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For leaders and meeting planners
Clients & Testimonials
Since 1994 I've worked with more than 500 satisfied customer groups in 45 States, 1 U.S. territory and 4 Canadian Provinces, many of whom are repeat customers. To help navigate this long list, here are the main groups I work with; you can see a detailed list of individual organizations by clicking the related links:
Click to go to -- Child Care, Early Childhood Education & Pre-K:
Click to go to -- K-12 School Teams & Employee Groups:
Click to go to -- Community Education, Lifelong Learning & Recreation
Click to go to -- Other Helping Professions
(Group is in Minnesota unless another state is listed.
Child Care, Early Childhood Education & Pre-K:
This section includes local organizations, & state-level associations serving professionals who work in:
* Head Start
Early Childhood Conferences
We just want you to know that your name continues to come up, even two months later, as people share all the things you did to make the conference so successful - and fun. We appreciate that your presentations were so specific to MO and the Head Start audience. Your words were truly inspiring, revealing, heartwarming and challenging. People loved your songs, and especially the way you genuinely shared your appreciation of and support for the work we do in Head Start. Thanks AGAIN! -- Donna Veatch, Exec. Director, Missouri Head Start Assoc.
We hired Kim Ratz to speak at our fall Head Start staff orientation and training. I was looking for someone to provide a positive message of change presented in a manner that staff would enjoy. Kim delivered a wonderful presentation entitled, "How to Thrive in a Radically Changing World -- and Enjoy a Nice Sandbox Too." He used humor and music, tailored to our organization, in his presentation and incorporated our training theme, "All Aboard the Head Start Train." Staff gave very positive feedback to his presentation with many staff personally thanking me for having Kim end our training on such a positive, humorous and relaxed note. I know my Head Start staff are using some of his suggestions to help them get through the many changes our program is going through. I recommend Kim Ratz as a presenter to any organization that is looking for someone to deliver a positive message in a relaxed and fun way. - Skip Ferris, Head Start Director, Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, Virginia, MN
Kim Ratz's presentations on "Thriving and "Collaboration" were a great fit for our conference. His messages help create success in many aspects of life and should be shared with all. He presented in a manner that was entertaining and informing. Kim would be a huge asset to any group who is looking for an amazing, one-of-a-kind speaker. If planning a conference or event where you want to share an important message with excitement, style and grace, I recommend you give Kim Ratz your highest consideration. - Tonya Frehner, Dir of Programs, IL Assoc for the Education of Young Children
After hearing Kim at our Region 2 conference, I asked him to bring us a half-day program to refresh our spirits and make us feel good about the work we do with children and families. Kim accomplished all of this and more through his positive message and style, aided by his knowledge of Head Start. His message was inspiring and believable, and his music made him unique. What we really appreciated was that his message reached everyone who attended -- Head Start staff and invited guests as well. Weeks later I continue to hear people say: They enjoyed the presentation -- It was a mental health workshop -- They had fun in the class -- Wonderful speaker -- He was a 10! It's especially tough mid-year, when staff morale is dropping ... People need to feel good about themselves and the job they do. Kim's program did just that and more. - Freedom Carrigan, Dir of Education, Head Start, Tioga Opportunities Inc., Owego, NY
We needed a fun and inspiring keynote speaker and a workshop presenter that could deliver meaningful content on leadership and supervision. Kim Ratz provided that and more. He was well prepared for a variety of sessions and very flexible. Kim tailored his sessions to our specific needs, stayed throughout the conference, was sincerely interested in our work and engaged staff in discussion and activities. His workshop sessions and materials were highly rated and he successfully led a high energy "American Idol" evening event. It was a great value. - Judy Miller, Exec. Director, Oregon Head Start Assoc.
Kim's "back-to-school" message was relevant for all of our staff - bus drivers, cooks, teachers, aides, and managers. This speaker comes from the heart -- he's a wonderful presenter, the music is great, and we are so glad that we invited him. Our staff have started the year with a great positive attitude and we're ready to thrive. You can see it in their job performance. We received feedback that this was a great way to start the year, and when can we have Kim come back? You can just take my word for it -- if you work with kids he will be a good fit for your organization. He helps you look at yourself first, and that is where it all starts! - Elaine Laird, Executive Dir, Absaroka Head Start, Wyoming
Kim Ratz was the proverbial "icing on the cake" at our 2010 Georgia Head Start Association conference, where he shared relevant motivational messages at both the opening and closing sessions, led 3 workshops, and even served as an exceptional emcee at our Live Auction and "Head Start Idol" Contest! His presence from beginning to end brought consistency throughout the conference and participants enjoyed interacting with him at various levels. We titled Kim our "Conference Troubadour" and he wrote and performed eight wonderful songs tailored to our conference theme, three of which he didn't even write until after the conference started! Most importantly, he has a love for and is knowledgeable about early childhood education, and his breadth of experience enables him to connect with others in many ways. He's a phenomenal planner, a consummate team player, people loved his novel approach, and we were fortunate that he joined us for our conference. - Ramona Warren, Exec. Officer, Georgia Head Start Assoc.
K-12 School Teams & Employee Groups:
This section includes all the school employee groups I've worked with at their local In-services, as well as presentations at their professional development conferences. Some of the groups were individual school site teams, others were district-wide. Some groups consisted of job-alike members, and others were all-staff events involving staff in all job roles, including:
Classroom Teachers - District-wide Administrators - Educational Office Professionals - Facility Management & Operations - Information & Technology - School Boards - School Business Office - School Nurses - School Nutrition - School Principals - Student Transportation - Superintendents - Teacher Aides.
I have been asked several times about who I would recommend as an inspirational speaker to kick off a fall event for schools. Kim Ratz immediately comes to mind. I used Kim at a statewide conference and he was very well received. He customizes his programs to meet his clients needs, his program is professionally delivered and full of energy, and his ideas and information are relevant to educators and immediately useful. But the most obvious feature he offers a meeting planner is his wonderful music - it truly inspires the listener and energizes the message. - Bill Beck, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators
This was my second opportunity to engage the services of Kim Ratz - "The Speaker who Sings." Accepting change and working with new peers can be challenging and we needed a little pep talk on how to cope and deal with the growth, changes and challenges we're experiencing in our school division. What I appreciated about Kim's presentation was his effort to know to whom he was speaking and incorporating that into the presentation. He is very familiar with School Policy, Structure and Issues, and his work in schools gives him credibility. We've had a very positive reaction from our staff(s) with many thank yous and requests to bring Kim back. - Ken Bergen, Supervisor of Operations, Garden Valley School Division, Manitoba, Canada
Your presentation had even the usually cynical people looking at the world more positively. Thanks! - Teacher, Transition Plus Dept. Minneapolis Public Schools
We had the opportunity to have Kim perform in our district at our opening day of school celebration. What a positive way to start the school year! The feedback from staff was unanimously enthusiastic. One teacher told me "this was exactly what we needed!" Kim took time to really listen to our needs, priorities, and goals and integrate them into a personalized performance for us. His message was inspiring and entertaining, but never preachy. I highly recommend him to any school district. - Dr. Beverly A. Martin, Assistant Superintendent, Exeter Township School District, Reading, PA
There is always a concern that having someone speak might be good for motivation, but what about lasting change and improvement? Kim provides follow-up to help assure that there are concrete and specific improvements. As a result of his eight presentations on topics including Customer Service, team Building and Leadership, we have instituted helpful initiatives. We continue to build on ideas introduced and nurtured by Kim. - Diana Kasper, Director of Admin. Services, School District 112, Chaska, MN
It is with pleasure that I recommend Kim Ratz as a prospective presenter. I had an opportunity to see Kim present a couple of programs and was so impressed that we contracted with him to come to our district. He was an excellent choice as we had nothing but raving, positive comments from our several employee groups involved in his programs. Kim's programs and his personal touch provided us with outstanding inservices for our employees. If you're looking for a quality presenter, Kim Ratz is the one! -- Galen Munn, Dir of Elementary Curriculum, Klamath Falls (OR) City Schools
Kim: A great big thank you for all that you did at the GASN Conference! Your presentations, songs and engaging with the participants were exactly what we were looking for. You were a spark at the reception, the luncheon performances were great, and your breakout and closing sessions were right on target. As a meeting planner I enjoyed working with you. You made it so easy for me over the last hectic 6 months leading up to the conference. When on site you were very flexible and adjusted to any changes we requested of you. Without a doubt you "connected" very well with the school nurses at the conference. Please use me as a reference as you work with other groups. Best Regards -- Rich Brown, Conference Planner, GA Assoc of School Nurses
On behalf of the members, board and staff of the Association of Alaska School Boards, I would like to thank you for an outstanding message and performance at our annual conference in Anchorage. Few speakers give the time or energy you offered this program. You rallied our members to the theme of "Making Children Alaska's Top Priority" through your songs and stories. We appreciate your efforts to help us make children Alaska's top priority. -- Joseph Reeves, Assoc of Alaska School Boards
Kim Ratz spoke at the New Brunswick Association of School Business Officials conference, and his address was upbeat, insightful, entertaining and informative. Prior to our conference, Kim and I had several conversations about our organization and what our goals are. This resulted in Kim delivering a message that was very much in tune with what was on the mind of our delegates. Feedback from the our members was positive in several ways - there was a lot of audience participation, abundant laughter and noticeable head nodding ! At the conclusion of our conference, "Feedback Forms" confirmed our initial feelings about Kim Ratz's presentation - people were enlightened, energized, and entertained. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I recommend Kim Ratz as a speaker at your conference or seminar. -- Chris Toole, President, NBASBO
Kim: Words cannot express my sincere gratitude for your leadership at our 2009 NAEOP Institute. We all will come away from your message filled with new ideas, energy and hope. It's my dream to see more school districts learning from you and implementing your tools. Thank you very much for coming forward so we could all be filled with your "good stuff" that will help us improve relationships and helping kids learn. - Carol Larson. Institute Chairperson, National Assoc. of Education Office Professionals.
Local K-12 Schools & Organizations
K-12 Professional Associations & Organizations:
Community Education, Lifelong Learning & Recreation
This section includes local schools and other organizations, & state-level associations serving professionals who provide programs for:
Local Schools & Organizations
Lifelong Learning & Recreation Conferences:
Kim Ratz provided us with a wonderful way to kick the year off. He was entertaining and motivating! His stories and songs impart a lighthearted approach while still ensuring some very serious "thinking" is going on. He tailors himself well to the after-school arena and helped make our entire orientation for 300 employees (college students to "veterans") a rousing success! -- Becky Stoughton/ Director, Community Education & After School Programs - Northeast ISD, San Antonio, TX
It's a tough way to make a living. You make it look easy. Phil Houseal, Texas Community Education Assoc.
Thank you so much for a job not just well done but very well done! Your presentation style was refreshing, and the fact that you took the time to personalize your focus to address the specific needs of our organization made it much more meaningful to all involved. In going through the conference evaluations, many participants echoed these sentiments. It's easy to hire a presenter who will come in, give a speech and catch the next flight out. It's much more difficult to find someone who will become as much a part of the conference as the planners and participants -- well done and thank you so much in making our conference a memorable, successful event. -- Terri Odell, 2005 Conference Coordinator, Texas Community Ed Assoc
I asked Kim (rather last minute) to do an inspirational and participatory workshop for our staff development day. Through his style, and program, "Playing Nice in the Sandbox," Kim came into our Center and immediately lifted us up. With his unique blend of songs, stories and knowledge of our field of work, he had us at "hello." And held us there. For over three hours. Kim informed and taught, he listened and heard, he drew out of the crowd their own stories, challenges and highlights. Kim was masterful at bringing his many years of experience to our district, and acknowledging our own expertise. And like the "Wizard of Oz," he caused us to know/remember what we had all along - hope, answers and resolutions. The experience was sustaining - we continue to reference comments, lyrics and mantras used during our day with Kim. We would welcome him back anytime and know that his presentation would be fresh, not simply the same material retold, but new and interesting and relevant to our needs. Kim is a true teacher. A Bodhisattva! Many thanks - Kristi Sabby, Tiger Club Coordinator, Fridley School District 14
Kim presented at the Missouri School Age Community Coalition Leadership Institute in St. Louis, and we loved how he designed his Keynote presentation and concurrent workshops around our conference theme, "The Performance of a Lifetime." His variations of presentation style using humor, song, music, presentation skills and audience participation kept everyone interested and intrigued with what he was going to do next! Survey results from our attendees reflected a high level of satisfaction with their new learning, activities and opportunities fostered by Kim's presentations. Kim was extremely easy to work with and his main concern was always ensuring that he was providing what we needed. We will definitely invite Kim again! - Laurie McTearnen, MOSAC2-Leadership Development Institute Chairman
We brought Kim in to conduct a half-day training program to help kick off the new school year, and he did an exceptional job! Given his passion for Community Education and after school programs, he also reminded us just how important what we do really is, and why most of us love what we do. Kim's customized program, and willingness to be involved before, during and after the training was noticed and appreciated by everyone. Since the training, many people have been talking about the exciting ideas they took away from the training and some are already incorporating them into their programs. I you want a dedicated, knowledgeable, entertaining and passionate trainer to help you energize your team, I highly recommend Kim. - Susan Zimmerman, District Coordinator of Community Schools, St Vrain Schools, Longmont, CO
I observed Kim while he presented at the IN Assoc for Adult & Community Education conference and was impressed with his ability to connect with members in a variety of ways. His unique approach incorporating music certainly made it more interesting to pay attention to and participate in his programs - a great adult learning strategy. His background in adult and community education, including his years with the Alaska Dept of Education helped Kim connect his valuable message in many relevant and timely ways. He went far beyond tweaking a standard presentation. His skills were also evident in his conversations with many individuals between his presentations. He became familiar with issues and participated in activities. He was flexible and committed to doing anything he could to contribute to an enjoyable and successful conference. I highly recommend Kim to any group of adult educators who are also seeking to be adult learners - and have fun while doing so. - Linda Warner, Director, Div of Adult Education, Indiana Dept of Ed
It is with pleasure and confidence that I recommend Kim Ratz. His willingness to be involved throughout the conference, to help with entertainment at a special event and be flexible and fill-in whenever needed was definitely above and beyond our expectations. The evaluations praised his presentation skills and the content of his programs (a keynote, two workshops, and help at our awards banquet) and people loved the way he incorporated music and story-telling into his programs. I highly recommend Kim as an enthusiastic, gifted speaker who will work hard on your behalf. - Nancy Robb, program Chair, Alaska Recreation & Parks Assoc.
Thank you so much for what you shared with us last week! Soon I will be convening a staff meeting to discuss a tough challenge our Recreation Dept. is facing, and before the conference I was worried about how to "frame" this meeting. Now, because of your keynote and workshops, I'm excited for the day because yuou helped me learn ways to better understand "what's really going on," how to "reframe the situation," and how to engage our team members in issues I know they care about too. That in itself was an awsome take-away, yet you kept adding to the learning - and fun - through your other activiries and presentations over the 2 days. Keep up the great work, Kim; I wish you continued success too! - Attendee, So. Carolina Parks & Recreation Assoc. Conference
Other Helping Professionals
This section includes local organizations, & state-level associations serving professionals who work in:
* Health Care
Kim's workshop with our staff was exceptional and received the highest ratings from our staff. His presentation was done in a way that got information across in a manner that staff could understand and remember and was done with a great sense of humor and in a manner that was respectful, enjoyable and memorable. At the end the staff not only heard the messages Kim was presenting, but it resonated with them. It was a great day for all of us. Thanks Kim for a wonderful day. -- Mike Fieldman, Exec Director, Umpqua Community Action Network, Roseburg, OR
Each year our employees complete a Performance Culture Assessment survey. Although all of our scores are very good, the area of "Conflict Resolution" was the lowest. To provide us with the tools to improve our skills, we invited Kim to speak to us about Conflict Resolution. Kim did an outstanding job in engaging our employees and providing us with education for recognizing our own communication and conflict resolution behaviors. He helped us better understand we all use different styles, and gave us information explaining what that means so that when we are communicating with others, we can be more effective in delivering our message. Kim used humorous stories, relevant scenarios, and song that provided a fun and relaxed learning environment. I have received many thank yous and positive comments from staff for brining Kim to our facility. Thank you Kim for helping us on our journey of providing excellent patient and resident care! - Gail Grant, Director of Human Resources, St Francis Healthcare Campus, Breckenridge, MN
I'm writing this letter to thank you for the wonderful job you did at our recent North Central Regional APCO Conference. Your topic, "Playing Nice in the Sandbox" was well received and dealt with a common problem experienced by most dispatch centers. Multiple personalities working in a high stress environment and keeping a harmonious work place is a common issue for our business. You understand this, and delivered; here's what he kept hearing, consistently, after you spoke:
Our group was looking for a motivational speaker to help kick off our conference on a positive note, and Kim was able to do this with ease by bringing a unique presentation style to our conference. His stories of personal experiences, intertwined with music, sets him apart from other speakers; Kim has the ability to guide everyone to an "Ah-ha" moment, and our members were left with a new outlook on things both in their personal and professional lives. For days after, people were still talking about Kim and how great his session was. He really brought that certain "something" that our conference has been missing for a long time, and Kim's role got us off on the right start! Kim's tips for being more positive really helped our attendees to "go with the flow" when we had to change things up because the next day's speaker had to cancel. Personally, I really appreciated Kim's words of wisdom on that "crisis day" - I know they helped me! I would recommend Kim Ratz for any type of event where you want positivity to be your focal point. - Nick Audette, Conference Planner, MN CAMIS (Community Action Management Information Systems)
Other "Helping Professional" Conferences:
Kim Ratz, Speaker-Trainer-Troubadour-Author
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