You are only as good as your habits. Children who excel get a head start with excellent habits. 

Jim delivers workshops and presentations to elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges, and universities. Programs for students are taught during school hours or after-school. These seminars are a blend of concrete action steps and the inspiration to take those steps. 


You read to young children to instill a love for reading and give them a head start in school. You teach your children to swim so they will enjoy and feel confident around water. You enroll in The Leadership Advantage to help your child develop one of the most valued traits in our society— leadership. Introduce leadership to your child when she/he is building life-long behaviors.

Topics covered in this class include:

  • Successful people have an attitude, try out this attitude for yourself
  • Develop your charisma in 5 steps
  • Practice 3 habits used by successful goal-setting super stars
  • Learn to handle fear with the Sarnoff Squeeze
  • Find out what the T'NACI monster is and how you can slay it
  • Discover a behavior that destroys friendships and what you can do about it 

The premise of this class is that true leaders first learn to lead themselves. This leadership occurs in 3 character building areas: attitude, goal-setting, and self-esteem.

This is a four part class, two hours per class.

I recently found myself thrilled when my son animatedly recounted to me every detail of the Beginning Leadership Advantage class he was taking at school. He went on for an HOUR about it and this is a boy who rarely says much of anything about school. I was impressed to realize that he was learning leadership concepts, ideas and techniques that took me years of on-the-job training to glean.
— Tracey Vosper


As a graduate of the Leadership Advantage: Beginner series, your students know that true leaders first learn to lead themselves. They also know how to turn goals into reality, how to master their P.E.G.S.S., and how to walk away from the T’NACI monster. They are now eligible for the next level, The Leadership Advantage: Intermediate series. This is the next step for students who are developing the character-enhancing skills they need to lead themselves. Building on the foundation laid in the beginner series, this intermediate program takes students up the leadership ladder.

Topics covered in this program include:

  • Steps you can take to build a resilient bounce–back personality
  • Developing your emotional intelligence
  • Playing the “solution game”
  • "Pick a habit" star chart goal-setting practice
  • Discover how you benefit others and yourself when you power praise someone
  • Learn what makes leaders brains different and how you can encourage that difference
  • Take the challenge to rid yourself of one of the top power-draining behaviors 

The Leadership Advantage is based on the concept that true leaders first learn to lead themselves. When you can build your own life in positive ways, then you are on the path towards helping guide others. As with the foundation laying beginner series, the intermediate series is filled with interaction, laughter, stories, puppets, magic, games, and surprises.

There are so many take-aways from your program and the common language we can use in the classroom and at home.
— Alisha Zare


Taking up where the intermediate program left off, the advanced program continues to develop skills you need to lead yourself, with a shift towards the leadership skills needed to lead others. Students work on communication skills, learn how to influence people in positive ways, and practice techniques used by personality detectives.

Topics covered in this program include:

  • Learn how to "read" people
  • Use the RIQE technique for positive communication and improved results
  • Learn how you can use "attitude tattoos" to stay motivated
  • Practice the "killer-whale" technique for changing behavior
  • Play "robot soccer" to discover the importance of being specific
  • The fastest way to change your behavior—Positactics

When you can build your own life in positive ways, then you may want to think about helping to guide others. Jim's multi-sensory approach to leadership takes advantage of all that brain science tells us about how people learn. This program includes story-telling, slide shows, custom games, songs, puppets, magic, and loads of interaction to keep students engaged.


This class adds the fourth R to Readin', 'Ritin', and 'Rithmatic. The fourth R is Remembering. A big chunk of your child’s academic success is based on remembering. From kindergarten to college, tests measure memory. This is a class in "memory literacy"–a universally beneficial skill. Skills are taught with an emphasis on academic subjects: reading comprehension, social studies, foreign language, spelling, science, and geography. Using the techniques learned in this class, students have:

  • Memorized all 50 states and their capitals in under two hours
  • Learned 100 foreign language words in a weekend
  • Met 10 people at a virtual party and greeted those people a year later by name
  • Listed the 43 presidents of the United States in order after an hour of study
  • Been able to recite and explain the 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution after one hour of study

Secrets of a Super Memory is interactive. There are a lot of games. Walk in on a program and you might see students using the memory skills employed by the Guinness Book record holder for learning foreign languages in a game called “snap.” Later you will see students physically acting out a story with a surprise memory ending. Watch as kids discover one of the secrets of super-spellers. At some point people may be juggling or playing memory games that cover constitutional amendments, geology, human anatomy, or botany. A number of the techniques used in this course come from Jim's book, Memory Smart.

This is a four part class, two hours per class.


This class picks up where the Secrets of a Super Memory: Beginner series left off. In the first series, you learned 3 memory techniques: pegging, chaining and substitution. In the intermediate series we cover up to 9 memory techniques and practice using them on academic subjects:

  • Learn how to use VAKing to learn geology
  • Expand your SAT vocabulary rapidly with a cartoon memory technique
  • Find how you can use a simple code to remember anything with numbers at a genius level
  • Discover a method for holding large blocks of data in memory, and use it on interesting law cases
  • Practice a skill that will give you phenomenal recall for what you read

Secrets of a Super Memory: Intermediate is interactive. Again you will learn by playing. Walk in on the program and you might see students acting, distributing game cards to learn vocabulary, or passing rocks from the "quarry" to blindfolded geology students. The skills gained in the Secrets of a Super Memory: Beginner series allow us to look at more sophisticated memory techniques, like how to memorize a book. This is a big step towards becoming memory literate. A number of the techniques used in this class come from Jim's books, Memory Smart and How to Remember What You Read: How to Memorize a Book.

This is a four part class, two hours per class.


Just like you teach a child to ride a bicycle, read a book, or play a musical instrument, you can teach your child how to be creative. It's a skill. There are a variety of tools that you have to master, but once you have them, it is like learning a foreign language. The earlier your child starts, the more competent she will become in speaking the language of creativity.

  • Find out how a cartoonist like Gary Larson and an inventor like Benjamin Franklin think alike
  • Construct a creativity wheel
  • Discover how to turn on your creativity with second-right answers
  • Learn how to use a creativity wallet just like Leonardo da Vinci (a pretty creative guy)
  • Play with the blender technique to come up with something that never existed before

Using cartooning as a tool, Jim Wiltens shows you how to increase creativity. Cartooning appeals to many children and introduces hands-on-training in coming up with imaginative ideas. The principles for coming up with a good cartoon are the same principles used by scientists, managers, film-makers, inventors, writers, entrepreneurs and anyone else who benefits from thinking different. Students can learn up to five creativity techniques:

While art techniques are taught, the primary focus of the class is hands-on experience with specific creativity skills. By the end of class, students will have a notebook filled with their creative ideas.

This is a four part class, two hours/class

Presenter's Background:

Jim Wiltens has sold cartoons to such publications as the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area Parent News Magazine, Western Winds, COMDEX,Sources, Blackbelt Magazine, and SKI . He is also the illustrator of six books: Edible and Poisonous Plants of Northern CaliforniaGoal Express!No More Nagging, Nit-picking, & Nudging, Memory SmartRemember What Your Read, and Camels, Skulls, and Cobras. Jim has used the creativity principles taught in this class in research environments, as a professional speaker, and in the businesses he owns.


Goal coach Jim Wiltens uses stories and photos of his amazing adventures to hook young and adult audiences. Diving with great white sharks, kayaking through headhunter territory, and being marooned on a deserted island are a few of the adventures he will share. Woven into these stories are the powerful goal-setting techniques he uses to turn dreams into reality.

In this assembly students will:

  • Take the first step towards turning a goal into reality
  • Learn the goal-setting secret used by John Goddard, the man the L.A. Times calls the "real Indiana Jones"
  • Be inspired by stories of students coached by Jim who have become dream-makers
  • Discover how to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of a goal
  • Learn the psychological principle that makes goal-setters the most successful people in the world
Both my brother and I were in your classes and were so inspired that we helped a small elementary school in Tanzania. As fourth and fifth graders we started a lemonade stand and bake sale to raise funds. We have not stopped fundraising and now the school has its own water pump, internet and computer access, and self sustaining garden to feed kids during breaks. The source of our involvement has a lot to do with your life lessons.
— The Wagstaffes


English classes were boring until the seventh grade—then Jim met Mrs. Fowler. She taught the true meaning of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. 

Jim will hook your audience with stories of the inspiration and perspiration necessary to become a published adventure writer. What is it like to be buried alive? How do you apologize to a cobra? Would you go eyeball to eyeball with a sea monster? He will also introduce you to some of the characters he has met on assignments. There's the man who steers battleships to war–on a pond. Would you like to meet up with dinosaur bandits in the Gobi Desert? How do you interview a prospector while he is holding a gun to your head?

Things your students will learn:

  • Techniques used by great writers––which students can start using in elementary school
  • Where to put your best material in a story
  • How to hook readers so they won't be able to put your writing down
  • One of the least used, but most important techniques a writer can use to make a story interesting
  • How to use VAKing to bring a story to life
  • Why great writers are re-writers
  • What it takes to turn words into dollars
  • Why writing can be a heck of a lot of fun

Inspire your students with a unique look at English through the eyes of a professional writer.

Jim's writing background:

Jim served on advisory boards for the San Francisco Chronicle's Outdoors in the Classroom Program and the San Jose Mercury News Venture section. He has written hundreds of articles which appeared in such publications as the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area Parent News Magazine , San Jose Mercury News, Paddler, Black Belt Magazine, Outdoor Canada, Camping Magazine, and Skin Diver. Jim has received Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism award 3 times for his parenting column which appeared in 35 publications across the United States and internationally. He is also an accomplished technical writer, producing material for Apple Computer, Polymetrics, and Arrowhead Industrial Water. His books include Edible and Poisonous Plants of Northern CaliforniaGoal Express!No More Nagging, Nit-picking, & NudgingMemory SmartRemember What Your Read, and Camels, Skulls, and Cobras


Visit with the denizens of the deep. You've seen JawsThe Abyss, and20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. What's the truth about sea monsters? This is your chance to visit with the denizens of the deep. Come along on a lifetime adventure with a marine biologist who has met real sea monsters in warm aquamarine waters in the Sea of Cortez, in the blue depths of the Indian Ocean, at midnight off the shores of Hawaii, and in the murky cold of the Canadian Pacific.

Some of the topics:

  • Etiquette when meeting sharks
  • The Cloth of Gold–beautiful but deadly
  • Feeding fish, counting fingers
  • Never kiss a moray eel
  • Getting walloped by a feather duster
  • The tombstone puffer, one man's dinner is another’s poison
  • Just because they’re jellyfish doesn’t mean they’re wimps

If your students ever plan on diving, snorkeling, surfing, swimming, or wading in the ocean they are going to want to know the information in this program. Get the facts on dangerous sea creatures. Jim shares his encounters with sea monsters through stories and slides. This is an introduction into marine biology your class won't soon forget.


This talk is filled stories about wild California plants. You will meet sinister plants with deadly reputations as well as friendly vegetables disguised as weeds. Every vacant lot, park, field and open space contains the characters covered in this presentation. Your wild green thumb will be tickled by the answers to such questions as:

  • How do you eat a pine cone?
  • What do Oak trees have to do with California Indians dying young?
  • Can you recognize the tree found throughout California that produces fake chocolate?
  • What unusual threat to motorists resulted in the removal of Pyracantha bushes from along Highway 101?
  • Why did missionaries carry sacks of mustard seed when traveling?
  • Kids all over California eat sour grass. Why is this dangerous? 

This is an enjoyable introduction to botany. Jim shares the plant wisdom of his woods-wise grandpa, Alexander the Great, and even a squirrelly raccoon. The plants that live all around you have fascinating stories to tell. If you opt for the hands-on section of the class you will have even more fun as you discover what your early ancestors had to know to survive in mother nature's wild grocery store.


Jim hired a ship captain to maroon him on a wild island off the coast of Canada. To survive, he had the barest necessities and his wits. Friends suggested the latter were in short supply. The island he chose was not some tropical paradise. The Canadian Coast Guard warned him that conditions could be extreme. Without food, tent, sleeping bag, or toilet paper, he had to survive. And he was in for some unexpected surprises.

  • Discover the best place to sleep when you don’t have a sleeping bag.
  • Could you find dinner in a tide pool?
  • Learn to cook like a gourmet Neanderthal.
  • What 10 essentials should you carry for wilderness survival?
  • Learn to shop for outdoor clothing like your life depends on it.
  • How do you psych yourself up to survive?


The ancient Mayans of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula left behind abandoned cities, massive pyramids, and celestial observatories. Artifacts indicate an intricate and sophisticated culture. In their religion, spirits dwell in the underworld. The portals to this underworld are deep mysterious wells called cenotes. The cenote was a giver of life in a landscape where there are no surface rivers or streams. The wells provided the only sure source of fresh water. In an effort to please the gods, cenotes were often the site of human sacrifice. Join a group of cave-diving explorers as they descend into this strange underworld. They discover that the cenotes are true doorways that lead into massive subterranean river systems, mile after mile of a hidden river system that flows beneath the Yucatan Peninsula.

  • Follow these explorers as they float through huge caverns that rain a glittering snow-like substance
  • Discover a world of spectacular columns and "waterfalls" of stone
  • Learn about the dangers lurking in the dark recesses that stalk the unwary with deadly intent
  • Help solve the riddle of a huge stalagmite hollowed out and filled with charcoal 90' underwater
  • Find the skeletons of prehistoric creatures cemented into limestone walls
  • Marvel at the troglodytic animals that have adapted to living in Stygian blackness
  • Discover how "brown outs" in these hidden rivers threaten the health of everyone along the Yucatan Coast

Take part in an adventure in ecology, geology, biology, and anthropology. When the mules are loaded with SCUBA tanks for a trip to a hidden cenote deep in the jungle, there will be a few surprises in store for us.

I am so excited to hear the students using the language you taught them in order to be successful leaders. Just the other day, while observing students during a math tutorial, I overheard a conversation between two boys. One was complaining about a difficult problem, saying “I can’t do it.” The other responded, “don’t say that, say ‘I could if I......”, I complimented the student on the transfer of knowledge from your workshop to real life. I then commented to the teacher in charge, giving her the background. She now uses this phrase as a regular part of her tutorial program. Thank you again for fabulous tools you provided for the young eager minds at K.R. Smith!
— Diane Hemmes, Resource Coordinator for K. R. Smith Elementary School