We had the good fortune of connecting with Thomas Girard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Thomas, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Great question!

After I gave my TEDx talk I found people were listening, and I didn’t know what to say to them. At the time I was delivering a talk/workshop at conferences, universities, and meet-ups…

That’s when I began to understand my focus on people.

The audience started out being mostly designers, as I had always communicated with designers. In fact that’s all I knew. But I quickly realized that I wanted to communicate with other people as well, so it began to evolve. At one point I found myself using an Oculus headset to reach communities that existed there. Circa early pandemic. I also approached my local community center to start talking to kids. My academic focus lead to situating the talk/workshops appropriately, and really started shaping and reshaping what I was doing to understand and appreciate those groups as well, Even a general audience is an audience and that was an aspect that at one point I mainly considered.

Today I call all that “People First”.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m Canadian. I was born and educated here in Vancouver, where I’m based. So maybe that sets me apart.

My TEDx talk called “How to feel at home in the airport” is a two minute talk, so very short. It lead to my first book “Emerging Scholar: Gratitude of an Award Recipient”, and my second book which just came out last week “Emerging Scholar & Oxford”, which adds my story of University of Oxford and MA studies, documenting the massive effort that went into conceputalizing, delivering, translating, transcribing, promoting, and also just enjoying that whole lecture thing.

In a way that TEDx talk is what sets me apart as well.

I overcome challenges by seeing possibilities instead of problems.

I learnt to be “People First”.

I want people to know that anyone can do what I did. I think in a way that’s why I achieve things, is so that others can imagine they are equally possible for themselves?

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Here was my originally slated Oxford itinerary for 2022.

Sample Itinerary in Oxford

Day 1
Saturday, October 17
Travel day
Arrival in Oxford
Check in at Galaxie Hotel
Group dinner at
6 pm at Mamma Mia Pizzeria

Day 2
Sunday, October 18
Late morning guided boat tour – history and topography of Oxford
Included British Sunday late lunch at the Folley riverside restaurant
Free wandering in Oxford i.e. Blackwell’s Books, Ashmoleon museum etc

Day 3
Monday, October 19
Walking tour of Oxford – history and monuments
Seminar with Dr. Kate Kennedy, OCLW, Wolfson College:
What is Life Writing?
Welcome tea

Day 4
Tuesday, October 20
Bodleian Library Registration and tour with archivist on collections relevant to course
OCLW evening lecture

Day 5
Wednesday, October 21
Morning Seminar – Sasha
Wolfson College
Research afternoon

Day 6
Thursday, October 22
On site lecture
OCLW evening lecture

Day 7
Friday, October 23
Morning seminar- Sasha
Research afternoon, early evening tour

Day 8
Saturday, October 24
Research Day

Day 9
Sunday, October 25
Afternoon cultural excursion- museum or theatre
Group dinner

Day 10
Monday, October 26
On site lecture
Afternoon seminar-Sasha

Day 11
Tuesday, October 27
On site lecture
OCLW event
Group dinner

Day 12
Wednesday, October 28
Mini-seminar and farewell breakfast
Return travel to Vancouver or stay in Oxford or independent travel

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Brene Brown does some crazy stuff. I love her.

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/onthomas

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/onthomas_tweet

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