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David Holt is a curious guy. He has a knack for finding key principles and seeing how they play out across various domains. A writer, entrepreneur, filmmaker, consultant and former oceanographer, he uses an informal engaging style to connect with the audience of the moment.

With family roots in northern Europe and the British Isles, Holt grew up in Canada and attended school and college in the United States and France. He has worked in oceanography, media, technology and health, and has helped found several companies.


  • Turning Creativity Into Real Stuff
  • How Well Do You Live? Health is the New Wealth
  • Life Interrupted: Fighting Back Against the Mental Health Crisis

Turning Creativity into Real Stuff

Why predict the future when you can invent it? From solo artists and scientists to teams building new products and organizations, basic principles like curiosity, strategy and innovation can bring big rewards. And don’t forget one of the most basic — trial and error.

Creativity is found everywhere: among artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, musicians, sports figures, academics, politicians, carpenters, folk artists, potters and mechanics. The secret to creativity is not the field you are in but the approach you bring to it.

This talk shows how the creative orientation is often at odds with our day-to-day routines. Without the initial creative spark, there would be no routines, no productivity.

A note of caution: Nature loves innovation, but not innovators. Those who discover new continents usually have a price to pay. Most people want to get an “A” in school or a promotion at work. Creative people follow their own curiosity and may pay a heavy price for it. It’s the rest of us who benefit over the long haul.

Still creativity can be managed, as revealed by the lives of individual geniuses like Leonardo and Newton, and of inventors and team leaders like Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell and Jeff Bezos.

Based on his own experience, people he has known and what he has learned from others, Holt brings to life key principles and the characters who exemplify them.

How well do you live? Health is the New Wealth

Life is a journey run mostly by habit. This is certainly true of health. Based on a program Holt helped to create as editor of OptiMYz, Canada’s leading health and fitness magazine, this seminar explores the concept of health – and how it can be applied to all facets of your body and mind, from nutrition and fitness to emotions and your social life.

Using the OptiMYz Life Quiz, participants answer questions about basic health indicators and create their own scorecard of the five main pillars of health: health, nutrition, fitness, mind and life/adventure.

From there they can design core changes that will make them healthier day after day, year after year. It’s a process. Small changes now can lead to big results over the long term.

Life Interrupted: Fighting Back Against the Mental Health Crisis

My sister Janet was good at math, languages, music, art, and sports. In her late teens she started to act strange. It was soon obvious that she had a mental illness. She was schizophrenic. It took me decades to get her the help she needed. She got the right medication and lived in a group home. However, she lost her chance at a productive adulthood. In the end, she took her own life.

During the decades that I tried to help Janet it seemed as if I was in a maze of dead ends. I learned how dysfunctional the system is. I also learned that if you keep pushing you can get help for your loved one. Don’t give up. Don’t just blame the system. As a society we need to come to terms with this common illness that is taking a devastating toll on our young people. Individually and working together we can make a difference.

Sabian Symbols
OptiMYz Live Health Show
Dalhousie School of Management
Progress Face2Face Conference
Atlantic Magazines Association
Conference on Atlantic Economy, Ottawa, Ontario