“You can get past your stumbling blocks. Trust me. I did, and I'll help you do it too.”

Barbara May

Teamwork Expert | Resiliency Facilitator | Personal & Professional Growth Guru

Barbara May has spent a life-time knowing how to get up after a fall. But she figures doing that and getting a laugh at the same time is a lot more fun. She is a former national level gymnast, award-winning coach, aspiring drummer and mother of two who joked her way into the Guinness World Records by performing in the longest stand-up comedy show in history.

With more than two decades of work experience behind her in fields as diverse as sport and recreation, education, not-for-profit management, entertainment and government, Barbara brings a uniquely powerful mix of personal stories, humorous examples, and real-world insight to her programs and clients. By talking openly about her struggles and triumphs, Barbara helps individuals and teams see and get past their stumbling blocks and be happy, motivated and productive.

Barbara has a great deal of experience and first-hand information to share about overcoming stumbling blocks at work. She has interviewed business owners on the Learning & Job News, hosted Access Television’s May We Talk, and facilitated more than 500 Career and Employment Workshops. She draws upon this experience to help people come up with new ways solving problems in the workplace such as dealing and communicating with co-workers and bouncing back from mistakes.

It was a health crisis that prompted Barbara May to build her business, Stumbling Blocks Team Building Seminars, she says. “At age 46, I suffered life-threatening pulmonary emboli — blood clots in my lungs. Every moment felt like a hurdle, like a trial, as I experienced it, so every moment looked like a victory as I looked back at it. That health crisis was what lit my light bulb and showed me my unifying purpose: helping people get past their stumbling blocks.”

Barbara May created the Stumbling Blocks Challenge, which includes: communication activities, problem solving and/or decision making activities, adaptability and/or planning activities, and activities that focus on building trust; to foster the development of teamwork skills. These activities are both fun and educational, and have the added benefit of improving performance and productivity in the workplace.

At every one of her keynote speeches and team building seminars, Barbara May shares and teaches her Stumbling Blocks philosophy — the belief that you can get past your stumbling blocks — to help people in the audience understand and embrace her key message: If you get back up, anything is possible.

Career Highlights

  • Serving as President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) – Edmonton chapter.
  • Facilitating more than 500 Career and Employment Workshops.
  • 20+ years experience working as a school counselor, special education teacher, program director, executive director and sport consultant.
  • Acting in several television commercials including “Bright Nights” and “Buffet Royal”.
  • Joking her way into the Guinness World Records by performing in the longest stand-up comedy show in history.
  • Interviewing business owners on the Learning and Job News.
  • Hosting Access Television’s “May We Talk?”
  • Serving as President of the CTM Plus Toastmasters Club – Edmonton.
  • Achieving the CTM and ATM Bronze award designations from Toastmasters International.
  • Receiving the 3M Coach Recognition Award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Sport Community”.
  • Teaching the National Coaching Certification Program’s “How to Coach” course for 15 years.
  • Attaining Level-3 Coach Certification with the National Coaching Certification Program. (NCCP).
  • Growing the Horizon Gymnastics Club from 140 – 400 members.
  • Graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education Degree.

Topic Presentations

Everyone makes mistakes, everyone stumbles and falls. The question is, do you know to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get moving again? By talking openly about her struggles and triumphs, Barbara May helps individuals and teams see and get past their stumbling blocks, and be happy, motivated and productive.

Here are some of the learning outcomes that Stumbling Blocks: Overcoming Life’s Hard Knocks will explore:


  • change management and accepting change

  • taking initiative and being willing to ask for help

  • moving on and learning from your mistakes

  • handling stress and setbacks

  • communication, collaboration and resolving conflict

  • public speaking and presentation skills.

When people run into stumbling blocks at work, they often feel they can’t move forward, or they get defensive and dig their heels in. Teamwork gives way to individual complaints. People shift from enjoying work to resenting it. Side issues take the stage and work can grind to a halt. But stumbling blocks can be overcome and Barbara May can show you how.

Goals of the program:

The “Stumbling Blocks” program is ideal if you want to:


  • motivate and engage employees

  • improve communication and performance

  • change corporate culture

  • increase resilience

  • handle stress and setbacks.


Here are some examples of an organization's objectives that Barbara can support and reinforce during the stumbling blocks team building seminar:

  • change management and accepting change

  • taking initiative and being willing to ask for help

  • moving on and learning from your mistakes

  • handling stress and setbacks

  • communication, collaboration and resolving conflict

  • public speaking and presentation skills

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Language Spoken

English

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Edmonton, Alberta

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