Public Speaking

Rick Antonson is a cathedral thinker, a commitment to long term visions. Rick’s talk on Cathedral Thinking has been featured on TEDx

He served as an Ambassador for the 2010 Olympic Winter & Paralympic Games held in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada. Antonson was a founding board member of the Canadian Tourism Commission. And he was a founder of the 12 year old international marketing alliance "Best Cities." Until earlier this year he also served as president of Pacific Coast Public Television.
Over 21 years these such senior volunteer roles anchored Rick's full time career as president & CEO of Tourism Vancouver, an international award winning, 1,000 member organization widely recognized as a global leader in destination marketing, sales, management, and visitor experiences.
Under his leadership, Tourism Vancouver has played a significant role in shaping Vancouver and B.C.'s future. Tourism Vancouver launched the bid for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games where Antonson served as a Games Ambassador.
Tourism Vancouver also initiated the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Taskforce, which led to the hugely successful expanded centre that is partially funded by Tourism Vancouver's $90-million investment.
Tourism Vancouver was at the forefront of the coalition that drove a defeated rapid transit project through two additional votes before it was finally passed by elected officials resulting in the Canada Line that links Richmond/Vancouver International Airport with downtown Vancouver.

A wide range of other programs began during Antonson's watch, including the organization's partnership with the City of Vancouver on Keep Vancouver Spectacular (an annual, city-wide cleanup initiative now in its 19th year), Canada's largest restaurant promotion, Dine Out Vancouver Festival (now in its 12th year) and creating Tickets Tonight, which sells over $3.5 million in performing arts and event tickets each year. Rick also chaired development of the TaxiHost driver training program, which has seen thousands of drivers graduate from the Justice Institute's program in the past 17 years.

Antonson took Vancouver through "Rethink," a year long, post-Olympic look at "What's next?" asking big questions and engaging a community of interests to focus on "10 years down the road..." Many commitments came out of that process, one of which was to prepare a Tourism Master Plan (TMP) - a rare undertaking in a mature destination. The Vancouver's TMP was completed and endorsed in 2013 under the co-leadership of Tourism Vancouver and The City of Vancouver and included intense engagement of both the residents and business leaders.

Rick travels extensively around the world for business, speaking engagements and on personal journeys including travels with his two sons Brent and Sean circumnavigating the Northern Hemisphere by train including North Korea, and with his wife, Janice and a driver/guide in a 4 x 4 from Lhasa, Tibet over the Himalayas to Kathmandu, Nepal.
Antonson is a firm believer that travel is a vital force for peace, breaking down barriers to understanding and celebrating our differences.

Keynote Topic:
Cathedral Thinking
The concept of Cathedral Thinking stretches back to medieval times when architects, stonemasons and artisans laid plans and began construction of the soaring, cavernous structures that would one day serve as places of worship, community gathering spaces and safe havens. Those who began such work knew they'd never live to see their task completed. Yet their actions kept the living generation tethered to the future. The concept of thinking as did these "cathedral builders", is in Antonson's mind synonymous with long term planning. Cathedral Thinking has been applied to space exploration, city planning, corporate mandates and other long-range goals that require decades of foresight and preparation so future generations can enjoy their full realization. Though there are many instances in which Cathedral Thinking can be applied, they all require the same foundation: a far-reaching vision, a well thought-out blueprint, and a shared commitment to long-term implementation. In the process of laying out this fascinating concept, Antonson asks each in the audience to consider collectively and individually "What is your Cathedral Thought?"

Contact Rick directly or visit keynotespeakerscanada.ca/speaker/rick-antonson
Or visit: cathedralthinking.com

A sampling of recent speaking engagements:

October 2015  – Keynote, PATA Global Insights Conference, Auckland, New Zealand

June, 2015 – Keynote, Australia Council Marketing Summit, Cairns, Australia

May, 2015  – Keynote, Keynote, Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, Wisconsin, USA

November, 2014 – Keynote, Global Café, hosted by Brisbane in advance of the G20 conference, Australia

October, 2014  – Keynote, International Convention Centres Conference (International Association of Venue Managers), Vancouver, Canada

March, 2014 – Keynote, Landsbankinn, Reykjavik, Iceland