Randy Boissonnault

Entrepreneur. Ironman Triathlete. Founder of Literacy Without Borders.  Former Member of Parliament.  Rhodes Scholar.  Former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada on LGBTQ2 Issues. 

Entrepreneur. Ironman Triathlete. Founder of Literacy Without Borders.  Former Member of Parliament.  Rhodes Scholar.  Former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada on LGBTQ2 Issues.  For over twenty years, Randy Boissonnault has advised business owners and social profit leaders on matters of growth, strategy, leadership and community development.  Corporations, governments and industry associations seek him out for his insights on public policy and for his powerful message and dynamic delivery themes including entrepreneurship, LGBTQ2 rights, diversity and inclusion and leadership. Randy is a graduate of Campus Saint-Jean of the University of Alberta and of Oxford University.  He speaks English, French and Spanish fluently. Prior to his political career, Randy Boissonnault served on a range of local, national and provincial organizations. 

He was Vice-Chair of TEDx Edmonton, Chair of the Centre for Family Literacy, President of the Francophone Economic Development Council of Alberta, and President of the Canadian Francophone Youth Games Edmonton 2008 to name but a few. In 2009 he founded Literacy Without Borders to help increase literacy levels in Belize.  The organization continues to grow and expand to this day. During his tenure as a Member of Parliament, Randy Boissonnault put his education to work, diving quickly into the world of arts & culture, official languages, and indigenous languages as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

As an Alberta MP, Randy Boissonnault developed expertise on the oil & gas file working diligently with parliamentary colleagues to see the TMX pipeline approved.  As a Member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Randy lead the charge to study the Overcriminalization of HIV Status in Canada, the report of which will inform the work of the Minister of Justice to make appropriate changes to the Criminal Code in the current Canadian Parliament. Randy Boissonnault worked diligently to position the Canadian government to fully criminalize conversion therapy in Canada, work that is underway now. He understands implicitly the interplay of Parliament, Government and Civil Society in shaping and implementing policy in today’s Canada.  

 A fierce defender of LGBTQ2 rights in Canada and LGBTI rights abroad, Randy Boissonnault defied critics and in 2016 organized the first Pride flag-raising on Parliament Hill by any sitting Prime Minister.  Months later, PM Justin Trudeau appointed Randy as Canada’s first Special Advisor to the PM on LGBTQ2 Issues.  Randy presided over the creation of the LGBTQ2 Secretariat in the Privy Council Office, the coordination of the Apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians, the largest LGBTQ2 class-action settlement in the world, and the development of whole-of-government policies to improve the lives of LGBTQ2 Canadians. He co-hosted the Equal Rights Coalition Global Summit in 2018 with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Randy continues to advise the Government of Canada on policy matters related to LGBTQ2 rights at home and abroadRandy spearheaded the development of the 2019 Canada Fund, that will provide $30M over five years and $10M each year afterward, for Canadian LGBTI civil-society organizations working to advance sexual orientation, gender expression, and identity rights in developing countries around the world. He bolstered the Government of Canada’s commitment to the lives of LGBTQ2 people in Canada, with an unprecedented $20M investment over two years for LGBTQ2 community service organizations to build their capacity and to help ensure effective service delivery on-the-ground within Canadian communities.

Through the 2019 election platform, Randy and his team secured an additional $30M to extend the funding program for three more years. Randy is currently running his consulting firm, Xennex as well as a company dedicated to providing health care supplies to organizations in need, Global Health Imports.  Recently, he was appointed to the Board of Equitas, Canada’s largest human rights training organization.  He continues to advise the Government of Canada on matters related to diversity, inclusion and LGBTQ2 rights.    

Topic Presentations

After four years in the Canadian parliament, 15 years as a management consultant, and three years advising the Prime Minister of Canada on LGBTQ2 Issues, Randy shares the latest data and convincing proof of the cost of discrimination, racism, misogyny and bigotry in your company and organization. How much are these ills costing you? How can you take steps to ensure that your company is diverse by design? There is an inclusion benefit for wise organizations — is yours one of them? Randy will energize you and motivate your team to make the corporate transformation necessary and embrace Diversity and Inclusion.  

Why be an ally when you can be a champion? No marginalized group in history – women, people of colour, lgbtq2, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities have ever been able to claim their basic rights without the support of allies from the mainstream. Yet at this historic time when vulnerable communities are rightly demanding their human rights, cultivating allies is no longer enough.  What we need now are Champions.  In this talk focused on LGBTQ2 issues, Randy shares his take on the difference between an ally and a champion. He also traces human rights advances for LGBTQ2 peoples over the past fifty years and the policy challenges that lie ahead. 

What would you do if you gave yourself one year to train for the Ironman Triathlon? It is a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride followed by a full marathon – all in the same day.  Randy didn’t know how to swim.  He didn’t own or know how to cycle on a road bike.  He had only ever completed a half-marathon. Yet Randy completed Ironman Canada 2007 in 15hours 15 minutes, in memory of his sister Lisa, who had passed away 10 years earlier. Swim Bike Run for Lisa is a story of loss, grief, goals, setbacks and personal triumph. Randy reveals his mental and physical journey through training to become an Ironman.  He shares his experience, revelations and the importance of core values in one’s life. This talk will inspire you to set priorities, find your solid centre point of reference and achieve the biggest and scariest goals you have ever even considered.  

Small businesses make up over 98 percent of our economy.  Yet, most people are either mystified or misinformed about what it takes to build, run and grow a business. Using experience gained from 20 years advising business owners to grow and expand their businesses, the 5 Insights of the Wise Entrepreneur spells out five myths and 5 insights that entrepreneurs learn throughout their journey. Why do people start a business? Who do they choose to hire to help them? What motivates entrepreneurs to grow a business? How do you compete in a busy marketplace?  This talk delves into these topics and shares the 5 Insights of a Wise Entrepreneur.  You too can be inspired by the insights that can take entrepreneurs a lifetime to learn.  

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