Michelle Ray


Michelle Ray

Inspiring People and Organizations to Succeed and Take the Lead

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. For more than twenty years, 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.

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.

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.

The benefits of this presentation are:

  • Build a leadership blueprint to use in business and in life
  • Realize the incredible leverage of modeling a “do-what it takes” attitude
  • Realign your core personal values to those of your workplace
  • Decrease stress and negativity for greater productivity and positive outcomes
  • 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 has multiple 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.

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 passion and insight, this exciting, fun keynote 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 benefits for your audience:

  • Learn the difference between people who have problems and people who are problems
  • Practice objectivity and put the “small stuff” into perspective
  • Detach from the dysfunction and drama to be a better “you”
  • Take a stand in the face of “the blame game” and other theatrics
  • 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 self 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.

Sample of learning benefits for your audience:

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

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 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

Workplace Relationships and Client Service Intensive

“Operation-Cooperation…How to Communicate, Collaborate & Connect for Outstanding Internal and External Client Relationships” ©

No matter how high tech our workplaces have become, our organizations will always be about people. When we achieve an exceptional standard of excellence in workplace relationships internally, our external client relationships benefit.  The pressures of everyday life take a toll, personally and professionally. Many of us are working longer hours, spending more time with our co-workers, clients and computers than we do with our families; therefore compromising our level of professional and personal effectiveness. A fully – functioning workplace enjoys high morale, high engagement and lower stress.

In this interactive workshop the concept of teamwork will be reinforced with an emphasis on the importance of developing successful internal client relationships in order to achieve a standard of excellence when serving external clients. Practicing emotional intelligence and exceptional collaborative skills at work are priceless assets for career success! Participants will be given tools to hone these skills, manage difficult workplace relationships, build engagement and increase motivation levels. These are prerequisites for outstanding relationships. They will leave with practical tools to build trust and co-operation at work, long after the event ends.


Sample of expected learning outcomes:

  • Learn how to build and strengthen customer relationships
  • Implement immediate solutions to deal with difficult personalities
  • Discover how to connect with outstanding interpersonal and communication skills
  • Experience first-hand the benefits of a collaborative atmosphere

Talent Development Intensive for Senior Managers and HR Professionals

“Why we leave? Why we stay? Uncovering the myths and truths of recruitment, engagement and retention to take action and become an employer of choice” ©

In this workshop, we come to the realization that there are new workplace challenges facing us today and into the future. The notion of having one job and having it for life does not hold any appeal for the new generation of workers. As leaders and HR professionals, we need to consider what our organizations can do in order to develop an employee-centric, value proposition that attracts this savvy, highly educated group while competition for their talent continues to grow? In addition many “mature” workers are re-thinking early retirement due to economic necessity. They recognize their value and are now seeking to capitalize on these opportunities by leveraging their years of experience as an asset. Therefore, these trends necessitate the implementation of new ideas to recruit engage and retain all generations simultaneously.

The audience of senior leaders and HR specialists will learn specific strategies to manage generational diversity in order to leverage their respective organizations as an employer of choice. The push factors; i.e. reasons why people choose to leave a job, are often misunderstood. This is because they are intangible and not necessarily discussed openly. By the time exit interviews take place, it is too late. Instead, the critical element for retention success involves a deep understanding of the unique, primary motivators for each generation.  Recognizing the combination of tangibles and intangibles for job satisfaction and applying them accordingly is the first key to building an engaged workforce unique for all demographics.


Sample of expected learning outcomes:

  • Participants will learn how to apply positive communication & influence to engage the generations
  • Participants will develop an employee-centered “value proposition” to attract new talent
  • Participants will discover the “push” and “pull” (employee disengagement) factors for all generations

Leadership Intensive for Managers & Supervisors

“How to Lead, Manage and Inspire the Team: Building effective leadership skills for long-term results” ©

Successful client outcomes require a collaborative team spirit at work. The collective efforts of all lead to increased creativity, motivation, high morale and low turnover. In this interactive session, the audience of managers and supervisors will be reminded of the power of developing core leadership skills. When individual values are aligned with organizational objectives, we feel re-energized and re-committed to the mission and values of our business. Consequently, we are better positioned as leaders to inspire others. Our leadership style CAN positively impact employee motivation and talent retention. Teams thrive in an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual respect; ultimately benefiting the external clients they serve.

As a leader, the key to maintaining an engaged team is to realize power of positive influence. When we are equipped to lead ourselves, we are able to engage others in our vision for our clients, our workplace and our overall business success. We can empower our teams to realize their own vision to make difference for themselves and clients alike.

During this dynamic and informative workshop, the audience of leaders will have the opportunity to refocus and recharge attitudes, both personally and professionally. By developing a deeper understanding of personal initiative combined with practical leadership tools, leaders will leave this session better equipped to create an outstanding workplace culture; helping their organizations become an employer of choice.


Sample of learning outcomes and benefits for your audience:

  • Build a leadership “blueprint” to use in business and in life
  • Learn specific strategies to develop an engaged workplace
  • Apply the power of positive influence with teams and senior leadership
  • Empower yourself and others to create outstanding relationships outcomes

Personal Accountability Intensive

Lead Yourself First! Breakthrough Strategies to Live the Life You Want” ©

In recent times, the world economy has taken us on an unprecedented roller-coaster ride. We look to our jobs for security and to our leaders for inspiration.  We aspire to a prosperous, stable future for our families and ourselves and have an intrinsic desire to remain optimistic in the face of so much uncertainty.  Yet, the stress of simply surviving—financially, professionally and emotionally—has become a struggle.   We begin doubting ourselves and our capacity to be the leaders of our own lives. The pressure of taking responsibility for all our decisions overwhelms us. And, we often opt for the status quo because staying stuck is easier than creating change.

During this insightful workshop intensive utilizing many of the lessons from Michelle’s recently released book, participants will come to recognize that ability to take charge of ourselves is a gift that we haven’t lost, unless we choose to do so. We overlook this simple truth:  If we remain true to ourselves, we can control our own reality. We come to realize that the  “interior landscape” of our own mind largely determines the quality of our choices regarding how we interact with others, where we choose to work—and for whom. Our own demeanor as well as the lens we use to view the world ultimately determines the outcomes shift that we seek.


Sample of expected learning outcomes:

  • Address the fear of success and eliminate the fear of failure
  • Gain new insights into your values around money, opportunity and success
  • Take charge of yourself in any personal or career challenge
  • Develop a “can-do” mindset toward achieving the best outcomes for your life