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Michelle Ray

Inspiring People & Organizations to Succeed & Take the Lead


For more than twenty years leadership speaker Michelle Ray has helped thousands of audiences as well as organizations of every description to take the lead, get out of their comfort zones and develop the willingness to risk. Delivering her powerful message on self-leadership with insight, humour, and passion, Michelle’s engaging, interactive, presentations resonate with a diverse clientele who are seeking to inspire their teams and take personal responsibility for creating their own reality at work, in business and in life. +

According to a recent Gallop survey, only thirteen percent of employees are actively engaged and satisfied in their chosen vocation. High levels of disenchantment and frustration impact productivity and performance, as many seek a greater connection to their work and life purpose.

Michelle began her career in the media industry with one of Australia’s leading broadcasting networks. She worked her way up the management ladder and was responsible for the sales revenues of 25 radio and television affiliate stations, and was subsequently hired by one of the world’s largest cinema advertising contractors to lead the company’s sales team and was also responsible for successfully generating record–breaking revenues during a severely depressed economic climate.

In addition to her corporate background, Michelle broadened her leadership experience during her tenure as a program director with Junior Achievement, an internationally renowned non-profit organization committed to educating future generations about business. She secured financial commitments and volunteer support from an array of corporations, facilitating enduring partnerships between youth, entrepreneurs and educators.

Michelle has delivered her powerful messages on leadership, accountability and engaged workplaces to the “C-Suites” of global corporations, academia, diverse associations, government groups, as well as front-line staff. Her client list includes notable brands such as Proctor and Gamble, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Shell, Xerox, PayPal, Qantas Airways, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Playboy Enterprises and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Having addressed thousands of audiences across five continents, Michelle’s combination of wit, masterful humor, practical content and an engaging, interactive style resonates with a diverse clientele seeking to inspire, educate and captivate the imagination of their leaders and teams.

Michelle is the author of Lead Yourself First! Indispensable Lessons in Business and in Life. She has appeared as a guest on numerous news and current affairs programs including CBC Radio, CTV, Global TV and was featured in esteemed publications such as Investor’s Business Daily, The National Post, Huffington Post, BC Business and Inc Magazine. Michelle is a regular contributor for The Globe and Mail’s Leadership Lab Column. --

  • Accountability
  • Attitude
  • Change / Disruption
  • Corporate Culture
  • Customer Service/Customer Loyalty
  • Employees/Workforce/Morale/Retention/Engagement
  • Generational Issues
  • Impostor Syndrome
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Resiliency
  • Safety in the Workplace
  • Teamwork & Collaboration
  • Vision/Purpose

Problems Michelle Ray solves:

  • How to get people to be more accountable
  • How to keep your best people from leaving
  • How to deal with employee disengagement
  • How to build a great leadership team
  • How to embrace change and manage uncertainty

Michelle Ray's Speaking Presentations:

Leadership: It Starts with Me
Harness the Power of Personal Leadership

We’ve often heard the adage “everyone can be a leader”, but what does this mean? More importantly, how is this relevant to your organization and your people? The most practical answer is to think of leadership in terms of character, not position or title. A leader is someone at any level who has grasped the ability to take charge of their thoughts, and consequently their actions, in any situation.  +

We are often tested to be the best version of ourselves, regardless of our job function. Our attitudes directly impact the workplace atmosphere and the quality of our business relationships. When we take the initiative and lead ourselves with greater confidence, we are better equipped to strengthen relationships with leaders, co-workers and customers.

Delivering her message with insight, wit and humor, Michelle’s energizing, informative and popular keynote presentation will remind audiences of the power of personal leadership. They will learn accountability strategies they can use long after the event ends to take the lead, embrace challenges and create their own realities.

Expected outcomes for attendees:

  • Build a leadership blueprint to use in business and in life;
  • Realize the incredible leverage of modeling a “do what it takes” attitude;
  • Decrease stress and negativity for greater productivity and positive results;
  • Realign your core personal values to those of your workplace;
  • Re-energize attitudes toward your peers and management;
  • Tap into your innovative potential to bring out the best in yourself   --

No More Drama:
Ditch the Dysfunction and Engage Your Workplace

The existence of people challenges of any description has consequences for your bottom line. Many individuals are working longer hours, spending more time with managers, co-workers, and computers than their own families. Stress levels have accelerated as organizations of every description feel the pressure of delivering results for their clients and shareholders in less time, with fewer resources.  +

Teams are expected to be efficient, engaged and happy. However, the demands of today’s workplace often take a toll on the most important resource of all…your people. Under these conditions, it is not uncommon for drama and chaos to reign. Is your business equipped to deal with personality clashes, emotional explosions, "my way or the highway" mindsets, and other theatrics that undermine productivity and success? Are you ready to manage the high cost of low morale?

Delivered with humour and insight, this exciting keynote or breakout session offers practical solutions to the most common workplace problems…helping your audience to put a stop to the drama…once and for all.

Learning objectives and benefits for attendees:

  • Detach from the dysfunction and drama to be a better "you";
  • Take a stand in the face of “the blame game” and other theatrics;
  • Practice objectivity and put the "small stuff" into perspective;
  • Learn the difference between people who have problems and people who are problems;
  • Evict the colleagues, managers and others who are living “rent-free” in your head   --

Who Moved My Future?
Demystifying the Fear of Change

“Why is this happening?” “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” “We’ve always done it that way”: Three clichés that have become part of the dialogue when it comes to the topic of change. Learning how to manage ourselves around situations and events that are outside of our control is not as complex as you may think, although the process often necessitates a shift in perspective, readiness to let go of the old and willingness to embrace the new.  +

Easier said than done.

During volatile economic conditions, it is no wonder many people feel stuck; taking the leap of faith when there is no safety net feels overwhelming. It is during these times that organizations tighten their collective belts and become even more risk-adverse. Adapting to rapidly changing economic conditions is expected, yet many people feel even more afraid.

So, where to start?

The first step is to recognize that change is emotional. Organizations can achieve more success with change initiatives by acknowledging the human side before expecting acceptance of new ideas. When leaders understand what lies behind people’s fears, they will be better equipped to obtain buy-in.

During this dynamic, interactive and content-rich keynote, your attendees will learn the five reasons behind resistance to change, how to achieve greater levels of acceptance in order to move beyond the “status quo” and ultimately, how to implement and communicate new strategies and approaches for long-term results.

Expected learning outcomes for attendees:

  • Experience Michelle’s 7-step process to managing change
  • Develop a repertoire of communication skills to achieve buy-in and build rapport
  • Adopt a “can-do” mindset and rise above the “naysayers”
  • Address the fear of change and the fear of failure
  • Learn to respond vs. react to change and uncertainty   --

Retain the Best: Confront the Rest:
How to Shake up Your Organization in the War for Talent

The notion of holding one job for life does not hold any appeal for the new generation of talent. Those days are gone forever and unless organizations are willing to invest in them emotionally and financially‚ this savvy group will seize opportunity and leave you scrambling to replace them. They won’t accept complacency in their leaders or teams‚ and neither should you. In order to retain them, organizations and leaders need to focus on creating an outstanding culture that fosters high engagement, high morale and a happier atmosphere.  +

In addition to managing the increasing numbers of retiring baby boomers, building a culture that draws in new talent and fosters engagement for all team members, regardless of age or culture, is a key priority. Leaders need to ask themselves:

“What is it that people want when they come to our organization? What is appealing about our industry that would attract them to our organization?”

If you are able to answer these questions, then the process of attracting and retaining new talent becomes easier.

As leaders, we also must recognize that our own leadership style impacts employee motivation and talent retention. Leaders at all levels can profoundly impact an individual’s decision to stay or leave. Are you doing your best to communicate, connect and demonstrate genuine interest in your team members?

In this content rich keynote presentation, you will discover the key components for building a dynamic environment where people can thrive and enjoy their work. You will recognize that the intangible (non-financial) motivators often have a major influence on a prospective, or current employee’s perception of your organization. Are you ready?

Expected learning outcomes for attendees:

  • Learn the four influencing factors that are critical to talent retention
  • Recognize the myths and truths behind a high performing workplace culture
  • Discover the “push” and “pull” factors regarding employees’ decisions to stay or leave
  • Create a work environment that fosters talent retention through higher engagement levels
  • Educate managers and leaders in accountability being a two-way street
    Understand the difference between tangible and intangible workplace motivators in the overall engagement equation   --

Staying Power: Success Strategies for Resiient Leadership
Rethink, Respond, Rebound: Three Essential Strategies for Success

What makes a person resilient? Can resiliency be taught or are some people better able to rebound from adversity than others? The answers lay in how we first choose to interpret events that are outside of our control and the manner in which we respond to the inevitable peaks and valleys of life. In order to rise above challenges of any description, we need to focus on developing a mindset of managing rather than coping.  +

Resiliency is the cornerstone of our emotional and psychological survival in challenging times. During her Staying Power! Keynote, Michelle teaches the three essential strategies required to hone a resilient mindset.


Stop dwelling on destructive beliefs. Make room to expand possibilities, exercise greater resilience, and move forward.


Learn to adapt to discomfort by responding, rather than reacting. Take a step back and ask yourself, “Is there another way?”


Grow from adversity and become more resilient by recognizing challenges as opportunities for greater insight.

During this thought-provoking and interactive keynote, attendees will learn how to access their resilience “DNA” and will leave the event with new ideas to bounce back with greater confidence in the face of future challenges.

Expected learning outcomes for attendees:

  • Reframe your perspective regarding life’s ups and downs;
  • Develop a resiliency mindset and tap into your inner strengths;
  • Learn from setbacks and hone your “bouncebackability” skills;
  • Approach adversity with clarity, confidence, and composure;
  • Look forward to the future with positive anticipation;
  • Become a resiliency role model to others at work and in life   --

Elevate Your Influence: How to Increase Your Leverage, Strengthen Your Impact and Energize Your Business Relationships

There has never been a better time for leaders and managers in all industry sectors to elevate their influence. A higher percentage of senior leaders and CEOs now recognize the importance of including leadership perspectives from a variety of departments regarding overall business strategy. By increasing your visibility and impact, your career flourishes and your organization benefits by having your ideas heard, understood and acted upon.  +

How can you leverage your position of strength and captivate attention and imagination of individuals with whom you have key relationships? The solution lies in demonstrating that you understand their positions, their perspectives and their interests, prior to introducing your own suggestions. By acknowledging others first, you are ideally positioned to make the difference; for yourself and your organization.

When others connect with your ideas, you have achieved “buy-in”. It is much easier to put your own agenda forward by listening to others first. Synchronicity is achieved by acknowledging others, even when we may not agree.

During this informative, interactive and dynamic keynote session, you will learn how to communicate your vision in a way that gets noticed. You add value to your organization and yourself when you are able to demonstrate the bottom line benefits to your leaders and stakeholders by speaking their language. As business necessitates human interaction, articulating your goals purposely and powerfully begins with you. You will leave with new ideas and strategies to energize workplace relationships at all levels…with tangible, long-term results.

Expected learning outcomes for attendees:

  • Showcase your ideas for maximum impact during one-on-one or group meetings;
  • Create a profound impact on organizational performance by harnessing new approaches;
  • Enlighten leaders, co-workers and stakeholders with compelling reasons to ensure your projects are successful and supported;
  • Apply the power of positive influence with managers and colleagues alike;
  • Discover the seven key result areas that are top of mind for every senior executive;
  • Raise your profile internally and strengthen your customer relationships   --

Michelle Ray is represented by K&M Productions. To inquire about Michelle Ray's speaking schedule, fees & booking speaker Michelle Ray, contact us.

What Clients are Saying

Your keynote “No More Drama” was a smash hit with our delegation at our annual conference. Your presentation received rave reviews, both the day of your keynote, and over the weeks since. Never in my career with the IIMC have I seen a more engaged group of delegates during a presentation, nor have I ever seen so many smiles walking out the door. I deeply appreciate the attention you took to customize your presentation to our unique audience, and the time you took to prepare additional materials for them. Your well thought out presentation, refreshing honesty, and dynamic personality were exactly what our group needed to recharge on the third day of our educational program.

–International Institute of Municipal Clerks


Your keynote “No More Drama” was a smash hit with our delegation at our annual conference. Your presentation received rave reviews, both the day of your keynote, and over the weeks since. Never in my career with the IIMC have I seen a more engaged group of delegates during a presentation, nor have I ever seen so many smiles walking out the door. I deeply appreciate the attention you took to customize your presentation to our unique audience, and the time you took to prepare additional materials for them. Your well thought out presentation, refreshing honesty, and dynamic personality were exactly what our group needed to recharge on the third day of our educational program.

–International Institute of Municipal Clerks

She held her audience of 180+ captive with her high energy, blunt honesty, witty observations and pertinent advice. I have received scores of emails and phone calls from consultants telling me what a positive impact Michelle had on them and how her message was just what was needed. We definitely ended our weekend on a high note by having Michelle energize and re-focus our people!

–Flight Centre

Your keynote presentation truly set the tone for the day and was extremely well received by our team. Thank you for kicking off the day with such an inspiring, motivating, fun and thought provoking keynote address.  Your comments and ideas resonated with attendees throughout the day as we discussed the behaviours and attitudes associated with poor and great leadership.  Moreover, it set the tone to commit to action plans that will take our organization to the next level. It was truly a pleasure to meet you.  Thanks again for inspiring our team and sharing your passion for the lifelong pursuit of becoming a better leader.


Your presentation set the goal for the start of our convention.  We had tons of positive comments about your presentation and that positive attitude continued on through the rest of the convention. You definitely are a leader in your field.

–Tom Bastable, Board of Directors, Credit Institute Of Canada

You really WOW-ed everyone with your personal, passionate, and effective take on Customer Service! Many thanks for making such a fantastic first impression on our team here at RBC.

–RBC Financial Group

You have a wonderful ability to connect with your audience in a way that holds their attention throughout. Your presentation style, vocabulary and props all aid in delivering a powerful message - one of personal leadership where we are each individually responsible for the attitudes in the workplace and we all have the ability to control our own environment. Our group, comprised of the 70+ senior partners and managers of our firm, attended this retreat with a view to looking ahead and planning, strategically, to grow our business. Your presentation gave them a very valuable piece of the puzzle. We all know how important and valuable staff is to any business success; you emphasized this message while giving these partners and managers some very simple tools in the way of delegation and feedback that they can easily implement to reward and retain their key people.

–BDO Dunwoody

We really enjoyed your presentation. I especially liked how your presentation fit so well with our conference theme. Great job. Thank you so much for starting our conference off in such a positive way and for helping us make it a great success.

–Health & Safety Conference Society of Alberta (HSCSA)

Michelle's presentation was very engaging, well delivered and highly motivating. Loved the 7 steps to managing change - very practical and spot on! Michelle was excellent and we really enjoyed her. She was a great close for our conference!

–Ontario Hospital Association

The content of your material was very relevant. There was a buzz around the room throughout the session. You have exceeded our expectations.




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