The most common feedback we get about Michelle is: “We loved her energy.” The second most common piece of feedback we hear is: “She made the topic really easy to understand and super practical.” As co-founder and director of People of Influence, a learning and behaviour change consultancy, Michelle has over 15 years of experience with tens of thousands of people. She knows how to energise any group and has the expertise to help them understand how to create change, in a short space of time.

Michelle has designed and delivered award-winning behaviour change and leadership development programs for companies like Microsoft, Australia Post and American Express. As a speaker, facilitator and consultant, Michelle marries her up-close observations of high performing leaders and teams with contemporary behavioural science research, to make culture change and sustained high-performance both practical and achievable for her clients.

Michelle is also a nationally-recognised and award-winning educational leader, holding both an Honours and Masters of Education from Sydney University. Outside of work, she is a wife, a mother, a runner (sometimes), a singer (sometimes) and Beyonce fan (always).

Speaking topics

The Smiling Ox Paradox ®

The science of becoming the person others are compelled to follow. 

Have you ever met a person who seemed to have influence wherever they went and with whomever they met? Someone universally admired, respected and with that rare power to get others to effortlessly follow their lead? How do they do it? If there was one question this keynote seeks to answer it is this: “How do I become one of these rare people others feel compelled to follow?” 

This keynote is premised on the idea that people will not believe the message unless they first believe the messenger. It is about the science of perception, how others make judgements of us, and how we can use this information to be a more compelling and effective leader. Participants can complete our proprietary online diagnostic before the session and then receive their personalised report in the session, showing how they are being perceived now and how they can shift that, to become more influential.

The Antifragility Advantage (TM)

Why resilience is not enough, for you or your team

When an object under pressure breaks we call this fragility, whereas when an object bounces back to its original form we call this resilience. But the question is, is resilience enough? We don’t believe it is.

The Antifragility Advantage is about how individuals and teams under pressure can actually bounce back better than they were before. How they can become stronger in adversity. This keynote is about why being ‘antifragile’ is the ultimate competitive advantage and it unpacks the science of how individuals and teams can become their best in tough times with practical, actionable strategies they can implement immediately.

Participants can complete our proprietary online diagnostic before the session and then receive their personalised report in the session, showing how they are going currently on each of the aspects of antifragility, and how they can improve.

Becoming a Corporate Athlete

Why we are doing work all wrong

Corporate culture advocates for hard work on ambitious goals across multiple projects. But as a path to optimal output and sustained results, we’ve got it all wrong. Drawing on the science of recovery and the research into focus and prioritisation, this keynote argues that we are approaching work in ways which makes burn out and disengagement inevitable. And it’s happening from the top down. 

This keynote is about how individuals and leaders can train themselves and their teams differently (using boundaries, pulsing and sprints), for sustained high performance, for the long-term. 

The Future of Behaviour Change

Using behavioural engineering to create change that sticks, at scale.

Organisations the world over are trying to transform or evolve their cultures to be more collaborative, psychologically safe, innovative, productive, resilient and agile. Essentially, more effective. This requires behaviour change on a mass scale and yet almost all attempts within organisations to achieve behaviour change fail. Miserably.

Many national governments around the world have started to engage ‘nudge units’ to nudge the behaviour of citizens for their own good. Tech companies are making products addictive by drawing on a related body of research. Could organisations use these same insights of behavioural science and behavioural economics to shift employee behaviour within organisations?

This keynote is about how to use a robust and repeatable system, behavioural engineering, to create change that sticks, at scale.


The feedback was phenomenal, with each and every person walking away inspired and empowered
Group GM People & Culture, Protech

Michelle is able to take a critical business concept and deliver practical solutions through great communication, plenty of engagement and a splash of laughter.
CEO, RCSA (Recruitment, Consulting & Staffing Association)

There is no doubt this session provided us not only with the insights we needed, but with the tools to confidently launch into our respective spaces to make a splash! Both warm and strong, Michelle is a person of influence.
Dean, Educational and Professional Studies, Griffith University

Michelle did a fantastic job of really understanding our needs and building a bespoke program for us that focused on the key areas that we were looking to drive. This was very well received by the leadership team and through the follow up process has now become embedded in our business.
APAC Regional Managing Director, Morgan McKinley

Michelle’s presentation left us feeling excited and inspired - and enabled us to gain more insights into how we can build our skill set in order to identify positive attributes and find continuous success.
Talent Acquisition Specialist, Australia Post

Such an inspiring & engaging session! Michelle’s energetic approach & passion for what she does is really inspiring, practical & valuable to her audience
Talent Specialist, Transport for NSW

Michelle was a dream to work with – professional, organised, terrific content and a presentation style that touched hearts and minds.
GM Events, ATC Events & Media

Michelle Rushton speaker

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