For more than 20 years, Lewena Bayer has been internationally recognized as the leading expert on civility at work. With a focus on social intelligence and culturally-competent communication, the team at Civility Experts – which includes 501 affiliates in 48 countries has supported 100’s of organizations in building better workplaces.
In addition to her role as CEO of the international civility training group Civility Experts Inc. which includes The Civility Speakers Bureau and Propriety Publishing. Lew is Chair of the International Civility Trainers’ Consortium, President of The Center for Organizational Cultural Competence, and Founder of the In Good Company Etiquette Academy Franchise Group http://www.ingoodcompanyetiquette.com and http://www.Highstyleimage.com Most recently, Lew was selected as an International Advocate for Aegis Trust, a UK based organization focused on peace education and the prevention of genocide. She is also an Education Chair for http://www.globalgoodwillambassadors.org. Recently, Dr. Bayer has been assigned the privilege of being named Ambassador of Global Knowledge Exchange and a Master Educator in Global Teachers Academy.
Including 2-time, international bestseller, The 30% Solution, and the pending December release of several new books, Manufacturing Civility, Civility at Work, Golden Rule Peace and Civility Lew is a 17-time published author. Lew donates her time as Director of the National Civility Center and co-founder of the Golden Rule Civility Global Initiative, she is also a proud mentor for The Etiquette House, a member of the Advisory Board for A Civil Tongue, was a national magazine columnist for 10 years, and has contributed expert commentary to many online, print, and television publications. Lew is one of only 14 Master Civility Trainers in the world, and a distance faculty member at
Georgetown University Center for Cultural Competence, a long-term facilitator at the Canadian Management Center in Toronto Canada, Instructor – Social Justice at MITT, a Master Trainer for the Canadian School of Service, a certified High Style Impression Management Professional and a Certified Culture Coach® who also holds credentials in Intercultural Communications, Essential Skills, and Occupational Language Assessment. Most recently Lew has completed the Champions of Humanity Master Peace Educator Certificate Program at the Kigali Peace School in Rwanda.
Dr. Lew Bayer believes that “Civility is its own reward”. She suggests that “In choosing civility, people find their best self, and in doing so, they experience the grace, courage, generosity, humanity, and humility that civility engenders.”
You are an internationally-acclaimed civility expert. Share your background.
I started out in the civility training business in 1999. A colleague and I were working for a hotel chain at the time and were both exhausted and eager for change. We started the business together and immediately identified a need in the market related to social skills. Since then, I have published 16 books, traveled and teach about 200-250 training sessions a year, and continue to learn something about humankind and civility every day.
What would the world look like where civility was a non-negotiable point of character?
Oh my gosh, this is my dream. In a world where civility is a non-negotiable point of character, people would be honest and kind, humble and generous. We would each see the value in others, we would honor and respect each other, people would be treated equally, and we would all give of ourselves with no expectation of return.
You are the CEO of the international civility training group Civility Experts Inc. Tell us about your work.
I have the privilege every day of working with, learning from, and mentoring brilliant, gracious, and civil change-makers. Our team of affiliates around the world strives to support and build each other up while fostering civility in their communities, schools, workplaces, and around the world. My work includes ongoing research and curriculum development as well as lecturing, writing, and teaching civility.
You travel, speak, and train at approximately 250 events a year. What are the themes that you share with audiences?
Every presentation I do has something to do with civility. Topics include the four skills that underpin the ability to be civil; social intelligence, cultural competence, systems thinking, and continuous learning. I also speak often on the business case for civility, how to do a civility initiative, and the benefits, costs, and consequences of civility in our communities and homes, and schools, as well as online and in public forums.
What are the underpinnings of civility?
Cultural competence is one of the four key skills that underpin the ability to be civil so we do address aspects of diversity and inclusion. I can say that choosing civility obligates individuals to honor and value all people equally and so when you have a “people-first” approach, aspects of inclusion flow naturally and less debate on the topic is necessary. To be included is about not judging others, about accepting others without necessarily knowing or understanding everything about them. Civility training teaches courage to listen and to be curious. Civility fosters respect and trust.
You have written many books. Share your recent book, Civility at Work, and your mission.
One of the components of our definition of civility is to “ease the experience of others”, this was the mission and focus of Civility at Work. I often describe our team as “social architects”- we strive to build better workplaces by teaching people to think differently about how they interact with others. Civility eases day-to-day interactions, communication, and challenges. Civility reduces stress and fosters wellness at work. It has been shown to increase retention, engagement, and performance metrics. The book was written to share best practices for building better workplaces with organizations all over the world.
Share the proudest moment of your career.
This would be when I won the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award for International Business (2012) the award was meaningful because it was a celebration of our success in helping other women in various countries start and succeed at their own civility and etiquette training businesses. It was also particularly meaningful because my daughter Denby (10 at the time) and my husband who had been supporting me for many years, were both at the awards- Denby came on stage to receive the award with me. I was joy-filled seeing how proud she was, and knowing I was setting a good example of civility and hard work and leadership for her- what else could a person ask for?
What is next?
We are still catching up with rescheduled training and speaking post-Covid, a lot of bookings over the past 2 years have been moved to 2022 -2025. And we are working on a new children’s civility App. And of course, there is a new book (on Social Intelligence) in the works as well.
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