Our Speakers

Geoff Powter Co-founder, Watershed Organizational Development Group Inc.

Growing up Geoff had two driving interests: how people think and why people—including himself—take risks. How those two spheres of interest have positively shaped his career is both fascinating and inspirational. Today Geoff is a national figurehead and expert in multiple convergent fields: a leader in organizational development, who prizes experiential learning as a key tool of his unique and successful business model, and a well-known speaker and writer on the topic of risk-taking. It’s a combination that makes every engagement with Geoff impactful and life-enhancing.

A clinical psychologist who studied at both McGill University and The University of Calgary, Geoff has worked with a broad and diverse range of organizations around the globe, facilitating their development on many levels and shaping their success. In 30 years of practice, he has worked with every type of organization: financial institutions, oil and gas corporations, trade unions, manufacturing, retail, not-for-profits, and government agencies.

Clients appreciate that sessions with Geoff include no dull moments. In the classroom Geoff is fearless, in parallel with his approach to mountaineering; for the past 40 years Geoff has been a committed, passionate and bold mountain climber around the world. He brings those same characteristics to his work with clients. During his extensive career he has established a deep trust in both himself and the teams he helps, and has faith in the ability of groups to rise to challenges when the right environment is created. Geoff recognized early on that risk-taking is a keystone of organizational success, and helps clients see that risk is the tool that liberates creativity and transforms into innovation.

It’s quite possible that you have heard Geoff speak on TV, radio (he is a regular CBC guest), or as a conference keynote; you may have read one of his many National Magazine Award-winning articles on his adventures and the psychology of risk; or you may have read his breakthrough book on the dark side of adventure, Strange and Dangerous Dreams. Geoff is often called on to talk about risk, and to facilitate discussions about the complicated implications of organizational and personal risk. He brings a deep-rooted understanding of human nature, courageously attacks topics head-on, exploring ‘rights and wrongs’, and has the rare skill to bring the voice of reason forward, dispel illusions, and allow people to feel heard.

Geoff also has a long connection with The Banff Centre, where he has been a faculty member in Leadership Development for more than two decades, and where he plays a strong role in the renowned Banff Mountain Festivals. For the last fifteen years, Geoff has been the host of the Voices of Adventure series, privileged to share a stage with the world’s leading adventurers, exploring the victories and tragedies that have shaped their lives.

A business leader, clinical therapist, and well-respected expert on risk-taking, Geoff clearly loves what he does. He enjoys diversity, challenges, and people; and his greatest satisfaction is derived from seeing people and organizations grow and flourish.

Kathi Irvine Co-founder, Watershed Organizational Development Group Inc.

kathi_irvineDriven by a forceful commitment to helping others succeed, Kathi is an exceptional strategic and organizational development professional. She has worked with dozens of local, national, and international organizations over many decades and helped them grow their business, develop their employees, and advance their leadership. Kathi’s astute business-sense, no-nonsense and fun-loving approach, and expansive knowledge make for an unrivaled development experience.

Kathi built her career during a 21-year stint at the Royal Bank of Canada, where she learned the ropes from the bottom up. As a fast learner and seeker of constant change and challenge, she quickly moved up the ladder from junior file clerk to management and landed in the training group. It was here that Kathi really began to tap into her greatest skill; her fun-loving nature became part of her repertoire, which she successfully combined with her intuition, genuine interest in people, and willingness to ask tough questions. Kathi became absorbed with what makes organizations successful and has never looked back.

In 2003, Kathi formed her own organizational development consulting group, and since then she has successfully worked with a broad range of enterprises, such as BC Hydro, The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, Telus, Metro Vancouver, Simon Fraser University, Lexmark, Ashland Chemicals, and Enbridge to name a few. Committed to lifelong learning, as an adult she pursued an undergraduate degree from Simon Fraser University, a Masters Degree of Social and Applied Sciences (Leadership) from Royal Roads, and a certificate in Dialogue and Negotiation. In addition to working with clients privately, Kathi is faculty at the Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute at The Banff Centre.

Kathi is passionate about her field of expertise, which includes strategic development, leadership program creation, leadership advancement, and the promotion of organization-wide effectiveness. There is no doubt that Kathi takes the word dynamic to a whole new level—she is incredibly perceptive, brings energy to every engagement, and is a natural leader.

Kathi says, “I am constantly energized by the thirst in any industry for knowledge to engage the people it employs. It’s very liberating to deliver solid leadership development, help people get hindsight and foresight, have the courage to have the conversations everyone in the room has been avoiding, and see everyone come out the other side embracing success.”

Giving back in a volunteer role is a big part of Kathi’s life; over the years she has engaged with many not-for-profit organizations, including Big Brothers, Peace It Together, Vantage Point, and United Way. She believes in sharing her business acumen and expertise to make the world a better place, and she keeps time in her busy calendar to step in and provide much appreciated support wherever she goes.

A vital, inspirational, and dedicated professional, Kathi is a super-achiever who brings wisdom and knowledge to every project. She has a keen understanding of the challenges businesses today face and is an expert in guiding them through change and empowerment to success.

Learn more about how Watershed can enhance your next event with lively and engaging presentations.