Better Than I Ever Expected

 

“Jason delivered a talk unlike any I have heard before.  His brutal honesty about his story took the audience by surprise and he never let go.”

Testimonials on the Impact of Jason's Speaking
You Made ‘Shining a Light’ Very Special
Upon request Jason MacKenzie attended the York Regional Police / OPTVA symposium on Police Suicide and awareness. He was asked to speak about his experience in relation to the suicide of his wife, an OPP officer Cindy Mackenzie. Due to the extreme sensitivity of this topic it was not easy to find a speaker that was able to speak so openly. Jason accepted our request without hesitation and was an extreme professional in performing his presentation. His presentation was extremely well put together, engaging and heartfelt. We were not expecting such a flued speaker as we had not met Jason, nor heard anything about his speaking capabilities. He was extremely well received by many of the attendees and please see below some of the feedback; "Cindy Mackenzie's (Orangeville Officer who committed suicide) story as told by her husband was very impactful, never realized how severe bipolar episode could be or last & important to see what effect this had on her family. Her husband did a fantastic job educating us on mental illness." "I wish there was more time to listen to Jason MacKenzie and the struggles during the time he was with Cindy. It would be a "template" for those working within the service to see if they possess any signs of struggle that otherwise we all just push aside, hoping they will remedy themselves." "Jason's presentation was very open, honest, vulnerable and raw. It takes a lot of courage to speak of something so heartbreaking in his life. He should be commended for sharing his experience with us." Thank you Jason for such being such a great speaker and sharing your story so openly and honestly with the law enforcement community.
Thank You from Hutton House
Hutton House would like to thank you for speaking at our annual Professional Development Days on December 17th, 2015. You opened our PD days and definitely set the bar extremely high for all speakers after you! Your presentation on Lessons on Suicide, Vulnerability and Being Our Best absolutely riveted our team. The comments I received from so many of my colleagues made me extremely grateful that you were able to speak to our group. It was noted by many members of our group that you were indeed the best speaker they had seen and the material you presented, while very deep in subject matter was deliver in a gracious and well devised manner. Our evaluation for your presentation ranked a 4/4 with words such as "amazing" "powerful" and "inspiring" I am so delighted to recommend you to any group seeking to motivate their members and provide themselves with such an enlightened view on such thought provoking material. I do hope to have you return to Hutton House again to speak to our team in the not so distant future.
Thank You Jason for Being Such a Great Speaker
I’m an HR Manager in an automotive manufacturing facility where the workforce is primarily men and blue collar.  Mental Health is not talked about openly.  I’ve had enough people approach me to know that our workforce is not immune so I decided to take a risk and shine a light on the issue.  We chose the event to occur on the same day as  Bell Let’s Talk.

I knew of Jason’s story and asked if he would be willing to share it to our 350 employees.  He willingly accepted and made the trip to our facility.   To say I was nervous is an understatement.  I had no idea how Jason’s message would be received and how it would reflect on me.  Most importantly, I was afraid of not making a difference.

I needn’t have worried.  Jason delivered a talk unlike any I have heard before.  His brutal honesty about his story took the audience by surprise and he never let go.  He talked openly about his own stumbles in his darkest hours and what he learned from them.  He offered guidance and optimism about steps we could all take to share our stories.  His talk stimulated more conversation that I could have ever hoped for.

Jason is an articulate, passionate speaker and a man who cares deeply about helping people improve their lives.  I can’t recommend him highly enough to speak at any organization looking to create a culture of openness, honesty, vulnerability and high performance.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade
Jamie Saunders, Niagara Regional Police Service
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is an eerily fitting maxim in the case of Jason MacKenzie. Jason’s wife, an OPP officer, took her own life in 2010. She had been battling bipolar disorder. Jason was one of four speakers at a symposium on police suicide that I had the privilege of helping to organize in Richmond Hill in October, 2015. One of the highlights of Jason’s one hour presentation was a brief, bittersweet music video which documented his young daughters’ efforts to raise money for a local mental health charity through a good old fashioned lemonade stand.

Such is Jason’s journey, having since devoted a significant chunk of his life to helping others learn some important and sometimes hard-to-hear lessons from the ordeal that he and his family endured. Despite his claims to have had very little previous presentation experience, Jason hit it out of the park with a provocative, articulate and brutally honest call for understanding and action. That he did it all without notes, and with such astonishing, heartfelt passion was nothing short of remarkable.

His challenge to the audience of nearly 300 law enforcement professionals was as simple as it was direct: Will you become a beacon of hope? Will you create a safe harbour? Will you stand watch? The standing ovation that Jason received and the fact that so many came forward to personally thank him for his honesty and courage left little doubt that he hit his mark. I wish Jason well on his important personal journey to help eradicate stigma, and promote understanding and honesty.