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Michelle Dagnino

Generation Y Engagement Expert

Michelle is a Gen-Y innovator, speaker, writer, lawyer and social entrepreneur.  She has spoken to thousands of people around the world from students to educators, from workers to bosses about the issues affecting Gen Y, also known as Millennials, also known as “those kids living in your basement”. She uses statistics, compiled as psychographics and demographics to tell the stories of the generations. These fact-based, funny, and inspiring presentations leave audiences laughing, and empowered with new knowledge to take to their workplaces, schools, homes and communities.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Presentations

The Corner Office is Up for Grabs: Managing a Multi-Generation Workforce
One of the most important and prevalent factors affecting the workplace is the diversity of age of workers–from new young workers to baby boomers to individuals on the verge of retirement. In an interesting–and challenging–twist on the multi-generational workforce, you now have the potential of having four generations in your workforce, with each generation having its own expectations, habits, work styles, and beliefs. This presentation delves into ideas and innovations to handle the attitudes, meld the differences, and help the generations understand each other a bit better.

They took the corner office when you weren’t looking: Gen Y in the Workplace
That was then, this is now. Get ready for the generation revolution as half of Boomers now working are set to exit the workforce by 2015. The workforce dynamics are always changing – but none more so than the influx of Gen-Yers that are going to make up the majority of the workforce in the next decade.  Gen Y-ers represent a new class of employee – one schooled in technology, positive affirmation, collaboration and high expectations of success. How do you make it work for you and for them? This presentation arms you with all the information and tools you needs you need to make Gen Y-ers – and those working with them – happy in your workplace.

Gen Y in School: The 21st Century Learner
Gen Y (aka Millennials) students not only provide a challenge to traditional education learning and teaching, but also provide a rich context for examining new approaches to 21st century learning. Recent research suggests that this generation’s experiences of schooling are enriched by teaching strategies that have favoured close mentorship relationships, online learning tools and experiential learning. In this workshop discover strategies to increase millennial students’ engagement with their school communities and explore their learning needs, allowing educators and administrators to develop its current learning and teaching practices in light of the realities of today’s young learner.

Connecting With Youth: Community Strategies for Meaningful Youth Engagement
Amid stories of disengagement amongst our young people, lack of leadership opportunities in the community and workplace, and the worries about the lack of opportunities for our youth,” we face the question of how to do we connect with young people? We need to connect with youth on a more meaningful level – how do we involve them as valued members in the decision-making process and encourage innovation and creativity? This workshop reviews the fundamental concepts of youth engagement and considers the ways in which your organization’s capacity-building, outreach and recruitment strategies can contribute to creating access, equity and inclusiveness for all youth.

The Apology Project: Strategies and Solutions for Dealing with Bullying
While the issue of bullying has been in the media spotlight more recently, it is a problem of all generations. Cyber tools have made the bullying more invasive than ever before, but the cause roots are the same – regardless of background factors – and we can begin to address them through effective tools of youth engagement. For both bullies and the bullied there are strategies for overcoming their struggles and insecurities. In this presentation, Michelle draws on 15 years of experience as a youth worker, and as one of the country’s leading experts on youth engagement, to deliver a series of scenarios dealing with both bullies and the bullied. Providing strategies to employ both in school and at home, Michelle will support participants to think about practical ways to help youth overcome the causes and impacts of bullying.

Awards

2008
Who's Who in Canada

2006
WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada

2005
Maclean's Top 25 Canadians Under 30

2004
YWCA Woman of Distinction Award


  • Outstanding presentation. Michelle was a witty, engaging, and passionate speaker. I had emails from my staff saying they had heard about Michelle’s talk from the Vice-Principal and could we please bring her to our school to present!

    - Ontario School Board Insurance Exchange Annual Conference
  • Thank you for giving us the power to reach beyond our selves. Your story will be a catalyst for our own experiences in giving us strength to overcome similar obstacles. Your willingness to give all of us a leg up in our careers is admirable, thank you.

    - University of Ottawa, Student Federation Conference
  • Thank you so much for your inspiring and insightful words... Your knowledge about youth engagement coupled with your energy and sincerity has given to me a clearer picture of who I am and how that will affect the youth and success of our program.

    - United Way of Greater Toronto Leading Speakers Conference
  • That was awesome, although I’m sure the use of “awesome” is outdated. You hit the nail on the head, and reminded me of my own kids when you talked about how to work better with Gen Y. Great job.

    - Alberta Southern Conservation Association
  • Michelle was great, funny, interesting, and she provided useful tools that we can apply in the workplace.

    - University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine Staff Retreat

Summary Profile

Michelle is the recipient of 2004 YWCA Young Woman of Distinction award, and in 2006 was named by The Globe and Mail and the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s Top 100: Most Powerful Women. The Toronto Star named her “a woman to buoy the soul”, and Maclean’s magazine named her one of Canada’s top 30 under 30.  She is the subject of two documentaries.

Michelle is currently the Executive Director of the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, a social services agency in West Toronto, dedicated to supporting the local community through service delivery and resident capacity-building. Prior  to this, Michelle held positions as the Canada Director for Ashoka’s Youth Venture, Executive Director of Youth Action Network, and was in private practice with one of Canada’s leading labour and human rights law firms. She is also a frequent consultant on issues of program evaluation, youth work, organizational governance, and board development.

Michelle likes detective novels and beaches, and dislikes carrots and exercise. In a betrayal of her Gen-Y credentials she cannot figure out how to transition from using her Blackberry to her Samsung Galaxy. She’s trying to figure out how to have it all, but will settle for two free hours to read Alice Munro. Michelle holds a Masters of Arts in Political Science, and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the Bar in 2007.