Episode 9- Kindergarten Teacher’s Pathway to Becoming a Published Author and Professional Consultant!

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Ryan Warriner is a Professor of Communication, as well as the Director and Executive Coach of Professional Presentation Services. With over a decade of professional speaking experience and expertise, Ryan has mastered the art and science of enhancing communication. He has developed a compassionate, strategic, highly effective approach to navigate professional communication. He empowers individuals and teams to optimize their communication and maximize their success

Transcript

Speaker 1:
Welcome to Reimagining Schools, a podcast from The Edupreneur Academy. Today, I’m talking with Ryan Warriner of Toronto. He’s going to talk to us a little bit about his background in K-12 education, and how he became an educational entrepreneur who is now an author, a professor, and has his own business doing consulting work.
Speaker 1:
Hi, Ryan. Thank you for joining me today. How are you doing?
Ryan Warriner:
I’m doing great. Thanks. It’s my pleasure. Happy to be here.
Speaker 1:
Yeah. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. We actually met through LinkedIn. And so it’s been interesting using that platform to get to know other educational entrepreneurs around the world. And so I know you’re in Canada. And so I’d love for you to just start by telling us a little bit about your background, and your experience in education, and maybe a little bit about how you got started with entrepreneurship.
Ryan Warriner:
Yeah, sure. Happy to. I grew up in Southern Ontario, and I went through the Ontario school system. And somewhere along the ways, I just realized that… I didn’t know if I was going to be any good at it, but I just knew that I enjoyed teaching other people and helping them. I was always one of those tutor in the classroom types of students. And yeah. So I had, I guess you could say, that passion. It developed into a passion later on, but that was my… when you’re 17, 18, you’re leaving high school, you’re not really sure exactly what you want to do, but you know what activities you enjoy spending your time doing, and that’s something. I remember back in high school where we have to do a certain amount of community service in order to graduate, a certain amount of hours. I think it’s 50 hours.
Ryan Warriner:
And we have a list of options that you’re able to choose from, and I always chose with volunteering with Cub Scouts, or volunteering in a classroom. I always enjoyed that most, helping some of the younger students. And yeah. So my path in education, I decided to study developmental psychology to learn how people think, how people learn, how they absorb knowledge, and why some people are more adept at applying the knowledge than others, and all that good stuff. I learned that in university and then I went to teachers college and I became a teacher as my first career. I started out teaching kindergarten, which is funny. I think it’s so funny because I loved it.
Ryan Warriner:
I remember just waking up and just smiling like, “Yeah, I get to go do this again.” But now I think back on it, and I’m like, “I don’t know how I did it. They just have so much energy and I don’t know what happened.” I’m getting old now, but yeah. So I started teaching kindergarten and then I taught grade 3 and I taught grade 6, and eventually I taught grade 10. And then somewhere along the ways, I ended up deciding to go back to do another master’s degree and to become a professor. I think I wanted to get more involved with the research and more learning about the practices that we use, and trying to really propel and advance those to keep up with the changing technology and the changing times so that we can really equip our students and empower of them to be most successful after education, right? From my perspective, that’s what it’s about. It’s about. how can we best set them up for success in the time that we have with them?
Ryan Warriner:
So I really endeavored to learn more about that, and yeah, that led me to became a college professor. And then shortly after that, I became a university professor where I currently hold a position. But in parallel, when I first became a professor, a few friends of mine were in the Bay Area in California, and they had… two or three of them had their own startup companies, and one of them had already received some funding for investment, but the other two were in the midst of pitching. They were raising their funds for investment. And I happened to be down there just on a vacation, and they were discussing their strategies and what they were planning to do, and I just offered a couple suggestions. I felt the need to contribute and they liked them. And as a matter of fact, I ended up extending my trip to stay there and work with them and coach them on how to speak more effectively, how to deliver it more impactfully. And yeah, ever since then, that pushed me down that road to… people call it professional services, but I just call it consulting and coaching. I just try to add as much value as I can to folks.
Speaker 1:
That’s great. Yeah. What an interesting combination of skills and background that you have with the education pitch and getting to teach young students like that. And you’re right, that is exhausting work. I think I was in a kindergarten class for just a few weeks and I thought… I was young at the time too. So I definitely know you have to bring the energy to make that work. And definitely, there are people that are very good at that, but it’s definitely a tough age range, and then just your background with psychology and thinking about how people learn, that’s really interesting as well. So thank you for sharing that. And so I know that you got into a little bit maybe about what you’re doing now, but tell me a little bit more about your coaching, and what is it that you’re doing for your business now?
Ryan Warriner:
Yeah. Well, actually, I just released a book and it’s called The Effective Presenter. And so basically, I put together through research and experiences, I put together a framework that will help anyone, even the most introverted of folks and folks who suffer from speaking anxiety to help them to deliver their message with confidence and effectiveness. So I put together a guide. I just had it published. And right now, due to my publisher’s efforts and partially mine and my network, I’m going on a mini book tour throughout the states to various organizations talking about the messages and the strategies outlined in my book and doing that. So that’s what I’ve been doing predominantly.
Ryan Warriner:
Yeah. I still hold a professor position. So I’m lecturing two courses right now, and I teach communications, business communications, speaking, a lot of different types of intonation, inflection, to convey meaning more effectively and things like that. So typically do those two things. I try to coach and consult as much time as I can with people who are looking to level up their game as far as communication.
Speaker 1:
That’s amazing work and congratulations on the book. And would you share the name of the book with us so we can look that up?
Ryan Warriner:
Sure. Yeah. It’s called The Effective Presenter. I actually have it right here. I know we’re not doing video probably, but yeah, it’s the complete… so the winning formula for business presentations. And yeah, honestly, it’s been a project I’ve been working on for years. Folks, usually, they buzz me or they ping me when they have a question, and I noticed I was getting the same questions and I can’t be in all places at once. So I said, “Okay, I’ll just create this resource so that if I’m not there, they can refer to it, and it’s going to be permanently there.”
Speaker 1:
Yeah. Well, very cool. Well, this wasn’t a question that was on the list. So I’m going to put you on the spot here for a second. I think you can answer this one. Just because of your experience in both Canada and the US, I am curious about… Because you have that background with the educational systems in both places, is there anything that stands out to you that you would say, “Man, Canada’s doing a great job of this in education and this is an area that I see the US could do better at?” I mean, having seen both worlds, what would you say are some of the things that you’ve noticed about the systems?
Ryan Warriner:
Well, the first thing that springs to mind, I remember when I was teaching in the… I taught in New York for a little while. And when I taught there, I was shocked at a couple things. One, that there was not as much recess and break time for the students as there was in Ontario. In Ontario, the students were… they had three recesses a day and the longest one, the lunch recess, being over 40 minutes. It was 45 minutes for the kids to run and play around. And when I was in New York, I think they had one. Yeah. So that was eye-opening for me. Another thing was in the States, they have nap time for kindergartners, which I was like, “Wow, I wish I had that in Canada,” but I can’t speak to the effectiveness of that, like you said, pedagogically, but some of the differences.
Ryan Warriner:
I also noticed… I can tell you as far as the content and what’s being taught, I’d have to think on that as far as the different curriculum respectively. But one thing I did notice was that in Canada, it’s different in that things are more open. And when I first went to teach at a New York school, all the windows were barred or caged, and I remember I had to go through a metal detector to get in. And I remember I had to sign in and I remember there was a lot of process for me to go into the school. In Canada, it was just open the door and you walk in. It was much less. I don’t know what it’s like now. I haven’t taught in probably a decade, but going back, yeah, I remember that was eyeopening too. The first time I went through it, I remember not being sure. I’m like, “Is this a special day? Is president coming here today? Is something happening?” But yeah, I guess it was like that every day.
Speaker 1:
Yeah, that’s really interesting. And my bachelor’s degree was actually in health and sports science. So I didn’t think it was going to be teaching, but I was in coaching, sports coaching. And so that definitely is something that I’ve always thought was really important too, and just knowing about the brain and how it functions and kids and what they need in terms of activity. I think that that’s something that Canada was probably doing a really good job of that we need to figure out how to do better. Just making sure that kids have that play time and downtime. That’s not just true in Canada, but other countries as well that see better educational results than the US does. So that’s interesting. I was just curious about your experience with that, and I wish that we didn’t have as many needs to have all the security that we do in schools now. Obviously, that hasn’t really improved over the years. In fact, that’s gotten more of a concern. So yeah, that’s an unfortunate reality as well, but it’s interesting to see the differences of how the two countries do things. So thank you for sharing that.
Ryan Warriner:
No problem. Sorry. Can I add one thing? My mind goes super fast sometimes. Yeah. One more thing I remember is this is probably comedy. You’ll be like, “Yeah, Ryan, I know it.” The patriotism was unbelievable. It was unbelievable. I talked about when I was in the States, it was just… everyone had hand on heart for the national anthem and throughout the day and the flags were everywhere and it was about respect and freedom and there was a lot of… Yeah. I remember that being very pronounced. And in Canada, we stand up for the national anthem as well, but when people say like, “Where are you from in Canada or where are you from?” Most people say, “Oh, my mother’s Italian and my father’s from England,” or something that.
Speaker 1:
From your family origin?
Ryan Warriner:
Not exactly, but yeah. Not my family origin, but yeah. Sorry. Most people will say where their family came from. But in the States, it’s always, “Where are you from?” “I’m from America.” “Okay. All right. That’s that then.” So for me, I’m like, “Oh, I know that, but where did your family come from?” And so there was a little bit of that. I remember that being a thing too. So it’s flooding back in with memories.
Speaker 1:
Interesting distinction too. I wouldn’t have guessed that, but I can see how that definitely would be true. I think that there’s probably a need to understand more about people’s backgrounds because we are so diverse, and yeah. So that’s really interesting. Thank you for sharing that.
Ryan Warriner:
No problem.
Speaker 1:
Well, switches back over to entrepreneurship and education again, but just thinking about when you were… so back when you were teaching and you met this group of friends that was in these business ventures. So how did you get started in doing your own thing? What were some of the early things that you did to help yourself get started in entrepreneurship and figuring out how to create a business?
Ryan Warriner:
Yeah, that’s a great question because to be honest, I still haven’t quite mastered the whole business part because in my heart, I’m a teacher. I’m not a business person. But essentially, what happened was I remember being with them and they had asked me for some help and I helped them. And the pitches went well. And then shortly afterwards, I get an email from them saying, “Thanks again for your help. My friend, Roy, him and Sally, they have a startup and they’re pitching next week. Can you help them?” And so it grew organically and to the point where then I started doing a little bit more, broadening my scope. So I worked with one company, they’re a real estate company, a tech real estate company. And they asked me to come back and do some… Can you do some team cohesiveness training? Right? And I said, “Yeah, no problem.”
Ryan Warriner:
So I did the research on that and put together a couple days worth of training and workshops, et cetera. So that evolved into that. So really, I have to say a lot of it was from my friends and from my contacts, my network that I had established. They were great in referring me. They realized the value that I could bring to optimizing… they call it the human capital, leveling up people and in their abilities, in their communication, and also their performance. And identifying from my objective perspective because I’m on the outside coming in saying, “Is this a workflow problem, a process problem, or is it a people? Do the people need to be better trained or do they need to be put in better positions to succeed?”
Ryan Warriner:
So diagnosing that and then strategizing what’s the best way to address those and resolve those issues. It grew organically, and I have to credit a lot to my friends at the time, they spotted the value because I wasn’t sure. I was like, “Are you sure? Yeah. I usually do research and I teach 120 students who are studying engineering and they need communication skills.” And he’s like, “No, no, no, trust me. Out here, we need it. There’s presentations that you sit through and we don’t even know what the point was. We need your help.” So they persuaded me. They gave me the push because I wasn’t sure that I could actually add value and I hate wasting people’s time. So yeah. Sorry. I hope that was a good answer.
Speaker 1:
That totally makes sense. And I think that you said something there that was important about how you feel like you’re still a teacher at heart, and the business part has not been maybe as intuitive for you. But I do think that we need to think about teaching in lots of different ways. Obviously, businesses teach too as well. Our leaders are teachers, and in most roles that you have really part of your job if you’re training or working with anybody else is to teach. And so I think that’s great that you figured out how to merge those two together. As you were thinking about your business startup and getting going with this, are there any early challenges that you faced starting the business, and how did you overcome those initial challenges?
Ryan Warriner:
As far as challenges, yeah. I mean, I operated independently, set off referrals for probably the first year before a few friends of mine told me, “Okay, listen, you have to have a website and you have to have something out there,” because I was literally just getting… I said, “Send to my email,” and I would get a personal email, and then I’d have a quick call with them, figure out what they wanted and how I could best help them. And then they’d either fly me out there or we’d do a little bit of it remotely or what have you. We’d work something out. So like I said, my friends were really my guide through this whole thing because they were in business their whole lives and they’re telling me, “You have to have a website. You have to have somewhere to point people to. You have to do this, you have to do that.”
Ryan Warriner:
But probably if you asked me that the largest challenge for me, and again, going back to I’m a teacher at heart, I’m not a business person, I’m not a salesperson, right? And probably sometimes to my detriment. If I can’t help someone, I tell them like, “Sorry, I can’t help you.” I can put you in touch with people who might be able to, but if I don’t feel that I can do it, I’m the first one to be like, “It’s going to be a waste of time for both of us.”
Speaker 1:
Honest feedback.
Ryan Warriner:
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So for me, yeah, probably the biggest thing was charging people, billing. How do I determine the price? What’s my value? I wasn’t from that world at all. So I didn’t know what the going rate was, and it was incredibly difficult to deduce because people don’t have their rates advertised anywhere. There’s some of the professionals that are online, and I’m not the type to go there and to send them an email, “Oh, I’m interested in your services. What’s your rate?” I don’t do that. But yeah, I’m still, like I said, working it out partially because it’s always… it’s not a commodity, right? It’s not like oil, there’s a price on it. That was probably the most challenging thing I’ve had to overcome.
Speaker 1:
Well, what advice would you give to other entrepreneurs that are getting started in terms of how to overcome those kinds of things? What are the things you did to get past that?
Ryan Warriner:
So one thing is if you have mentors, mentors are fantastic. Like I said, your network, you can rely on them, you can bounce some ideas off of them, and that’s effective to you if you have that. A lot of it comes to… unfortunately, there is an element of trial and error, but one thing that I don’t know if it works for everyone because all the people out there who are entrepreneurs, you’re either having a product or a service or some combination of both. So obviously, you can look at your competitors and you can see, and there’s a lot of market data you can endeavor into to find out what a good price point would be for you. But if you don’t have any of those options, like I said, it’s generally good to choose a number, and then just document the response and document the reactions. And then you can adjust the number over time. That’s what I would say, be flexible.
Speaker 1:
Yeah, that’s great advice. And I know I’ve heard a lot of people too talk about how it’s a little scary in the beginning to get started, but you just have to keep taking it one step at a time and start because you can get caught in that trap of thinking about it for years and never really taking the actions to get started. So it sounds even though that was an uncomfortable place for you to be in terms of figuring out a price point, and what you’re going to charge people, but you did one and then that gives you a better foundation for the next one and you can keep working that way until you know. So what are your plans for the future, Ryan? What are you thinking next? Are you going to write some more books or what’s next?
Ryan Warriner:
Yeah. I’m not 100% sure yet on the books. I know there’s a couple publishers that reached out to me, and I do want to write more not because I enjoy writing, but because I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with people. I think it helps a lot. So I’m definitely planning on writing more. I’m just not sure right now. I have a lot of other things on the go. I don’t want to say I bite off more than I can chew, but I definitely fill the outer rim of my plate with stuff. Yeah. I’m planning to in the future to continue to do coaching, to continue to do training. I love being a professor. It’s a great gig and you have access to so much research, and that is really something I’m passionate about. It’s been great for me.
Ryan Warriner:
And the other thing, yeah, I love to give talks. I’m working on a couple TED talks right now, and I love to get up and speak in front of people. I know it’s shocking, but yeah, I love talking. I could talk all day. So you got the right person for this episode.
Speaker 1:
Well, and you mentioned too that you, let’s see, you were talking about your tour that you’re going to do in the US. And so I’d love to hear more about that. What cities are you going to? Do you have that planned out yet?
Ryan Warriner:
Loosely, yeah. I think I have 13 places total and then about 4 or 5 additional that are speculative at this point. But yeah. So I have to start in Denver, and then I have to work my way down to Arizona, and then work my way across to Florida, and then finally back up to the true North strong and free, I guess.
Speaker 1:
Well, fantastic. Yeah. Maybe we’ll get to meet at some point. That would be cool.
Ryan Warriner:
That’d be great.
Speaker 1:
Yeah. So how can our listeners find you? I think you’ve got a website now, right? Say that website to our listeners.
Ryan Warriner:
Yeah, no problem. So professionalpresentationservices.com. And yeah, I’m on LinkedIn as well. So you can get a hold of me. If I can help you out in some way, I’d be happy to help you out. So let me know if you want to have a call or anything and we’ll see what we can set up.
Speaker 1:
Yeah. I think that’s so great. I think what a lot of our listeners were looking for is just other entrepreneurs that have been down this pathway, and just thinking about how they got through their challenges and struggles to move forward and to create successful businesses is important for them to hear. And is there, just as a final thought, anything else that you’d to share or advice or other information that you can think of that our entrepreneurs might want to hear about?
Ryan Warriner:
Yeah. I would just say… I’m trying to think which thing to say. I’ve so many in my mind, but yeah, I would say to anyone who’s considering branching out and going into entrepreneurship, I would say to them there is really no roadmap. If you’re looking for a one size fits all or just follow this recipe and you will be successful, that there’s not one unfortunately. You are going to be in uncharted territories. You’re going to find yourself in situations where you’re not sure what to do. You don’t know where your heading is, or where you’re supposed to be going next, and you’re not sure how to get there. But the research shows that the number one commonality between all successful endeavors is persistence. So if you continue at it, eventually, you will succeed.
Speaker 1:
That’s great advice. Yeah. And I am a big fan of Carol Dweck and the grit, growth mindset, those kinds of things. So I’m sure those are probably things that you’ve studied a lot too, and I love that. I do completely agree. We put a lot of focus on test scores and grades sometimes, but what it’s really about is just not giving up and finding a different way because there will always be challenges and difficult things to get through. So you just got to keep persevering and make it happen.
Ryan Warriner:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.
Speaker 1:
Well, thank you so much, Ryan. I appreciate you coming on the podcast today and sharing your background with us. It’s been really interesting and helpful for our listeners to hear. So I just really appreciate you taking the time to do this.
Ryan Warriner:
Yeah. No, it was my pleasure. I hope your listeners get a lot of value out of this. And like I said, if there’s anything I can do, or if you ever want to do this again, I’m happy to come back.
Speaker 1:
Great. Thank you so much. I appreciate. We’ll put all of your information in the show notes as well.

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