Cambridge Chamber of Commerce


Picture of Anthony McLean


George Floyd. Amy Cooper. Ahmaud Arbery.


Their names and those of many others have become synonymous with the harsh reality of anti-black racism in North America.


For professional speaker Anthony McLean, this is an issue he’s lived with as a black man throughout his life. As a child, the 42-year-old father of two vividly can recall being accused by a shopkeeper of stealing for no reason and being pulled over as a teen, even though he hadn’t broken any laws, by a police officer who just wanted to ‘check’ to ensure the car he was driving wasn’t stolen.


The former TV host will share his insight at a special event we’re hosting Oct. 27 to recognize Small Business Month called ‘Are We Anti-Racist Yet?’.


“If you’re not racist, you would not make a racist joke. But when you’re anti-racist, and someone else makes a racist joke, you would speak up,” he says, during a Zoom call from his home in California, where the Canadian actor moved with his family a month before the pandemic hit in 2020. “As Canadians, we’re very good at being polite and not rocking the boat and not saying anything that could be deemed offensive. But this is about going a step further than that and even creating uncomfortable conversations if it’s called for not just in the workplace but at home.”

Anthony, who has delivered hundreds of talks full-time since 2010 to corporations and schools regarding the importance of mental health, diversity, and equality, says the murder of Floyd last year at the hands of Minneapolis police ignited a movement.


“It changed the game and changed the business world,” he says. “It’s not enough to have a Black Lives Matter logo on your website because people want to know what you are doing to create a diverse and inclusive workplace and to really create a sense of belonging for anyone who works in your business or anyone who does business with your business.”


During his talks, Anthony says he uses humour and his training as an actor to ensure his audiences remain engaged.


“I don’t want it to be all that heavy. I want it to be fun and interactive,” he says, referring to the performance energy he uses to interact with an audience. “I also want to make you think and challenge you to take some action.”


In terms of action, Anthony says small businesses can make huge strides by hiring people with different vantage points who can offer a new perspective.


“It’s amazing what happens when you get people around the table who see the world differently from you,” he says, adding hiring people from within your ‘circle’ may no longer help your business to advance. “Sometimes, to find the right person to really help your business get to the next level and reach people you’ve never reached before, you may have to work with a recruiter to find that diverse talent.”


In terms of takeaways, Anthony says he hopes participants at the Chamber event will see diversity as a competitive edge in business and the impact ‘micro’ aggressions can have on the workplace.


“I hope they see it as a business strategy and get excited about what their workplace can look like,” he says, noting helping others inspires him.  “If I get off a virtual presentation and feel I made people laugh and made them think about what action they’re going to take it’s a good day and that really inspires me; I’m on cloud 9.”


As well, Anthony says he is inspired about the future and despite recent events that have made national headlines remains optimistic and hopeful society is finally on the right track regarding equality.


“I think we’ve hit a very critical point that there are enough people who are adamant about being anti-racist,” he says. “We’re now at a place I think that in the future we’ll look back and say the world did change.  We’ve made some great gains and I know I’m raising my kids in a world that I didn’t grow up in.”


Our Recognizing Small Business event: ‘Are We Anti-Racist Yet?’ takes place Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more, visit:


add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn


Blog Contributor Portrait
Brian Rodnick
July 9, 2024
show Brian 's posts
Blog Contributor Portrait
Greg Durocher
July 28, 2023
show Greg's posts
Blog Contributor Portrait
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
January 29, 2021
show Canadian Chamber's posts
Blog Contributor Portrait
Cambridge Chamber
March 27, 2020
show Cambridge 's posts

Latest Posts

Show All Recent Posts



Everything Manufacturing Cambridge Events Spectrum New Members Taxes Region of Waterloo The Chamber Property Taxes Government Waste Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Networking Success Di Pietro Ontario Chamber of Commerce Greg Durocher Scott Bridger Food Blog Canada Ontario Cambridge Memorial Hospital Business After Hours Discounts Member Benefits Affinity Program Web Development Visa, MasterCard, Debit Big Bold Ideas Politics Elections Municipal Provincial NDP Liberals PC Vote Majority Christmas Homeless Leadership Oil Sands Environment Rail Pipelines Keystone Canadian Oil Canadian Chamber of Commerce Small Business Next Generation Cyber Security Millennials Energy Trump Washington Polls US Congress Bresiteers Trade NAFTA Europe Economy Growth Export Minimum Wage 15 dollars Bill 148 Cost Burdens Loss of Jobs Investing Finance Canada Capital Gains Exemption Tax Proposal MIddle Class Member of Parliment Unfair Changes Small Business Tax Fairness COVID-19 Mental Health Self-isolation Social Distancing Ways to Wellbeing Education Conestoga College Online Training Business Owners Personal Growth Communicate Young Professionals Workplace Communication Stress Emotionally and Physically Animals Pets Lockdown CEWS Employee Relief Employee Benefit Cambridge 50th Anniversary Celebrating Cambridge ToBigToIgnore Small Business Week Support Local Buy Local Business Support Waterloo Kitchener YouGottaShopHereWR Responsibility Culture Workplace Antiracist Inclusion Diversity Racism Federal Election Services Autonmy Professional Salary Wages CERB Workers Jobs Guidelines Health and Safety Etiquette Fun Inperson Members Golf Tournament GolfClassic Business Business Trends Home and Garden Garden Pools Home Improvements Backyarding Renos Summer Airlines Business Travel Bad Reviews Reviews Consumers Competition Bureau Dining Out Expert Advice Outdoors Economicrecovery BBQ Vaccines Community vaccinations Conferences Virtual Visitors Sportsandrecreation Spinoff Screening Kits Tourism Trends Productivity Engagement Remote working EmploymentStandardsAct Employees Employers Policies Employment Contracts Legal Public Health Virtual Ceremonies SMEs Health Canada Prevention Rapid Screening Health Entrepreneurs Building social networks Storytelling Video The She-Covery Project Child Care Workplaces Contact Tracing Time Management Pre-Budget Modernization Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Budget Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover Federal Government Hotels and Restaurants Alcohol Tax Freezethealcoholtax Canadian Destinations Travel Grow your business Sales and Marketing Digital Restructure Financing Structural Regulatory Alignment Technological Hardware Digital Modernization RAP (Recovery Activiation Program) Support business strong economy Shop Cambridge Shop Local #CanadaUnited Domestic Abuse Family Funerals Weddings Counselling Anxiety Pandemic Getting Back to Work UV disinfection systems Disinfection Systems