Lead Yourself First!
Take Initiative. Transform Attitudes. Inspire Action.
Meet Michelle

“Michelle immediately connected with close to 200 attendees and held their attention from start to finish. Michelle’s exceptional professional standards were evident in her research prior to the event and in the content delivered at the event.”

Robert Jorssen, Executive Director, Corporate Management Branch, Pacific Region RCMP

Meet Michelle

Michelle Ray
Michelle Ray is a highly sought-after international business keynote speaker, entrepreneur, author and educator who demonstrates a deep understanding of the importance of self-leadership in business and in life.

Born in Australia and now residing in Vancouver, Canada, Michelle began her career in the media industry during the recession of the early 80′s. She was once told by management that she “didn’t have what it takes” to succeed in the business world. Despite a lack of mentors, Michelle was inspired to move up the management ladder to self-employment, creating her own successful international business.

She helps individuals at any stage of their career to master personal leadership…the ability to take charge of oneself first in any situation. Michelle speaks passionately about self–actualization, the importance of outstanding leadership in the workplace and the responsibility of positive communication and influence.

Keynote Speaker

Michelle challenges individuals, as well as clients and audiences, to take charge of themselves, shift perspectives and discover their greatest potential. Her refreshing, uplifting and common-sense message has inspired thousands of audiences with her simple yet powerful premise: Leadership is first and foremost a state of mind.

Watch Michelle’s Demo Video

Educator and Coach

Michelle’s first training, speaking and consulting company was established in 1995. She subsequently established her training and development division, the Lead Yourself First Institute, to help individuals and organizations take the initiative in the face of change and economic uncertainty.

Her company’s array of customized educational training programs specializes in areas she describes as high demand essentials for professional growth. Michelle also offers customized in-house solutions including workshops, coaching and consulting for leadership development, workplace relationships, and personal growth. Other services include webinars, teleseminars and personalized self-study courses online.

Author and columnist

Michelle’s book, Lead Yourself First! Indispensable Lessons in Business and in Life, first released as a self–published work in 2013, was re-released worldwide in the fall of 2014 by Changemakers Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing. She is a regular contributing writer for the Globe and Mail’s Leadership Lab column.

Awards and Credentials

Michelle Ray Credentials and Awards logos

Certified Speaking Professional

Michelle is a “Certified Speaking Professional” (CSP), the only earned designation for professional speakers. This designation signifies exceptional achievement through a proven record of speaking experience. These speakers must meet rigorous requirements for a number of fee-paid presentations, number of clients, continuing education credits and consecutive years of business experience. This designation is granted under the auspices of the Global Speakers Federation (5,000+ members in 27 countries). Less than 700 people worldwide have earned this distinction.

Top Ten Motivational Speaker 2015

eSpeakers serves speakers, event organizers who hire speakers, and organizations who work with groups of speakers or event organizers. They manage over 9,000 speaker profiles, 188 expert topics, and 74 directories. Over 17,000 events were booked through their software in 2014. “Top Ten” selections were vetted by eSpeakers staff and their advisory board. Criteria for inclusion were the number of positive reviews on the speaker’s profile, the number of events booked in the last year, buzz around the speaker, their international footprint, and industry designations.

Top Ten Next Greatest Speaker 2012

From thousands of entries received, Michelle Ray reached the Top Ten Finals of “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” Contest. She spoke at the 12th Annual eWomen Network International Conference & Business Expo in Dallas, Texas in front of a renowned panel of judges including entertainment mogul Ken Kragen (manager Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Olivia Newton-John) and Lisa Nichols, motivator extraordinaire, teacher of “The Secret”. Finalists were given only three minutes to present a keynote speech. They were judged on use of humour, audience engagement, key message and story–telling abilities.

Additional career highlights

  • “Presentation Mastery Award”, Vancouver Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers
  • Delivered thousands of presentations to diverse clientele across five continents since 1995
  • Listed in the “Who’s Who” of Professional Speakers
  • Appeared as a guest on numerous news and national current affairs programs including CBC Radio, CTV News and Global Television Network.
  • Featured in renowned publications such as Inc.com, Investor’s Business Daily, Globe and Mail, National Post, Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, and The Vancouver Sun
  • Recognized as the #1 speaker in Canada for the world’s largest international public seminar company

Giving Back

Around the World in 80 Anthems logo
Michelle Ray and the Lead Yourself First Institute are a proud Silver Sponsor of “Around the World in 80 Anthems”. Inspired by 10-year old Capri Everitt of Vancouver, Canada, we are supporting Capri and her family as they plan to visit 80 countries around the world in order to raise money for children everywhere who have been affected by war, poverty, climate change or other unfortunate circumstances, specifically through SOS Children’s Villages International. This charity works in 134 countries and has over 2500 children’s villages throughout the world.

The journey will begin on November 20, 2015 at Unicef’s Universal Children’s Day celebrations in Ottawa where Capri will sing the Canadian National Anthem and speak as SOS Children’s Villages youngest Youth Ambassador.

In addition to being a silver sponsor, Michelle Ray is donating 5% of her book sales (Lead Yourself First! Indispensable Lessons in Business and in Life) from her website, speaking engagements and client bulk purchases, to this cause.