January 23, 2024
Your Free the Genie Creative Process Coach


Stevie Ray McHugh, Co-Founder of Idea Champions, is a seasoned expert in strategic planning, balanced scorecards, team building, lean manufacturing, and innovation.

By simultaneously focusing on leadership coaching,large-scale collaborative planning, building effective teams, process improvement, and tracking results, he helps companies align and enroll the entire organization in strategic change.

For over 30 years, Stevie Ray has worked with companies of all sizes -- coaching executives, intrapreneurs, small business owners, entrepreneurs, non-profit directors, and change agents to grow to their full leadership potential.

His BizLife Coaching process is designed to help people grow both personally and professionally, leading to increased retention, improved teamwork, better work-life balance, and increased profits.

Through perceptive questioning, deep listening, insightful conversation, and creative brainstorming, he inspires clients to replace fear with the courage to create the most powerful future they dare imagine.

His corporate clients include high-tech, banking, insurance, manufacturing, healthcare, and telecommunications companies, such as AT&T, Met Life, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Life Care Centers of America, MTV, Olin Chlor-Alkali Corporation, Zurich US Insurance, BJC Hospital Group, Blue-Cross Blue Shield, and many others.

In addition to his corporate work, Stevie Ray also dedicates time to pro bono projects with various non-profit organizations, including humane societies, health organizations, and environmental associations across the United States.

Steven lives in Colorado and loves hiking, river rafting, and playing with his dogs.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2024
Your Free the Genie Facilitator


Val Vadeboncoeur is a Senior Consultant with Idea Champions, an innovation consulting and training company that has provided innovation and team building services to more than 100 organizations in 11 different countries for the past 34 years.

Since 1990, Val has been designing, co-designing and facilitating a wide variety of creative thinking trainings, workshops and brainstorming sessions for the following Idea Champions' clients: MTV, Nickelodeon, VH-1, General Electric, Lucent Technologies, AT&T, FOX Sports, TV Guide, Navigant, Purple Strategies, Olin Corporation, Champion International, Met Life, Astrazeneca, Blue States Digital, Radio Woodstock and many others.

Additionally, he is the co-author of Conducting Genius, one of the few Brainstorm Facilitation Manuals available on the market today.

A founding member of Karmic Annex, a Denver-based improv comedy troop, and a music, sound, audio, and listening appreciator of the highest degree, Val brings an extraordinary mix of talents to his work as a certified Free the Genie facilitator -- a deep understanding of the creative process, a profound understanding of human psychology, and a natural gift for establishing the kind of learning environments that bring out the very best in people.

When you love what you dp.jpg

One only needs to understand the etymology of his last name to get a sense of where this man is coming from. "Vadeboncoeur" is a French word that translates as "go with a good heart." And he does.

The suitably named Valmore Joseph Vadeboncoeur currently resides in Accord, NY -- home to many trees and wood stoves -- just 97 miles from New York City and 5,779 kilometers from Paris.

Here's what Val's two most recent clients had to say about the impact of their Free the Genie sessions with him:

"I am so grateful for the generous spirit, astute perceptions, clear vision, and authenticity of my Free the Genie facilitator. Thank you for sharing your gifts with me and inspiring me to open up my own." - Joyce Gerber, Health Practitioner

"This is precious. It's a treasure. I never would have thought of these ideas if I hadn't had this help -- not in a million years. I'm going to implement these ideas right away. Everyone could benefit from this. Two thumbs up!" -- Annick Baud, Artist

About Free the Genie
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CONTACT: Val@ideachampions.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2024
32 Inspiring Quotes on Mastery


"Mastery" is a fascinating phenomenon -- one that many people speak about, but few attain. Is it possible? Yes, it is. But what is it really? Ah... now that's the question, isn't it? The dictionary defines mastery as "possession or display of great skill or technique." OK. Good start. If you're fluent in French, for example, you have a mastery of the language. If you win every game of chess, you show a mastery of the game. Skill is necessary, of course, in order to be a Master, but it not sufficient. Something else, beyond skill, is also needed. What might that be?

"One can have no smaller or greater mastery then mastery of oneself." - Leonardo DaVinci

"It's easy to get on the path of mastery. The real challenge lies in staying on it." - George Leonard

"If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all." - Michelangelo

"Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person." - Albert Einstein


"People with a high level of personal mastery are able to consistently realize the results that matter most deeply to them. They approach their life as an artist would approach a work of art. They do that by becoming committed to their own lifelong learning." - Peter Senge

"Clarity precedes mastery." - Robin Sharma

"If you are not willing to be a fool, you can't become a master." - Jordan Peterson

"It took me a lifetime." - Pablo Picasso

"Order and simplification are the first steps towards mastery of a subject." - Thomas Mann

"Over-seriousness is a warning sign for mediocrity and bureaucratic thinking. People who are seriously committed to mastery and high performance are secure enough to lighten up." - Michael J. Gelb

"Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to a particular field of knowledge." - Robert Greene

"All practical teachers know that education is a patient process of mastery of details, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day." - Alfred North Whitehead

"Manhood is patience. Mastery is nine times patience." - Ursula. K. Leguin

"The Master doesn't glitter like a jewel, but is as rugged and common as a stone." - Lao Tzu

"If I had known there was such a thing as Islamic Calligraphy, I would never have started to paint. I have strived to reach the highest levels of artistic mastery, but I found that Islamic Calligraphy was there ages before I was." - Pablo Picasso

"I know how to go, go, go. Stopping, I've learned, is the stuff of mastery." - Danielle LaPorte

"Detachment is the beginning of mastery." - Sri Aurobindo

"Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own." - Bruce Lee

"A man has to learn that he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him who serves Truth; people seek guidance of him who is master of himself." - James Allen

"Mastery of awareness requires that you never take personal offense." - Deepak Chopra


"Every artist was first an amateur." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine." - Buddha

"Mastery is not measured by the number of terrible things you eliminate from your life, but by the number of times you eliminate calling them terrible." - Neal Donald Walsch

"A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence." - Bruce Lee

"You must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That's the secret of success." - Chef Jiro

"Mastery comes via a monomaniacal focus on simplicity versus an addiction to complexity." - Robin Sharma

"Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all our resources on mastering a single area of our lives." - Tony Robbins

"You cannot control what happens to you but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you. In that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you." - Brian Tracy

"Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don't control what you think, you can't control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward." - Napoleon Hill

"All of your scholarship, all your study of Shakespeare and Wordsworth would be vain if at the same time you did not build your character and attain mastery over your thoughts and your actions." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Progress comes to those who train and train; reliance on secret techniques will get you nowhere." - Morihei Ueshiba

"How do you best move toward mastery? To put it simply, you practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself." - George Leonard


Photo #1: Matt Sclarandis, Unsplash
Photo #2: Blaz Erzetic, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

Who Are We?

Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.

Click here for the simplest, most direct way, to learn more about Idea Champions' semi-fearless leader, Mitch Ditkoff. Info on his keynotes, workshops, conferences, and more.
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
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Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
Brainstorm Facilitation
High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
Cultivating Innovation
Your "best and brightest" are the future leaders of your company, but unless they know how to foster a culture of innovation, their impact will be limited. A one-day workshop with us is all they need to begin this journey.
Our Blog Cabin
Our Heart of Innovation blog is a daily destination for movers and shakers everywhere — gleefully produced by our President, Mitch Ditkoff, voted "best innovation blogger in the world" two years running.
Team Innovation
Innovation is a team sport. Brilliant ideas go nowhere unless your people are aligned, collaborative, and team-oriented. That doesn't happen automatically, however. It takes intention, clarity, selflessness, and a new way of operating.
Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
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