Leadership Expert, Business Keynote Speaker, Author. Globe & Mail Columnist and Founder, Lead Yourself First institute

Born in Australia and now residing in Vancouver, Canada, leadership expert, Michelle Ray is an award-winning speaker and founder of the Lead Yourself First Institute. 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. She 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.

As an in-demand business conference speaker for the past twenty years, 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. She is a Certified Speaking Professional, the highest-earned designation in the speaking industry, and was awarded the "Presentation Mastery Award" from the Vancouver Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Earlier in her career, she was recognized as the top speaker in Canada for the world's largest international public seminar company.

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 also a contributor for the Globe and Mail Leadership Lab Column.


Offered Programs

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. We should never underestimate our personal power and ability to control our reality.

Learning Takeaways:

  • How to tap into your own innovative potential
  • How to demonstrate unwavering confidence in your interactions with clients, managers and co-workers
  • How to take the initiative and lead yourself first

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

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 negativity for greater productivity and positive outcomes
  • Realign your core personal values to those of your workplace
  • Re-energize attitudes to co-workers and management
  • Tap into your innovative potential to bring out the best in yourself


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

NO MORE DRAMA! DITCH THE DYSFUNCTION AND ENGAGE YOUR WORKPLACE

The existence of people challenges 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.

Sample of learning objectives and benefits of attending:

  • Learn the difference between people who have problems and people who are problems
  • 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
  • Evict the colleagues, managers and others who are living "rent-free" in your head

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?

Sample of learning benefits for your audience:

  • Learn the four influencing factors that are critical to talent retention
  • Recognize the myths and truths behind a high performing workplace

ELEVATE YOUR INFLUENCE: INCREASE YOUR LEVERAGE, STRENGTHEN YOUR IMPACT, & ENERGIZE RELATIONSHIPS

There has never been a better time for managers and leaders 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 you goals purposely and powerfully begins with you. You will leave with new ideas and strategies to raise your profile internally, to energize workplace relationships at all levels...with tangible, long-term results.

Learning benefits 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

WOMEN, LEADERSHIP AND THE STRATEGIC ADVANTAGE

The contribution of women strengthening team dynamics cannot be underestimated. Recent studies in Harvard Business Review found that a business group's collective I.Q increased significantly with women on the team. The evidence confirms that the appointment of women to leadership positions contributes to the opportunity for significant business growth. Leaders at every level are uniquely positioned to exert positive, proactive influence. Organizations that are embracing the pace of change by recognizing the strengths of women and the benefits of a collaborative team spirit will continue to be the most sought-after places to work. Savvy businesses recognize that women possess a unique set of skills in critical areas such as decision-making and superior communication. As women leaders, these latest trends represent an opportunity to help others develop a proactive mindset...one that appreciates similarities and celebrates differences. During this dynamic presentation, your audience will learn how to showcase the strategic advantage for women leaders, and leaders as a whole, within their organization.

Expected outcomes for attendees:

  • Leverage your influence to capitalize on your unique strengths
  • Develop greater confidence in all professional interactions
  • Harness a leadership presence to manage inherent organizational gender biases
  • Experience first-hand the benefits of a collaborative workplace culture that promotes inclusiveness and opportunity for women
  • Take the lead, educate and energize relationships at all levels for tangible, long-term results.