The Skidrow CEO & Leadership Development Expert

Joe Roberts

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At a glance:

Joe Roberts aka The Skidrow CEO is an expert on resilience and change. Having experienced both catastrophic failure and extraordinary success, Joe teaches how to overcome the roadblocks that get in the way of high performance. He helps companies and individuals redefine what’s truly possible by confronting limiting mindsets. Participants at Joes’ events leave inspired and moved to action. What is most amazing about Joe is that in 1989 he was living on the streets of Vancouver as a homeless skid row addict. Through perseverance, determination and his resilient human spirit, Joe pulled himself out of darkness and despair, to become a highly respected business and community leader.

The most effective leaders in society are those rare individuals who can inspire their audience with a passion that can only come from personal experience. As the former President and CEO of an extremely successful multimedia company, Joe Roberts has faced and overcome key business challenges, which confront every modern organization.

With a track record of proven business success, Joe formed his own multimedia company, Mindware Design Communications, and in less than four years led the company to a phenomenal 800% increase in business.

Joe’s business solutions have made millions of dollars for his clients, across a variety of business sectors. It is from this experience that Joe draws when addressing Fortune 500 companies, professional associations and organizations internationally.

What is most amazing about Joe is that in 1989 he was living on the streets of Vancouver as a homeless skid row addict. Through perseverance, determination and his resilient human spirit, Joe pulled himself out of the darkness and despair, to become a highly respected business and community leader.

Today Joe Roberts (aka The Skidrow CEO) is an award-winning Inspirational Keynote Speaker armed with unwavering determination and 20+ years of speaking experience. His mission has been, is, and always will be to instigate a ripple effect of positive change everywhere he goes by reminding people of their unlimited potential.

When Joe was homeless in Vancouver he made a promise if his life was spared he would pay it forward. He did just that in the form of triumphantly pushing a shopping cart a staggering 9,064 kilometers across Canada in the name of youth homelessness prevention. This very act birthed a national awareness campaign called The Push for Change, inspiring fellow Canadians to create ripple effects of transformation in the lives of at-risk youth throughout the country.

Since 1989, Joe has acquired two college diplomas, became the CEO of one of Vancouver’s leading multimedia companies, walked across Canada and achieved more success than he could ever have
imagined. Joe has been recognized by MacLean’s Magazine as one of “10 Canadians who make a difference,” won the BC Courage to Come Back Award, received The Ontario Premier’s Award for Business, was given an Honorary Doctorate from Laurentian University, was recognized by the Senate of Canada with their Canada 150 Medal, received the Medal of Good Citizenship from the province of BC and the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada.

Ultimately, Joe’s deep resonating “WHY” is to empower people to step into a life of infinite possibility, to understand “there is truly more to each and every one of us than what we see.”

  • From Skid Row to CEO: Building Resilience One Step At A Time

    In this empowering keynote, Joe teaches audiences how to build the resiliency needed to succeed in the face of adversity and change by taking small, attainable steps. Sharing the story of his catastrophic failure and extraordinary success, Joe inspires audiences to see beyond their perceived limitations to overcome life’s challenges and embrace change.

    This keynote is ideal for anyone who is:

    • Trying to adapt to significant change or disruption
    • Disconnected from their purpose and passion and showing signs of burnout or underperformance
    • Feeling stuck or holding onto limiting beliefs and a negative outlook
    • Struggling to see their potential and ability to accomplish anything!

    The audience will leave with:

    • Actionable insights on building personal resilience no matter what challenge or change they are facing
    • A greater understanding of the cumulative impact of small, consistent actions and the motivation to take the first step
    • Renewed interest and focus in their work as they reconnect to their purpose and passion
    • Tools for reframing a limiting mindset so they can see the possibilities in themselves and the world around them
  • There's More To You Than You Can See: Collapsing Mental Health Stigma

    In this eye-opening keynote, Joe shares the critical role family and community support played in helping him overcome a lifelong struggle with substance use disorder and mental illness. Through the lens of his incredible transformation, audiences will be reminded that every person, including themselves, has enormous potential and will leave inspired to create safe spaces for others to learn, grow, and change.

    This program is perfect for leaders and teams who are:

    • Seeing a rapid rise in sick leave, burnout, suicide, PTSD, substance use disorder, and depression in their organization
    • Experiencing productivity decreases, increased sick days, quiet quitting, unmotivated staff, high turnover, or internal strife and tensions
    • Needing to build empathy-based leadership and a psychologically safe work environment
    • Unaware or unconcerned about the stigma and issues surrounding mental health, addiction, and suicide

    The audience will leave with:

    • The motivation and tools to develop empathy centered leadership and see the possibilities in everyone they meet
    • Simple steps anyone can take to create a safe space where people are seen and heard
    • Practical techniques for supporting the person AND challenging the behavior, including tools for conducting “Tough Stuff” Mental Health Conversations
  • To Protect and Serve: The Life-Changing Potential of Every Interaction

    In this inspiring keynote, Joe Roberts highlights the life-changing impact first responders can have in every interaction through his own remarkable story. What was a typical distress call for Constable Scott MacLeod (another man with a gun threatening suicide) became a moment that changed Joe’s life forever. Joe’s story reminds first responders of the power of every interaction and the deep impact they have, but don’t always see, on their communities.

    This keynote is perfect for any first responder who is:

    • Feeling underappreciated under the weight of public hostility, negative headlines, and the growing anti-police movements
    • Needing a reminder of the good work being done every day in their millions of positive interactions
    • Struggling to see the potential in the people they support and serve because of burnout, frustration, or unrecognized bias and stigma

    The audience will leave with:

    • A feeling of being honored and appreciated for their work
    • A powerful reminder of their ability to make a difference in their community through a real-life example
    • A rededication and commitment to purpose, passion, and tools for staying inspired and motivated despite external factors
    • Greater empathy and respect for the potential of those who struggle with mental health or addiction
  • Safety - It's About the Little Things: Leading and Inspiring a Culture of Safety

    In this keynote, Joe explores the connection between mental safety and physical safety and shares how anyone can connect their personal purpose to safer behavior. As Joe walks the audience through his first poor choice and how it led to a journey of degradation and despair, they will understand why people make unsafe decisions and how they can intentionally build physically and mentally safer workplaces with every small decision.

    This presentation is perfect for safety leaders and teams who are:

    • Unaware of the significant impact mental health can have on job performance and safety
    • Lacking a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health
    • Struggling to pay attention to the little things, leading to potentially costly mistakes
    • Unsure how they can build a culture of empathy where people feel seen, heard, and safe enough to address potential safety issues

    The audience will leave with:

    • A deeper understanding of why the little things matter so much and the motivation to make every small choice a good one
    • A greater appreciation for the importance of advocating for prevention, even if it means having a tough conversation
    • Tools for creating a safe space where people are not only seen and hard, but also supported in their struggles
  • The Push for Change: How to Lead, Inspire, and Engage on Purpose

    Pushing a shopping cart 9,064km (5,625 miles) across Canada may sound impossible, but amazing things happen when passion aligns with purpose! Joe shares lessons learned from The Push for Change, a 17-month walk across Canada to support the end of youth homelessness. As audiences follow along with his journey, they’ll learn practical insights for developing a purpose-driven leadership that inspires and engages others.

    This program is perfect for any audience who wants to lead well, but is:

    • One of the 4 in 5 people that aren’t playing to their strengths in the workplace
    • Unsure how to handle the issues they’re facing with their teams, such as decreased productivity, increased sick days, unmotivated staff, and internal strife and tensions
    • Struggling with apathy, disengagement, and underperformance, due to burnout or a disconnect from their purpose and passion

    This audience will leave with:

    • Tools they can immediately use to overcome adversity and reframe a limiting mindset
    • The ability to tackle big projects and stay focused by tapping into their deeper sense of purpose-driven leadership
    • Three core things that get people and teams fired up so they can achieve literally anything!
You could hear a pin drop throughout Joe's presentations! Joe's story is engaging, inspiring, and moving. He allows us to see hope and show us why change can and must happen.

— CEO, 365 Day Media Group

Joe’s address brilliantly motivated the audience... spoke to their needs and outlined some lessons that remained as topics of conversation throughout the conference and well beyond.

— Director, Education and Professional Development, AMTCO

You make change a possibility in my mind... for my life, to move on- which is something I have doubted many times. Please keep spreading your message.

— Community Inclusion & Support Facilitator Community Living

Your message was the most impactful I have experienced... and led to the strongest enthusiastic feedback I have received from our group.

— CEO, Dexter and Associates

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    Gotham Artists

    33 Nassau Avenue, Suite 24, Brooklyn, NY 11222

    (646) 798-9651