Keith Johnston speaks during the second annual North Okanagan Rotary Athletic awards at the Best Western Vernon Lodge. His book

Keith Johnston speaks during the second annual North Okanagan Rotary Athletic awards at the Best Western Vernon Lodge. His book

Unlocking potential theme of new book

As author of A Garage Full of Ferraris, Keith Johnston interviewed 15 different leaders

Imagine the frustration of having a garage full of Ferraris, but not having a driver’s license.

That was the metaphor Keith Johnston has been carrying around with him for years as he tries to unlock maximum potential from the people he works with.

As author of A Garage Full of Ferraris, Johnston interviewed 15 different leaders that he has built a great relationship with over the years and incorporated their thoughts into one book.

Johnston came up with the name for the book when he was working for Landmark Graphics Corporation, a large software company.  He had a salesman lose an account because the company he was selling the software to, didn’t have the intelligence to operate the software.

Johnston said that the salesman was told, “We’re not getting the value out of this technology. Let me put it this way, right now, I have a garage full of Ferraris and I don’t have a driver’s license.”

Johnston ended up working extensively with that company, educating them on how to use the software. It helped improve accuracy in oil drilling and reduce costs.

“The same concept applies to people. If you don’t coach, motivate, get people to work together properly, you aren’t going to maximize your potential and be successful,” said Johnston.

The importance of mentorship, empowerment, accountability, obstacles, the fear of failure and tenacious creativity are all discussed by several successful leaders than Johnston has connected with to write this book, which is available online at and he is hoping it will be sold in local book stores.

Johnston starts the book with a quote from an acquaintance Drew Dudley: “We have made leadership into something bigger than us. We have made it into something beyond us.”

“Leadership doesn’t have to be something big for presidents and bosses, it can be something we use everyday,” said Johnston.

His book offers a unique perspective because he wrote it with gratitude about the people that influenced his life.

“It was important for me to use a variety of people and get different voices in there other than my own,” said Johnston.

Johnston wasn’t all business all the time. Growing up, he played football and went to Austin College in Sherman, Texas, as an offensive guard.

After his NCAA eligibility wrapped up, Johnston played one year for the McMaster University Marauders and was their first CIS all-Canadian.

Born in Toronto, moving to Calgary as a kid, growing up and attending college in Texas before making it to Vernon, Johnston has a story about everyone from those places.

These days, Johnston coaches football for the Vernon Panthers, enjoys sports photography, is the chairperson of the Rotary North Okanagan Athletic Club and occasionally works with a few clients on team building, leadership and motivation.


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