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“Barbara May has an appeal and likeability that can move an audience into a space we rarely see... inspiring!”

Bob Angeli, Owner, The Comedy Factory

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About Barbara May, B.Ed 

Barbara May has spent a lifetime knowing how to get up after a fall. But she figures doing that and getting a laugh at the same time is a lot more fun. She is a former national-level gymnast, award-winning coach, aspiring drummer and mother of two who joked her way into the Guinness World Records by performing in the longest stand-up comedy show in history.

With more than three decades of work experience behind her in fields as diverse as sport and recreation, education, not-for-profit management, entertainment and government, Barbara brings a uniquely powerful mix of personal stories, humorous examples, and real-world insight to her programs and clients. By talking openly about her struggles and triumphs, Barbara helps people see and get past their stumbling blocks and be happy, motivated and productive at work. 

Barbara May has a great deal of experience and first-hand information to share about overcoming stumbling blocks at work. She has interviewed business owners on the Learning & Job News, hosted Access Television’s May We Talk, and facilitated more than 500 career and employment workshops. She draws upon this experience to help people discover new ways of solving problems in the workplace such as dealing and communicating with co-workers and bouncing back from mistakes with confidence.

It was a health crisis that prompted Barbara May to build her business, Stumbling Blocks Team Building Seminars. At age 46, she suffered life-threatening pulmonary emboli—blood clots in her lungs. Every moment felt like a hurdle, like a trial, as she experienced it, so every moment looked like a victory as she looked back at it. That health crisis was what lit her light bulb and showed her her unifying purpose: helping people get past their stumbling blocks.


At every one of her team building sessions, Barbara shares and teaches the “Stumbling Blocks” philosophythe belief that you can get past your stumbling blocks—to help people in the audience understand and embrace her key message: If you get back up, anything is possible.

“Barbara's willingness to share her story has impacted me in a very remarkable way. It has impacted our journey as a hospital." 


Dr. Curtis Johnston, Chief Medical Officer, Royal Alexandra Hospital



  • Founder and CEO of Stumbling Blocks Team Building Seminars.

  • 25+ years of experience working as a school counsellor, special education teacher, program director, career & employment consultant, and executive director.

  • Serving as President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) - Edmonton Chapter.

  • Facilitating more than 500 career & employment workshops in partnership with BGS Career and Corporate Development and the Government of Alberta.

  • Providing virtual onboarding and training of Purolator's new employees in partnership with Flint Learning Systems & Educational Mentors. 

  • Helping injured workers upgrade their computer and customer service skills in partnership with ReTrain Canada and WCB.

  • Receiving the Care & Caring Award at the 2017 Patient and Provider Experience Summit.

  • Serving as Racquetball Canada's Director of Interprovincial Relations and helping develop the Let's Play Racquetball and Hall of Fame programs.

  • Creating the Racquetball Practice Program with Canadian National Champion Kris Odegard and receiving more than 500,000 hits on youtube.

  • Managing 3 programs and 30 employees at the Military Family Resource Centre.

  • Appearing in several television commercials including Bright Nights, BCom Computers and Buffet Royal.

  • Joking her way into the Guinness World Records by performing in the longest stand-up comedy show in history.

  • Hosting ACCESS Television's May We Talk.

  • Interviewing business owners on ACCESS Television's Learning and Job News.

  • Receiving the 3M Coach Recognition Award for "Outstanding Contribution to the Sports Community."

  • Teaching the National Coaching Certification Program's "How to Coach" course for 15 years.

  • Attaining Level-3 Coach Certification with the National Coaching Certification Program. (NCCP).

  • Growing the Horizon Gymnastics Club from 140-400 members.

  • Graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education Degree.

  • Winning Team Gold at the 1984 (CWUAA) Canada West Universities Athletic Association's Gymnastics Championship.

  • Being a varsity athlete (University of Alberta's Panda's Gymnastics Team) and receiving the Jimmy Condon Athletic Award.


“Barbara helped propel me towards my goal of representing Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games. Her loyalty, ongoing encouragement and support not only helped me but helped all of Alberta Racquetball.” 


Coby Iwassa, 4 Time Canadian National Racquetball Champion and 2015 Pan American Games Bronze Medalist

“An interview with a camera in your face can be intimidating and make you self-conscious, which I definitely was at first, but that stopped after only a couple ground-breaking sessions with Barbara May.” 


Kathryn Kohut, 2nd Runner Up, Miss Universe Canada

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After I launched a weekly 
feature on local television news many people gave me helpful advice. Barbara May's coaching was the best of all. Everyone noticed an immediate improvement. Barbara removed my TV stumbling blocks. 


Dave Lieber, Speaker and Watchdog columnist for The Dallas Morning News

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Take the First Step Towards Team Excellence

Ready to turn your team's challenges into opportunities for growth and leadership excellence? Contact Stumbling Blocks Team Building Seminars today. Together, we can build a stronger, more resilient, and successful team.

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