Toni Powell brings funny and profound personal development for schools

Toni teaches what every principal wishes their staff, parents and students knew.

(and also wishes their partners, friends, parents and, especially, their teenage daughters knew)

“Powerful lifetime messages..”

“Toni’s presentation and messages were right on the money and we couldn’t have asked for a more positive start. Toni had all staff thoroughly engaged from the start of the day right through to the end of the afternoon weaving her funny and entertaining stories with powerful lifetime messages.

All staff have been able to take these away and use them to reflect on the way they work and relate with each other, and more importantly with their students each and every day. The impact of this staff development workshop was felt by every member not just on the day but far afterwards.

The feedback across the school was very positive with many commenting it was some of the best professional and personal PD they had ever participated in.”

Stephen Adams, Principal, Talara Primary College


My name is Toni Powell and I have a gift for storytelling. I’m also an author, recovering worrywart, mother, grandmother and was once the subject of an ABC Australian Story episode. I speak regularly at conferences and events such as Happiness and Its Causes and The Positive Schools Conference where I’m well received because I’m pretty funny, make complicated science easy to understand and teach simple, practical take-home tools.

My popular professional development sessions are sought by schools because the after-effect is real, tangible change in the culture of the school, the level of student engagement, as well as in the personal lives of the attendees. A huge bonus is that all the practices I teach are so simple they can be passed on to the students.


My entertaining workshops are a mix of cutting edge science, real life stories and simple practices that, when practiced, change almost every area of life.

I’m a pretty curious person and when a few simple practices changed my life dramatically I wanted to know why. My research took me overseas into the lives and homes of many of the world leaders in happiness, neuroscience, psychology, self-help and also gratitude research.

I got to meet, and in most cases interview, many of my heroes like Brene Brown, Shawn Achor, Brother David and Gretchen Rubin. The science is fascinating and I could, literally, talk for days without exhausting the amazing things I’ve learned just about gratitude let alone all the other areas.

It’s exciting stuff.

My speciality is making complex science easily understood, funny and memorable. I also teach incredibly simple tools that can be used and understood by almost anyone over the age of ten.

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“The root word for ‘thank’ is ‘thonc‘ which means think.
We now know that when people are grateful they think in a much more engaged way.”

Professor Kerry Howells, Author ‘Gratitude in Education

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A great basis for change is to understand how our brains work – obvious when you think about it. This is usually where I start because I know for me, and for thousands of others who’ve been through my programs, understanding your brain makes sense out of the way you behave. You begin to see just how you ended up in the place you are now – especially emotionally.

When we begin to understand ourselves and our reactions it gives us the power to make very simple changes that suddenly make a whole lot of sense.

As we make these changes our lives improve and this ripples into the environment around us – and in schools that’s a ripple effect into the lives of students and right through the relationships in the staff team.

Understanding how our brains work totally changes our approach to life, emotions, mental health and relationships.

“Amazing research and insightful storytelling..”

“Our entire staff participated in workshops facilitated by Toni around the theme of gratitude and it was fantastic! The information presented had depth and substance and the manner in which it was presented by Toni added credibility to what is ground breaking material.

The feedback from staff has been universally positive and there was so much ‘takeaway‘  for people, from personal reflection, to greater understanding of group dynamics and potential for professional engagement with the material as teachers.

Amazing research and insightful storytelling worked together seamlessly and it is certainly a presentation that would greatly benefit any group who engages with it.

Mr Patrick Toohey, Assistant Principal – Students, Siena Catholic College


I’m very flexible and will happily adapt my material to address the relevant issues for your school.

I can also talk to older students and run workshops for your parents.

Schools hire me for all sorts of time slots and it may be for a full day PD, a 3 hour twilight or to speak at a special event. Sometimes I combine talking to students during the day, the staff after school and the parents in the evening.

Below are most frequently booked workshops/sessions. They can be tailored to your time availability thought the Relationship one needs at least three hours.

ADDITIONALLY: I have a number of post workshop programs that offer very effective ways to continue the impact and teaching of the workshops over a longer period.

The Gratitude Workshop

Creating Better Relationships Workshop

The Yellow Car Workshop

Happy Parents = Brighter Kids

Custom Workshops tailored to your school


Learn about the wonder-drug that’s more powerful than you can imagine.

This is an exciting program full of engaging, science-based content and simple, easy, practices that have an impact in almost every area of life.

As teachers and school leaders begin to understand and practice gratitude the flow-on to those around them, including students, is profound.

While gratitude is the central theme this workshop is broad and covers many life skills that, when understood and practiced, contribute to resilience; reduce depression, anxiety and stress; improve brain function and also significantly improve physical health. As a tool to increase the brain’s ability to learn there is nothing quite as effective as gratitude and this skill is something every teacher will want to pass on to their students.

Drawing from real life experience and years of research I’ll help expand your staff’s understanding of what gratitude actually is, what happiness is (and how to access it immediately) and how these everyday terms can quickly surprise us with their ability to impact every area of our lives from the health of our immune system to the health of our relationships.

Outcomes Include:

  • Better staff retention
  • Improved relationships
  • A happier workplace
  • Less complaint and criticism
  • Less stress and depression
  • Increased productivity
  • Accelerated learning
  • And much more!

“One little word, one big world of change. I was stunned by how quickly gratitude changed almost every area of my life.”

Toni Powell


This unique and unexpected workshop takes attendees on a journey that starts with Harvard’s research into what makes life worth living (good relationships) and moves on to how the brain sees, how memory works and then through to the fascinating areas of why we think we’re right and how, not only don’t we really understand why others do things, we barely understand our own motives. This workshop is pertinent to all relationships.

This science gives a solid basis for all the practices and wisdom to come and allows people to see their own role in relationship breakdown. Behaviours that are considered normal are often, unwittingly, very destructive and attendees leave with great tools to build trust and improve every relationship they have.

This is a raw, open, honest class that has people laughing one minute and in tears the next. Highly engaging and packed with practical solutions.

Outcomes include:

  • Higher levels of courtesy
  • Increased trust
  • Less gossip
  • Increased kindness
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Less bullying
  • Calmer problem solving
  • And much more!

“We’re forever expecting people to think like us, and when they disagree with us we automatically assume that they must be wrong. The expectation of eventual agreement to our ‘right’ side causes endless conflict.”



Or another name for this workshop could be ‘How to Stress Less and Enjoy More’

I think it’s imperative that we begin to find more effective ways to deal with the ongoing issues of stress, anxiety and depression. These are some of the key issues faced by students these days with expected onset age of mental illness plummeting.

As for teachers – you know better than anyone that your jobs are difficult and highly stressful with demands and compliance issues mounting every year. Not to mention parent expectations spiraling ever upward.

This riveting and funny workshop will leave your school a much calmer place. The beauty of my suggested practices is that they can be easily passed on to the students.

Outcomes include:

  • Less stress leave
  • Calmer and happier staff
  • Techniques being passed on to students
  • Increased flexibility in thinking and problem solving
  • Better relationships.

“We’re led to believe that situations, other people, lack of finances and the like cause us stress when actually how we experience stress has more to do with the way we think about those things than the things themselves.”



This evening or weekend session for parents is an eye-opener. Toni gives a solid scientific argument for why we need to have more harmonious relationships and shows the effects that stress and tension (especially relationship) have on the development of a child’s brain.

Toni delivers a very profound and challenging workshop in a way that is fun, memorable and wholly practical. It is an evening full of science and ‘aha’ moments that can lead to quite dramatic change in how parents cope with family life.

Parents leave with tools to improve their own happiness and relationships and thus improve the environment their children grow up in. A must for all parents.

Outcomes include:

  • Happier home life for kids
  • Less stressed and anxious children
  • Happier parents.

 “If I’d only known what I know now about how the brain works and how happiness is achieved I’d have parented quite differently.”


Positively disrupt how your staff do their jobs, live their lives and experience their relationships.

“The Gratitude workshop is a truly transcendent experience. To embrace a life worth living, to flourish in every facet of life, attend this course!”

Matt Smith, Coordinator
Student Wellbeing Programs,
Brisbane Grammar School

“A totally engaging day that taught me simple skills I’ve already found very effective in the classroom.”

Leigh Inglis, Principal, Tennyson Special School

“Love it, love it, love it – don’t change a thing about The Relationship Workshop!”

Tracey Jenkinson, Wellbeing Coordinator, St Lucia State School, Brisbane

“Toni’s presentation delivered so many positive messages which were entertaining and inspiring.  As a staff, we were challenged to be ever grateful and to see the inevitable challenges of life as opportunities for growth.” 

Dora Luxton
Principal, Assis Catholic College

“In this age of technology and instant gratification, children appear to lack the ability to be ‘present in the moment’. Learning the art of gratefulness is an essential part of maintaining good mental health. Toni’s relational manner and thorough research makes her Gratefulness class  engaging and life changing.”

Karen Hopping, School Psychologist,
Our Lady of the Rosary,
Sunshine Coast

“An honest, challenging and triumphant celebration of how we can powerfully change our own lives for the better.”

              Kylie Readman – Director  Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning & Teaching,
Sunshine Coast University.
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