“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


Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Building Blocks For Success!


Barbara May has spent a life-time 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 two decades of work experience behind her in fields as diverse as sport and recreation, education, social services, 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 discover new ways of solving problems in the workplace such as dealing and communicating with co-workers and bouncing back from mistakes with confidence.

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 experiences to help organizations build stronger, more resilient teams.

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.

In her keynotes and team building seminars, Barbara shares and teaches the Stumbling Blocks philosophy—the belief that you can get past your stumbling blocks—to help people understand and embrace her key message, "If you get back up anything is possible."


“Barbara May is a very positive and inspiring facilitator. She pulled out the strengths and talents of the participants to help them see what they have to offer. I think she did a wonderful job!”

Suzanna Martin, Norquest College


“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 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

“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, CSP, and columnist for The Dallas Morning News



Everybody has their share of personal obstacles; I'm no exception.

I've made it literally my business to talk to people about personal obstacles and to help people overcome theirs. I've been doing it for more than 20 years. It's become kind of my thing.

But I haven't always understood what I have to offer people as clearly as I do now. I've spent years gathering knowledge about what works and what doesn't in many different employment and organizational circumstances.

But to get to where—and who—I am today, I had to live through my own life-changing stumbling block.

Like I said, for many years, I've been giving workshops and motivational talks about things like communications, coaching, and career planning.

Yet, I always felt like I was going around in circles. I was reasonably successful, yet I didn't feel as if I was moving forward.


My motor was idling. I came to feel a strong desire for my own personal breakthrough.


Well, be careful what you wish for.

At age 46, I suffered life-threatening pulmonary emboli (blood clots in my lungs). I survived, as you can tell. But I didn't just survive; that event, and my recovery from it, turned out to be the breakthrough I needed.

You see, my health crisis had slowed me down big time. I felt as if I had tripped, stumbled, and fallen as I walked my own life path. But I had used my accumulated knowledge, observations, and wisdom to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep on truckin.' I felt mentally and emotionally stronger than I've ever been.

That, that is what I offer people. The ability to recover from tripping over a stumbling block, and the ability to learn from the setback and grow stronger as a result.

Looking back on that health crisis was what lit my light bulb and showed me my unifying purpose. That's how I created "Stumbling Blocks." I saw that as long as organizations are made up of human beings, there will be mistakes, controversies, and conflict. There will be accidents, injuries, and illness.

These stumbling blocks can create anxiety-ridden days, sleepless nights, a churning in the pit of your stomach and other miseries. But I can show you how to overcome them.


That's what I had to do—minute by minute, day by day—during my illness and subsequent recovery. Every moment felt like a hurdle, like a trial as I experienced it, so every moment looked like a victory as I looked back at it.

Now, with that enormous stumbling block behind me, I want to help you get past your stumbling blocks.

When you're caught between two hard places, don't feel suffocated; feel inspired. I'll show you how.

It's a mission I take seriously, because we spend our lives working. So when we work well, it's a whole lot easier to live well.

You can get past your stumbling blocks. Trust me. I did, and I'll help you do it too. - Barbara May


“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