In Memory of John Plank

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By Gerry Riskin | Oct 31, 2016

jp-bioIt is with great sadness that I must report that on October 19, 2016, our colleague John Stewart Plank passed away after a valiant fight against illness.

John was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and during the 1970s and 1980s he worked as a director of Shakespearean theatre in Stratford and Peterborough, Ontario. In subsequent years, he deployed his theatre talents and background to assist executives and professionals from a wide range of fields to improve their speaking and presentation skills. It was in that capacity that he acted as a consultant to several principals of Edge International and to a number of our clients. As part of his association with our group, he also crafted a number of eloquent and perennially practical articles for Edge International Communiqué, such as “Charisma: The Quintessential Leadership Skill,” published last May.

I had the privilege of bringing John into law firms where he might work with a dozen lawyers over the course of a day. Despite the fact that at least a few of these individuals would often be gifted communicators already, by the end of the day they would typically be amazed at their own transformations. John had the capacity to use powerful questions and a very light touch to help individuals transform their presentation performances with a speed and magnitude that you had to witness to believe.

We will miss John profoundly. He lives on in what he taught us, and the mindset he instilled in us to strive for excellence in our communications. We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Susan and the other members of their family.

A memorial service for John will be held at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club on Friday, November 4, 2016. If you wish to attend the service or make a donation in John’s memory, you can find more information on his website.