Lenora Billings-Harris

Internationally acclaimed speaker, educator and poet, Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP has delivered presentations to thousands of people across three continents. Using her strong business background, including positions with General Motors, and the Graduate School of Business at The University of Michigan, Lenora has developed a unique way of presenting sensitive topics in a high-energy, fun-filled, yet thought-provoking way. Her interactive style, and immediately applicable ” How Tos” have inspired clients to invite her back again and again.

Lenora is the co-author of TRAILBLAZERS: How Top Business Leaders are Accelerating Results through Inclusion and Diversity, and she is often an expert guest on TV and radio internationally. She serves on the adjunct faculty of the business schools of Averett University and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and leads a full service diversity consulting firm. She has presented to audiences in over eighteen countries on six continents including in the middle of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.


Beyond The Vision
Lenora uses personal stories, metaphors, audience interaction and quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela and others to help you discover how you can use your abilities and courage to make a real and sustainable difference in today’s multicultural world. This uplifting yet thought-provoking message will inspire you to embrace the unique gifts you have and to value the gifts of others to increase your options for positive change as an agent of One Dream. By realizing the power to make a difference is within each individual, you will discover ways to go beyond stereotypes and bias to create an environment that supports high success while celebrating differences. As a result of attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Use their knowledge and skills to determine ways to learn about and interact effectively with people different then themselves
  • Engage their heart and soul sense to connect to others with compassion instead of stereotypical judgments
  • Use their courage to lead sustainable changes in positive ways

The Diversity Advantage: Turning Barriers Into Bridges
This highly interactive and results-oriented program provides an opportunity for participants to explore the biases of our society’s “isms,” such as racism, sexism, ableism, and ageism, as well as homophobia and other prejudices that impede productivity. Participants of this program will be better equipped to improve their cultural intelligence thus enhancing organization performance. This information-packed program includes the Discovering Diversity Profile, which provides confidential individual feedback to participants regarding their views about people who are different from themselves, enabling them to develop a specific plan of action to change behaviors. As a result of attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Limit the influence of stereotypes on their personal actions
  • Use the S.T.O.P. technique to minimize multicultural mishaps
  • Identify the four cornerstones for improving cultural competencies

This program can be delivered in a full day of learning or two half day modules. An abbreviated version is available for conference breakout sessions.

From Adversaries to Allies: Gender Communication in the Workplace
This fun presentation will help you improve your communication skills with the opposite gender. You will explore ways to say what you mean in a way the other gender will understand. This insightful session will help both men and women learn how to express themselves in a way that improves results. By practicing techniques that recognize communication differences without value judging, you will discover your own hidden communication strengths. As a result of applying the principles and skills presented, you will be able to:

  • Identify the 3 major male and female communication tendencies;
  • Explore the 5 habits that hinder effective communication;
  • Manage gender conflict more effectively.

The focus of this session is on communication solutions not gender bashing, thus both men and women can enhance their effectiveness. By applying a few simple rules each will be able to refrain from trying to “fix” the other.

Beyond Diversity Rhetoric
Are you ready to go beyond diversity awareness? Is your organization ready to effectively create and sustain an environment that enables all contributors to achieve their highest potential without regard to their differences? Are your leaders ready to learn and then implement the Transformational Diversity Management Principles™ that will support your organization’s vision, mission, and business strategy? If so, this program is for you. This presentation offers participants an opportunity to enhance awareness and understanding of Transformational Diversity Management Principles™ based on the work of Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP in her book The Diversity Advantage: A Guide to Making Diversity Work, and her research with the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Join Lenora for this informative session exploring inclusiveness and diversity from a business bottom-line point of view. Determine whether or not diversity is required in your organization in order to achieve high performance. You will be surprised with some of the outcomes. Your participants will:

  • Determine if leveraging diversity is required
  • Explore missed multicultural opportunities
  • Define multicultural leadership competencies
  • Examine the ways diversity impacts an environment of respect in the workplace
  • Identify the next steps needed for your organization’s diversity success

Real Sales and Marketing Strategies for Today’s Multicultural Market
Are your sales representatives losing opportunities to attract prospects and close sales because they are pre-judging the client or customer? Are they only prospecting and selling to people who are “just like them?” If so, this program is for them. This session includes practical techniques and solutions, as well as specific marketing strategies. This program is for people who already know the market and sell, and are looking for ways to increase results through effective relationship-building techniques within today’s diverse market. As a result of applying the strategies and tactics presented, you will be able to:

  • Identify key behaviors that often reduce trust, respect, and cooperation across diverse groups and replace them with behaviors that work
  • Quickly identify a prospect’s “comfort zone” surrounding the sales process and determine the best ways to initiate contact, make the presentation, negotiate, close the sale, and maintain positive client relationships
  • Develop a marketing plan that produces results in the African American, Asian, Latino and GLBT market

Full Biography

Lenora Billings-Harris is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), diversity consultant and author of The Diversity Advantage: A Guide to Making Diversity Work. With more than twenty five years of experience in the public and private sectors, Lenora has developed a unique way of presenting sensitive topics in a fun, thought-provoking and nonjudgmental way. Her interactive style and immediately applicable “how tos” have inspired clients to invite her back again and again. She designs and delivers presentations that help facilitate diversity initiatives for Fortune 500 companies, professional associations, government agencies and educational institutions.

Lenora was the 2006-2007 president of the National Speakers Association. She served as an adjunct professor for Arizona State University, and is currently on the adjunct faculty of the Bryan School of Business and Economics, University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She has presented to audiences in 15 countries on 5 continents.

Lenora is founder and president of Excel Development Systems, Inc. a full service training and consulting firm that delivers high quality programs, learning tools, and performance improvement interventions that enable clients to discover the competitive advantages of creating and effectively leading a diverse multicultural workplace. Before founding Excel Development Systems, Inc. in 1986, Lenora held several key positions with CIGNA, General Motors and the University of Michigan.