Ross Laird, Ph.D. is a best-selling author, acclaimed educator, and award-winning scholar. He is a sought-after speaker on themes of personal and professional development, mentorship, leadership, addictions, mental health, and creativity. Ross has worked with hundreds of organizations and thousands of individual clients and students, from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to corporate boardrooms and university classrooms across North America.
Ross is interested in the spaces between things, in the unspoken, in the unexamined and unexpressed. In his consulting work he focuses on difficult and complex themes such as educational innovation, mental health, addictions, trauma, childhood development, conflict resolution, creativity, leadership, and technology. He has worked with large corporate clients (such as YPO, IKEA, and Translink), governmental organizations (such as Vancouver Coastal Health and the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development), post-secondary educational institutions (such as UBC and Simon Fraser University), professional organizations (such as the Business Council of BC and the BC Union of Psychiatric Nurses), independent schools (such as St. George’s, Southridge, and Crofton House), nonprofit organizations (such as the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, First United, and the Canadian Cancer Society), and many other groups. Please see the organizations and projects pages for more information.
Ross is a frequent guest on radio and television, to speak on topics related to mental health, addictions, parenting, creativity, education, and adolescent development. He has appeared on CBC’s Tapestry, North by Northwest, The Early Edition, Daybreak North, and on the CBC Evening News. Ross has also appeared on Bravo’s Book Television, CityTV’s Breakfast Television, and on CKNW’s World Today, Morning News, and Bill Good shows. Ross has also been profiled in the Vancouver Sun.
Ross’ first book, Grain of Truth, appeared on the Macleans national bestseller list. Ross is also a recipient of the Union Institute’s Sussman Award for Academic Excellence for “ultimate academic achievement at the doctoral level.” His doctoral dissertation, which subsequently was adapted into book form as Grain of Truth: The Ancient Lessons of Craft, was shortlisted for the 2001 Governor General’s Award (the highest literary award in Canada) and the BC Book Prize. Grain of Truth was voted one of the 100 most important books of 2001 by the Globe and Mail and by Spirituality and Health magazine. Ross is also the recipient of the 1997 Cecilia B. Lamont poetry prize.
Ross’ second book, A Stone’s Throw, explains the origins of the mythologies of Egypt, Israel, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Ross demonstrates how these mythologies have become the source of the most pressing conflicts in the contemporary world, from the Palestinian uprisings to September 11 to the war on terror. A Stone’s Throw continues the themes of creativity and spirituality that Ross explored in Grain of Truth: The Ancient Lessons of Craft. Traversing five thousand years of history, and from his perspective as a craftsman sculpting stone in his shop, A Stone’s Throw follows the evolution of sacred mythologies from the pharaohs and their pyramids to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the sacred Kaaba stone in Mecca, the Washington Monument, and the World Trade Center. A Stone’s Throw offers readers a means of understanding the contemporary world with greater depth and clarity. It lays bare the shared heritage of religions, of peoples, of the essential themes of human nature.
Ross is an instructor in counselling, psychology, interdisciplinary expressive arts, new media, and creative writing. He has taught at many educational institutions, including Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Community College, The Union Institute and University, Antioch University, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where he is a recipient of the Dean of Arts Award for Teaching Excellence.
Ross is a frequent speaker at conferences, is a registered member of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, and is the 2003 recipient of the Association’s Communications Award.
Ross enjoys running, rock climbing, woodworking, and exploring the vanishing wilderness. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Ross has stretched and supported me far more than anyone else has in growing into my potential, and I know he has done the same for others. He gave us the opportunity to be, and to see each other, as fully human. What more could we ask for?
– Tierney Wisniewski, Research Associate
Ross is one of the most genuinely creative individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. I would recommend Ross to any organization that wants an exceptional and memorable experience.
– Jamie Billingham, BC Nonprofit Housing Association
Ross imparts his wisdom with such ease and playful enthusiasm one is often surprised at just how much skill and knowledge is acquired.
– Margo O’Hara, Hope Bridge Services
Ross was a catalyst in my development to reconnect with my passion for leadership. Through his example of consistency, compassion, and intelligence, I felt empowered to take control of my education. I feel inspired by his integrity and his intense love of education, cultural understanding, and knowledge.
– Amanda Smith-Weston, former student
Based on conversations I’ve had with many students over the years, I know that I’m not alone in believing that Ross Laird has been one of the most influential people in my life.
– Yvonne Stewart, Amazon field school participant
Ross is simultaneously brilliant and humble; forceful and gentle; present and silent. He is a front line educator who is on fire and who has that rare talent for igniting the minds and hearts of every learner and colleague he encounters.
– Farhad Dastur, Psychologist
Ross is a creative genius. He uses his creativity to enrich the lives of his students by showing them how they can be successful not just in school but in life.
– Andrews Owusu, former student
In his classrooms I have observed students, including myself, come out of their shells, contribute with purpose and meaning to class discussion and activities, and have transformative learning experiences.
– Lee Beavington, interdisciplinary educator
Ross is more than just an educator. Ross is a mentor, a tutor and a learner himself.
– Douglas Hinche, former student
Ross Laird teaches like no other. He leads by example and is always ready to share his knowledge and wisdom. The enthusiasm that is found in and outside of the classroom with his students is phenomenal.
– Bonnie Chi, Amazon field school participant
His experiences have given him an abundance of empathy and universal wisdom. His enthusiasm for learning is palpable and invigorating.
– Connell Green, Amazon field school participant
Ross’ teaching has inspired me to do more than I thought possible, to view challenges as opportunities for growth and exploration, and it has utterly changed how I view education.
– Sheridan Taylor, former student
Ross’ welcoming and caring nature helps to foster an environment whereby learners can engage with one another on a more intimate and understanding level. Ross encourages us to push boundaries, to play, to explore, to create, and to reflect.
– Braeden Saucy, media artist
I have never had an educator influence me more. I have learned more in my time with Ross than in the rest of my education combined. I am a better student, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend because of my opportunity to learn from Ross.
– Christine Kwan, former student
Ross has made such a positive impact on my life and on those of my peers. He has helped us realize that we are able of creating and walking our own paths. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
– Abbey Ratcliff, former student