Rick Antonson

Rick Antonson

Add to list
Former CEO and President of Tourism Vancouver, Award Winning Business Innovator and Author

The concept of Cathedral Thinking harkens from medieval times when architects, stonemasons and artisans were schooled in how their work today mattered for tomorrow. Over decades, they created soaring structures serving as community gathering spaces, cultural centres and places of worship. Their actions kept the living generation tethered to the future.

Rick Antonson—Author, Instigator and Cathedral Thinker—is proof the concept is synonymous with creating a shared vision and working collaboratively. Rick was president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver when they launched the successful bid for the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games, overcoming naysayers who said it couldn’t be done and rallying support around common ambitions. On his watch, Tourism Vancouver initiated the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Taskforce that, despite hurdles and opposing forces, led to the amazing facility that draws tens of thousands of people to Vancouver every year.

Cathedral Thinking has been applied to land conservation, wind power, city planning, corporate mandates, destination development, and other goals that require decades of foresight and preparation so future generations can enjoy their realization, yet demand foundational work today.

Rick has presented keynote addresses to entities as varied as the South Pacific Tourism Association’s Insights Conference in VanuatuBest Cities in Tokyo; the World Cocoa Conference in BerlinPATA Global Insights Conference in Auckland, New Zealand; Australia Council Marketing Summit, Cairns, Australia; The Greater Madison Convention & Visitors BureauWisconsin, USA; the Global Café, hosted by Brisbane, Australia in advance of the G20 conference; the International Convention Centres Conference (International Association of Venue Managers), Vancouver, Canada; and an economic development forum hosted by Landsbankinn, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Antonson is the author of eight books including To Timbuktu for a Haircut; A Journey Through West Africa, and Route 66 Still Kicks; Driving America’s Main Street, and Full Moon Over Noah’s Ark; An Odyssey to Mount Ararat and Beyond and Walking with Ghosts in Papua New Guinea: Crossing the Kokoda Trail in the Last Wild Place on Earth. His most recent book is Train Beyond the Mountains; Journeys on the Rocky Mountaineer.

Add to list

Speaking topics

CARPA MAÑANA: Seize Tomorrow Today  

Author and former tourism executive Rick Antonson shares lessons from decades managing sceptics, taking on the enemies of fresh ideas, and keeping a workforce focused, motivated and productive in a world of disrupted plans.  
Tailored to your conference theme and outcome goals, this presentation will inform and empower every attendee with the sense of purpose and meaning and commitment—ensuring work habits today for a successful tomorrow.

Every idea, every change must count immediately while providing a building block toward a prosperous future. Lasting accomplishments are built upon solid foundations, and success requires the cornerstones of diverse roles, equality of workforce, and the inclusion of everyone.

Rick’s anecdotes, admonishments and advice show how to think like a cathedral builder—short-term actions, immediate results, long-term vision—to bring on-the-spot impacts for you and your colleagues.

Video clips

Rick Antonson: Cathedral Thinking: TedX Stanley Park

Request fees and availability for Rick Antonson

Request information