ADDvocacy was founded in 2012 by Keith Gelhorn as an ADHD coaching and training business. After being diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety at the age of 34, Keith was put on anti-anxiety and ADHD medication but quickly realized that while pills did help him focus to a point, it did little to change the years of accumulated bad habits.
ADDvocacy was born out of a necessity. We were unable to find proactive strategies and support for our own challenges, and found that too many youth and adults faced the same problem as well.
We've built our expertise and a team of coaches who have been through the same challenges you have, and found our purpose in helping others live their best lives.
We love what we do: building the skills, mindset, and confidence that give you the power to shape your own life — and the great things that our clients have achieved out of their own belief in themselves.
ADDvocacy was founded in 2012 by Keith Gelhorn, CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer). Keith started medication after a late diagnosis of ADHD, Anxiety and Learning Disabilities at 34. He quickly discovered that although the medication was helpful, it did little to change the years of accumulated bad habits. He became an ADHD Coach to share his story and knowledge with others who faced similar challenges and wanted proactive strategies.
Keith was voted the 2013 EDN Entrepreneur of the year, holds an Honours Diploma in Disability Support and Services from Nova Scotia Community College. He has completed training from ADD Coach Academy and JST Coaching and Training, as well as the Adult Education Program from St Francis Xavier University.
In addition to running his business and promoting ADHD Awareness, Keith continues to work as a Coach. He has successfully coached hundreds of people and plans to serve thousands more.
When he is not working, Keith loves networking, ongoing learning, golf, fishing, being out on his motorcycle/ATV, road trips, hanging out on Hatchet Lake with his awesome neighbours and spending quality time with his partner Vanna, his step-sons Matias and Lachlan, Dallas the Dog and Merlin the Cat!
Alana holds a Diploma in Child and Youth Care from Nova Scotia Community College and then continued her studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies. She has since completed multiple training programs with JST Coaching and Training and specializes in supporting post-secondary students.
Coaching is a natural passion for Alana, and she loves combining her formal training with her lived experience to provide her clients with individualized plans for success. Her extensive coaching experience and impressive ability to empathize with others have allowed her to form meaningful connections with her clients.
When she is not working, you can find Alana practising self-care by taking long walks in the woods with her two dogs, Roxy and Darwin.
Kendra studied at the University of Victoria, receiving her Bachelor of Social Work. Working for many years in the Mental Health and Addictions field, she was honoured to serve vulnerable populations with a strong commitment to social justice.
As an Executive Function Coach, she is proud to use her lived experience as an Autistic + ADHD individual to support others who identify as being neurodivergent and are facing challenges at work, school, or in their personal lives.
As a Copywriter & Content Curator, she handles a variety of projects, including grants, proposals, research, copywriting, and social media content. Nothing compares to the power and beauty that writing offers, and she is pleased to contribute her talents and passion to the ADDvocacy team.
When she’s not working, you can find her pretending she could compete on MasterChef (spoiler alert - she would never make it!), enjoying being out in nature and writing poetry.
Lea Nicholas loves helping people overcome the impossible. Her passion is to empower people living with chronic illness and neurodiversity to make massive changes that shift their life trajectories. Lea is committed to being a lifelong learner, always seeking to evolve and share her knowledge and enthusiasm with others.
As an Entrepreneur, Artist and Coach, Lea brings compassion, understanding, and a wealth of experience to her coaching. Her unique coaching style (inside out) allows clients to rediscover their innate wisdom facilitating transformation.
When she is not coaching, you can find her with making her chainsaw carvings at Authentic Lea Carvings or at “The Land,” her off-grid property near Chester, Nova Scotia, where she and her wife, Tammie, are building a homestead and future nature retreat from scratch. They are even harvesting and milling the wood themselves! Lea loves hand carving, chainsaw carving, and her dog Abe.
Joy has over 30 years of experience in Community Disability Support, Post-Secondary Student Services, and as an Educator from Pre-School to College. Her background includes a Bachelor of Child Studies, and a Master of Education in Curriculum focused on Diverse Learners.
Currently, Joy is the Program Coordinator for ACHIEVE at Nova Scotia Community College, Institute of Technology Campus. “Achieve” is a transition year program for students (ages 17-21) who had individualized program plans in high school and are ready to take the next steps in their journey. The program is designed to promote career preparation, self-management and practical skills. Joy loves building relationships, cultivating knowledge and supporting diversity.
When she is not working, you can find Joy dancing, practising yoga, walking, cooking, enjoying nature, and spending quality time with her family.
Ken Gelhorn came out of retirement to join his son’s team at ADDvocacy as our Accountant. Ken holds a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce from the University of British Columbia. He became a Certified General Accountant in the 1970s and opened Gelhorn Information Systems Ltd, which he ran for 35 years. His company assisted Accounting Firms in using hardware and software for professional applications. He also created and maintained applications for professional accounting firms and other organizations.
When he is not working, Ken enjoys golfing, participating in the Gyro club, Investing, road trips with his wife and being a Grampy to his niece and nephews who live in Colorado, USA.
We get it. We understand the challenges neurodiversity presents because – just like you – we live with those same challenges every single day.
We refuse to let neurodiversity stop you from reaching your full potential. Our team of professional Coaches will work with you to develop your own, personal strategy that will enable you to thrive in your day-to-day life.
Joel is in his early 50’s and had a long career in environmental engineering; however, he left his last position after being promoted to a management role which caused burnout. He then spent five years, working for a non-profit. While he enjoyed his co-workers, he couldn’t stop thinking about his last job.
Joel struggled with motivation and felt unfulfilled in his personal and professional life. We focused on emotional regulation, time management, organizational skills, and how to develop healthy communication at work/home.
Joel wanted to improve his executive function skills and explore different employment opportunities. Throughout the coaching sessions, it quickly became apparent that his current role amplified his ADHD symptoms. He dreamed of returning to his past career but had no idea how to get there.
With the support of his Coach, Joel built up his confidence to reach out to his former employer and created a detailed action plan. Joel was able to work through his Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria and found better ways to manage stress.
Joel opened up a line of communication with his old employer within a month of us working together and successfully returned to his former job as a Project Manager. He now makes double his old salary and no longer has to manage other employees. Magically, many of the executive function challenges he had been struggling with disappeared when he was able to return to a career that gave him a feeling of purpose and passion.
Joel is an incredible success story!
Andrew King began his video production journey in 2005 after enrolling in the film and media program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Andrew is now in his sixth year running a video production and training business.
Andrew felt he would benefit, personally and professionally, from working with a coach “ because ADHD affects all aspects of my life.” Andrew struggled with executive functioning and faced particular challenges with planning, pricing, and marketing strategies.
Andrew described the value of coaching as having “somebody on your side who wants you to succeed.” Andrew experienced an instant connection with his coach because ”we speak the same language that no one else understands.” This relationship was significant to Andrew, as two people who share a lived experience can communicate in a particular way.
Andrew participated in a video shot by AMI on the impact of ADHD coaching - check it out here:
Twelve sessions with ADDvocacy provided the support Andrew needed to keep himself on track and achieve his goals. In his words, through coaching, “I potentially saved a year of trial and error in starting my business, and Keith helped me find the right product to actually sell.” Andrew learned how to adjust his price point and reframe his business model to target the coaching, training, and consulting market.
Beth was Keith Gelhorn’s very first client in 2012. She strongly felt the need for an ADHD coach after exhausting all the other services on campus at Dalhousie University. She had a goal of getting from a 73% average to an 85% but only had six weeks to do it. She accomplished her goal with an 87% average. Unfortunately, several events followed, including domestic abuse, job loss, homelessness, and a mental health crisis, all of which forced her to leave school. Despite this, Beth returned to school and graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work in September 2019.
Unsure of where she fits into her chosen field, Beth returned to coaching with Keith for further support with goal setting and additional executive function skills. Due to the past decade's traumatizing life events, she struggled with Limiting Beliefs, Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, and Imposter Syndrome.
Beth wanted to understand how to work “with her disability” instead of feeling like it was holding her back in life.
During her twelve sessions, Beth had multiple job opportunities arise. With each option, Beth used her Coach to clarify what she wanted and needed in a job. She discussed the pros and cons of self-disclosure. Beth realized the environment she was looking for and overcame her communication barriers. Currently, Beth has the job of her dreams, where she can use her lived experience to connect with other women experiencing interpersonal violence.
Moving forward, she continues to use the executive functioning skills she learned to manage her schedule, build a healthier work/life balance, communicate more effectively, and ground her emotions when things get tough.
Angela had been working as a seasonal landscaper; however, she wanted to create a better future for herself. Angela began to connect with multiple community resources to help her with this process; this is how she became an ADDvocacy client. After their first round of coaching, Keith invited her to participate in his new 12-week Career Transition Program, where she provided invaluable feedback.
She completed her Npower course through Women's Unlimited during this time and was accepted into the Skills Development Program (ENS). Subsequently, she began to study Cyber Security at NSCC. Currently, Angela secured a paid co-op placement and plans to return to finish her studies in the fall. Angela is a role model to her peers and has a bright future ahead of her.
Angela initially came to coaching to learn executive functioning skills for career exploration; however, the focus shifted to academic coaching when she returned to school. Angela continued weekly coaching throughout her first year at NSCC. Despite multiple personal and medical setbacks, she was successful at school and credits this to her Coach's support.
Angela was able to build upon her strengths, create routines, and improve communication with her instructors. By learning to notice when things were getting off track, she could make adjustments before the situation became a crisis. Angela improved her confidence and ability to advocate for herself. She accessed the accommodations at her school, allowing her to complete all of her work successfully.
Angela appreciated that she could be honest with her Coach and benefited from having greater accountability. She loved having access to monthly group coaching for neurodivergent post-secondary students and 100% plans to continue working with her Coach while she finishes her studies.
Julian is a talented ceramic artist and an aspiring entrepreneur. Julian has a diagnosis of ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia. He is a former NSCAD student and is currently trying to establish his ceramic art studio.
When he first decided to become an entrepreneur, Julain accessed traditional business support services; however, he found that these services did not meet his needs. Due to his learning challenges, Julian needed specific help to write his business plan. He also needed extra support to learn how to work with his strengths and build executive functioning skills.
After ten sessions with his Coach, Julian built a foundation of executive function strategies. He began to look at time management differently and established daily and weekly routines. He kept himself on track by planning out tasks and organizing his weeks ahead of time. Julian now has specific future goals for himself and his business and feels confident in taking action. Coaching has helped him to feel oriented on a personal journey and has provided access to fellow neurodivergent entrepreneurs, which has helped him gain a sense of solidarity and well-being.
Julian regularly participates in ADDvocacy’s ADHD & Neurodivergent Canadian Entrepreneurs Group Coaching. He will continue to access the support of this group and build upon his self-care and self-discovery. He now has clear goals about the next steps he needs to take to expand his business.
Succeeding in school, work, as an entrepreneur, and in life starts with the ability to believe that we can be successful! Sometimes it's hard to see that in ourselves but our peer-coaches can help!
That's why we're just a click away.
Talk with your ADDvocacy coach. Your first consultation is free.