Bio & Keynote Address


Kathleen May is a writer, speaker, and activist.

Having begun as a volunteer, she is a crisis counsellor at a women’s shelter. Kathleen’s keynote address on Survivor Resiliency has been well received by agencies and those with lived experience alike, and she regularly speaks for smaller groups about self-care for activists, empowerment self-defence, finding purpose in writing, and the paradigm shifts needed in a world becoming unfamiliar. See below for detailed descriptions of speaking and workshop topics.

Kathleen writes a column for Doppler Online on subjects like environmentalism, addiction and mental health, and the strides still needed for a just world for women.

Kathleen is a 2018 YWCA Woman of Distinction and also received the Best Author award for her 2018 manuscript submission at the Muskoka Novel Marathon.

Kathleen finds joy in nature as a solo hiker, and in writing, where she weaves stories of complex female characters in worlds both real and imaginary.

Her current project is a sustainable women’s land co-operative in Muskoka. To support this, follow her tiny home journey.




Survivor Resiliency

Kathleen May offers a compelling Keynote Address, sharing components of her story as a survivor of child sexual abuse, struggles with finding her voice and feeling heard, and how she channeled these experiences into uplifting and sharing women’s stories to change the world.

This address, when delivered to an audience of professionals, usually in the field of Violence Against Women, challenges people to radically adjust their approach to interacting with survivors and victims of sexual assault and identify their own biases. Kathleen offers especial insight into why systems and agencies so often fail women and outlines the necessary dramatic shift needed to repair this.

When speaking to survivors or victims of abuse or sexual violence, Kathleen redirects the message into one of resilience, power, and recovery. Still based in a deeply vulnerable sharing, this Address focuses on the actions and awareness needed to thrive after trauma. She deftly interconnects personal stories, passions, and humour, to forge an encompassing perspective on healing.


Unlocking Your Instincts

Together with Nancy Osborne CD, Kathleen May co-facilitates a workshop designed by women for women. Reconnect with the inherited instincts that allow you to quickly recognize an unsafe situation, realistically assess the risk and appropriately respond in line with your own personal level of risk tolerance.  The day moves along the spectrum of managing non-verbal, verbal and physical intimidation and confrontation. I GOT THIS believes that self-defense is a place where the psychological, emotional, and physical come together to foster a dynamic shift in our perception of power.  Unlocking Your Instincts isn’t about what NOT to do – it’s about saying, “I GOT THIS!


Girls, Young Women, and Purpose in a World on Fire

Being a young woman today means being an activist in a fight you were born into. But girls and young women aren’t given the proper tools to engage – in fact, most of the skills that would help the most are strategically withheld.

In this highly visual, eye-opening, and playful talk, Kathleen addresses girls as young as 12 and as old as 19 to deliver important messages of self-love, assertiveness, boundaries, and solidarity. Using the language of her audience, Kathleen offers experience and relatability, while remaining age-appropriate and accessible. This talk delves into climate change, rape culture, and the erasure of women from history, and counters them with healthy strategies for resilience, adaptation, and finding purpose – together.


Fall in Love with the Blank Page

Writers seem to have a lot of enemies. The empty ink well, out-of-production typewriter ribbon, shattered #2 pencil, and shorted laptop keyboard. Or what about the mental foes? The fatigue, fear, brain fog… Distraction, procrastination, perfectionism. The dreaded writer’s block, even. With so much working against us, it’s a wonder we put pen to paper at all.

Kathleen May can’t cure writer’s block – it’s all in your mind, after all. But she’d love to talk to you about overcoming one particular adversary: the blank page. As a four-time participant and 2018 winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon, Kathleen knows this struggle end-to-end. She’ll start her talk where all good stories should start – right in the middle of the action – and then take you on a journey to her authorly origins, the how and why of writing in her world. She finishes with exercises that absolutely no one will hate, leaving you with tools to pull out whenever the writing demons get a little feisty. This interactive and innovative writing workshop combines learned skills and new approaches, and elements of conflict resolution and self-awareness.


Bespoke Workshops and Talks

Kathleen can gear one of these talks, or a combination thereof, to essentially any audience hoping to gain insight into the subjects above. Inquire at

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