"Nothing is more important than personal and professional integrity. In the end, it's all we have. Success is grounded in hard work, teamwork and accountability." - Tom Higgins

Tom Higgins

Leadership and Accountability Expert

Tom Higgins is a keynote speaker on the topics of leadership, overcoming adversity, health & wellness and excellence. Before joining the CFL, Tom was an All-Conference and All-American team captain in both football and wrestling at North Carolina State University.

As former General Manager and Coach of the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club, Higgins led Edmonton to two straight Grey Cup appearances and three first place finishes in the CFL West Division and a 2003 Grey cup. Higgins was also recognized as the 2003 CFL Coach of the Year Award for the first time in his career. He is also the Former Head Coach and Vice-President of Operations of the Calgary Stampeder Football Club.

During his time spent with the Stampeders, Tom Higgins led the club to three consecutive playoff appearances. After an amazing turnaround season for the organization in 2005, Higgins was honored with the CFL Coach of the Year Award for the second time in his career. Tom Higgins most recently spent one and a half CFL seasons with the Montreal Alouettes. In 2014 the club experienced the single biggest turnaround in CFL history, when the team began at 1-7 and went 8-2 for a final regular season record of 9-9. After winning the Eastern Conference Semi-Final the Alouettes advanced to the Eastern Conference Final.

Higgins was also the Director of officiating for the CFL for six seasons. While with the league office, created the Command Centre for instant replay and developed a coaching system to help on-field officials. Tom Higgins is now spending time developing young players as the Founder and current Director of the Canadian Football Academy.

Tom Higgins will illustrate the art and science of “coming out on top” in work situations and in home life. He is deeply commitment to practicing this winning philosophy in his personal life and practicing entrepreneurial thinking in everything he does. His demeanor and his stature exhibit nothing but complete confidence, personal physical and mental fitness and an abiding faith in humanity.

Tom’s presentations are motivating, informative and applicable for all industries. He speaks on how our attitude or mental state is a causation of ensuring success. Tom Higgins’ presentations are heartfelt and reference his experience as a coach and leader to captivate the audience with large amounts of humour.  Above all, Tom always researches each organization and event to customize his presentation based on the desired learning outcomes and your audience.

Topic Presentations

What attitude and mental state does it take to affirm and ensure success? Tom will highlight key moments in his personal life and CFL career to offer practical insights that are deeply rooted in his winning formula of; Preparation and Evaluation for for personal and organizational Success. Championship Thinking is a thought provoking presentation that encourages participants to question everything they do and how they do it. As a coach Tom learned that everything must be evaluated in order to improve: every game, every player, every play, every move. Tom will use his coaching formula to offer strategic advice on what it takes to succeed. It will distinguish the ordinary from the extra-ordinary defining success. This presentation will illustrate the art and science of “coming out on top” in work situations and in home life.

Tom's will deliver practical insights on:

  • The power of passion and dreams

  • Setting realistic goals and expectations

  • The importance of a results based focused attitude

  • The how's and why's of preparation

  • The correlation of hard work, discipline, accountability and resilience for self leadership

  • Evaluation of each process for constant improvement and aligning your work with your dreams

  • Celebrating your accomplishments along the way

During his career and personal life, Tom Higgins has come across many different individuals and personalities. He has witnessed many different winning a loosing attitudes. Before Tom became successful as a player and coach, Tom experienced many setbacks. He understands that achieving greatness comes with many costs and sacrifices. He also understands the much needed balance of a positive attitude and a short memory to learn to deal with any failures or changes that inhibit success. Tom will share his path to success that has been littered with challenges and failures, and reveal why failure is critical to ultimate success.

Tom will deliver a powerful presentation outlining how that failure is an opportunity to learn, grow and adapt through failure. Failure is a learning experience and it is in rebuilding and trying another time where we become more effective, accountable and successful. Tom will convey practical solutions on how to become positively dissatisfied with failure and how to use it as motivation to set and achieve higher goals.

Tom will deliver practical insights and solutions on:

  • Lessons learned through failure

  • How to prepare for positive and negative outcomes

  • The importance of understanding the contributing factors to a negative outcome

  • Why failing leads to new opportunities

  • Why giving your all in every situation is so important

  • The importance of positivity - celebrating small wins

  • Preparing for the future through learning from your mistakes

  • Applying a plan of well thought action for change

The football field is no different than the boardroom, a place where teamwork, collaboration, planning and execution are critical to the success of the organization.  Tom will take you through the development of teamwork and how leaders can create team synergy. Tom will explain the importance of creating a team that is focused on a common goal to gain commitment from all team members and to increase productivity and results. Tom will then teach how to evaluate the process and the organizational effectiveness for individuals and leaders within the team. Tom will explain the importance of positive reinforcement for all team members to drive accountability, individual performance and team focus.

Is it possible to have health and wellness inside a demanding schedule? Tom discusses prioritizing health and wellness inside a busy schedule in dealing with home and work challenges as they come, without procrastination. Tom offers audiences practical and inspirational insights on how to act now to make sure that health becomes a priority to manage balance at home or at work. This presentation is focused on increasing relationships with our employers, employees, our families, our friends and ourselves.

The single most important ingredient in a successful individual / organization is integrity. Tom’s speech can help develop and strengthen this essential ingredient. Covering many different story lines and antidotes, Tom draws on his experiences and reveals how integrity can stand strong in the face of adversity. Tom will explain how a common goal of those who achieve is how they decide to handle adversity and how integrity plays a major factor on if an individual or team succeeds or not. He will inspire audience members to become better team players or leaders through accountability and by being able to handle constructive criticism. He will teach them to grow and adapt by developing a constant improvement attitude and make integrity a priority for themselves and their goals. Adversity presents an opportunity for individuals and teams to become stronger, adapt to new heights and gain more confidence for future goals and aspirations.


This presentation focuses on how preparation and communication are can reduce unsafe situations and behaviours on the job. Tom's coaching methods on the field had to evaluate different situations going on with individual players, and policies in how to maintain the health of his players. Health is first. An unhealthy team member can cost the team and negatively impact goals and results. In order to reach a goal, or to achieve success, leaders must be aware of every situation that might effect team performance. Leaders must continuously evaluate each employee and their compliance with policy and a common goal. Prepare, Protect, Evaluate your leadership, teams and organizational goals to become safer on the job and reduce workplace incidents. Tom will help leaders and teams become more accountable and committed to safety goals and expectations.

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