Meet Michelle Schafer, Leadership Development Coach & Facilitator at Stratford

by: Stratford Group Ltd.

As managers and executives at Stratford, we’ve led departments, divisions and whole organizations through growth and change. We have the “stars and scars” to offer meaningful, practical guidance or serve hands-on if that’s required.

Beyond our credentials, what sets us apart are the values we share and the ways we work. Every member of our team has a passion for giving back and helping organizations reach their goals. It’s why clients often tell us that when they met our people, they knew they wanted to do business with us.

To help you get to know us a little better, we sat down with some of our team members and interviewed them on everything from professional experience and obstacles to extracurricular activities and playlist recommendations. We thought you may appreciate seeing the personal side of our team through their shared personal insights, recommendations and hobbies.

The next team member we’d like to introduce you to is Michelle Schafer, Leadership Development Coach & Facilitator at Stratford.


Michelle Schafer


Michelle Schafer

Leadership Development Coach & Facilitator

Time with Stratford:
2 years

Area of Expertise:
Leadership Development 

City of  Ottawa, FCM, CMA 


🎵 What do you like to listen to while working?

I enjoy listening to Boom 99.7 or CBC radio – it depends on the time of day!

📚 What are your favourite business books, podcasts, and blogs?

Anything by Brene Brown! Especially Daring Greatly & Rising Strong

📝 What is one piece of advice you find yourself constantly sharing with your clients?

As a coach, I’m more often asking questions versus providing advice 🙂  And they will often start with

    • “I’m curious about…”
    • “What was surprising about…”
    • “What is the opportunity here?”
    • “What would need to shift and change in order to….”

 … And so many more! 

👀 What do you think makes Stratford unique?

I love the unique partnership approach – Stratford professionals aim to work with clients in a way that allows them to be an extension of their client’s team, gaining a deep understanding of what is needed to provide valuable, personalized solutions and recommendations.  The Stratford team brings a collective font of knowledge and expertise which can support clients with a variety of needs and challenges.  

Plus they are fun!

🤝 What is your favourite type of client engagement?

Definitely any and all leadership development engagement – helping a client make deep and lasting change that will support their team and their development as a leader.

I’m currently engaged in a Team Coaching certification, so I look forward to working with teams to help them build accountability, overcome roadblocks and address conflict in a healthy way.

Do you sit on any boards or volunteer?

I’m a serial volunteer – and have been since I was 12 years old.  I offer pro-bono coaching to Up With Women, helping disadvantaged women enter the job market with confidence. 

I also deliver a full-day entrepreneurship program to Grade 5 students with Junior Achievement. And when school returns, I will provide support to my boys’ classes! 

🚴‍♀️ What are some of your favourite past times?

I enjoy power walking and cycling by the river in the summer, and skating on the canal in the winter.  I have two boys aged 11 and 13 so I have to keep up to them 😄

I’m also a bit addicted to sunsets! 

🍿 Any recommended movies or TV programs?

A couple favourites I would recommend are:

    • Modern Family
    • Grace and Frankie 

⛰️ What’s one of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome as it relates to your career?

I’ve been restructured twice – it’s what motivated me to become a career coach and help others re-enter the job market. 

I had to reinvent myself twice – from financial services to not-for-profit, and from not-for-profit to independent business owner.  I had to do a lot of networking and effective marketing of my transferrable skills to show others I could do the job.  I started my business with zero clients and have grown my business year over year as a result of my tenacity. 

🤔 If there is one thing you hope your clients gain from working with you, what would you want it to be?

Clients and those who are close to me describe me as warm, honest, empathetic, and a good listener.  These qualities serve me well as a coach.  I am genuinely interested in people and am inspired by their progress.

I create a safe and comfortable environment that helps people relax and talk openly.  By creating a safe space to share and explore, I encourage clients to deepen their awareness and try “new moves” with confidence in order to develop their leadership abilities and have a positive impact on their team. 


We look forward to introducing you to others here at Stratford and we’d love the chance to get to know you better too. If you’d like to connect with Michelle or other members of the Stratford team, please reach out. We’d love to hear from you.


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