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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.


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 Vanuatu; Best Cities in Tokyo; the World Cocoa Conference in Berlin; PATA Global Insights Conference in Auckland, New Zealand; Australia Council Marketing Summit, Cairns, Australia; The Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, Madison, Wisconsin, 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.

You can watch Rick’s TED Talk about Cathedral Thinking here.

Recent Speaking Engagements Themed Around Cathedral Thinking

  • April 2023: Visit Seattle Annual General Meeting and Business Planning Launch

  • December 2020: Cape Cod Center for Sustainability; Broto conference: Art-Climate-Science

  • February 2020: Irving Hospitality Industry Annual Meeting, Irving, Texas

  • December 2019: Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (in Halifax)

  • February 2019: The International Association of Professional Conference Organizers (IAPCO) 50th Anniversary event in Basel, Switzerland

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