2023 Dancers

Michael Ray

Michael Ray was born in Louisville, raised in Cleveland, Ohio and then returned to Louisville where he attended University of Louisville – 1993 alumnus.  

As the oldest of 7 kids - Michael has seen life take many twists and turns. After almost 20 years in the turbulent mortgage industry, the death of his son, the challenges of a non-verbal special needs daughter with Down Syndrome and divorce - this father of 4 acted on a once dreamt desire of inspiring others through small acts of kindness and smiles. This leap of faith has since turned into Smile Project Louisville – a platform and movement created to affect attitude and behaviors through smiling with strangers.  

Today, you can find Michael’s encounters with total strangers on several social media platforms with 10’s of thousands of active followers all over the world. He has been on numerous pod casts, news stories, radio stations, TV pilots, book forwards,  and has inspired many thru public speaking.  He was voted one of the TOP 50 most influential and impactful persons on LinkedIn for 2020 and 2021.  He was voted one of the Top 40 Thought Leaders of 2022 from LinkedIn Global Excellence awards.

Michael understands and embraces the power of spreading joy and love to impact and make a difference in the lives of others thru the simplicity of making them smile.