Barbara May has a lot of experience and first hand information to share about overcoming stumbling blocks at work. She has interviewed business owners on Learning & Job News, hosted Access Television's May We Talk?, and facilitated more than 500 Career and Employment Workshops.

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 May brings a uniquely powerful mix of personal stories, humorous examples, and real-world insight to her programs and clients.

At every one of her team building seminars, Barbara 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.

Fun facts most people don't know about Barbara
She's 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.

Career Highlights
• Serving as president of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) - Edmonton Chapter.

• 20+ years experience working as a school counsellor, special education teacher, program director, executive director and sport consultant.

• Acting in several television commercials including "Bright Nights" and "Buffet Royal".








Barbara's Story

Everybody has their share of personal obstacles; I'm no exception.

I've made it literally my business to talk to people about personal obstacles and to help people overcome theirs. I've been doing it for more than 20 years. It's become kind of my thing.

But I haven't always understood what I have to offer people as clearly as I do now. I've spent years gathering knowledge about what works and what doesn't in many different employment and organizational circumstances.

But to get to where—and who—I am today, I had to live through my own life-changing stumbling block.

Like I said, for many years, I've been giving workshops and motivational talks about things like communications, coaching, and career planning. Yet, I always felt like I was going around in circles. I was reasonably successful, yet I didn't feel as if I was moving forward. My motor was idling. I came to feel a strong desire for my own personal breakthrough.

Well, be careful what you wish for.


At age 46, I suffered life-threatening pulmonary emboli (blood clots in my lungs). I survived, as you can tell. But I didn't just survive; that event, and my recovery from it, turned out to be the breakthrough I needed.

You see, my health crisis had slowed me down big time. I felt as if I had tripped, stumbled, and fallen as I walked my own life path. But I had used my accumulated knowledge, observations, and wisdom to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep on truckin'. I felt mentally and emotionally stronger than I've ever been.

That, that is what I offer people. The ability to recover from tripping over a stumbling block, and the ability to learn from the setback and grow stronger as a result.

Looking back on that health crisis was what lit my light bulb and showed me my unifying purpose. That's how I created "Stumbling Blocks". I saw that as long as organizations are made up of human beings, there will be mistakes, controversies, and conflict. There will be accidents, injuries, and illness.

These stumbling blocks can create anxiety-ridden days, sleepless nights, a churning in the pit of your stomach and other miseries. But I can show you how to overcome them.

That's what I had to do— minute by minute, day by day—during my illness and subsequent recovery. 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.

Now, with that enormous stumbling block behind me, my mission is to help individuals and teams see and get past their stumbling blocks and be happy, motivated and productive.

When you're caught between two hard places, don't feel suffocated; feel inspired. I'll show you how.

It's a mission I take seriously, because we spend our lives working. So when we work well, it's a whole lot easier to live well.

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