I can’t wait to see you there!


Action2015. Get loud!

Action2015. Get loud!

In 2015, January is not like the start of every other new year when it comes to making resolutions to create change. I believe that 2015 is going to be year that we see people around the world joining forces like never before to take action on a global scale. Today I am proud to take part in the launch of a campaign that is going to mobilize people and passion – #Action2015.

In 2015, 2 major United Nations Summits will be held that will shape the future for people and for the planet.

The first summit will take place in New York City in September where world leaders will gather together to set plans to tackle poverty, inequality and environmental destruction. Then, in December, world leaders will meet in Paris, France to set new goals to fight climate change and other massive global environmental challenges.

This is a really important year and it is urgent that the world leaders that represent all of us at the UN, know how important their decisions are to us.

I believe that my voice matters. I believe that your voice does, too. I also believe that our voices together have more power than each of ours does alone. This is why I am proud to be part of the launch of Action/2015 today. Action/2015 has been created to bring our voices, our passions and our strength together so that the world leaders recognize that we are expecting big commitments for big change. We are campaigning for a better future for people and planet.

Action/2015 is supported by representatives from organizations all over the world that work toward eliminating poverty and environmental destruction as well as those who work toward ensuring equality and access to education. Supporters of Action/2015 include Malala, Bono, Ben Affleck and more.

I was asked to join Action/2015, to use my voice and share what I am most passionate about and what I want to share with the leaders who will meet at the UN in the fall.

What do I want to take action on? My biggest passion is education. I believe that every child should have both access and the right to go to school.

Here, in North America take a lot of things for granted – access to clean water, nutritious food, health care and especially education. We are so used to having these things that we don’t often realize that we are fortunate to have them. These are such basic, everyday things. We wake up in a warm bed, we eat a healthy breakfast and go to school and learn new things all day in a safe and clean space. We come home and have dinner with our families, take bath and go to bed. There are many things that we do in between, but these are all things that kids our age in other parts of the world don’t always have.

At the centre of all of this is education. When children get to go to school, they are better prepared for their future. The children of today will be the leaders in the future. This is what I want to see become part of the agenda for 2015.

What’s your passion?

Get loud.


My Year In Review (It was EPIC)

My Year In Review (It was EPIC)

It is officially 2015! Happy New Year! At the beginning of a new year, we all start thinking about the things we did in the past year. I have been reminiscing about my year and if I may say so myself – I had a really GREAT year.

I’ve chosen 5 events of the past year that I would like to share as the things that made my 2014 epic.

1. We Day

Looking back at We Day 2014, it covers 2 seasons – The 2013/2014 season when I shared Malala’s story on the We Day stage AND We Day 2014/2015, when co-hosted the Social Empowerment Class with Shawn Desman and we talked about bullying and Pink Shirt Day.

I was so honoured to speak about one of my biggest role models, Malala Yousafzai. I shared her story and how she has inspired so many people to believe that their voice matters and that every child, especially girls, has the right to an education. I also spoke about how I related to Malala because we both use our words to express our passion and we both hope to inspire others.

I also had the chance to spend a lot of time during the We Day season with Martin Luther King III – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s son. It was the 50th anniversary of when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched on Washington and made his “I Have A Dream” speech. At the Educational Partners Breakfast, the morning of We Day which I and Martin Luther King III spoke at, he always shared a quote that I will never forget. Horace Mann said, “Be ashamed to die until you have won a victory for humanity” Mr. King went on to explain what this meant to him. Some of us will win victories in our communities. Some of us will win victories in our cities. Some of us will win victories in our province. Some can win victories in our countries. And some may even win victories for our world. In other words, be ashamed to die until you have done a little something to make the world better than it was before you arrived. I have thought about this many times over the past year.

I also had an amazing We Day season this past fall. My co-host, Shawn Desman, and I spoke about bullying, which is something that I feel very strongly about. So many of my peers have had to deal with bullying. Shawn and I told the story of Pink Shirt Day. It started with two boys helping a Grade 9 student who was bullied by rallying the whole school together to show him that he wasn’t alone. I had the chance to meet the founder of Pink Shirt Day, Travis Price and I’m really proud to call Travis my friend. He is so motivating because he is a great example of how an idea can turn into something that creates huge and meaningful change. Pink Shirt Day is on February 25 and is celebrated all over the world as a stand against bullying.

As we travelled across Canada for We Day, I got to hang out with motivational speaker, HIV and AIDS advocate, Ashley Murphy. She talks about how we can turn our weaknesses into strengths and rock our differences. She is an amazing person and I was so honoured to spend so much time with her. It was amazing to work with Shawn Desman through the whole season. He sings and speaks with so much passion and he is a great guy. We had a lot of fun together and he was a pretty great co-host to have.

One of the events that I spoke at this year was called the Evening Of Champions. Every We Day, 100-200 youth who have done REALLY great things and have travelled far for We Day for an event with speakers, food and lots of fun! At every Evening Of Champions, I met so many amazing and inspiring youth who have done things like building 3 schools in a developing community, having a Me To We club at school or cycling the distance of the world to raise awareness for clean water. My favourite We Day this year was was in Halifax because I met an awesome group of high school students who had traveled from Fredericton, New Brunswick to be there. We went out for dinner with them and their teachers and I learned that they participated in We Scare Hunger, raised money with Rafikis, sent gifts to Pakistani children in Orphanages and raised $500 dollars to give goats to people in developing communities! Students like that inspire me so much to believe that I am not alone in wanting to make a difference.

BIG thank you to Marc and Craig Kielburger, the We Day team (especially Lena and Jill), Free The Children, and the many partners, sponsors and volunteers all over Canada thank make We Day happen.

WE Day Year End Collage

2. We Create Change Tour

After National We Day Ottawa in April, I left for the most epic journey – the We Create Change Tour along with Spencer West and Neverest. For 10 weeks, we travelled in our own tour bus across the country – from Newfoundland to British Columbia. We went to 90 schools that have taken action with Free The Children and some of them hadn’t gotten a chance to go to any of the We Days, so we would bring one to them. It was the Year Of Education for Free The Children and students all over Canada were working to raise money to build a school for people in developing communities. Spencer, Neverest and I were not there to just motivate the students, we were also there to thank them and celebrate their amazing achievements.

Like We Day, I had the chance to meet students that had built schools and wells, a student that had climbed the Calgary tower to raise awareness for education and kids who had mobilized their community in so many to make a difference locally and globally. I am and always will be in awe of these students and I cannot wait to see what they do next! Thank you to the incredible teachers and students who made the We Create Change Tour happen and thank you for making a difference whether it is on the other side of the world or closer to home.



3. FaceTime with Malala Yousafzai

As you know, at We Day I spoke about Malala and I continued to be inspired by her throughout the year. My Mom and I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to watch her speak at the very first We Day in the UK and when she won the Nobel Peace Prize, I was so happy I cheered and might have cried for a minute. At We Day in Toronto I had met someone who worked very closely with Malala and her organization, The Malala Fund. A few weeks later I received an email from him and told me that he wanted to connect me and Malala face to face. For real. he gave me the opportunity to FaceTime with Malala and her dad, Ziauddin! I was so excited!

A few weeks later it was all arranged. My mom’s cell phone rang and when Malala’s dad, Ziauddin came up on the screen for FaceTime with, it was definitely surreal. He and I spoke for a few minutes. He told me that he watched a video from We Day when I spoke about Malala and said that he cried. He said that he was very proud of me. Then he said these words “I am not going to be a wall between you and your sister, Malala,” and then there she was. Amazing. Malala and I talked for about 15 minutes – we talked about school, music and about what we are going to be when we grow up. Malala told me that she wants to be a Politician, support her society and support girls’ education all around the world. She said that we have similar dreams. And it is true. We both want to be politicians or activists so that we can help people and create meaningful change.

It was an incredible thing to be speaking to her – I was conversation with the woman that I thought about everyday, the woman that had just won the Nobel Peace Prize, the women that has inspired us all. I asked her how she feels about being called “The Girl Who Got Shot By The Taliban”. I wondered if she thought that it is time to move on from that title and be called “The Girl Who Stands Up For Education and Freedom”? She said that after the “incident”, she saw so many people sending her positive messages and gifts and it lifted her up and made her strong. She said that she is taking action and is helping refugee centers, her Nigerian sisters and is supporting the right to education all over the world. Malala knows that it was an event in her life, she hopes that people will call her “The Girl Who Fought For Education”.

We also talked about Kenya and her recent trip there with Craig and Free The Children. I told her that I am excited to go Kenya one day soon. I told her that my parents aren’t ready for me to go by myself yet and she was funny and said that her father won’t let her go by herself either. She joked and said that when she is 18 he will let her go and maybe my parents will let me go with her. That would awesome. Malala will probably be the the only Nobel Peace Prize winner that I have FaceTimed with.

Malala Collage

4. Parliament

At my school, we have a Student Council, otherwise known as Parliament. In September there was an election in each class for someone to represent their class in Parliament. For the election, we had to present a speech about what we can do for our school and our class. I had signed up to be a candidate. In my speech, I said that I would listen to all my classmates and try to get what they want and need. We all did a vote for the candidates and I won! I was really excited and proud.

At the first meeting for Parliament, there was said to be another election! There was a Prime Minister (only for grade 8 student) and a Deputy Prime Minister – a position open to all grades. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister work together and are the leaders and help supervise and make the decisions. For the role of Deputy Prime Minister, I ran again. This time, I talked about community. We are all a school community and when we work together as a team, we can do anything. The next morning, they announced the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. They had announced that I was the Deputy Prime Minister!

This year, Parliament has already oraganized We Scare Hunger and is working towards building a school in a developing community. We have already raised $3, 500 with different events and activities! Now I am currently working on Pink Shirt Day at our school because that is an event that advocates bullying and mobilizes the school to act as a community.

5. My Year Of Action

This year I launched a campaign on my blog called My Year Of Action. It is all about finding your passion, finding your community and turning that into action. In the campaign, after you find your spark, I would help you find out how to inspire others to join you and how to help the cause you care about. I’ll be working on this throughout the year and you can join me. I would love that. You know what? It’s a perfect way to start the New Year and make taking action one of your resolutions. Start your year off by thinking about what you can do to make a difference and create change for someone or something that needs it.

You can download the pledge and take it for YOUR Year of Action here.

That was the best events for me of 2014! Phew. What a year. So, what made your 2014 awesome? Let me know in the comment section below! I would love to know what moments made it special for you!

Wishing you a Happy New Year and hopes for an awesome 2015!

Ron MacLean on Finding Your Spark and Following Your Dreams

Ron MacLean on Finding Your Spark and Following Your Dreams

A Celebration of "The Game" with Rogers Hometown Hockey

You know I love music, and i’m also a pretty big sports fan, too. So, when I got invited to go to beautiful Kelowna, BC for Roger’s Hometown Hockey, you bet I jumped at the chance, and I got to bring my dad, too. The even happens in one city in Canada every weekend – a city or town without an NHL team, and it’s a free weekend outdoor hockey festival packed with interactive activities for all ages.‎ We had a blast, and my dad said it’s set up very similar to a music tour – they go into a city, which takes takes days to set up, there’s the crowd, the entertainment, the show (in this case an NHL game on the big screen downtown), cheering, the sense of community, of a happening, of belonging, of watching professionals follow their dreams, and then, when it ends that night, you pack up, and do it all again in the next city.

Hometown Hockey is a great event because they go into a city that doesn’t have an NHL Hockey team, and the city gets to enjoy a viewing party on Sunday watching an NHL game with friends & family. They also have meet and greets with NHL Alumni, local hockey heroes and celebrities. In Kelowna and all cities, they have a Winter Market showcasing local culinary and hometown food trucks, they had a few local bands and entertainment, and what I loved – a Kids Zone filled with hockey-themed games!

‎I had the chance to sit down with Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean about finding your spark and following your dreams, so let’s get to it!

Ron MacLean: Hannah, it’s just an honor. I was telling you I got to watch your TED talks, which was fantastic. You did that a year ago, right?
Hannah: Yes, just about a year ago.
Ron: Well, and I wanted to tell you a little story, just before we talk about Roger’s Hometown Hockey, because I loved your basic philosophy was two-fold. One was to find your spark, and to share that spark, and then to understand that you can’t just do it alone. I loved, really loved that message. There was a track and field coach in Vancouver who once had a saying, “The power in each of us comes from all of us.” And you were saying how you were in the lockbox experiment and you were getting frustrated because I’m a smart person, like you’ve shown you are, and I suddenly wasn’t getting out and others were getting out, and you began to think, “What’s the matter with me? I thought I was smart.” Sometimes you need a hand. So I was going to tell you a story about your spark. And this is a game. I was on Canada Reads a year ago and there’s an author named Jane Urquhart, wrote a book called Away. And in the book, there’s an eleven-year old. You’re eleven, Brian O’Malley. Brian O’Malley’s mom, they used to play a game called “What Way Are You?” And the way the game worked was, “what way are you” meant you’ve got to pick an item in this mobile, and I’ve got to figure it out. You know, you’re going to give me clues. So let’s just say it was a mirror, the clue would be, “I look like you, I’m easily broken, I am reflective.” And eventually you might guess that it’s a mirror. Well, Brian, in this book, his object in the room that he is, he says, “I am hot and I am difficult. I live under an open roof, and I send my thoughts to the sky. I constantly consume myself but I am always being rebuilt by others. Without me, you would freeze, you would starve, and your stories would go untold.” And what he was was the fire. He was the fire in the hearth and I thought when I watched your TED talks, the spark, the fire, that Brian O’Malley and Hannah Alper are one and the same, so I hope you remember that story.
Hannah: I love that story! So, let’s just go back to the beginning. You started your broadcasting in 1978. When did you actually realize that you wanted to get into broadcasting?
Ron: Well, I got a chance to do some part-time work in 1976. Three of my high school buddies were working at the radio station CKRD-FM and they needed a – one guy was sick, Sean Sutherland. They needed a replacement for Sean, and Sean said phone Ron McClean. It’s $3.00 an hour, it’s a 9-hour shift, and it’s just simple button pushing. Ron can figure it out, and that’s how I got in. I got this chance to go down to the radio station and push buttons for $27.00, and Martin Smith, the boss, said “good job, Ron, we’ll work you into the rotation. Every second week you can be on Sunday from 3 to Midnight.” And eventually they got us to read some news, and one thing just kind of led to another and I remember, Hannah, I was a nervous kid, I felt the pressure, the fear of failure, but somehow I just kind of gutted it through in the early years, and I felt the bug. You know, you look at today, I always envisioned somebody listening to the radio station, and I’m going to tell them, “Today it’s going to be sunny, and 25 degrees, and now here’s a wonderful song by whomever.” I’m going to make their day. And teachers make people’s day, doctors, disc jockey’s make people’s day and I loved that notion. I just thought, “What a great job I could have if I could have something to do for a living that makes peoples’ day.”


Hannah: Going on about disc jockeys. What kind of music did you play? What kind of music do you like?
Ron: I like rock and roll, I didn’t get to play as heavy a rock as I enjoy, I played what we called middle of the road, or adult alternative, a little bit, and what I loved about it, Hannah, which was really, you know, you had to figure out, OK, everybody loves the music , there was kind of a philosophy back in, when I was young, the 1970s, more rock, less talk. And we realized that that in principle sounds good, but actually what people really like about radio is the companionship. So you needed to have a personality with the music, somebody that could somehow connect to the listener and make them feel special and that was the art. It took me a long time to understand it, but I’ve listened to a lot of disc jockeys, I studied the vocation, I had services in the United States that I subscribed to that explained ideas about what I did, and I just, by trial and error and time, learned how to communicate to somebody to make them feel like I was talking one-to-one to them. That was the secret. Wasn’t me and a million, it was me and one other person,so back to your idea of “you don’t do it alone.” I had to understand that.
Hannah: You were that voice when we’re driving on the highway, you just want someone to listen to. How did you go from the radio to Hockey Night in Canada?
Ron: I was through and through a hockey kid. A rink rat. What happened, that was the secret to it all was that I became the TV weatherman in Red Deer, Alberta and if you were on the radio from 9-12 then you were automatically the TV Weather presenter in the afternoon. That’s what I had. I was the 9-12 deejay and then I would do the TV weather. And because I couldn’t make 5 minutes out of the weather every night, I would forecast sports events as well. I would forecast the outcome of an Edmonton Oiler or Calgary Flames hockey game and I think that’s what I think attracted the people at Hockey Night in Canada to offer me an audition to go down to Calgary in 1984, two things happened. That plus TSN was starting their operation and they were hiring away a lot of western Canadians and that opened the door for kids like myself out of Red Deer to move up.
Hannah: Was it a big change to do TV?
Ron: The key to television is sincerity. You can’t fake that, you’ve got to be you. Youre so lucky that you’re doing a lot of these presentations. When you did the TED Talks, eight minutes in you say to the audience “OK, I have one more story and it’s a good one.” That was a believable moment for all of us. You know from having done the speech more than once you’ll find the things that resonate. What does the crowd get a kick out of? The old adage, if the joke is funny, the people will laugh. There’s nothing but practice that will get you there. I wish there was a way we could teach that, but you kind of have to do it the hard way and that’s by trial and error and experience.


Hannah: It definitely took a while for me to actually memorize speeches because it was my first time. Practice makes perfect, and it’s always just as much fun doing something the first time as the tenth time for me – it always has to be fun for me. You’ve had a chance to be at the Olympics. How much fun is that?
Ron: The Olympics is such a hopeful notion. Olympism, this idea that seven billion of us are one, I truly believe in that Hannah. When we did the Sochi Olympic coverage during the winter games in 2014 I never showed the medal standings once in 16 days. I didn’t want it to be about Canada’s one less than the Netherlands or one better than Germany or two below the Americans. I always wanted it to be about being better but not about being better than someone. I love that about the Olympics, the originator, Pierre de Coubertin, the modern Olympics. He felt that was all nationalism and he didn’t want that. He wanted you to be battle hardened, he wanted you to be sort of of a warrior spirit but he wasn’t concerned with comparing nations. I think you’re kind of about that.
Hannah: It’s really just about trying your best, and knowing you’re in a rare, and privileged position not to take it for granted. You’ve interviewed thousand of hockey players in your life and in broadcasting. What do you think that they all had that made them get into the NHL? They have the same drive and passion as you – they just went in a different direction, but they still needed to have that spark.
Ron: They had a spark. You can’t fake it. You cannot get there with anything beyond that passion. Wayne Gretzky had brothers and sisters that were good at sports but he had something that runs a little deeper in him. It is a bit of an obsession, when you want to get somewhere you have to work consistently at it to make each day involve something that takes you to the next level. That spark starts there, it’s very inate. I could give you an endless list of players who were never picked by the scouts to move up, they were not drafted we call it. But, one guy in Kelowna came out and watched them play and believed in them. That’s another thing you’re kind of about in your TED Talk, there’s a guy here in Kelowna named David Roy who runs a program called the Pursuit of Excellence. He learned from a gentlemen named Roger Neilson, and Roger Neilson’s secret was to make you believe that you could do anything you wanted and he gave you such conviction, he gave you such belief and belief lifts talent. Somewhere along the way, someone believed in them that gave them that optimism that it could be done.
Hannah: And you’ve experienced for almost 30 years. What do you think you had that made you last this long?
Ron: Again, passion. It’s a vicious circle. You have to prepare every time you do something and the more you prepare, the better you deliver your performance and the more your performance goes well, the pressure to prepare to top it increases. You just find as you get to a certain level, you want to feel that again. Everybody who ever wins at something wants to win again. The joy of it is, it’s an education, right? Every time I do a show like today, I had to learn about Kelowna. Next week I have to learn about Fort McMurray. It’ll probably involved your eco- activist talks, that’ll be a part of it.
Hannah: Can you walk me through a day in the life of Ron MacLean, the broadcaster?
Ron: Well, for being here in Kelowna, a work day involves usually getting up at 4:30AM in Toronto and flew to Calgary and then flew to Kelowna, so it’s an unusually long day. Then we have a little meet and greet with some customers and meet the hockey fans, we call that outreach where I may do some interviews with The Rockets, which is the western hockey league team here, and yourself. The actual show prep goes on all week. I watch a lot of hockey. I study a lot about Kelowna, I’ve always had a rule of ten hours of prep for every one hour on the air. But show day is a little bit of coffee and get to it.
Hannah: I can’t drink coffee – yet, but I feel your excitement, though! It’s so great here! One thing I’ve noticed is how many kids there are here in their own houseleague hockey jerseys. What advice do you have to kids who want to play in the NHL, what do you have advice for kids who just want to be in the media?
Ron: The lesson for all of us in life is to work at what you do and be relentless. To have a thick skin. And always remember, that the loveliest part about music and television, the arts, that we just have the chance to make someone’s day and if you get out of yourself and not think about what’s in it for Hannah or for Ron, but what’s in it for your friends or audience or whomever, then it’ll really help you to keep it in perspective. That’s the ultimate wisdom, perspective.

3 Tonnes Of Reasons To Give To Your Local Food Bank

3 Tonnes Of Reasons To Give To Your Local Food Bank


Millions around the world go hungry every day, even in our own backyard. This Halloween, I held a food drive with the great help of my karate dojo, Energy Karate for non-perishable food items on behalf of Free The Children’s We Scare Hunger campaign. We helped raised over 3 tonnes of food ready to be donated at the York Region food bank to help stop hunger in its tracks.

Thank you to everyone who donated food, and to Energy Karate for all their generous time and support!