If we could put the passion, the heart, the drive that is in our dogs into your organization? There is nothing you couldn't accomplish!
Janice Fendley, CMP
Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police Corporate Event Manager
Tanya McCready, Winterdance Dogsled Tours, provided an inspiring Opening Keynote Presentation at our Annual Conference this past June. We have had many polished, great speakers over the years, but none with such a passionate fresh voice and gifted storyteller. Her message of the importance of communication, leadership, teamwork, and overcoming adversity is shared with the audience through her amazing stories that come straight from the heart. This is my 15th year organizing the conference and it is not very often that I have seen our group give their undivided attention to a keynote speaker, but this was certainly the case with Tanya. She will remain in my files as a must see keynote speaker!
I have had the great pleasure of attending two sessions where Tanya eloquently shared her and Hank’s incredibly inspiring story. Tanya has a terrific gift of telling a story without the need for any visual support, that has you captivated by the journey and absolutely hanging on to every word. There is a wonderful subtleness with the messaging which leaves the audience very clearly understanding the parallels to their own leadership journey and responsibilities, against the inspiring challenges of Tanya and Hank’s entrepreneurial endeavors, coupled with the desire to compete in extremely dangerous and challenging events.
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!
President, Ontario Mining Association
Thank you to Tanya McCready of Winterdance Dogsled Tours for sharing her and Hank DeBruin's incredible story with members of the Ontario Mining Association, and for brilliantly linking it to our personal experiences by exploring themes of leadership, resilience, talent-recognition and teamwork. You provided many valuable lessons on how effective leaders inspire teams to perform, adapt and innovate – as useful in a mine or corporate office as during a grueling 1000-mile race!
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!
Senior Vice President, Redpath Mining Inc., North Bay, Ontario
Tanya and Hank came to tell their story on the opening day of our three-day Global Executive planning meeting which took place in Ottawa, in May this year (2022). There were people in attendance from Africa, Australia, Europe, and Canada. After a long Covid hiatus, and seeing people in-person for the first time in over 2 years, the emotional and moving Winterdance story of team building, developing team trust and bonding which, through perseverance, culminated in many team accomplishments despite the hardships, was perfect for the situation we had all found ourselves going through in our business regions around the world. Tanya and Hank’s down to earth approach, coupled with their open and honest communication style resonated well with our group of seasoned mining construction executives. What they have to say isn’t just a story about dogs – it is story about life, relationships and the power of a team!
President & CEO, BCNET
A powerful and genuine storyteller
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!
In 1999 Tanya quit her job as an Environmental Engineer, gave up her plans to go to law school. Hank quit his job as a millwright, they rented out their house and moved to the wilderness of Haliburton, Ontario, to chase a dream of starting a business, a lifestyle and a family around their beloved dogs. Winterdance was born.
Winterdance now welcomes over 2000 guests from around the globe every winter to experience travelling through the Winterdance with their beloved huskies .
Hank and their huskies have had many adventures from Maine to Alaska including competing in six 1000-mile races in Alaska and the Yukon. The lessons and stories that have come from these races have created 2 best selling books. The latest Journey of 1000 Miles has become an international best seller.
Tanya, Hank and their huskies have been featured in some of the biggest media outlets in the world including CNN and New York Times to name a few. Their huskies have been featured in dozens of TV shows, movies, commercials and music videos.
Tanya and Hank also have a 2500 tree maple syrup farm on their 2,000 acre property. They share their lives with their 4 children, 150 huskies and 3 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.
In March of 2022, Tanya had the opportunity to return to the University of Guelph to deliver a Tedx talk. UofG is where Tanya graduated with her degree in Engineering and where Tanya and Hank adopted their first husky pup and tried dogsledding. It is where the idea of Winterdance was born.
The title of Tanya's talk is "Through the Storm" and is based around a story that hasn't been included in one of their books yet. A storm that Hank and the team ran through in their 2012 thousand mile Iditarod race. While the story is about blizzards and a dogteam in Alaska, it is also a parable that we can all relate to dealing with storms in our lives.