The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb Reveals How to Fight Coronavirus Anxiety

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, it’s no wonder that anxiety and fear are on the rise. What if a loved one falls ill? How will we deal with the potential financial fallout? And what happens if we find ourselves in another global recession? Psychotherapist Lori Gottliebalso the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Maybe You Should Talk to Someonereveals what we can do to deal with the stress in GQ

During a global pandemic, one thing is for certain: the news coverage is nonstop. But constantly refreshing your Twitter feed and obsessively wondering what will happen next isn’t necessarily the best approach for our mental health. Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb explains, “Humans don’t do well with uncertainty, so what they do is make up stories about the future, and usually what they do is they’re catastrophizing. They don’t make up happy stories.” Instead of playing a game of “what-if” that could spiral out of control, she encourages us to limit the amount we check the news, suggesting that a constant obsession will create an “emotional overload.”


“It’s really important to stay present and not imagine something that hasn’t happened,” Gottlieb explains.


Read the full article here.


To book speaker Lori Gottlieb for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today and speak with one of our talented sales representatives.

Today is #BellLetsTalk: End the Stigma Around Mental Health and Start Talking

The stigma surrounding mental illness is one of the biggest barriers to mental health care. The #BellLetsTalk initiative encourages people to get talking and save lives—and keynote speakers Michael Landsberg, Vijay Gupta, and Waneek Horn-Miller, are experts at starting the conversation.  

Michael Landsberg—an ambassador for #BellLetsTalk—uses his story to start the conversation. Landsberg was the brash, witty host of TSN’s Off the Record—an 18-season sports talk show full of personality, fun, and healthy debate. No one would have ever known that Landsberg was battling anxiety and depression, but now, in warm, intelligent keynotes, he talks about it: “Imagine you had the power to change lives just by talking. Imagine if you knew you could save lives by simply telling your story … together, we can change the stigma that surrounds this disease.”


Michael Landsberg Talks About Depression



Violinist Vijay Gupta uses music to start the conversation: “Arts are a powerful force for community, belonging and humanity,” he says. His groundbreaking Street Symphony program provides musical enrichment and valuable human connection to L.A.’s homeless and incarcerated community. In keynotes, this charismatic MacArthur “Genius” transforms research and real experience into a compelling story about the connection between music and mental health. When language fails, music is able to communicate, drawing people from the brink of their darkest times. 


Opening Plenary Session - Vijay Gupta



Waneek Horn-Miller uses hope to start the conversation. At 14, she was stabbed by a Canadian solider for protesting developments on Mohawk land. Ten years later, she became the first Canadian Mohawk woman to compete in the Olympics and grace the cover of TIME. Today, she’s an expert on Indigenous reconciliation, explaining in keynotes how to undertake the hard work of changing history. It takes frank, sometimes uncomfortable debate; extending empathy despite differences; and ultimately, making a pledge to maintain hope. “Without hope,” she says, “there is no health.” 


Without hope, there’s no health | Waneek Horn-Miller | Walrus Talks


To book one of Lavin’s extraordinary mental health speakers, contact The Lavin Agency.


3 Speakers Offer Practical, Meaningful Strategies in the Pursuit of Mental Wellness

Sometimes we don’t know how to face a challenge until we’re already struggling with it. Michael Landsberg, Candy Chang, and Dr. Jonathan Fader are three speakers who approach the issue of mental health from all angles: acknowledging the realities of illness while also promoting mental wellness for all—no matter how you feel. 

Michael Landsberg: Sports, Stigma, and Mental Health


The charismatic and outspoken former host of TSN’s Off the Record, you'd never guess that Michael Landsberg has been battling mental illness and depression for most of his life. Lifting the stigma from this topic, Landsberg delivers a powerful and personal keynote on the misunderstood issues of depression and mental health. Landsberg shares the story of his own battle with mental illness, as well as the unexplored stories of some of the world's most recognizable sports figures, to show us that recovery, strength and hope are possible in some of our darkest times.


Michael Landsberg | TEDxCrescentSchool



Candy Chang: Learning From Ourselves 


“All of us have mental health issues. It’s a spectrum,” says speaker and artist Candy Chang. In her talks, Chang shares her personal experiences with grief and depression and how she has channeled her emotional struggles into her participatory public art experiments, including spaces for anonymous confessions. Drawing upon her body of work, she shares what she has learned from thousands of honest and vulnerable responses from people around the world, and reveals ways we might gain new perspectives on the role we play in our relationships with others as well as our relationship with ourselves.  


Candy Chang: As Human Beings, We All Have Mental Health Issues


Dr. Jonathan Fader: Life as Sport 


Over the past 20 years, sport and performance psychology has taught elite performers to train more than just their bodies, but also their minds: preparing for stressful moments and connecting with the most powerful versions of themselves. In his rousing keynotes, filled with personal stories and evidence-based research, Dr. Jonathan Fader adapts a host of mental skills-training approaches for everyday life, on and off the field. Whether you’re looking to enhance performance at work or home, in business or in parenting, Dr. Fader delivers the most valuable lessons from the biggest courts and most watched fields of the sports world.


Win the Game of Life with Sport Psychology | Jonathan Fader | TEDxRutgers


To book speakers Michael Landsberg, Candy Chang, Dr. Jonathan Fader, or another one of our mental health and wellness speakers for your event, contact The Lavin Agency today, their exclusive speakers bureau.  

Violinist and Street Symphony Founder Vijay Gupta Creates a Formidable New Model for Helping the Homeless

In the January 1 issue of The New Yorker, music critic Alex Ross writes about “visionary Los Angeles violinist” Vijay Gupta and his organization Street Symphony, which invites LA’s homeless, mentally ill, and incarcerated communities to attend and make music with the best classical musicians in the country.  

Attending a midnight performance of Handel’s “Messiah” on Skid Row, a large tent city in downtown LA, Ross writes about Gupta’s endeavour to move beyond his career as a prodigious musician (and former scientist) to reach LA’s homeless community—some 58,000 people—through music. The result is Street Symphony, which he founded in 2011. “Gupta is one of the most radical thinkers in the unradical world of American classical music,” writes Ross. “With Street Symphony, he has created a formidable new model for how musical institutions should engage with the world around them.” Ross calls Gupta “a riveting speaker, at once jovial and intense. He talks rapidly, precisely, and with startling candor.”


Read Handel’s “Messiah,” on Skid Row (The New Yorker) 


But Gupta isn’t satisfied by one-off events, like the successful “Messiah,” held in a charitable institution called the Midnight Mission. “If you’re going to make any difference, you have to show up a lot more often, and not just when you feel like it. This community is one defined by trauma. In their lives, someone didn’t show up. We gotta show up,” Gupta tells Ross as they leave Skid Row after the concert. 


In his talks, Gupta speaks passionately about his efforts to “show up” for a diverse range of disenfranchised people—from the homeless to the mentally ill, to incarcerated populations around Los Angeles. Within it, he speaks with optimism and creativity to how we can help each other with music, and more. 


Lavin is proud to represent speakers like Vijay Gupta, who are making the world a better place through both their art and social outreach. Urban artists like Candy Chang, whose “Before I Die” walls, painted on derelict buildings, have become an international phenomenon. Chang’s work invites people to share their deepest feelings about their lives and communities. 

New Videos: Daniel Lerner Helps You Find Your Passion

Positive psychology expert Daniel Lerner teaches NYU’s most popular elective, “The Science of Happiness”—a whirlwind of emboldening stories and actionable takeaways for improving mental health, well-being, and performance in all aspects of life. To Lerner, when we’re “harmoniously passionate” about something—when we do it because we love it, not because it’ll bring us fame or fortune—fulfillment and success are sure to follow. And in these new videos, Lerner reminds us that following our passion isn’t just beneficial, but essential for living a full life. 


In our first clip, Lerner introduces us to his best friend, hip-hop photographer Jonathan Mannion. When Mannion and Lerner graduated from college, they moved to New York, taking minimal-pay jobs and working 100-hour weeks. But by sticking with what he truly loved, Mannion was able to rise to the top of his field. Now he’s one of the biggest names in the business, having shot album covers for Jay Z, DMX, Eminem, Nas, and Outkast.


Daniel Lerner: Do What You Love. You’ll Achieve More.


From Teddy Roosevelt to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, P.T. Barnum to Michael Bloomberg, New York City has produced a stunning variety of success stories—each of them unique in their own way. But what do they have in common? To Lerner, it’s that they “transcended the common labels that we so often put on ourselves.” Roosevelt wasn’t just a President; he was a groundbreaking environmentalist and champion of national parks. So why should you be just a lawyer, just a photographer, just a marketer? Find your voice.


Daniel Lerner: Want to Be Great? Find Your Unique Voice


In this video, Lerner’s lesson comes from Homer’s epic The Odyssey and its character Mentor. Given a dose of inspiration by the goddess Athena, Mentor rediscovered wisdom and courage buried within him, and became the leader that Odysseus knew he could be. And to this day, his namesake lives on.


Daniel Lerner: How Real Mentoring Benefits All Parties


In our final clip, Lerner defines two kinds of passion: harmonious and obsessive. While obsessive passion often leads to guilt, shame, and burnout, harmonious passion is a catalyst for happiness, success, and overall personal fulfillment. And to Lerner, knowing the difference is key. Watch the full clip to learn how to foster healthy, harmonious passion in your own life.


Daniel Lerner: Cultivating Healthy, Harmonious Passions


To book positive psychology expert Daniel Lerner to speak at your next event or conference, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.

New Videos: Michael Landsberg Opens Up about Depression & Mental Health

Last December, Michael Landsberg ended his 18-year run as the host of TSN’s Off the Record. Now, he’s free to pursue a cause that’s near and dear to him: mental health awareness. Far from the image we’re used to seeing on TV, Landsberg suffers from depression, and has for most of his adult life. Today, he’s the creator of #SickNotWeak: a community that “reduces the loneliness and hopelessness of both those who have mental health illnesses and the people who care for them.” And in these new videos, he reminds us that simply talking about mental illness—opening the dialogue—can change lives. If you’re suffering in silence, he says, tell someone. The stigma around depression is baseless, and we can’t move toward meaningful change until we can speak frankly and openly about mental health.


Remember Stéphane Richer? The big, skilled Montréal Canadiens winger was a star (and in fact, the last Hab to score 50 goals in a season.) But behind the scenes, Richer was suffering from untreated depression. And when Landsberg invited him onto OTR to talk about his struggles, it opened the floodgates for others to share their stories—and brought one man back from the bleakest point in his life.


Michael Landsberg: How Sharing Personal Pain Can Save Lives


Why do we insist on separating mental health from physical health? If what we call a “mental illness” produces real, physical symptoms, then why do we treat it less seriously than other medical issues? In this clip, Landsberg reminds us that depression stems from chemical imbalances in the brain, and that accordingly, the term “mental illness” is a harmful misnomer. 


Michael Landsberg: Yes — Mental Health Is Physical Health


“Self-esteem is the first thing to go with depression,” argues Landsberg in our last video. “But you don’t know it, because your depression lies to you.” And what lies does it tell sufferers? That they’re not good enough; that they’re not smart enough; that no one likes them. Even Landsberg himself was filled with dread and anxiety the night before the keynote: “Will I be me, or will I be the sick me, the replacement me?” And when a composed, confident talk-show host admits to having these feelings, it reminds others who suffer from depression that they’re not alone.


Michael Landsberg: The Cruelest Lies Depression Can Tell Us


To hire mental health speaker and former host of TSN’s Off the Record Michael Landsberg to speak at your next event or conference, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau. 

First Look: John Elder Robison’s New Book, Switched On

John Elder Robison—bestselling author, neurodiversity scholar, and leading voice on autism—has a new book hitting stores on March 22. Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening tells the astonishing story of how Robinson underwent TMS, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Harvard’s cutting-edge brain therapy that can “unlock” emotional intelligence in people on the autism spectrum. The results? Nothing short of an extraordinary, and moving, transformation. “For the first time in my life,” Robison writes, “I learned what it was like to truly ‘know’ other people’s feelings. It was as if I’d been experiencing the world in black and white all my life, and suddenly I could see everything—and particularly other people—in brilliant beautiful color.”

Switched On has already gathered some glowing praise. Author of The Autistic Brain Temple Grandin says it’s “a mind-blowing book that will force you to ask deep questions about what is important in life. Would normalizing the brains of those who think differently reduce their motivation for great achievement?” Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge University’s Autism Research Centre raves that “Robison’s honest, brilliant, and very personal account helps us understand the perspective of someone living with autism.”

In his keynotes, Robison speaks on his remarkable life with Asperger’s, how a disability can be re-imagined as a difference, or a gift, and how we can best educate and employ people on the autism spectrum. He distills the personal experiences (and research) of his bestselling books into accessible and inspiring talks that translate a much-misunderstood realm. Now, with Switched On, he explores the insights—and new problems—that come from learning how to read other people’s emotions in ways he never thought possible. A must read. 

From the publisher, Spiegel & Grau: 

“An extraordinary memoir about the cutting-edge brain therapy that dramatically changed the life and mind of John Elder Robison, the New York Times bestselling author of Look Me in the Eye.

Imagine spending the first forty years of your life in darkness, blind to the emotions and social signals of other people. Then imagine that someone suddenly switches the lights on.

It has long been assumed that people living with autism are born with the diminished ability to read the emotions of others, even as they feel emotion deeply. But what if we’ve been wrong all this time? What if that “missing” emotional insight was there all along, locked away and inaccessible in the mind?
In 2007, John Elder Robison wrote the international bestseller Look Me in the Eye, a memoir about growing up with Asperger’s syndrome. Amid the blaze of publicity that followed, he received a unique invitation: Would John like to take part in a study led by one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, who would use an experimental new brain therapy known as TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, in an effort to understand and then address the issues at the heart of autism? Switched On is the extraordinary story of what happened next.
Having spent forty years as a social outcast, misreading others’ emotions or missing them completely, John is suddenly able to sense a powerful range of feelings in other people. However, this newfound insight brings unforeseen problems and serious questions. As the emotional ground shifts beneath his feet, John struggles with the very real possibility that choosing to diminish his disability might also mean sacrificing his unique gifts and even some of his closest relationships. Switched On is a real-life Flowers for Algernon, a fascinating and intimate window into what it means to be neurologically different, and what happens when the world as you know it is upended overnight.”

To book mental health, Autism, and neuroscience speaker John Elder Robison for your next keynote event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

Sick, Not Weak: Michael Landsberg’s Mental Health Cover Story In Vista

When Michael Landsberg first took to the keynote circuit as a mental health speaker, people were surprised to learn that the charismatic host of TSN's Off The Record has been battling depression. While he admits that it can be difficult to admit you are struggling with an illness—and even more difficult to be comfortable talking about it—Landsberg says doing so has become an important part of his life. This month, he was featured in a cover story in the Canadian health magazine Vista. He discussed how he was eventually able to publicly admit that he suffered from depression, and why talking about it is so important.

“My single biggest blessing is my ability to talk about my own mental illness and, therefore, impact other people’s lives,” Landsberg tells Vista. “Probably two dozen people have told me that I’ve saved their lives. I say that with total humility. I have a mental illness, so I can relate, and I get platforms made available to me.” He explains that it's important to talk about the issue because it helps to lift the stigma that surrounds mental illness. When people come forward and discuss it without feeling ashamed or uncomfortable, it empowers others to do the same. And, helps them feel like they are able to get the help that they need without feeling judged. “The three words that I start every speech with are: sick, not weak. Knowing that makes you not worry about the stigma,” he explains. “So much of it is how we see ourselves. For me, the greatest power I have is knowing that depression is not my choice or my weakness.”

In the interview, Landsberg also provides suggestions on how to share your illness with the people around you. It's important to be honest, to let them know that your condition is not anyone's fault, and that while they can't fix you, they can be supportive and help you through the tough days. While the stigma has lessened over the years, Landsberg says it still exists to a degree and sharing information about the illness can help to lessen it even more. That's the lesson he shares in his customizable keynotes on mental health. He injects a hint of humour into his talks to bring some positivity to a somber subject. While he undoubtedly treats the subject matter as a serious issue, his easy approach to discussing mental health helps the audience feel comfortable “[talking] about mental illness in anything other than hushed tones.”

Mental Illness Isn’t A Weakness: Michael Landsberg

Mental health speaker Michael Landsberg is known for his charismatic role as the host of TSN's Off the Record. But, as Ashley Kascak from the Canadian Mental Health Association notes, the way he frankly and honestly speaks about mental illness—specifically his own struggles with anxiety and depression—is perhaps an even greater contribution.
“It’s a relief,” she writes in a recent interview with Landsberg, “because it’s a good chance that someone who is still hiding their pain inside will find respite and hope in knowing they’re not alone.” Landsberg agrees. In a keynote he gave for Mental Health Awareness Week, he says that his talks on dealing with mental health issues have become his “calling” in life.

As he tells the Canadian Mental Health Association, it's extremely important to talk about mental health. Especially, he adds, as someone in the public eye in a very macho-driven industry. “I shared once on Off The Record, and I found that in particular men responded, saying they had never heard another man talk about his illness,” he says in the interview, “and the fact that I talked about it candidly and openly without being ashamed—without showing weakness —empowered them to go and share with somebody else.” Landsberg also notes that it's important to remember that mental illness is not a weakness of character, but a real sickness that should be viewed the same way as other ailments. If a panic attack is treated as legitimately as a broken ankle, it becomes easier to talk about and more accepted in society, he argues.

Further, he notes that it's important to keep the conversation going and encourage more people to come forward. That's why he sees himself speaking about this topic for a long time to come. “You know, I can go and speak in Vancouver and an hour after I start speaking I still have as much inside me,” he says. “It’s not a depleting resource, so why not share it given the fact that it has this kind of impact.” Candid and interactive, Landsberg delivers personalized keynotes on his own battle with mental illness, and shares the unexplored stories of some of the world's most famous figures who have also suffered. He shows us that anyone can overcome the obstacles in front of us no matter how difficult it may seem, and urges us to rethink the way we talk—and think—about mental illness.

Bell ‘Let’s Talk’ Day 2013: Lavin’s Mental Health Speakers Speak Out

There's often a negative stigma attached to discussing mental illness. Open conversation is key to reversing that stigma and changing the conversation about mental health. This year's Bell 'Let's Talk' Day encourages businesses and community members to educate themselves on the facts about mental illness and to spread the word to others. Participants are asked to share content on social media in exchange for a 5 cent donation from Bell to mental health 
initiatives across the country. The Bell website also provides a downloadable toolkit with informative facts compiled by numerous health experts. Lavin has three great mental health speakers who are speaking out on mental health issues, and encouraging others to do the same: TSN's Michael Landsberg, lollipop leadership expert Drew Dudley, and TED Fellow Robert Gupta.

Michael Landsberg is the charismatic face of TSN's Off The Record—one of the country's most-watched sports programs. As an outspoken and well-known figurehead in the sports community, few would guess that he has been struggling with depression and anxiety for most of his life. He decided to speak out about his battle with mental illness to show how misunderstood mental health issues are, and how important it is to recognize mental illness as serious issue. His keynotes explore the gravity of the issue without being overly somber. He says that it's important to add a dose of humor and levity to the mix or else people will shy away from the subject. And as more people join the conversation, the more likely the negative stigma surrounding mental health will be lifted.

Drew Dudley, known for his uplifting talks on leadership, has also become a trusted voice on mental health. Citing his own struggle with biopolar disorder as a jumping off point, his keynotes provide hope for those afraid to ask for help in dealing with their own struggles. Being a leader, he says, means having the courage to change reality. He overcame his own personal obstacles, and his talks inspire others to do the same.

Robert Gupta first became inspired to use music as a healing tool when he befriended Nathaniel Anthony Ayers. A brilliant musician, Ayers was also homeless and mentally ill—but playing the violin was a redemptive pastime for him. Gupta has since founded the Street Symphony: a classical music outreach concert series. He has studied both neurobiology and mental health and has become an advocate for the redemptive power of music and its ability to reach people in ways that language cannot. His talks are passionate and informative and explore the role that music can play in helping those who need it most.

Mental Health Awareness Week: Speaker Michael Landsberg Found His Calling

Most people know Michael Landsberg as the charismatic face of TSN's Off The Record. While sports reporting is a big part of his life, the mental health speaker said he's found another outlet that is just as fulfilling for him. As the opening speaker for a Mental Health Awareness Week event, Landsberg shared his inspiring story of dealing with anxiety and depression. And, how giving these presentations has become an important part of his career. “It’s new to me in the past year, but over the past year I think I’ve done a lot of these events and the more I do, the more I want to do,” he says. “If you ever had something in your life that you could say 'that’s my calling,' I would say this is it because now when I leave here I will feel like, you know what, maybe I made a little difference in someone’s life.”

At the event, Landsberg spoke frankly about his own struggles with mental illness. Afterward, he opened up the floor to a question and answer forum where he encouraged the audience to share their experiences, as well. As he explains in many of his talks, it is important to remove the negative stigma associated with mental health—and having open and honest talks about it helps to achieve that goal. Landsberg also approaches his talks on the subject in a novel way. Instead of presenting a purely somber talk, he injects humor and lighthearted anecdotes into his speeches. While he treats mental health awareness as a serious issue—he also finds a way to make the discussion positive and engaging for the audience.

Landsberg has become a trusted voice on the subject, and his fun and interactive talks are popular with a myriad of different audiences. He shares personal anecdotes and life stories to liven up his speeches, and encourages audience interaction. Landsberg customizes his talks to fit his audiences, ensuring that all of his presentations provide takeaways that resonate long after the event is over.

Raising Awareness: Mental Health Speaker Michael Landsberg

When most people hear the name Michael Landsberg, they don't immediately associate him with the mental health movement. However, the host of TSN's Off The Record and the former host of SportsCentre was one of the big-name guests and keynote speakers at the Bell Kaleidoscope of Hope Gala in support of mental health awareness. After battling a tough bout with depression, which he still fights today, Landsberg has become a prominent mental health speaker—when he's not dishing with the sports world's biggest names on Off The Record, that is.

“I think at my worst, which was four years ago, I would have woken up in the morning and known with 100-per-cent certainty that I would experience no joy during the day,” Landsberg told The Ottawa Citizen. “I felt a sense of loneliness which had nothing to do with the environment I was in.” Today, the broadcaster shares his story with a wide variety of audiences in uplifting keynotes. He also attends numerous charity functions to support the cause and remove the stigma attached to mental illness. With some heavy-hitter attendees at the Bell Gala (including Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Jennifer Hedger, co-host of SportsCentre), Landsberg's message resonated even louder and helped raise much-needed funding for several mental health facilities.

Landsberg is a charismatic and seasoned on-stage performer. His time in television has armed him with the skills necessary to address hard-hitting topics in a manner that truly connects with his audience. Whether he's speaking about mental health or sports (or the intersection of the two), Landsberg shows us that anything is possible, and that the odds can be overcome even in our darkest times.