Lewis MacKenzie

In times of crisis and challenge, who do we turn to for leadership? And how do we lead?

One of the World’s Most Respected Military Heroes

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Lewis MacKenzie | One of the World’s Most Respected Military Heroes
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

When it comes to being a leader, few people—anywhere in the world—can approach the level of experience and credibility that military hero Major-General (ret’d) Lewis MacKenzie has reached. Considered the most experienced peacekeeper on the planet, MacKenzie distills four decades of experience into ten practical and enduring lessons that will enhance anyone’s leadership style. 

Lewis MacKenzie has commanded troops from dozens of countries in some of the world’s most dangerous places: the Gaza Strip, Vietnam, and Central America. For his lifetime achievement in protective services, MacKenzie, in 2006, was named a member of The Order of Canada, the country’s highest honour. From his interactive workshops on becoming a better leader to his commanding talks on global military, the post-9/11 world and where Canada fits in, Lewis MacKenzie—a natural and commanding storyteller—speaks with charisma and expertise. MacKenzie doesn't just talk about leadership; he demonstrates it.


In Sarajevo, during the Bosnian Civil War, while leading troops from 31 nations and under fire from all sides, MacKenzie famously managed to open the Sarajevo airport for the delivery of humanitarian aid. As a result he became the only Canadian, military or civilian, to be awarded a second Meritorious Service Cross. During that time, the BBC said MacKenzie was interviewed more than any other human being over a thirty-day period in the history of television.


MacKenzie retired from the Canadian Forces in 1993. His book, Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo, was a #1 bestseller, and an award-winning documentary based on it, A Soldier’s Peace, has aired in over 60 countries. His follow-up book, Soldiers Make Me Look Good, was released in 2008 to critical acclaim. Since his retirement from the military, Lew MacKenzie has been under contract to CTV and CBS and frequently appears on many international TV and radio networks as a commentator. He is a regular contributor to The Globe and Mail and is in demand as a lecturer on the subject of leadership. Mackenzie is currently the president of Major General MacKenzie Enterprises. He also assists in fundraising for the International Community for the Relief of Starvation and Suffering.   


“To say that he had our audiences in all five cities (which totaled nearly 5,000 people, including 1,500 in Toronto alone) eating out of his hand would be an understatement. More to the point, they were absolutely rapt and hanging on his every word, laughing at his witticisms, taking mental notes of his leadership tips, and proud of their country and heritage as he spoke about the courage of our Canadian soldiers. General MacKenzie received thunderous standing ovations in each and every city.”

Ingram Micro

“Lewis MacKenzie was amazing! His stories were inspirational and really hit people. At our table alone, everyone was in tears. He didn’t try to soften the blows but it was appropriate. I would definitely recommend Lewis MacKenzie. Our people loved working with him, too. Our Dinner Honouree was especially pleased to meet Lewis, and felt so honoured to have him at this event and to have him share his experiences.”

Canadian Unity Council

“Besides my formal “thank you,” which is always a little too formal—I wanted to thank you again for your talk to our group on Tuesday. I tried to call you just now, but e-mail will have to do! So many people approached me during the remainder of our event to express how much they enjoyed your talk. Your strong messages, your delivery, your calm demeanour—amazing speaking style. You really captivated the group and added so much value to the conference. So on behalf of all of us at CIPMA, thank you. We are all proud of you and everything you have done—and I feel honoured to have met you.”


“It was indeed an honour and a privilege to sit and chat with a true Canadian hero. Your keynote delivery was amazing, as those in attendance could NOT stop talking about how much they enjoyed all facets of your talk. People laughed, welled-up with tears, and were, quite frankly, on the edges of their seats, riveted to your every word.”

GBTA Canada Conference

“It was moving, motivational, and from the heart. His speech on Practical Lessons in Leadership brought the audience to their feet. I appreciated the time he took before the conference to understand our objectives, the message we wanted to get across, and how he was able to draw a parallel between his role and that of our audience’s. A powerful speaker with a humble and honest manner. What a class act!”


“The conference was a great success. Lewis was wonderful. He had us laughing and crying and truly held my pretty tough audience spellbound for an hour. A really nice man, too!”

Royal LePage

“Our attendees thought you were an outstanding speaker. Some of the comments from our attendees were: • Brilliant • Outstanding • Candid, topical • Best of show! • Excellent speaker • Absolutely super • Terrific; love the different perspective • Helped put the issue into context and very credible speaker • A first-hand, inside view of a controversial global issue that I found quite riveting.”

Financial Executives Institute

“Your message really hit home with the attendees at NorthAmerican’s National Conference. Thank you for your part in helping us achieve one of our best ever conferences.”

NorthAmerican Van Lines

“Many thanks for a most inspiring and motivational afternoon. You touched the hearts of all the PolyGram troops, and I sense that they would follow you, without question, on your next patrol.”

PolyGram Group Distribution Inc.

“Thank you for recommending General MacKenzie as a speaker for our Leadership Conference this fall. He was a delight to work with and delivered an outstanding presentation.”


“I think the standing ovation says it all—your genuine, heartfelt comments were both refreshing and informative. It’s obvious why you are a great leader of our time.”

Leadership Network Corporation

Speech Topics

Lessons on Leadership

In this masterful keynote, Lewis MacKenzie distills the lessons of 36 years of experience into ten practical, enduring, and easy-to-apply tips that will enhance your leadership style. Leadership is about building trust, forging commitment to a common purpose, and understanding what needs to be done to convince others to follow—things Mackenzie has done, time and again, under the most difficult of circumstances. With charisma, expertise on conflict resolution, the courage to think for himself in a crisis, and a natural talent for storytelling—not to mention an unconventional streak a mile wide—MacKenzie captivates and commands attention like few others.

Interactive Leadership Workshop

In this interactive talk and workshop, Lewis MacKenzie teaches groups the real value of leadership and problem-solving. Following a brief keynote, MacKenzie divides the audience into small groups and presents them with real-life scenarios that are customized for your business. Providing each group with one-on-one mentoring, he helps work through possible solutions. The group leader then presents to the rest of the workshop, opening the floor for discussion and peer-to-peer learning. This unique workshop allows your group to learn by doing, all while being coached by one of Canada's most respected leaders. 

Canadian Politics
Canada The World’s Reluctant Hero

“When the UN voted Canada the best country in which to live our first reaction was to apologize for the honour! On the contrary. We should be proud of our accomplishments. We paid a lot for them with the lives and limbs of young Canadian men and women.” In this talk on a united Canada, MacKenzie explores the role Canadians play in making the world a safer, more peaceful, and better place, and the many things that we, as Canadians, should celebrate.

Global Military and Political Developments in a Post-9/11 World

How did the post 9/11 international landscape get so complicated, so dangerous? Which countries and regions are likely to cause trouble in the months and years ahead? When, if ever, will the war on terror end? MacKenzie, one of the UN's most experienced field commanders, sheds insight on current global military and political events. 

Canadian Politics
The New World Order The UN or the U.S.?
MacKenzie looks at the showdown between the UN and the U.S. over Iraq, and other hotspots, and what it means for Canada and the rest of the world. He shows you the likelihood of various potential outcomes and challenging you to think about the real options for peace and national security in a fractured world.