Maggie MacDonnell

Maggie MacDonnell

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+ Virtual Keynote Speaker

A 30, 45, or 60 minute live keynote presentation delivered via zoom. 

+ In-person Keynote Speaker

A 30, 45, or 60 minute live keynote presentation delivered in person.

+ Hybrid Keynote Speaker

A 30, 45, or 60 minute live keynote presentation delivered in-person and livestreamed to virtual audiences. 

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A+ Inspiration: Maggie MacDonnell, The Million Dollar Teacher


In the remote Arctic village of Salluit, students face staggeringly high dropout rates, a youth suicide crisis, and systemic social injustices. These demanding conditions and high levels of trauma create some of the toughest classroom environments in the world. Many teachers last just a few months. Maggie MacDonnell has been transforming Arctic classrooms for over a decade.


In this keynote, Maggie reveals how she developed innovative programming and teaching practices that brought so much positive change to the Salluit community that she was awarded the US 1 Million Global Teacher Prize. She cultivated growth, empowerment, and resilience in her students, giving them the tools they need to be the masters of their own destinies and reminding us all of the power of thoughtful, compassionate, and visionary leadership.


This is of course an excellent keynote for education conferences, colleges and universities, and government and nonprofit audiences. But it’s also so, so much more than that. This is the story of true grit, of unflinching leadership, of what one person or one organization can do when they turn to the community and say, like Maggie does: “When you run by yourself, you run fast. But when you run with others, you can go so far.”

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Maggie MacDonnell is “The Million Dollar Teacher:” the winner of the $1 million Global Teacher Prize, considered to be the Nobel Prize of Education. In the isolated Inuit village of Salluit, where youth are battling a suicide crisis, Maggie literally saved lives. Her teaching approach centres at risk students as solutions, not problems, and reminds us that not all classroom have four walls. On stage, she shares what she teaches—and what she learns—in her work with young people and other communities in need. It’s a master class in leadership, resilience, grit, and change management, taught by one of the world’s most inspiring educators.

Maggie MacDonnell is an educator and sport for development practitioner with nearly two decades of global field experience. Her work has brought her to many corners of the world: from working with Congolese refugees, to Tanzanian HIV/AIDS activists, to Inuit youth in Northern Canada.


In 2010, Maggie began teaching in a fly-in Inuit community called Salluit. Thanks to her work in the community, she was awarded the Million-Dollar Global Teacher Prize, standing out from over 20,000 nominees from 179 countries. Maggie has been recognized by many, including the Governor General, the Albert Einstein Foundation, and the World Economic Forum, and was recently named one of BBC’s Top 100 Women. She is the co-founder of Qajaq/Kayak, an organization that aims to revitalize the culture of kayaking with Inuit youth and adults. She is also co-founder of the Nunavik Run Club, which trains Inuit youth to both be runners and philanthropists.


Maggie was educated at St. Francis Xavier University, the Coady International Institute, and the University of Toronto, where she studied directly under Dr. Bruce Kidd. Her work on sport as a tool in peacebuilding was shared at the Beijing Olympics. She was also awarded a prestigious Jeanne Sauve Fellowship at McGill University.

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Winner of the Million-Dollar Global Teacher Prize