Husband & wife team Tanya McCready & Hank DeBruin, owners of Winterdance Dogsled Tours, enjoy sharing their story and building the bridge between the corporate world and their 1000-mile arctic dogsled race one. Their mission is to inspire teams to overcome challenges and reach their goals through improved teamwork, leadership, and vision. Having run the 1000 mile 2010 & 2012 Iditarod and the 1000 mile 2011 & 2014 Yukon Quests (plus many 200-400 mile races) the lessons and insights into how leaders inspire & teams work together to thrive are as vast and unique as the landscapes they have dogsledded through... and the same principles that apply to their huskies also apply to your team.
Profile / Bio
21 years ago, Hank and Tanya quit their jobs and moved to Ontario's
wilderness to build their dream of starting a business, a family and
creating a lifestyle around their beloved Siberian Huskies.
Their business, Winterdance Dogsled Tours welcomes over 2000 guests from around the globe every winter. From day tours, to moonlit tours, to heli dogsledding, and recently, virtual dogsledding tours, they have stayed true to their dream and built Winterdance to what it is today.
Hank and their huskies have had many adventures from Maine to Alaska including competing in six 1000-mile races in Alaska and the Yukon. Out of the many lessons and countless stories from these races, a corporate presentation was born that focuses on building and leading great teams through challenging times.
Hank and Tanya also have a 2500 tree maple syrup farm and have co-written 2 books. Their latest book, Journey of 1000 Miles released just last Christmas has become an international best seller.
They share their lives with their 4 children, 150 huskies and 5 cats.
While it may seem like the 2 worlds are at polar opposites (pun intended!), the connections and lessons to be learned and applied leave audiences taken back and engaged time and time again. Tanya connects the corporate & dogsledding worlds and shares lessons, demonstrations and examples, while Hank holds audiences spell bound with his stories of what it takes to race a team of huskies 1000 miles through the Alaskan & Yukon wilderness.
What is the most important role of a leader? How do you take your team/company to the next level? The tactics that we use to train and lead a team across 1000 miles of wilderness are the exact same tactics you need to take a team to your organizations next level of success. There is no great team without a great leader and no great leader without a great team.
How do you build a team that has your back no matter what? Time, dedication, trust, practice, and making sure you not only know your team incredibly well but also know where they thrive best. We'll share principles how we build teams that inspire and work together seamlessly under the toughest conditions.
From literally climbing mountains to getting past crushing public defeats, we can share the strategies that have helped our team get past these challenging times so your team can too.
National Sales Director
We had the great pleasure of having Tanya from Winterdance Dogsled
Tours present to our Corporate group, telling a fascinating story about
her and her husband's journey to overcome obstacles and persevere
through challenges faced when managing a dogsled team across the Alaskan
The similarities between their journey and the journey of strengthening our team was very relatable and inspirational, particularly the parallels around passion, drive, determination and persistence. Well done Tanya, your message resonated with our management team and you have given us a new perspective on what it takes to be successful when managing through change!
Vice President, Human Resources – LifeLabs
I had the honour of having Tanya and Hank speak at our management meeting on September 21, 2011. The feedback that
received was unprecedented: our team was overwhelmingly positive about the presentation; everyone found it
interesting and were able to see the clear linkages between what we do as leaders in times of challenge and that
of Hank assessing and developing his leaders, creating a team that can work in alignment, and then through a
relationship of trust, leading that team 1,000 miles across Alaska and the Yukon. Hank and Tanya's easy and
down-to-earth style really resonated with our audience. I will be having them back to deliver the same presentation
o another group of our leadership team in November.
The following quotes round out the sentiments of some of the audience members: "Fantastic, very genuine and from the heart. Directly applies to what we have learned [about leadership]. We should use them in other meetings". "Genuine, passionate presenters who were able to relate their business to our corporate environment". "Excellent presentation – Hank's charm was that he was 'real' and had the direct experience". "The content is excellent – Hank is accessing a very visceral part of the human experience and there is no such thing as a boring story or one that takes 'too long'; we love hearing about it. Tanya, you are a great natural presenter and the parallels you draw to corporate life are very pertinent. You and your team have a winning formula and boardrooms everywhere will benefit from your presentation".
Program Manager, National Research and Education Network (CANARIE)
Tanya is one of the most down to earth, humble, and authentic speakers I have ever heard! Even in a virtual setting, her stories about overcoming adversity, inspiring teams, and collaboration were incredibly moving and inspiring. She has a natural way of engaging listeners and really hitting some key concepts home – without hitting you over the head with them. Her talk was the perfect way to kick off our Governance Committee meeting with executive leaders from across the country – drawing parallels from her journey to ours and setting the stage for the strategic topics we are working on together…as a team. Thank-you again, Tanya – it was a privilege to have you speak to us and an experience that I will not soon forget!
Your story was so inspirational and moving, I cried through most of it. First, I must tell you that as a story teller, you are in a class of your own! There are many great speakers, but few great story tellers. You told your story with such poise and passion. Your dedication and love of your dogs, your husband and building your business through extreme challenges was clear and shining through every sentence. You are THE BEST EVER story teller!
International School of Geneva
Tanya presented the trials and tribulations of her husband Hank's exploits in the Iditarod with panache, humour and modesty. Despite the need for a 'virtual' talk, she kept our 70 plus students at the International School of Geneva completely entertained throughout. Her tales of endurance, and overcoming challenges, resonated profoundly with our students and gave them a slice of something that most of them would never imagine. While many speakers focus on leadership, Tanya taught them that success in dog-sledding (and by analogy life) comes through teamwork and cooperation where everyone, no matter what their gifts, has an important role to play.
Chief of Police
I recently had the opportunity to have Tanya McCready of Winterdance Dogsled Tours in Haliburton present to our leadership team and share their amazing story of the journey they have undertaken. Their message of overcoming the many challenges they faced through teamwork, leadership and vision was incredibly inspiring and connected with our team in so many ways. I would definitely recommend them to others.
Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce
Oh my goodness, your speech - incredible! We have a Collaborative
Womens group associated with the Chamber, and you'd be an AMAZING
speaker for an event. PLEASE say I can bring it forward as a suggestion
to our leadership team!!
It's not easy to capture my full attention, especially on a virtual event, but you did and your presentation really stuck with me. When I got my hands on a copy of your and Hank's book, I read it in a day. There are so many elements of your story that I can relate to, and add that to stories about dogs, and the wilderness, it's really captivating.
Jalynn Bosley & Sam Dear
ALIVE Outdoors Directors
Hank and Tanya, owners and founders of Winterdance Dogsledding have an incredibly inspiring story. It encompasses so many of
the key life skills and values that create the foundation of a successful life. Their story and message touches on the power
of perseverance, the importance of resiliency, teamwork and how each person and dog plays a unique and vital role in making
it to the finish line. This finish line is not just the finish line of a dogsledding race, but also the successful meeting of
any hard fought goal. Their story is about triumphs, how failure can be our best teacher, and placing the care of others at the
forefront of mind. Their story is also about love, connection, following your dreams and the undying bond between humans and dogs.
It is an emotional story, that time and time again has left the students and teachers that we work with inspired and engaged.
We highly recommend Winterdance for dogsledding adventures. As well, if you are looking for speakers for a conference, a workshop or any group where you are looking to motivate your team, Hank and Tanya will unquestionably deliver a story that touches on endless lessons in a manner that is fueled with heart and spirit."
The Canadian Forces Language School
Tanya is an inspirational and knowledgeable speaker who is able to share
details of her and her husband’s journey of
raising huskies. This is no ordinary story. Huskies are central to it.
Tanya tells of their races with insight into the human condition and shares
poignant moments which reveal how much trust exists
between them and their dogs.
As a speaker, Tanya is informed. She is passionate. She is committed and she breathes life into her story naturally because in telling it she is telling you who she, her husband and their dogs are.
Principal of Haliburton Highlands Secondary School 1993-2010
Trustee for Trillium Lakelands District School Board 2010-2020
It is my pleasure to write a testimonial message about the team
Winterdance Dogsled Tours. I’ve had the privilege to
hear their presentation many times and each time I come away filled with
new knowledge that has helped me personally
and the organization I work within. Their message is about grit,
honesty, enthusiasm, joy, fear, passion and will bring out
all your inner emotions.
If your organization needs a breathtaking team building presentation then book Winterdance Dogsled Tours now I guarantee you will not be disappointed. My last point would be to check out their web site-"its mandogs trying to conquer nature" unbelievable adventure that captures real life experiences.
As past Mayor and Warden of Haliburton County for over 30 years, I am
pleased to know the McCready-DeBruin family and the entrepreneurial strengths they have displayed.
Of the many careers Hank and Tanya have mastered, successfully
I might add, was the idea of a live presentation to demonstrate how to strengthen teamwork and
leadership roles in an organization.
Dysart Township Council and Administrative Staff were privileged to enjoy this verbal and live action demonstration. In talking to Council and Staff, it was well received to show leadership and how working as a team, challenges although difficult can be overcome. I found this presentation was versatile and could benefit everyone as members of Government, Service Clubs, and small and large Corporations. I highly recommend any organization having an opportunity to participate.
Your presentation is one that I see of hope and of dreams and a great
deal of leadership. I totally believe that any
military organization around the world would be honored to listen in on
I was in the United States Air Force for just over 24 years; I know a little bit about leadership, about motivation, about the sheer will to get to that next ridge. All of the things you portray. A journey of 1,000 miles on a dog sled is a LONG trip; until you start breaking it into smaller rest/run cycles. We do much of the same within the military – get to that next ridge that you can see with binoculars, get around that next ,hostile city without being detected, go just a little farther than you ever thought you could.
The motivation that you have to lead your troops or in your case the motivation that you all instill in those dogs to get to that next checkpoint and vice versa, the dogs motivating Hank enough to continue on. It’s a journey that so many in this world have to travel. I think you all are well inclined to be able to tell your story within military circles; another level of motivation for the troops out there! I greatly thank you for all that you do and honestly wish you nothing but success in the years to come.
You are all on a very different path; not one of just running a business and hopping on a sled with dogs pulling you into the cold darkness. You’re on a trail to motivate others to lead their own way through this crazy life that we live!
Manager, Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce
This presentation was like no other. Tanya and Hank provide such an encouraging and inspiring
message in the most heartfelt way possible. Their stories are captivating on their own, but
their ability to take those experiences and apply them to the everyday, real life struggles of
being a business owner is truly amazing.
Their presentation gave everyone the courage to face the next challenge head on and overcome it no matter what. What is more, their insights on teamwork are unparalleled. Everyone in the room couldn’t wait to run back to their organization and start building up their team, implementing all of the wisdom Tanya and Hank were kind enough to share. We never wanted the presentation to end.
I highly recommend this presentation to any association, business, or organization – you will not be disappointed.
President, 4Seasons Probus Club, Collingwood
On behalf of the 4Seasons Probus Club, Collingwood, Ontario, I would
like to thank you for taking the time to speak to our group via Zoom.
Your presentation was really amazing. It was interesting to hear how
you started your business and the challenges you over came. The story of the races,
what the dogs are capable of doing and what they and the Musher must endure is truly impressive.
I could tell by the resounding applause at the end (something we have never done on Zoom before) that everyone was touched by your story and truly enjoyed it.
President, Polson, Montana, USA Rotary
Your passion for life, family and for your dogs is amazing! Our members came up to me as they left our meeting, either thanking me for getting such a engaging program, or to ask if I recorded the program so they could share with their family. Your message was clear and the presentation flowed very well. Thank you!
Iditarod DreamerJump on the sled and join Winterdance Dogsled Tours owner Hank DeBruin and his family from Haliburton, Ontario, Canada along with his team of 20 Purebred Siberian Huskies for a year in their life preparing for and competing in Alaska's 1000 mile Iditarod. A goal that Hank has passionately pursued for 10+ years.
Journey of 1000 MIlesPick up where Iditarod Dreamer left off with Hank dealing with not completing his dream. But adventure is around the corner as he signs up for the 2011 1000 mile Yukon Quest. Jump on the runners again with Hank and his lead dogs Lily, Strider and the rest of the team as they set out to prove they do have what it takes to reach a 1000 mile race finish line.
Limited speaking engagements are available each year in the spring, summer and fall. Please contact us for available dates and more information.
Corporate dogsledding retreats (with our partners at pinestone-resort.com) are also available in the winter and make for excellent team building! Depending on Hank’s race schedule a speaking engagement can sometimes be added in the evening to these retreats.