Soldiers Make Me Look Good
A Life in the Shadow of War
Lewis MacKenzie has commanded troops from dozens of countries in some of the world’s most dangerous places, from Vietnam to the Gaza Strip. Considered the most experienced peacekeeper on the planet—he has not one, but two Meritorious Service Crosses— the retired Major-General shares the practical and enduring leadership lessons that arise from crisis: how to negotiate fairly, make decisions under pressure, and manage conflict with ease.
In Sarajevo during the Bosnian Civil War, while leading troops from 31 nations and under fire from all sides, Lewis MacKenzie famously managed to open the Sarajevo airport for the delivery of humanitarian aid. By using UN force and the power of the media to restore peace, MacKenzie became an international celebrity, as well as the only Canadian, military or civilian, to be awarded a second Meritorious Service Cross. Following the heroic achievement, the BBC reported that MacKenzie was interviewed more than any other human being over a 30-day period.
For his lifetime achievement in protective services, MacKenzie was named a member of The Order of Canada, the country’s highest honour. Today, he delivers interactive workshops on becoming a better leader, as well as commanding talks on global military, the post-9/11 world, and Canada’s role in the geopolitical order. A natural storyteller brimming with equal parts charisma and expertise, MacKenzie doesn’t just talk about leadership—he demonstrates it.
MacKenzie retired from the Canadian Forces after thirty-three years. His book, Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo, was a #1 bestseller, and the 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 to critical acclaim. Since his retirement from the military, MacKenzie has been under contract to CTV and CBS and is a regular contributor to The Globe and Mail. Mackenzie is currently the president of Major General MacKenzie Enterprises, and assists in fundraising for the International Community for the Relief of Starvation and Suffering.
“Thank you for making arrangements for Major-General Lewis MacKenzie to speak The Manitoba Club and The Scottish Gentlemen’s Dinner last Thursday and Friday evenings (Nov. 17 and 18, 2016). The response was over the top. Attendees of both sold out venues found him to be very engaging and his message deeply meaningful. You could have heard a pin drop as he spoke. As host, I was very pleased with how accessible he made himself to our guests who lined up to shake his hand, have their picture taken and speak with him. The challenge we are now faced with is how do we meet the expectations we have set for the quality of our speaker at next year’s event because it is near impossible to expect that we will exceed them.”The Manitoba Club
“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.”CIPMA
“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!”SunLife
“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.”IBM
“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