Adam Kreek

Olympic Gold medalist in eight-man rowing, world-class and interactive storyteller focused on human performance, achievement, and wellbeing.


Teamwork & Leadership • Mental Toughness • Managing Change • Safety 


Biography, Adam Kreek 

Shared Leadership. Teamwork. Mental Toughness. Managing Change. Safety. An Olympic Gold Medalist turned Adventurer and Engineer, Adam is a Social Entrepreneur who walks the talk.  Adam is Chair the Board of Directors of Greasecycle, a start-up Biodiesel company on Vancouver Island, and he runs Kreek Speak Enterprises Inc. where he teaches strategies of high performance, framed in compelling narratives and supported by cutting edge research. 

 A world-class and interactive storyteller, Adam’s timeless performance philosophies serve to embolden organizational culture, re-boot team performance, and expand resiliency. Adam delivers keynote addresses and workshops on the topics of Shared Leadership and Teamwork, Managing Change Successfully, Cultivating a Safety Culture, and Strategies for Peak Performance.  Relevant, powerful, and transformative, Adam’s keynotes motivate, inspire, educate, and entertain.

During his 13-year rowing career, Adam won over 60 medals, including 43 gold medal performances. After a disappointing loss at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Adam and his team powered their way to a gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Following his Olympic career, Adam was named Athlete Leader of the Year at the prestigious Canadian Sports Awards, and was elected to the Canadian Olympic Committee to direct sports policy in Canada.  Adam and his teammates were inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in June of 2014, the fourth hall of fame to recognize their momentous accomplishment.

Always eager to take on new challenges, Adam made the first ever attempt to row unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to North America in January 2013. His goals were to advocate for adventure as a tool for self-development, to educate youth about the importance of sustaining the health our oceans resources, and to collect scientific data about the state of the Atlantic Ocean. After four years in planning and 73 days at sea in their 29-foot rowboat, Adam and his three teammates capsized just 10 days short of their destination. Fortunately, the crew’s exceptional safety and emergency planning ensured that all four members survived and much of their equipment and data was salvaged.

Adam also serves on the Board of Directors of the Island Biodiesel Coop and is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the BC Biofuels Network. He is a spokesperson for Whitehall Spirit rowing boats and clubs. Adam is former Board Member of the Canadian Olympic Committee where he worked in a leadership role to ensure the benefits of sport spread to the broader Canadian society, and of Clean Air Champions, where he worked for many years to educate Canadians about the importance of the link between personal and environmental health. 

Adam is a Big Brother, with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He recently served as Honorary Co-chair of the Elk Lake Boathouse Renewal Project and helped to raise $1.3 million to renovate the community facility that houses Canada’s Olympic Rowing Team. In addition to his work with organizations, Adam has worked with tens of thousands of youth in schools, instilling within our next generation the idea that the “secret to happy living is giving.” 

Adam holds a degree in Geotechnical Engineering and Hydrology from Stanford University. He lives in Victoria, BC, with his wife and two children. 

“You row an ocean by taking one stroke at a time. You build a business by solving one problem at a time. Make forward progress one inch at a time. Inch by inch. Repeat!”
– Adam Kreek

Why Adam?  *Background info for clients

Adam is someone who has done it and continues to do it. An Olympic Gold Medalist turned Adventurer, Adam is now a Social Entrepreneur in the trenches. An engineer by training, Adam Chairs the Board of Directors of Greasecycle, a Biodiesel start-up company on Vancouver Island.  He also leads Kreek Speak Enterprises Inc., where he and his team communicate strategies of high performance to corporate clients globally.

Adam grew up in an average town, prepared to live an average life. His life changed when a mentor spotted a unique strength and talent.  “You are an Olympian, Adam.  You just don’t know it, yet.”  This observation germinated a memorable and storied athletic career with 60 international medals and multiple hall of fame inductions. Adam then turned his ambitions to adventuring and along with three teammates, orchestrated an unsupported row across the Atlantic Ocean that doubled as a research and education project. 73 days into their epic crossing, his team capsized in the Bermuda Triangle, mere days short of touching land in Miami. Their journey became the subject of an NBC Dateline Documentary and received global media coverage.

Initially, Adam was reluctant to deliver keynote presentations and workshops. Humble and down to earth by nature, Adam recognized that he didn’t fit a stereotype of someone drawn to the spotlight. However, Adam soon realized that authenticity and humility were strengths, both on and off the stage, and would help him reach diverse audiences and deliver exceptional results.

Adam and his team have found their purpose: to offer relevant, powerful, and transformative learning that motivates, inspires, educates, and entertains. The method? Communicate key lessons on high performance, framed in compelling narratives and supported by cutting edge research. This formula succeeds in spurring behavior change and bettering organizational culture. 

“We all need mentors. Find a mentor and stick with them. Learn from them over time, both through wisdom, and fault. And while you’re at it, seek out inspiration from those around you – men and women of all ages who can guide you. A mentor is simply someone who inspires you to reach your full potential.”
-Adam Kreek 

Keynote and Workshops Details

Adam’s personal story and narrative ingenuity propels audiences to realize their untapped inner excellence;. Through powerful teaching, Adam shares practiced and science-based strategies that allow individuals to put their newfound inspiration to work.

 Keynotes are offered in lengths of 20 minutes to 3 hours and include a combination of multimedia presentation, audience participation and a Q&A session, as per client requested.  Workshops are offered in 2 hour, ½ day and full day formats.

 Adam conducts an extensive pre-event interview to ensure that his story speaks authentically to each unique audience as well as fit within the broader context of conferences and events.  He works closely with his team to craft an authentic message that reinforces the best organizational goals, interests and cultures.


 Adam works with Professionals across North America in Corporate, Government and Association realms.

 Participants include: Sales Professionals, Lawyers, Accountants, Engineers, Bankers, Real Estate Professionals, Front line workers, Insurance Professionals, Financial Service Teams, Healthcare Professionals, Information Technologists, Educators, Managers, Administrative staff, Small business owners and Entrepreneurs, University and College Students, General Public.


 “I have seen dozens of Olympians speak at off-sites in the last 19 years, and Adam was by far the best. He was relevant to our business, and had a fascinating story. He wasn’t spewing business dogma. He spoke to the people in the room, leaving a lasting and positive impact that traveled through our office. I have heard nothing but rave reviews from all our employees.”
–  VP Marketing, General Mills

“Thank you Adam. You were wonderful! The entire team raved about your keynote. It had all the elements we were looking for – energy, entertainment and the messaging about teamwork, leadership was spot on.  The team loved hearing from you and I’ve heard nothing but great reviews. I thank you for being the perfect “energizer” for our team. It was a great start to our conference.”
–  Event Coordinator, Direct Energy

 “Adam got a standing O. Can’t get any better than that. Great job!!!!!!!!

I can’t tell how many people have praised your talk today.  The feedback has been fantastic!  Thank you, Adam, for delivering above and beyond our expectations.  You nailed it.  So much so that many people have asked me for your PowerPoint deck.

Thank you so much.”
– Director, Learning & Professional Development, Avison Young

 “Adam did a fantastic job. His charisma and storytelling was very well received and he wove in safety and health messages impeccably.  The audience (which included my boss and the CEO) was very impressed so I am extremely happy!”
– VP Operations, Vancouver Airport Authority

 “I just want to extend a very big thank you for your role in starting the 2014 Dieticians Conference with a memorable and inspiring presentation!

We received countless positive feedback about your presentation! Not only did you tell an inspiring story, but you still managed to tie it back to the message of teamwork, and specifically relate it to dietetic practice and the strive for that common overarching goal– Which was even a pleasant surprise to me! (Yes, I’m not easy to impress so feel free to bask in that comment for a moment. lol!) We received comments about your presentation throughout the rest of the conference and at our exhibitor booth later on – a very memorable presentation , and message.”
–    Health & Nutrition Coordinator, General Mills

“Adam’s greatest strength is his authenticity. His enthusiasm is not rehearsed or forced – it is true to his personality and it is impossible not to be affected by his strong presence. Our attendees ranged in age from early 20′s to late 60′s, and they are all “hardened lawyers” – a tough crowd!  Adam connected with each and every one of them, using a combination of humour, humility and inspiration. Weeks after the event, people are still talking about the retreat and Adam’s role in showing us how it takes different players to form an effective team. His message that it is only through failure that we can find ultimate success. That we need to move past our comfort zone, was particularly resonant. In fact, several attendees were so impressed by Adam’s presentation that they prepared a follow up seminar called: “What I learned from Adam” – this is unprecedented, and a tribute to the impact he had upon us, both individually and as an organization.”

 “Would we recommend Adam? Without reservation! His story is credible, relatable and his impact is tangible. Truly a Gold Medal performance!”
– Partner, Chair of Retreat Committee, Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP

 Keynote and Workshop Topic Descriptions

1)    Manage Change Successfully & Overcome Obstacles to Achievement.

For professionals who need a healthy dose of inspiration, entertainment, and education.   *Popular across sector audiences.

Adam understands that stress, change and perceived obstacles can help us when we use them as intended: to motivate action. Failure in the mid-Atlantic? A crippling back injury months before the Olympic Games? Building startup businesses? 

It’s time to hit the refresh button. Empower your team to navigate current and future uncertainty with confidence. Adam illustrates key lessons of high performance through compelling narratives, supported by cutting edge research. Participants gain up-to-date knowledge and resources on best practices in managing change, and the tools necessary for consistent self-improvement in shifting work environments. He shares strategies of how to transition from current practices to desired states, and teaches professionals how to adopt and apply an ethic of positive realism to all areas of life.

Reflect, Reframe and Reboot. Start today.

“Don’t let success make you lazy, or allow failure to paralyze you. Remember that success is not final, nor is failure fatal. It’s the strength to continue that counts.”
–       Adam Kreek

2)   Effective Teamwork through Shared Leadership

For Professionals who aim to strengthen team culture, improve communication and energize staff.  *Popular with Managers and Executives.

An incredible power is released when we work effectively together. When teams function optimally, they can be excellent tools to ensure resiliency, manage risk, and maximize achievement.  When the whirlwind takes over, busyness gains priority and stress levels run high. In a fast-paced environment, we often let communication and team dynamics suffer, and the costs are significant.

Strong team culture is essential to sustain success. How can we foster authentic and lasting team culture? Reunite your team under a higher goal. Embolden the professionals on your teams to lead from within. Adam shares inspiring stories and an interactive presentation to teach the concept of Shared Leadership.

Build a culture of Shared Leadership. Start today.

“The command and control model is dead.  People are smarter, communication is faster.  It is time to share leadership.”
–       Adam Kreek

3)   Mental Toughness: Self Management for Achievement. 

For Professionals in high stress and increasingly demanding environments. *Highly popular with Sales Professionals.

Let’s talk about high performance psychology and philosophy. Why do some professionals consistently outperform others?  Why do some individuals thrive in stressful environments, while others suffer? What separates the best from the rest?

We often know what to do. We simply don’t do it. High performing professionals employ psychological strategies and tools that support success; they develop a discipline of mental toughness.  Mental toughness allows professionals to effectively deal with stress, increase productivity and do more with less.  Adam shares motivating, interactive and entertaining stories to illustrate proven, science-based strategies of high performing professionals and their teams.  

Mindset matters. Embrace a discipline of Mental Toughness. Start today.

“Recognize what you can and cannot control. Let go of what you can’t control. I cannot control what my kids will say, what my employee will do, what my superior will demand from me. What I can control is my response.”
– Adam Kreek

4)   Safety First: Cultivate a Safety Culture that Supports Success 

For Professionals who make Safety a priority.  *Popular with front line professionals, and organizations with a strong focus on safety.

When disaster strikes, its too late to plan. Jobs, bottom lines, and lives can be at stake. In the Bermuda Triangle 800 miles from land, Adam was trapped inside a flooding cabin when his ocean-rowboat flipped. Exceptional Safety preparation allowed his crew to survive this ultimate disaster without injury, and in many ways, better off.

Top professionals plan for safety. Safety encourages professionals to communicate more effectively and align their priorities under this higher goal. Professionals who care for the health of their teammates engage the power of reciprocity, creating a domino effect where more organizational goals are achieved.

Safety Matters. Embolden your safety management culture. Start Today.

“Prioritize safety! Reap the benefits of a united team and enhanced business. Live by three rules: 1) Don’t die 2) Don’t kill your mates 3) Don’t sink the boat. I want you to look after yourself, look after one another, and look after your equipment.”
– Adam Kreek

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