NSB Logo Dr. Joe MacInnis Dr. Joe MacInnis

Dr. Joe MacInnis


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Member of the Titanic Discovery Team

Joe MacInnis is a medical doctor, explorer, and storyteller who studies leadership and teamwork in life-threatening environments from the deep ocean to outer space. His pioneering research on undersea science and engineering projects earned him his nation’s highest honour—the Order of Canada. He’s led thirty expeditions under the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans including the first team of scientists to dive under the ice at the North Pole. Dr. Joe’s presentations distill what he’s learned from a decorated career in high-risk environments with a focus on creating hyper-effective teams by sharing principles of deep leadership and team genius.

Keynote Speeches

Virtual Keynotes | TEAM GENIUS for the Covid Crisis
Each of you is a leader, in your family, workplace, and community. You’re under Covid stress—inside the second wave—battered by thoughts of personal risk, financial threats and an uncertain future.
Dr. Joe spent 15 years studying leadership in high-risk environments including astronauts constructing the International Space Station and military teams fighting in Afghanistan. He saw how their deep empathy, deep eloquence and deep endurance created team genius: the capacity to solve seemingly impossible problems with fast, elegant, shared solutions.
The Covid crisis is a high-risk environment. Dr. Joe offers three virtual presentations with interactive elements, that will show you how to turn your empathy, eloquence and endurance into team genius.
Deep Empathy
Audiences will learn to:
  • Understand the limits of traditional empathy.
  • Recognize the value of deep empathy.
  • Anticipate the needs of their team partners.
  • Create circles of confidence around each partner.
  • Perform random acts of kindness.
  • Integrate deep empathy with deep eloquence and endurance to create team genius.
Deep Eloquence
Audiences will learn to:
  • Appreciate the difference between eloquence and deep eloquence.
  • Use words with poetic precision.
  • Craft sentences that make the facts dance.
  • Become compelling storytellers in conversation and presentations.
  • Integrate deep eloquence with deep empathy and endurance to create team genius.
Deep Endurance 
Audiences will learn to:
  • Discern the difference between endurance and deep endurance.
  • Minimize endurance stressors.
  • Build a force-multiplier diet.
  • Create quality sleep.
  • Focus on full-body fitness.
  • Master brain-calming breathing.
  • Integrate deep endurance with deep empathy and eloquence to create team genius.
Covid Leadership for Mental Well-Being

We are dealing with two contagions: the virus and the negative emotions it generates. With people dying and economies struggling, negative emotions like fear, anxiety, anger and frustration are on the rise. In this presentation, Dr. Joe shows you how to enhance your personal and professional leadership skills to improve mental well-being in yourself and your team partners.

Audiences will learn to:

  • Recognize the importance of leadership in the emotional landscape.
  • Create a circle of confidence around every team member.
  • Follow the science.
  • Build physical and mental resilience. 
As Funny as Possible, Under the Circumstances

The Covid pandemic is generating multiple forms of loss and grief. In this  presentation, Dr. Joe describes the six stages of grief and how to navigate them. Central to this is the importance of laughing at yourself and the weird times we live in. Dr. Joe shows you how—when your heart is broken—you create something positive with the pieces. One of those things is humour.

Audiences will learn to:

  • Recognize and respond to the stages of grief.
  • Create action steps to move beyond loss.
  • Find their self-deprecating, comedic voice.
  • Write micro and macro scripts.
  • Use humour to improve their public speaking skills.
Deep Leaders: How to be a Better, Faster Leader

Dr. Joe was the team leader on two $5-million engineering projects beneath the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. His latest book, Deep Leadership: Essential Insights from High-Risk Environments was based on his experiences on undersea engineering projects and interviews with shuttle astronauts and soldiers serving in Afghanistan. In this visually-driven presentation, he uses dramatic stories to distill what he learned about strategic imagination, the power of language, the strength of stamina and how these three principles make you a better, faster leader in your office or workplace.

Titanic Dreams: The Opposite of Safety

Dr. Joe was the co-leader of a $5-million Imax film expedition to the Titanic and has made two 4,000 meter dives to the Mount Everest of shipwrecks. He was the journalist on James Cameron’s $7-million live-from-the-Titanic broadcast for the Discovery Channel. In this visually-driven presentation, he shows how going too fast . . . ignoring iceberg warnings . . . locking up the binoculars . . . making the wrong turn . . . are metaphors for safety and performance issues in our personal and professional lives. Using real-life examples, he warns against false assumptions, creeping complacency and reveals how vigilance and persistence accelerate safety.

Audience reviews:

  • Our guests were blown away by Joe's presentation and left the dinner in awe. He took our client’s breath away! She was so inspired by his experience and saw the clear fit between his message and it’s relation to the weather – something of great importance to The Weather Network! He was fantastic to work with, very accommodating and engaged guests from the moment he arrived. - Event Planner at The Weather Network
  • Thank you for your fantastic contribution to our conference in Monte Carlo. You brought character, insight, experience and wisdom to the audience. Everyone enjoyed the session tremendously.

    - President, European Petrochemical Association
  • An inspiring presentation with breath-taking video clips. It fit in beautifully with the theme of our meeting.

    - Vice President, Toshiba
  • A perfect closing keynote for our inventors and innovators conference. And thanks for leading this morning's eighty-foot dive off the north shore of Nassau. Our team loved it.

    - CEO, Symantec

Speaker Biography

“In this beautiful, broken world of collapsing ecosystems, failed states and toxic lies,” says Dr Joe MacInnis, “ we need dynamic tools to navigate personal and professional change.” Dr Joe has spent a lifetime analyzing leadership and teamwork in high-risk environments including the deep ocean, the battlefield, governments and corporations.

Dr Joe Macinnis holds the honour of being  among the first to dive to the Titanic, and the resulting IMAX Titanic movie was inspiration for director James Cameron’s Academy Award winning movie of the same name.  MacInnis further worked with Cameron on the IMAX film Aliens of the Deep and he was a medical advisor and journalist on the James Cameron-National Geographic seven-mile, science dive into the Mariana Trench. In a recent interview with The Globe and Mail, MacInnis and Cameron discuss their longstanding friendship and shared interests for the ocean’s depths, as the Deepsea Challenger—the submersible that Cameron used to explore the deepest point on Earth—is currently displayed at the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in Ottawa.

Supported by the Canadian government, Dr Joe led ten research expeditions under the Arctic Ocean. MacInnis constructed Canada’s first subsurface research laboratory; the only freshwater underwater lab, the only under-ice station and it was the only “free “submerged habitat in the world at the time. It was inspiration to Pierre Trudeau, who himself was a diver and a year later Trudeau asked MacInnis to help write Canada’s first national ocean policy.  Macinnis is also the first person to explore the freezing waters beneath the North Pole. Dr Joe has worked on more than fifty undersea science and engineering projects with the U.S. Navy, the French and Canadian governments and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Along the way, he spent two years as a consultant to Canada’s Privy Council Office and seven years as a consultant to the TD Bank Group.

He has written nine books. His latest, Deep Leadership: Essential Insights from High Risk Environments, was published by Random House.