ANDREW JOHNSTON-LEADERSHIP SPEAKER - PERFORMANCE COACH-ULTRAMARATHONER
"WHEN WE ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO CHANGE A SITUATION, WE ARE CHALLENGED TO CHANGE OURSELVES"--VIKTOR FRANKL
It’s about perspective.
Experiences can be “the best” or “the worst” depending on how we choose to view them.
My life and career are proof of this.
This allows me to bring to my talks a unique and relatable perspective to topics that are on the minds of people in your organization.
Accountant to Artist
I began my career as an accountant with an MBA believing it was best to be safe. While I was successful in helping build the accounting programs for two start-ups, a non-profit community health center and an aerospace and defense joint venture, it felt like the worst decision. It was not my calling. After taking one community college painting class, I made the difficult and risky move to quit accounting and pursue a career as an oil painter.
There were naysayers.
Five years and hundreds of failed paintings later, my work was represented in galleries along the West Coast and was covered in a featured article in Southwest Art Magazine,
It was during this time that I discovered that distance running fed my creativity and provided the mental perspective to endure through the pain and doubt of a dramatic career change.
Artist to Educator
I loved being an artist but supporting a growing family on an artist’s earnings was not realistic for the long-term. I returned to the corporate world only to be laid off during the recession of 2008-2009.
The worst 433 days of my life.
Out of desperation, I took a part-time position teaching an accounting class at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colorado—ironically, the same college from which I took the painting class several years prior.
I hated doing accounting but discovered that I loved teaching accounting and assumed that if I could get students excited about accounting, I could get them excited about anything. It turned out I was right. My 8 years as an educator opened doors that I had no idea existed.
Getting laid off was the worst experience and best experience of my career. And it was during this time that I elevated my passion for running, started to run ultramarathons, and re-shaped my perspective.
Educator to Leadership Educator & Coach
The experiences I had and the people I met while an educator allowed me to take another leap towards my true passion--developing leaders and supporting others in reaching their personal and professional goals. I never would have guessed that this sometimes-rocky journey would have led me here.
And it was because of perspective.
Events that seemed like “the worst,” were simply part of the plan.
The Running Thread
My passion for teaching and running led me to develop and deliver a course entitled “Change through Challenge” while at the Red Rocks Community College. This course taught key virtues of leadership and life: resilience, persistence, courage, and grit while training to run a 26.2-mile marathon.
This course was featured in The Denver Business Journal, The Denver Post and Runner’s World Magazine and was the subject of my TEDx Talk in 2013.
The thread throughout my journey has been my running.
I am still a runner and have competed in numerous marathons and ultramarathons, including the Leadville Silver Rush 50. I am not the fastest nor do I always finish, but I never stop competing .
Because it's all about perpective.
As a leadership educator and facilitator known for developing transformative learning experiences, I look forward to facilitating your next leadership training event:
► Certified Franklin Covey facilitator (e.g. "7 Habits of Highly Effective People")
► Certified "Crucial Conversations" facilitator
► Certified Career Transition Consultant
► Consistently receive outstanding evaluations from participants at all levels of leadership for lively, engaging and impactful delivery of in-class and remote (Zoom) trainings.
► Recognized for developing unique approaches to delivering impactful "story driven" online content
POPULAR COACHING / SPEAKING TOPICS
My non-traditional career path in business, academia, leadership development, career transition consulting, and endurance training allows me to bring a unique perspective to my coaching and speaking.
Typical coaching and speaking engagements are often tailored around questions such as:
"I have been laid off, now what?"
"How do I find the career I REALLY want?"
“How do I courageously choose my own path?”
“How do I reinvent myself...am I too old?”
“Is it ever okay to quit?”
“What marathon training teaches us about leadership and life”
“Overcoming setbacks and reframing disappointment”
“Why it’s good to develop an athlete mindset…even if you’re NOT an athlete!”
“How do I set and actually ACHIEVE my goals?”
PUBLICATIONS AND SPEAKING APPEARANCES
Podcast Inteview, Decidedly! "Why Endurance Events are a Vehicle to Self-Knowledge" May 2021
Podcast Interview, SalesPop "What Marathon Running Can Teach Us in Our Professional Life" February 2021
Presenter, Indonesia Human Resources Foundation for Leadership, Annual Leadership Summit, "What Marathon Training Teaches About Leadership and Life" June 2020
Keynote Presenter, Rocky Mountain Area Conference, “Life’s Best Teacher: Run a Marathon!” September 2018
Presenter, Rocky Mountain Area Conference. "Job Search Survival Guide: How to Find the Job You REALLY Want!" September 2017
Keynote speaker, Colorado State Classified Employees Meeting, "What We Do Matters." January 2017
Presenter, Two Year / Four Year Conference. “The Best First Year Experience? Run a Marathon.” September 2016Presenter, Two Year / Four Year Conference. “The Best First Year Experience? Run a Marathon.” September 2016
Speaker, UC Synergetic. "Finding Passion in Your Work." June 2016
Keynote speaker, Colorado Adult Education Professional Association (CAEPA) Conference. "Moving Forward with Innovation, Opportunity and Action." October 2015
Presenter, TEDxMile High Youth Event. Ideas Unbridled. http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/What-is-the-Best-Business-Educa April 2015
Volunteer keynote speaker at various Red Rocks Community College Student Government and Student Leadership events 2014, 2015, 2016
Interview, Runner’s World Magazine, http://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/the-business-of-marathon-training, January 2014
Interview, The Denver Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/broadway_17th/2014/06/marathon-training-class-at-red-rocks-community.html?page=2 June 2014
Guest appearance, 710 KNUS “Colorado Issues” with Tom Moller discussing pilot course at Red Rocks Community College called “Change Through Challenge” to boost student retention / performance. January 6, 2013
Interview, The Denver Post (Your Hub), Red Rocks Business Course Culminates in Marathon, November 2012.
Interview, The Lakewood Sentinel, Running the Life Marathon, December 4, 2012.
Guest columnist, The Denver Business Journal, Making the Leap for Balance, January 16, 2009.
Guest appearances at 6am, 9pm and 10pm on 9News, Job Search Strategies, March 15, 2009, Denver, Colorado.
Guest appearance on nationally-syndicated radio show 630 KHOW “The Troubleshooter with Tom Martino”, Top 10 Job Search Strategies in Today’s Economy, February 11, 2009, Denver, Colorado.