SmartLeese Creative

SmartLeese Creative

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Lindsay and Lee, Improv Emissaries and Creative Connectors

SmartLeese Creative has been tickling minds since 1999. As Improv Emissaries and Creative Connectors, their mission is to spread the skills of improvisation and create opportunities to connect and learn through fun, shared experiences.

Noted alumni of the Second City stage; dynamic speaking duo and spouses, Lee Smart and Lindsay Leese bring complimentary talents that prove two heads are better than one. They create and deliver interactive, behaviour-changing, mindset-improving, relationship-enhancing experiences through the principles of improvisation and custom creative content.

SmartLeese has partnered with clients on countless stimulating events from keynote presentations to training workshops, hosting talk shows, conference emceeing, live improv shows, custom written comedic messaging & delivery, ideation sessions, presentation skills coaching, speech writing support and video projects, on-camera and voice acting for a wide range of business sectors.

Clients include Alchemy Systems, Hoffmann-LaRoche, RBC, Sun Life Financial, 3M, Deutsche Bank, AstraZeneca, PwC, Equitable Life of Canada, Metrolinx, Durham College, College of Physiotherapists, AC Delco, Northbridge Financial, Paro Centre for Women’s Enterprise, Ontario Collaborative Law Federation, and PPI Solutions.

Lindsay Leese is the Leese of SmartLeese Creative. Her career has been centered on performance, communication and collaboration from the get-go. Lindsay is a trained actor, a graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada and an alumnus The Second City stage.

Throughout her career she’s had one foot in the world of theatre, TV, film and comedy, and the other in the business world. Based in Toronto since 1982, Lindsay is a professional actor and improviser, keynote speaker, corporate training consultant and facilitator, presentation coach (PitchCraft), stage director, and producer. See to view her work as an actor on Film and TV.

Lindsay is the Founder and Director of the charitable arts organization The Tim Sims Encouragement Fund and spent 20 years producing its live and nationally televised award show “Cream of Comedy”. Lindsay has been member of the Ontario Film Review Board since 2011.

Lee Smart is the Smart in SmartLeese Creative. He is a comedian, improviser, actor, writer, corporate training consultant and facilitator, host and an alumnus of the famed Second City comedy theatre. With a career spanning more than two decades, Lee is a multiple nominee and winner of the Canadian Comedy Award, as well as the Canadian Screen Award for Best Comedy Writing for television.

In addition to hosting, facilitating and delivering dynamic creative projects with SmartLeese, Lee lends his talents to multiple film, television, voice and commercial projects. Lee can currently be heard improvising on the Canadian Comedy Award-nominated sci-fi podcast Illusionoid.

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Speaking topics

The Improv Advantage: Enhancing Teamwork & Collaboration

Improvisation is more than the ability to ‘think on one’s feet.’ It’s a powerful method of connecting people and ideas with wide ranging applications. SmartLeese Creative believes improvisation and business go hand in hand. Both depend on people to work together toward a shared goal. Both require individuals to connect, share ideas, adapt quickly to change and innovate to remain relevant. Likewise, both suffer when there is a lack of communication, collaboration, and creativity.

In this interactive session, participants learn about the Art of Improvisation, and how to apply the key principles to interact positively and productively with others, changing relationships and behaviours for the better.

The Improv Advantage: Leading in Times of Ambiguity & Change

Dealing with uncertainty is not only a key business competency but a vital survival skill. We live in an unpredictable world that requires us to act with incomplete information, unclear direction, adapt quickly to change, and to discover solutions together. A world that requires us to utilize the very same skills used by professional improvisers in order to succeed.

This interactive session introduces The Improvisational Advantage, providing participants with undeniably effective techniques to strengthen leadership characteristics, gain confidence in their ability to adapt, evolve and support their teams during times of ambiguity and change.

The Improv Advantage: Building Client Centric Relationships

As institutions strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors, they’re recognizing that the key to winning is the ability to develop successful client centric relationships.
So, how can improvisational skills help your people develop trusted, long-term relationships with clients and colleagues?

The process and skills improvisers use to connect, collaborate and contribute onstage – are the very same one’s business professionals need to cultivate strong client centric relationships. Both require the ability to build rapport, share ideas, adapt quickly to change and innovate to remain relevant. In this dynamic session, participants experience and practice these essential skills.

The Improv Advantage: Cultivating a Culture of Engagement

It’s been said that a leader’s task is to get work done through other people. When practiced ineffectively, that approach can result in people feeling disengaged. It doesn’t matter how technically competent or how strategic the thinking is, if you’re leading and no one is following, then you’re just taking a walk.

There’s a better way. ‘Improv Emissaries’, Lee Smart and Lindsay Leese (SmartLeese Creative) believe that a leader’s job is to create a culture that inspires others to successfully work together toward a shared goal. When managers model what they’d like to see in their team, they establish a connection that’s founded more on mutual respect and less on authority.

In this fun, interactive session, SmartLeese introduces improvisational methods and skills that provide an immediately usable process for participants to build rapport, collaborate, adapt to change, innovate and develop resilience, helping leaders acquire greater awareness of behaviours that can help or hinder their ability to lead effectively.

The Improv Advantage: Improving Agility & Adaptability

In order to succeed in an ever-evolving environment, people are required to let go of out-of-date systems, embrace new frameworks and innovate in “real time” within their organizations to resolve issues as they arise, all with positivity and resilience.

This session raises self-awareness of our response to change and fosters a positive environment of acceptance and growth. Improvisational exercises provide practical techniques that allow individuals to become more agile and adaptable in response to change. When individuals are supported with the skills that build the ability to nimbly navigate new circumstances, they learn to tap into personal and organizational resourcefulness and move forward collaboratively with a shared sense of purpose and positivity.

The Improv Advantage: Boosting Leadership Presence

Each of us is constantly communicating and presenting. As a management professional, executive or thought leader, others look to you for direction and a mission – so every interaction counts. Leadership presence is more than projecting confidence. It’s about how well you listen, how you treat others and your commitment to your purpose and values. It’s the ability to authentically inspire others with a clear message delivered with poise and passion.
If you are unaware of how you present yourself and your ideas, achieving your goals may elude you. The impression you make can be the hinge, on which a door opens or closes – it’s the promise of how you will perform.

Using experiential improvisational exercises as metaphors for how we think, behave and interact, this workshop builds self-awareness, examines undermining behaviours and limiting beliefs, enhances a sense of personal competence, and strengthens the capacity to communicate, collaborate and lead.

The Improv Advantage: Igniting Innovation & Creativity

Improvisation provides a method that enables individuals to be creative on demand. Participants engage in lively experiential exercises which challenge assumptions, stimulate their creative juices and inspire fresh perspectives. Participants are encouraged to suspend judgment and tap into their innovative abilities through exercises which ignite their creativity and trigger discoveries. This session introduces the SmartLeese Ideation Process, a step by step innovation framework which identifies how to generate ideas in abundance, then refine, road test and share them. In addition to learning a practical and effective methodology for future development processes, participants have the opportunity to kick-start viable ideas and move business concepts forward in an innovative new direction.

Video clips

SmartLeese Creative: Improv Emissaries and Creative Connectors

Speaker testimonials

Thank you so much for your fantastic contribution to our GCG conference in May. The feedback has all been positive with regards to your sessions, and many people walked away equipped with some great new skills which they were really happy about! It was a pleasure to work with you both throughout; your positivity and upbeat natures certainly are contagious! I also really appreciated your ‘can do’ attitudes, it was really a lovely treat to work with such nice people.

Deutsche Bank AG, New York

SmartLeese Creative was an amazing partner for our event. With an emphasis on partner! Our event had a very complex set of objectives to deliver and required a customized approach to do so; all within the confines of a one-day meeting structure. Not only did SmartLeese do what was needed to deliver on these objectives in spades, they did so by becoming invested in the success of our event. They made a point to truly listen and comprehend our vision for our event, identified areas for improvement, prepared comprehensive documents to detail and ensure every aspect of the day, raised relevant and important questions, appropriately highlighted areas we had not considered, and were always ready to roll up their sleeves to brainstorm potential solutions to surprise situations and challenges along the way. SmartLeese truly became an extension of our internal team. Despite travel and complex schedules on both sides, they made themselves available as needed and jumped in to get the job done. Lindsay and Lee are consummate and experienced professionals. They have a genuineness that is reassuring and coupled with a great sense of humour, makes them very easy to work with. Our event would not have been as successful as it was without them, and this was proven through the resounding positive feedback received by our audience and stakeholders.

Hoffmann-La Roche Limited, Mississauga

We would like to extend sincere thanks and kudos to Lee and Lindsay. They were phenomenal, connected with the audience, delivered all the key messages and were just plain fun to be around. I think the best illustration of the event’s success was a quote from one of the participants. “If you had told me that I was going to be doing improv, I would have come up with 18 excuses as to why I couldn’t attend. After reflecting on the event last night, it dawned on me how much improv is a metaphor for leadership. You will be uncomfortable, and you won’t know what to do, but with practice and confidence, you will get better”. We are truly enjoying this partnership and look forward to many more joint successes. Please extend our gratitude to Lee and Lindsay.

Willis Towers Watson WTW

Just wanted to write a quick note to say………..WOW what a great day! Hats off to Lindsay and Lee for putting on such an exceptional afternoon. I have spent time talking with most of the team tonight and I speak for everyone when I say how much we enjoyed this session. Some of the things that stuck out from today are: (1) keeping us always active and participating (2) keeping a positive energy flow (3) drawing in all the participants (4) and most of all…just loved how you would take to time after each exercise to stress the value and how we could draw that back to our everyday work lives


Working with Lindsay has been a very valuable exercise for our organization. From the initial contact, Lindsay was able to quickly understand our unique business need and recommend an intervention that would work for us. Lindsay connected with each of the participants for the workshop on a 1:1 basis, immediately established her credibility as an expert in presentation and personal effectiveness and created an environment that allowed them to be open to new experiences and challenges. The results of the workshop are immediately apparent and we shall be very happy to continue to work with Lindsay in the future.


I’ve done many presentation classes and this one really stood out for me. It was smart and enjoyable and really hit the mark. The exercises were fun and provided valuable skills that helped everyone, regardless of their level, find a way to take their presentation skills to the next level. It provided everyone with valuable insights and real-world helpful tools to improve the impact of their presentations. Lindsay understands how to tailor the stage presentation skills of an actor to what makes sense and would be helpful to us as communicators within the context of new business pitches. It was exactly what I’d hoped for.

Ketchum Public Relations Canada

Lindsay, the feedback from the workshop participants was all excellent. Several people commented that they really appreciated the individual/ one-on-one feedback and the opportunity to get up and practice presenting. One person wrote: “Thank you very much for giving me the great opportunity. This course may change my future life. I will keep positive.” Thank you for a wonderful workshop.


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