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Michelle Silverthorn keynote speaker

Michelle Silverthorn

    • Diversity Speaker
    • Culture Change Expert
    • Founder of Inclusion Nation
Full Bio
In Person-Fee 🛈

$20,000 - $30,000

Virtual Fee:

$15,000 - $20,000

Travels From


Michelle Silverthorn | Diversity Speaker, Author, Consultant

Michelle Silverthorn | Diversity Speaker, Author, Consultant

We Are Not a Melting Pot | Michelle Silverthorn | TEDxLakeForestCollege

We Are Not a Melting Pot | Michelle Silverthorn | TEDxLakeForestCollege

Michelle Silverthorn Speaker Biography

Michelle Silverthorn believes that diversity and inclusion need a new voice for a new generation. A recognized expert in organizational inclusion, Michelle has worked with Fortune 500 companies, tech start-ups, non-profit organizations, universities, and numerous companies across every industry. From thousand-person conferences to twenty-person workshops, Michelle equips all of her audiences with the knowledge and skills to finally move forward on diversity and inclusion.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Michigan Law School, Michelle practiced for two large law firms in New York and Chicago. She then transitioned into the education field where she trained thousands in-person and online. She has been featured on NPR, PBS and in several publications including Bloomberg, the Chicago Tribune and Fortune Magazine. She is a TEDx speaker and the author of the best-selling book, Authentic Diversity,
How to Change the Workplace For Good.

Michelle previously worked as an arts and entertainment journalist in Trinidad and Tobago, a researcher in Puno, Peru and Geneva, Switzerland, and a volunteer teacher in Gaborone, Botswana and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Michelle grew up in the Caribbean and now lives in Michigan with her husband Daniel and their two daughters.

Our world has changed. The moment is here for real progress on diversity, to take the transformed workplace and the transformed globe and create a new paradigm for equity and inclusion. The calls are loud. Are you ready to answer them?

Join Michelle Silverthorn in an engaging, interactive 4-level program that will shift your understanding on unconscious bias, help you recognize your contribution to the work of allyship and inclusion, and encourage action by every individual to build spaces of authentic diversity for all. Throughout, we use word clouds, audience questions, and reflective exercises, to help attendees stay engaged.

We start with an eye-opening exercise, surprising to every attendee, a "sit up and pay attention" reminder that everyone has unconscious biases.

We then discuss Level 1, explaining the differences between diversity, inclusion, and equity, and the demographic data in workplaces that demonstrates the hurdles to change.

Next, we enter Level 2 and dive deep into unconscious bias. What is it? Why do we have it? How does it affect our perceptions of others? Using storytelling, audience participation, and numerous research studies, we address biases and microaggressions and overcome the idea that pretending not to see difference, especially when it comes to race, is the way to achieve inclusion.

Then, we discuss Level 3 and the rules everyone should follow to interrupt unconscious bias make equity and inclusion a reality for all in the organization.

Finally, we end with Level 4 and discuss how to design spaces of authenticity and belonging, where everyone is welcome to rise, thrive, and succeed.

This is the real work of inclusion. Let's begin.


To build spaces of inclusion in the workplace, we need systemic change and behavioral change. This program focuses on the second: how to lead the daily conversations and interactions that underlie that change.

To ensure actual, inclusive progress on equity, leaders and team members need to know how to communicate across identity differences and to impart messages of progress and change to those on their teams. The goal is to build culturally responsive teams who can feel included in their own organizations, and deliver innovative results to the clients and customers they serve.

In A Little More Conversation, Michelle ensures you and your attendees have the skills to engage in the real work of interrupting bias and building equity.

We first lay out ten principles to ground your interactions and conversations, from centering your work on those who are marginalized to understanding and learning from discomfort. We then discuss how to address challenging situations - delivering feedback, handling microaggressions, addressing conflict, and utilizing courage to be an upstander for change - as we learn how to model new behaviors for inclusive team-building and leadership.

At the end, all attendees will have been equipped with the skills to lead, manage, and communicate with empathy and equity, using the right tools to conduct and lead better conversations at work.


Everyone says they're well-meaning. But well-meaning is only the start. Good intentions don't change behaviors or systems like real actions taken for change. This is the work of allyship.

But while many of us might think we are good allies, so much of allyship can be performative. Our real test is whether those with whom we are allying believe the same. Do they see your good intentions translating into active support at work? Would they want you to become a better ally through your words and deeds? If so, how can you? That's where this program comes in.

In From Intention to Action, Michelle will ask attendees to commit to becoming allies for change. She will share with you what it means to be an ally in today's workplace, and what inequities allies must recognize. Using storytelling, data, and exercises, Michelle will help you become aware of both the privileges of your identities and the platforms you have available to you.

You'll then learn the three levels of allyship - you, your colleagues, and your workplace - and the ten rules needed to become a better ally at work. Finally, you'll address some real-life scenarios of allyship that arise again and again, and learn the language, actions, and tools to employ to promote real, lasting change at work.


Now that your company has started its unconscious bias journey, it's time to enter the next phase - diving into the hiring and evaluation biases that arise throughout the recruitment, onboarding, and evaluation processes.

In our bias interrupters session or sessions, Michelle uses reflective exercises and story-telling techniques to break down the types of biases that exist in the talent development process. After talking through how microaggressions can arise, Michelle shares bias interrupters that can be used by any individual tasked with interviewing or evaluating a candidate. Then we get to work!

In the interview session, participants are given a set of resumes to review and, based on your organization's interview criteria, bias interrupters for before, during, and after the interview. Similarly, in the evaluation session, participants are given two written evaluations to critique and are tasked with improving them based on bias interrupters for before, during, and after the evaluation session.

The goal as always is equity - building spaces where diversity is not simply welcomed, but where the barriers to success are transformed for good.


Two years ago, we would never have imagined we would be here: caught between in-person and remote in a world permanently changed by COVID-19. The pandemic has given us new realities of how we work on a daily basis. What lessons can we learn from the past two years, and how can we adjust to the new shift in our work lives? How will we adjust when it shifts again?

In R.E.C.O.N.N.E.C.T., Michelle will share how diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges are both similar and different when employees are both in-person and online. She explains why many professionals of all generations are choosing to stay remote, the conflicts that can arise when they do, and what belonging truly means in a world where we are separated again and again.

Using her R.E.C.O.N.N.E.C.T. framework - Respect, Empathy, Compassion, New Opportunities, New Perspectives, Evaluate and Emulate, Culture, and Trust - Michelle will ensure all attendees understand how to succeed in their hybrid careers, how leaders can inclusively manage global teams, how to address the well-being challenges that arise with remote work, and what actions allies and upstanders can take in the hybrid world. The hybrid workplace is our new challenge but the work of equity and inclusion continues on. Let's learn how to connect with each other again.

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