Michael F. Charles, B.A. LL.B. (J.D.), Principal
Michael Charles

Michael F. Charles is a lawyer, a human rights advisor at a Tier 1 Canadian university, and Principal of Change DeZign, a global consultancy. Often retained as a diversity and inclusion subject matter expert, Michael brings a reputation for innovative solutions to client engagements. A frequent speaker and author on matters of workforce adaptation, inclusion, and human rights, he is among Canada’s diversity and inclusion thought leadership.

Strategic Service Partners

Environics Stratcom Global LK Intersol

Having developed relationships with dynamic consultants, researchers and institutions, Michael scales up Change DeZign staffing as required to meet project needs, and as necessary to extend our focus on interdisciplinary insight, creative problem-solving, and energetic collaboration. Change DeZign is your critical companion on the journey to cultural transformation.


Leadership Development | Diversity & Inclusion | Organization Development

In an increasingly diverse, highly competitive, and globalized world, our mission is to provide insight, planning, and training to develop adaptive individuals and nimble cultures. People and organizations with these organic competencies more effectively manage the increasing demands of complex knowledge, anticipate environmental shifts, and constantly innovate. Nurturing these competencies is our abiding focus and our passion.

In pursuit of this passion, Change DeZign Consulting provides services in the areas of Leadership Development, Diversity & Inclusion, and Organization Development. We are guided by Workforce Adaptation, our proprietary framework.

Through this lens together with rigorous evaluation, our services strategically develop talent, structures, and cultures that align with core enterprise goals. Results and performance are consequential.

The Change DeZign preference is for lateral and interdisciplinary problem-solving, and our distinguished group of clients from a broad range of sectors reflects this functional flexibility. Those sectors include financial services, government, law, communications, health care, public policy research, and Not-For-Profits. In every case, we work to create value and propel sustainable advantage.


Change DeZign provides services in three distinct practice areas:

Research | Counsel | Programs.


Identifying specific challenges and opportunities in the creation of a more inclusive, adaptive, and high performing workplace is critical to any change planning. Change DeZign is a leader in the provision of these services.

  • Industry / sector diversity and inclusion analysis
  • Organizational diversity audits
  • Focus groups
  • survey design
  • Key informant interviews
  • Workforce census
  • Organizational culture assessments and other baseline change management research


By unlocking the creative potential occurring at the exchange of different perspectives and experiences, the promise of diversity and inclusion may be fulfilled.  This ability to innovate is also an essential response to the quickening pace of an interconnected world. We work with clients to affect this change. We align D & I planning with core client objectives, insist on clear lines of accountability, activate leadership, and collaborate to engage the broader enterprise.

  • Customized business case development
  • Strategic planning
  • Guidelines, policy, and codes of conduct design
  • Inclusive talent management counsel – LGBTQ, racialized, and gender-based considerations
  • Policy and procedures review
  • Planning evaluation


Training, coaching and other learning supports are integral to overcoming intervals of resistance that accompany organizational change. The experience of others reveals most of these programs are ineffective. Conceived through the lens of Workforce Adaptation, Change DeZign learnings offer proven, and rigorously evaluated results. Our training and coaching interventions decisively support (a) employment recruitment, retention, and advancement planning; (b) workplace discrimination, harassment and violence investigations; (c) general negotiation and global communications proficiency; (d) leadership competencies; and (e) adaptive behaviors.

  • Culturally competent leadership
  • Culturally competent workplace investigations
  • Cultural competency in Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Recruitment best practices – a focus on women and racialized candidates
  • Talent / audience engagement and relationship management – a focus on millennial and racialized stakeholders
  • Unconscious bias – awareness and reduction
  • Global communications
  • Employment / Corporate branding
  • Program evaluation

Michael F. Charles is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI v.3)



Change DeZign services stand apart in three key respects:

Outcomes and Value.

We predictably and consistently deliver results of measurable value.

Service Customization.

Our work is informed not only by each client’s situational context but by knowledge of sectoral factors and broader environmental trends. We endeavor to collaborate in ways that generate custom solutions that meet specific needs, challenges and opportunities.  Due consideration is always given to best practices; but we also recognize formulaic approaches to strategic questions are unlikely to produce high value outcomes for our clients.

Knowledge Development and Advocacy.

Change DeZign connects challenges and opportunities at the firm level to wider global patterns.  As thought leaders, we rely on our experience and invest in knowledge development to illuminate debates, challenge assumptions, and continually inspire evermore-effective solutions in areas of diversity, inclusion and organizational performance.


“I had the pleasure of seeing Michael present at a recent Conference Board of Canada event on inclusiveness and diversity. Michael was an outstanding speaker with an amazing passion for his subject.”

Nadeem Siddiqui CPA, CADirector Internal Audit, RBC

Speaking engagements include:


“Cultural Competency in Alternative Dispute Resolution”
OBA Institute 2017 Conference,
February 8, 2017, Toronto.

“Culture, Bias, and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election – It’s Not About the Economy”
2nd Annual Diversity Conference of the Round Table of Diversity Associations and the Ontario Bar Association,
November 29, 2016, Toronto.

“Recruiting For Difference: The Interview and Beyond – An Evidence Based Perspective”
Bennett Jones LLP,
September 14, 2016, Toronto.

“The Warm Up: Reflections on Remedial Approaches to the Challenges of Race and Indigeneity
in Physical Activity Education & Sport”

University of Toronto Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and Hart House,
May 26, 2016, Toronto.

“Challenges and Hope: Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession”
Bennett Jones LLP,
April 4, 2016 Toronto.

“Accessing Talent / Access and Talent”
Stikeman Elliot LLP,
January 18, 2016, Toronto.

“Retaining and Advancing Racialized lawyers”
National Association for Law Placement (Canada & U.S.),
December 1, 2015, Toronto.

“Finding Balance in Universities:
Requests for Accommodation by Students with Disabilities & Academic Integrity”

Academic Integrity Council of Ontario,
October 23, 2015, Toronto.

“Greater Expectations”
Conference Board of Canada, Council on Inclusive Work Environments
October 7, 2015, Toronto.

“Challenges and Hope: Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession”
Gowling WLG
June 16, 2015 Toronto.

“Reconsidering the Value of Diverse Leadership in the Not-For-Profit Sector”
Volunteer Toronto VECTor Conference, Ryerson University,
March 11, 2015 Toronto.

“Cultural Equality and Legal Equality: A View from the Perspective of Racialized Licensees in Ontario”
Canadian Race Relations Foundation Symposium
November 17, 18 2014 Ottawa.

“Culture and Competing Rights”
Walrus Talks Human Rights, Isabel Bader Theatre, Walrus Magazine and Concordia University sponsors
May 7, 2014 Toronto.

“LGBT Rights as Human Rights: Application of International Law”
Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Bar Association Symposium
June 25, 2013, Toronto.

“When Faith and Work Conflict – How to Resolve It”
Diversity@Work Conference – Skills For Change, CIBC and KPMG sponsors
November 9 2011, Toronto.

Latest from our blog


Timeline post news
  1. Now that Fall is undeniably settling-in, I hope all are taking some time to enjoy the change of the seasons, even as the pace of work has quickened with summer’s passing.  Seasonal change has also coincided with adjustments to global forecasts. Fall Speaking Engagement Highlights: October “Greater Expectations”: Research for […] Read More

  2. Looking forward to presenting research and insights at sold out Conference Board of Canada event on Oct. 7 Read More

  3. “Fueled by arrivals from Asia, immigrants and their children will account for the lion’s share of U.S. population growth over the next 50 years, according to a Pew Research Center study.”Demographic change in the U.S. Read More

  4. What a wonderful reception to the “Lunch and Learn” presentation at Gowlings law firm. More than 100 participants from across Canada – Michael F Charles with Susan Clarke (Partner, Director of Professional Development) and Christina Risteski (Professional Development Coordinator) Read More


Michael F. Charles, David Kraft and John Willis,
“Challenges Facing Racialized Licensees – Stratcom Final Report”,
The Law Society of Upper Canada,
Toronto, October 2014 (release date)


“Michael Charles is a breath of fresh air. Working with him on our diversity and inclusion strategic review was a total pleasure. He works tirelessly and efficiently with passionate insight. I have found he understands what an organization needs and the best ways to address them. I recommend his talents unreservedly.”

Adrian Fung – Vice President Innovation, Toronto Symphony Orchestra

“Canadian arts and culture institutions set to embrace inclusion with the help of Change DeZign innovative solutions” / Globe and Mail January 15, 2016

The Globe and Mail


Inspire. Change. Grow