Walter William Holmes: author, inspirational speaker, certified life coach
“Find what you love to do and then offer it in some form of service to others!”
My personal perspective and outlook on life:
I was forced to take major steps in changing my lifestyle and overcoming personal life challenges. For example: I am a survivor of extreme physical and mental abuse; I was given up at birth; I was diagnosed with a speech and learning disorder, I learned to live with A.D.H.D; I was bullied because of my color; I attempted suicide twice; I was repeatedly sexually abused; I was addicted to street drugs; I was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and then spent eight years in mental institutions; all of this before I was 30.
Upon my full release in 1992, without being on any anti-psychotic medications, I found my purpose and passion in life. I went on to have an incredible career in the hospitality industry. I also taught for over 13 years at two major Alberta colleges. I taught with my heart and soul while inspiring and motivating my students at all levels to be the best they can be, despite any challenges they may have faced.
Over the years I have developed leadership and mentorship skills that have effectively given me a unique perspective. This came as a result of overcoming my life’s most difficult obstacles and challenges. I call them “my lessons of life.”
I am most proud of my ability to quickly gain the trust and respect of people; an invaluable skill that has allowed me to develop effective relationships with people from all walks of life. I’m a soulful, loving person with a vibrant, charismatic personality who has lived an over-comer’s life, and I want to share it with all of you.
Can I help you?
I am committed to excellence when dealing with people and exceeding their expectations. I bring enthusiasm, dedication, energy and passion to all of my speaking engagements and coaching sessions. What I can say, and almost guarantee, is that the audience or individual I speak with will gain a new perspective on their life and be inspired to make a change for themselves.
I am a unique soul who has had a unusual life along with a diverse career I feel I could be a valuable guest speaker to your organization. I look forward to sharing with you my personal journey, the challenges and growth on how I got to this peaceful place in my soul through spirituality, soul searching, forgiveness, and most importantly showing love and compassion to others.
I deeply believe we are all here to shine our light onto others so that we may learn, develop, heal and grow through shared life experiences.
So who’s ready to be inspired and motivated!
A mentor by definition is an experienced and trusted advisor. Walter Holmes has always been more than that. Read more >
It was clear to me that this man was different than any other educator I had ever had. Read more >
I have never had a teacher to reach the depths of understanding and learning as Mr. T did… Read more >
He is personable, he is approachable and he is one of the strongest public speakers I know. Read more >
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Shanna Wolff, NAIT Culinary Graduate 2007
A mentor by definition is an experienced and trusted advisor. Walter Holmes has always been more than that. Not only does he teach students the fundamentals of organizational behaviour, fine dining, menu management, or gastronomy, he also teaches them important lessons about life, love, respect, and the value of time well spent.
The very first day of organizational behavior, the first class that I had the privilege of talking with Walter, I was in awe. He has a way of speaking that captivates and memorizes his audience. I learned more from that one class alone than I did throughout high school. He is a kind and very passionate man and it shows through his love of teaching and the emotion that he puts behind every single word in a classroom.
One of my fondest memories of Walter was breaking bread. I remember getting ready for a dinner service or a banquet in the Earnest dining room at NAIT sitting around the dinner tables sharing a light meal while Walter entertained his students with stories, passion for the industry, and general life lessons. There in those moments Walter treated his students not as pupils, but as his equal and his friends. In those shared moments I think Walter learned just as much from as us we did from him. He would take time to learn something about each and every one of us in those precious moments that made us respect him more than what we already did. In those moments I learned never to take time with friends and family for granted because those moments will not last forever.
I have come to know Walter on a more personal level in the past few months. He has sat around the dinner table with me and my family. It gives me great pride that my children will have Walter to look up to just as much as I do. I look up to Walter as a great role model. Someone who has overcome great amount of obstacles to become the great person that he is today, and it gives me great joy that my children can do the same. Walter will always be one of the most influential people in my life I will always accept Walter as a teacher and a mentor but most importantly he is a member of my family and I am honored that he has given me the privilege of being part of his.
I had the privilege and honour of meeting Mr. Walter William Holmes during my first year at NAIT, in 2005. It was clear to me that this man was different than any other educator I had ever had. His approach to teaching was different, his style was different, and it was abundantly clear that he actually cared. The French call it “joie de vie”, but in English it’s simply love of life…and Walter has it. He is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and prefers to speak his mind rather than hide. While under his tutelage, Walter spared no expense when it came to offering help or kindness. There were many hours spent after school seeking his guidance and advice for assignments and classes, most of which were taught by others. He was there for me when times were bright and he was right up beside me during the dark times.
Walter is one of the most genuinely kind souls that I have met throughout my travels and I feel as though the relationship that has been forged will be a lifelong relationship. I believe that the hallmark of a man is how well he is thought of by others, the legacy he leaves in his wake. Nowhere is this more evident to me than the fact that he has always been there for me, always.
It’s a true testament to Walter’s kind and gentle character that, almost a decade after first meeting him, I am still able to call him a very close friend. Even more to the point, the majority of the students he has guided still call him Mr. T, a term of endearment from the many who love him.
One word at a time…..
Encouraging, soulful, inspirational, brave, insightful, charismatic, Compelling, Engaging, Motivating, committed, patient, knowledgeable, positive, professional ,nurturing, goal-oriented, creative, innovative are all words I would use to describe Mr. T and his character (Mr. T is how I respectfully like to address him since Day 1)
The year I met Mr. T at NAIT was the year I changed my life , the way I thought, the way I treated and talked to others, His O.B. Class (organizational behaviour) was one for me that brought a new meaning to learning, I was engaged and encouraged ,and even though some students didn’t appreciate the life lessons we were blessed to have been taught, the handful of us that absorbed and ran with every idea to better our self’s and our lives stayed very close as we were like minions following and learning everything that changed the world as we knew it. His words touched me and brought on ideas that for some reason could never really be fully absorbed before but there was something in the caring and real way the Mr. T expressed and taught us that really clicked for us.
I have never had a teacher to reach the depths of understanding and learning as Mr. T did, I admire his demeanor of teaching. Most professors just take the material given to them and give it to the student expecting them to understand fully. These professors are the ones who view education and learning as a one-way street, however Mr. T was the opposite. He is the true representation of a great educator. He cares about the understanding of his students and actually is open to learn from them. Education is a two way street, yet the majority of the professors and teacher of today have neglect to understand or realize this fact. I had and have nothing but the up most respect for this wonderful man as he continues to travel down the truth seeking road helping others on along the way. But not only that Mr. T is very humble in the way that he is very open to listening and learning from others experiences and truths without judging and turning down idea’s that could and can open worlds of doors for him and others. It’s very encouraging to feel accepted for your thoughts and insights on life from someone who has taught me so much about life and most importantly myself.
It has been about 9 years since I had the honor to be a student in Walters Classes but we have stayed in touch ever since and built a very honest friendship with truth and motivational words, he has had the pleasure to meet my husband on many occasion where I hear almost every time we part ways my husband says, Walter is a very kind, soulful and selfless man, I can see how you learnt and grew from having him as a teacher.
I have never been able to speak so highly of a teacher but more of what I would call a life coach because that is what he did for me and after 9 years I am still learning from him and getting the reminder of just how precious life and family is and how to appreciate and love each and every one we meet.
Mr. T and I will be forever being friends and welcomed into our home as family and I truly feel blessed that my son that will make his appearance in July will be able to have some of the same influences from such an honest sincere friend, coach as Mr. T!
Just some words he sent me when I was down, Very caring and selfless.
“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.” ~ Marianne Williamson ~
Thank you for taking the time to read about such a great mentor, I am always honored to share my influences and experiences of what an positive impact a single person has had on my life. Mr. T is a wonderful person.
I had the pleasure of first meeting Walter Holmes also known as William in 2004 when I attended culinary school at NAIT. He started out as an instructor in the first year and by the second year he had become more of a mentor. Today I am proud to call him a friend. As an instructor he was the odd one out in the program, he wasn’t a Chef he wasn’t in the kitchen honing our skills to prepare food. No he had the task of honing us professionals, as people and as members of society. He didn’t teach us knife skills or the history of professional cooking. He was the one that taught us to be proud of ourselves, to take pride in our work both in and out of the whites. He was the one that really made the biggest impression on my career. I am sadly no longer practicing the culinary arts as a career, as I have shifted in the pre-hospital medicine and working as a paramedic. The things that I learned from him over the years have helped me to be successful in this endeavor more than it did in my culinary adventure.
He pushed us to do things that you don’t realize at the time, actually helped to define us both as Culinarian’s and people contributing to society. Little things that don’t seem like a lot but go a long way. Smile when you answer a phone. They can’t see it but you can hear it in the voice on the other end. To this day when I pick up a phone I make sure I have a grin when the word hello is spoken. He introduced us into a world of new and exciting things. He took us out of our comfort zone to ensure that we were well rounded. We were training as cooks, as chefs, as professionals, the leader, the head of the kitchen, the guy in charge in that mostly invisible magical land that the people beyond those doors rarely saw or understood. He took us out of that world, a world we knew a world we were comfortable with and into a place, 5 feet from where we were heroes to a spot that we saw and knew and thought we understood, but was worlds away from what we thought we knew. He took us cooks, us chefs with fancy whites and checkered pants, tattoos and piercings, the guys hiding behind the line, over the stoves and put us in the public eye. Put us in the front of the restaurant, to serve to interact, to actually have no control over the food. It was humbling, he kept us motivated, helped us understand that there was something beyond those doors, that we may have taken for granted.
All these experiences have helped shape me as a person. I always look to understand all aspects of my job now as I did then. I have been a paramedic now for 7 years and because of what I was taught then, I have embraced that idea of knowing everything you can. I have worked as a dispatcher, the ones that answer phones and send out the calls, I know the hardships of the job first hand and it gave me a new appreciation of what they have to deal with. These are things that were instilled into me from a completely different industry, but work in so many different situations.
The one biggest influence that William has had on me is the result of an assignment he gave in school and then from continuing to maintain a friendship after and watching him and his actions. We were given a pay it forward assignment, and like most assignments I did, I did not give it 110%. It took me a few years of watching, of listening, of continually learning from him that I finally understand what that assignment actually meant. Today I sit on the board of directors with a local children’s charity. Its been with watching my former and current mentor that I have been able understand what it was that I was meant to do. He has the ability to see things in a person that you are unable to see in yourself. He has helped me to realize my potential; it is because of him I feel that I have been successful in my current endeavors. He wasn’t afraid to call it like he saw it, he pushed hard, he was tough, but he also wanted nothing more than to see our success.
Today I see the same person that I have the privilege of calling my friend and mentor. He has this ability to know exactly how hard to push and not push to far. He knows how long to leave you down, but never lets you get down on yourself. He is not just my mentor he is “the” mentor. William has a natural talent to see person’s capabilities, to know how to hone the strengths and overcome the weaknesses. He is personable, he is approachable and he is one of the strongest public speakers I know. He can talk for hours, but knows when it’s time to listen. I can confidently say that he has been a major influence in my adult life. I have had the privilege of knowing William for 10 years and even today I am still using his teachings, his guidance and his friendship in my day to day life. He would be an excellent choice for a motivational speaker, he just has the ability, that natural talent for talking.
On a last note I am reminded of a Chinese proverb that I feel represents him as a mentor and guide.
“When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them”
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You were one of the greatest and most inspirational teachers I’ve ever had. I am very thankful to have met you and had you as a teacher! I hope all is well with you my friend. -Missy Summers-
I had the tremendous honor of being taught by Mr. T as we called him. I have had many great educators in my life but Walter was by far one if the best I have had. He possesses a peaceful and loving soul that made you want to excel and strive to do your ultimate best. He was honest to his students and with that honesty he garnered respect. He has a wealth of knowledge to pass on and makes it interesting and fun to learn that knowledge. Not your standard notes and lecture. His interaction with students kept us attentive during late day classes. He truly cared about his students and was always willing to listen and ask if things were going well with each and every one of the students. He gave students a chance to explain projects to him and would negotiate marks for said projects with one on one conference. The people who have been taught by Walter are fortunate for the experience. The ones that can call him a friend are blessed. Go long! -Jason Mord-
Dear Walter, the students loved your presentation! You really made a connection with them and gave them food for thought. Thank you for making time for my students and me, we all appreciate it. Peace -Mami-
Thank you, I really appreciate all the time and effort you put into each and every class and how much attention you devote to all of us students. It really makes me feel proud to have an instructor believe in us so much, can’t thank you enough. –Kirstin-
You’re a great teacher who always had faith in not only me, but everyone in our class. You’re my ray of sunshine when I have a bad day. Your classes were never boring, your negativity train was awesome and you made me laugh. It was such a pleasure having met you and having been your student. I look forward to seeing you again in 3rd and 4th semester and I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve taught me. Forever your student, -Michelle Ho-
You have taught me the ability to love and appreciate myself. You were always about the love and inspiring me to love every one and love myself as well. I’ve never been one to hold grudges but you made me open my arms even more I always give everyone a chance to be in my life and I let them in getting to know them instead of judging people. You really helped me through my mom’s suicide, the fact that I could learn to love myself again and not be depressed and not to think that it was my fault, you truly are inspirational, a great teacher, and a great friend. I hope you are doing well and I wish you all the best. -Tracy Boutilier-
You didn’t exactly teach me………. but you did. You taught me in a way only the best teachers do; a way when the student doesn’t even realize they are being taught….they are just busy soaking it all up. Our interactions were brief, and public, but I still saw what an amazing person you are. You bring out a light in people-a LIFE- that left me smiling and laughing long after you were gone. For me, you were not necessarily the type of person I would have met or interacted with in the outside world… I’m sure I didn’t share a lot of your beliefs. But it didn’t matter at all. Somehow you made something inside me relax and just be ME- and forget the rest. Feeling a pure, genuine happiness after one quick interaction with another human being is quite special and serene. You taught reminded, me to be gracious, openhearted, and strong. The absolute joy you carry with you every day- through your pain- is truly inspiring to me. It radiates. We could all learn something from you. I know I did. This wasn’t intended to be a paragraph; I just wanted to let you know you made my summer. -Molly Harrison-Lucy-
I had you as a teacher at NAIT. What I admired most about you was that you saw the best in people, you respected us as students. You thanked me once for volunteering to partner up and serve with someone who was not the favourite in the class because he was slow. I did not expect a thank you but I was very happy you appreciated it. I was in a not so wonderful place in my life during my first year in culinary arts but in my second year things in my life changed around and I was doing better mentally. And you noticed that. So Mr. T you are one of my most memorable teachers for the simple fact that you paid attention to the people, not just the students and I thank you for that. -Carina carlier-Sissons-
Hey Mr. T, I saw your post and thought I would respond. I had many great experiences at NAIT but, will never forget your classes OB and gastronomy. I remember having a class where we split into groups to “think outside the box”. My team (the champs) consisted of Scotty web and Andrea p and some other awesome cooks that had to come up with the best flying machine using only 2 pieces of paper. The ball of flying paper with wings took it!! We won that exercise and got a speech from you following it. I can’t remember your words exactly but, I speak with that team to this day and we won’t forget your motivating teachings. Since the NAIT days, I’ve opened a restaurant and a catering company using the building blocks from your classes. I can’t thank you enough! Hope to see you sometime soon cheers! -Daniel Gibbons-