Author Interview Series-Lew Bayer

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Lew 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.”

For almost 20 years Dr. Lew 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

367 affiliates in 43 countries has supported 100s of organizations in building better

workplaces. In addition to her role as CEO of 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 Most recently, Lew was selected

as the Champions of Humanity Global Advocate- Champions of Humanity is an arm of

Aegis Trust, a UK based organization focused on peace education and the prevention of


Including 2-time, international bestseller, The 30% Solution, and the pending December

release of Golden Rule Peace and Civility Lew is a 16-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, 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.

Lew has been recognized at World Civility Day three consecutive years for her

contributions in the field of civility with a Community Civility Counts Award, and she was

recently nominated for Women of Distinction, Woman of Influence, and the RBC

Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the year. She was previously awarded Manitoba

Woman Entrepreneur in International Business and she was the first Canadian to

receive the prestigious AICI International Civility Star Award. In 2018 Lew was

acknowledged for her work as co-founder of Golden Rule Civility Global Initiative and presented with the International Person of the Year

Award by iChange Nations. In May 2018 she was presented with a US Congressional

Educator Award. She has been recommended for a position in the Canadian Senate and

also under consideration as Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago.

In addition to regularly consulting on corporate impression management, building

relationships with media and creating civil communication, Lew was a national columnist

for over 10 years, and is Lew is a sought-after expert who frequently writes, interviews

and speaks with media all around the world.

Civility Experts Inc. manages The Civility Speakers Bureau

offers online certification, and offers a large array of civility

training tools and materials via It is a combination of the collective

experience of the world-wide affiliate team, the leading-edge training solutions and the

team's ability to customize to their client's need that leads to the sometimes

immeasurable benefits that choosing civility brings. These outputs include increased

social capital, trust, social intelligence and culturally competent communication - and

together these impacts result in efficiency, competency, retention and bottom line


Marina Raydun: In our day and age, civility tends to be underappreciated. What made you become so passionate about the concept that you chose to make a career out of it?

Lew Bayer: You know, I’ve been lucky in my life in that I have experienced civility my whole life. My parents were very conscious of manners and social graces- I can recall toiling over thank you cards after my 5th birthday, for example. I had the benefit of an amazing support network of neighbours and aunties and uncles who spoke kindly and cared for me, as well as the privilege of working with a professional civil manager at my first job. As I got older and experienced all kinds of incivility, I came to realize that not everyone had the same experiences as I did. I think it was Wayne Dyer that said, “you can’t get orange juice from lemons”…or something like that. As such, I came to understand that you need to teach people how to be kind, how to speak nicely, how to behave in public, how to be nonjudgmental etc. And so I started teaching etiquette and civility as a business.

MR: Word choice is certainly a substantial part of what it means to be civil. What is the first experience you had when you learned that language had power?

LB: This is a great question. When I was young: I was often introduced by my mother (who meant no harm doing so but caused harm nonetheless) as “our adopted daughter.” I could see the pity and judgment on people’s faces, and I knew that the word “adopted” changed how people saw me (and to me, how my mother valued me). I lived with this label my whole life-it shaped my relationships with my siblings, my mother, relatives and it also impacted my self-worth.

MR: You travel quite a bit in your line of work, which must mean lots of plane time. My favorite part of any airport is the bookshop. What do you like to read when you’re up in the air?

LB: Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I read anything nonfiction. I am an information junkie and constantly reading whitepapers and research, textbooks, and often the dictionary, because communication, writing, tone-these are important aspects of civility. As an aside, if you don’t feel like chatting on the plane, pull out the dictionary and start reading. No one bothers you when you’re reading the dictionary.

MR: Is there a book that changed your life?

LB: Left to Tell-story of Imaculée Ilibagiza, a Tutzi woman who survived the Rwandan Genocide by hiding in a 3x4 foot bathroom with 7 other women for 90 days. This story of grace and gratitude and forgiveness, changed how I live and think, and make decisions.

MR: Is there a book that people might be surprised to learn you love?

LB: Ummmm, the dictionary. I know, nerdy, right?! There is such power in words and I like learning the history and nuances of language because it ties to people and culture.

MR: You have over two-dozen titles to your name. How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

LB: My process hasn’t really changed much. I’ve always been a prolific writer. I just can’t write enough. I have the luxury and privilege of traveling and teaching amazing people in amazing places- I do about 220 lectures and presentations a year, so there is always a new perspective, a new story, a new insight, and I have to write it down. I guess if I had to pinpoint one change it’s that now I trust myself more and so I just write how I feel, and as though I were having a conversation. I don’t need to shock or inspire or impress anyone. I just see writing as sharing.

MR: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

LB: I’d say, don’t worry about who is going to read what you write, or buy it, or talk about it etc. Just see the fact that you can write in a reasonably sensible way as a gift you’ve been given. And give that gift away with no expectation of return.

MR: Is there a thing you’ve written that makes you cringe now?

LB: Oh my goodness, yes! Not so much the content itself but the grammar and logics of it all…yish! I think I’ve taken 40-50 grammar and writing courses since 1999 when I started – there is always room for improvement.

MR: What is your biggest failure?

LB: I really see failing as opportunity to grow and learn so I can’t say I’ve completely failed at writing. But I have failed to make good choices  related to writing, e.g., giving people I trusted “co-author” status when they didn’t really contribute at all. In hindsight, I wouldn’t do that again.

MR: What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

LB: I travel a lot, so when I’m in my car, I think about how nice it is to be home, how lucky I am to live where I live and how I can’t wait to see my beautiful daughter or have my dog Cooper lick my face.

Get your copy of Dr. Bayer’s The 30% Solution here: