Michael Bach

Michael Bach

Founder, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion | Bestselling Author

If diversity is our strength, inclusion is our superpower. Michael Bach is nationally and international recognized as a thought leader and subject matter expert in the fields of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. As the founder of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) with more than 30 years working in the area of LGBTQ2+ inclusion, Bach brings a vast knowledge of leading practices in creating equitable workplaces in any industry.

Prior to CCDI, Bach was the national director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at KPMG Canada, a role he created and held for seven years. He also completed a 2.5 year secondment as deputy chief diversity officer for KPMG International. Under Bach’s leadership, CCDI Consulting has received numerous awards, including the Canadian HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Award in the category of Diversity/Employment Equity Consultant every year since its creation in 2016.

Over the course of his career, Bach has received repeated recognition for his work, including being named one of Women of Influence’s Canadian Diversity Champions and a Catalyst Canada Honours Human Resources/Diversity Leader. He has also been the recipient of the Inspire Award as LGBTQ Person of the Year, Out on Bay Street’s “Leaders to be Proud of” LGBT Advocate Workplace Award, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s IS Award, and the Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award.

A bestselling author, Bach’s first book Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right is a Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Amazon bestseller and was also the recipient of the Silver 2020 Nautilus Book Award in the category of Rising to the Moment. His new book Alphabet Soup: The Essential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion was released in March 2022 and is a Toronto Star bestseller.

Bach has a post-graduate certificate in diversity management from Cornell University and holds the Cornell Certified Diversity Professional, Advanced Practitioner (CCDP/AP) designation.


The Right IDEA: Doing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Right

“Diversity” and “inclusion” have become buzz words. They’re used in casual conversation by CEOs and world leaders alike. But how do you actually do diversity and inclusion right, in a way that isn’t performative and has the intended impact?

Knowing that diversity and inclusion are important and knowing where to begin when developing an IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility) program, or strategy, are two different things. Many workplaces know that IDEA is both the right thing and the smart thing to do, but simply don’t know where to start.

“The Right IDEA: Doing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Right” is an engaging and witty look at how organizations can get started on their IDEA journey. Based on his bestselling and award-winning book Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right, Michael Bach presents his six-step model on how an organization can start and stay on its IDEA journey.

Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of:

  • The pillars of an IDEA business case.
  • What components to include in an assessment.
  • The secret ingredient to a successful IDEA strategy.
  • How to measure IDEA.

The Smart IDEA: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility is Good Business

“Diversity” and “inclusion” have become buzz words. They’re used in casual conversation by CEOs and world leaders alike. But what do these words mean, why do they matter, and how are they going to impact your ability to operate?

It is undeniable that a focus on IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility) is a necessity for every employer, but can every employer articulate the infamous “business case” as to why IDEA is critical to their success?

“The Smart IDEA: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility is Good Business” is an engaging and witty look at the business case for why any organization should be applying an IDEA lens to everything they do. Based on his bestselling and award-winning book Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right, Michael Bach presents a clearly articulated business case for IDEA, based on data and research, that shows why any employer not only should have a focus on IDEA, but must in order to ensure success in the future.

Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of:

  • The terminology commonly used, such as “inclusion”, “diversity”, “equity”, and “accessibility”.
  • The people imperative: Looking at the massive demographic shifts that are driving the need for change.
  • The research that shows the positive impacts an IDEA focus can have on the top and bottom line of an organization.

What Gets Measured, Gets Done: Measuring Success in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility

“Diversity” and “inclusion” have become buzz words. They’re used in casual conversation by CEOs and world leaders alike. Many leaders have realized that inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) must be strategic priorities to ensure their organization’s success, but they don’t have a clear understanding of how to measure IDEA. Key to sustaining an IDEA journey is the ability to measure — and in particular measure the return on investment (ROI) — to understand if your efforts are addressing the challenges your organization is facing, and if the work is adding value to your top and bottom line.

“What Gets Measured, Gets Done: Measuring Success in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility” is an entertaining and informative look at the “what” and “how” of IDEA measurement. Based on his bestselling book Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right, and his extensive experience in data analytics, Michael Bach shares key concepts on how to measure diversity, how to measure inclusion, and how to understand the ROI of your IDEA efforts.

Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of:

  • How to measure demographics.
  • How to measure inclusion.
  • Other key areas you can measure that will show the ROI of IDEA.

Watch Your Blind Spot: An Introduction to Unconscious Bias

The concept of unconscious or implicit bias isn’t a new one. It dates back to an experiment done by social psychologists Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald in the late 1990s. It shows us that our brains are constantly gathering information, at an unconscious level, and categorizing that information into patterns that help us make decisions in a fraction of a second — regardless of whether the information is accurate or not.

When you combine the concept of unconscious bias with inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, we find the secret ingredient as to why inclusion doesn’t happen naturally, and what is holding us back from achieving true inclusion.

“Watch Your Blind Spot: An Introduction to Unconscious Bias” is an informative and thought-provoking look at the concept of unconscious bias, and how it is impacting our behavior on a daily basis. Based on his award-winning and bestselling book Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right, Michael Bach focuses on the individual and how unconscious bias can be getting in the way of our organization’s goal of creating inclusive spaces for all.

Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of:

  • The origin of unconscious bias.
  • How unconscious bias is affecting our day-to-day decision making.
  • What we can do as individuals to address our biases.

My Superpower is Privilege: Understanding Your Secret Weapon to Create Inclusive Spaces

The word privilege gets thrown around a lot, and often not as a compliment. But what is privilege? How do you get it? And how can you use it to make your organization, and society, a better place for all?

A privilege is defined as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.” When it comes to inclusions, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA), we tend to talk about things like “white privilege” or “male privilege”. What about “financial privilege” or “educational privilege”? There are many forms of privilege and while not everyone possesses every type of privilege, many people have some form of privilege, in some way, whether they know it or not.

“My Superpower is Privilege: Understanding Your Secret Weapon to Create Inclusive Spaces” is an entertaining and informative look at the concept of privilege, and how it can be used to the advantage of others. Based on his award-winning and bestselling book Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right, Michael Bach focuses on the individual and how those of use with certain privileges can use that privilege to make our spaces more inclusive for all people.

Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of:

  • The concept of and various kinds of privilege.
  • How privilege can impact people’s lives.
  • How they can use their privilege to the advantage of others.

Breaking Down the Alphabet: Understanding the Difference Between Attraction, Identity and Expression

2sLGBTQI+ — what does each of those letters represent? If you are straight and cisgender, you’ve likely never had to question your identity. Boys are boys. Girls are girls. Boys like girls and girls like boys. It’s pretty simple. But imagine if a doctor said you were a girl, and no fibre of your being felt like a girl, and you were attracted to girls? How confusing would that be?

If you don’t understand the difference between attraction, identity, and expression, you risk misgendering someone or making assumptions about their relationship and the like, which signals that you haven’t done the work and 2sLGBTQI+ people are not in a safe, inclusive environment.

“Breaking Down the Alphabet: Understanding the Difference Between Attraction, Identity, and Expression” takes the mystery out of the topic. Based on his new book Alphabet Soup: The Quintessential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion, Michael Bach uses humour and storytelling to demystify the topic and help participants understand the complexity of the alphabet soup that is the 2sLGBTQI+ initialism.

Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of:

  • Some of the common terms used when discussing 2sLGBTQI+ inclusion.
  • The difference between attraction, identity and expression.
  • The concept of the binary and the spectrum.

Breaking Down the Numbers: The Cost of the Closet (The Business Case for LGBTQ2+ Inclusion)

How much does it cost you not to be inclusive of 2sLGBTQI+ people? Organizations rarely consider how much it actually costs them when they don’t create inclusive spaces for 2sLGBTQI+ folks. But the price tag can be quite hefty. There’s the cost of lower levels of engagement. The cost of higher voluntary turnover. The cost of recruitment. The cost of decreased innovation. And so many other potential impacts.

But how do you calculate the cost? What are the considerations you should think about when trying to quantify the price you’re paying for a lack of focus on 2sLGBTQI+ inclusion?

“Breaking Down the Numbers: The Cost of the Closet” is an engaging and thought-provoking look at the hard numbers of how much organizations are wasting by not putting specific focus on inclusion of 2sLGBTQI+ people. Based on his new book Alphabet Soup: The Quintessential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion, Michael Bach uses data and research to prove the business case for why organizations should be paying particular attention to their 2sLGBTQI+ people.

Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of:

  • The potential cost of inaction.
  • Areas organizations should be paying attention to as it relates to 2sLGBTQI+ people, their engagement and their loyalty — internally and externally.
  • Ideas for measuring the return on investment of 2sLGBTQI+ inclusion.

Safety in Numbers: Ensuring your Space is a Safe Space

In simple terms, a safe space is defined as one where people can be safe, in every way, and where they can be themselves. But the world isn’t safe for many 2sLGBTQI+ people. There are 71 countries where it’s illegal to be 2sLGBTQI +. In eleven of those countries, the punishment is death. Closer to home, many 2sLGBTQI + people still face significant rates of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia – where they live and where they work.

How can organizations create safe spaces? What are the things that an organization needs to consider beyond hanging a rainbow flag for Pride Month?

“Safety in Numbers: Ensuring your Space is a Safe Space” examines the concept of safe space; articulating what it is, and how organizations can ensure they are providing it. Based on his new book Alphabet Soup: The Essential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion at Work, Michael Bach uses humour, storytelling, and his own lived experience to teach participants how they can create safe spaces for 2sLGBTQI+ people.

Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of:

  • The concept of safe space.
  • Key components to consider.
  • Potential pitfalls to avoid.

Strength in Numbers: How to be an Active Ally

Winston Churchill once said, “There is at least one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.” The circumstances may have been dramatically different, but the intention remains true. The 2sLGBTQI+ communities would not be where we are today without our allies — straight cisgender people — who have seen the terrible realities faced by 2sLGBTQI+ people and joined in the fight.

The word “ally” comes from the Latin word “alligare,” meaning “to bind to.” In essence, it means to join forces; to align with a particular cause. But what does that mean for individuals?

“Strength in Numbers: How to be an Active Ally” is an engaging and informative look at the concept of allyship, and the key factors in being an active ally. Based on his new book Alphabet Soup: The Essential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion at Work, Michael Bach focuses on the individual and how each person plays a role in creating an inclusive space for 2sLGBTQI+ people.

Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of:

  • The difference between an armchair ally and an active ally.
  • Tips and tricks for being an active ally.
  • Potential pitfalls to avoid on your journey.

He/She/They/Hey! Understanding the Why and How of Pronouns

We’ve all heard someone say it; that introduction where they not only share their name, but also their pronouns. “Hi, my name is Alex, and my pronouns are they/them,” or something of that nature. But what does it matter? And what exactly are pronouns?

Pronoun usage isn’t new, nor is the use of “they” in the singular as a gender-nonspecific identifier (which dates back to the 13th century — just ask Chaucer and Shakespeare). What is new is the inclusion of pronouns as part of introductions, in email, and various online platforms like LinkedIn, which is where the confusion lies.

This keynote is designed to help people understand what pronouns are and, more importantly, how to use them inclusively in order to create space where people can be themselves. Leveraging content from his bestselling book Alphabet Soup: The Essential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion, Michael Bach takes participant on a learning journey to understand the importance of pronoun identification in maintaining 2sLGBTQI+ inclusive spaces.

Participants will come away with a clear understanding of:

  • What is a pronoun and what types of pronouns are there.
  • Why using pronouns is an important indicator of 2sLGBTQI+ inclusion.
  • How to properly indicate someone’s pronouns in an inclusive and informative manner.

Gender Fabulous: Breaking Down the Complex World of Gender Diversity

The conversation around gender is suddenly everywhere, and for some, it can be confusing: female/male; boy/girl; gender identity vs gender expression; What is Intersex again? And queer… it’s okay to say queer now? Let’s be honest: people are more confused with the information they have now than before they had any idea about what a pronoun is.

The concept of gender versus sex is a relatively recent invention in human history. Consider that the distinction between biological sex and gender as a role was introduced in 1955, and people still don’t seem to understand the difference. How many times have you seen the question “what is your gender?” and the options are “M” and “F”? But not having a strong understanding of gender can lead to serious issues in your workplaces.

This keynote is a walk through the wonderful and complex world of gender. Leveraging content from his bestselling book Alphabet Soup: The Essential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion, Michael Bach takes participants on a learning journey to understand the difference between sex and gender, and why it matters in a workplace context. Bach also shares his own journey around gender to provide a relatable lived experience.

Participants will come away with a clear understanding of:

  • The difference between sex and gender, gender identity, and gender expression.
  • How misgendering a person can be bad for your organization.
  • How to create an inclusive workspace for gender diverse people.