Gair is an inspiring figure. He makes you want to get up and achieve something. As good a speaker as I’ve ever heard.
Gene Simmons, founder of KISS
You’ve heard the expression: When one door slams in your face, another door swings wide open? That certainly rings true for Gair Maxwell, a Canadian who had a thriving career as a broadcast journalist, only to have those opportunities abruptly slam shut, leaving Maxwell jobless, directionless and humiliated while standing in the unemployment line.
- Scott Fitzgerald once proclaimed: “There are no second acts in American lives,” which might be true, but Maxwell is Canadian and he rebounded from that abrupt career closure by turning himself into a sought-after, global branding expert.
International keynote speaker and author Gair Maxwell is a recognized authority on helping organizations create iconic, “larger-than-life” brands that attract legions of customers and top talent.
Gair has presented his business strategies in over 33 U.S. states, 10 Canadian provinces, the UK, Europe, Mexico, and Latin America; revealing his unconventional, yet compelling business strategies.
His many accomplishments, rewards, and accolades include:
- “Speaker of the Year” Award by TEC Canada in 2012
- Over 400 presentations with Vistage International – the world’s largest CEO Peer Advisory Group
- Author of “NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS”, available through Amazon.com
- Associate Faculty at the world-famous Wizard Academy in Austin, TX
Delivering 80-90 presentations every year with global representation from speaker bureaus in Canada, Mexico, and Los Angeles, Gair has worked with some of the world’s most dynamic organizations, including: The Apple Specialist Marketing Group, Caterpillar, NAPA, Vistage, TEC, and Virginia Tech. Gair has shared conference stages with some of the biggest business icons such as Sir Richard Branson and Gene Simmons.
Gair’s focus is helping organizations create naturally magnetic brands that attract legions of customers and top talent – without having to use any “pushy” sales or marketing tactics.
In December of 2018, Gair kindly agreed to answer probing questions posed by Tera Nester-Jenkins.
With helping organizations create iconic, “larger-than-life” brands who would you say is your ideal audience?
Well, my ideal audience is anyone who’s dead serious about punching way above their weight class no matter what category they’re competing in.
Over the past 20 years I’ve worked with thousands and thousands of business owners, small to medium-sized companies, bigger corporations, and even small mom and pop operations. If there is one commonality, one driving force, is this expressed intent to create differentiation. My audience is anyone who actually recognizes the value in creating differentiation but also sees there might be a process involved in actually standing and out being separate and apart from everyone else.
After someone has attended one of your keynote speaking events or workshops what is the one thing you hope they walk away with?
I hope they walk away with that they can ditch six-plus decades of product focused, pitch driven, boilerplate marketing. They don’t have to do things the way things have been done before…
I always like to say the worst day in any business owner’s life in the 20th century was the day the Yellow Pages guy showed up. Why? Because you knew deep down the Yellow Pages guy had you. He had you locked in a corner – you were in the biggest headlock you can imagine. There was no escape. And the only question from that meeting that happened every year like clockwork wasn’t whether you were going to cut a check but the size of your check that the Yellow Pages dude was walking away with.
We live in a whole new world now where there are no gatekeepers, there are no king makers. We have platforms and technologies that allow us to build brands and connect with whoever we want all over the world. People who share similar interests and similar values and that never was possible in the 20th century.
It was dominated by the media industrial complex. I know this very well. I worked inside it for 20 years as a broadcast journalist and so what we have now is this unfettered freedom, if you will, to be our own media and create a brand online and off that defy what no one could have even dreamt about back in the last century.
What inspires you to inspire others?
There’s a story I can date back to May 21, 1999. Picture this terror. I’ve got a two-decade career in a high profile position as the guy on the morning show. I’ve got my own TV show. I am a newscaster. I’m a sportscaster. I did over a thousand games of pro hockey play by play. I was known in my part of Eastern Canada as a prominent public figure. I was the kind of guy who got phone calls returned and VIP country club memberships for free. And then on May 20, that career is terminated in two sentences on company letterhead: I had 15 minutes to gather my stuff, leave the building.
Within a week. I was broke, busted, no severance, on the unemployment line. News of the dismissal was plastered on the front page of the only paper in town.
I share that because I think everyone’s got their rock bottom story – their version of the rock bottom story. And to me, the rock bottom story is universally applicable.
But the bigger question is always: what happens next? How do you bounce back? For me, I had no way of knowing it at the time, but I fell into the world of soft skills, business training and it took several years before I met the one person, the one company, the one CEO who was going to fundamentally alter the entire course of my professional career and even a part of life.
Because he was the guy who was willing to engage in doing something that not everyone was going to do. And it’s a real national success story – one of Canada’s greatest small business success stories. It still continues to flourish and so: right place, right time.