Shola Kaye

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Shola Kaye helps global organisations create a People-First Culture, preparing for the future of work using the power of empathy, effective communication and inclusive leadership skills. Shola’s work is frequently described as engagingly practical, easily implementable and inspiring. She shares moving stories, accessible case studies and actionable insights gained from working with international corporations across a wide range of industries, and sessions may be modified for leaders or for broader audiences.


Shola’s clients include American Express, Deloitte, Google, IBM, Nestle, Meta, Target, The United Nations, Kaiser Permanente, GSK, Henkel, Reckitt, HSBC, LVMH, Capital One and Oracle. She is the author of two books and has written for a variety of industry publications.


Shola’s experiences as a Black female introvert, working for global corporations, have given her an understanding of some of the many challenges faced by companies today as they seek to create environments of empathy and belonging, supporting their ever-more diverse, often remote, teams. Her work allows organisations to increase innovation, bolster belonging and develop engaging, productive environments.


Early in Shola’s career, after studying at Cambridge University, she worked in consulting and account management in New York and London with clients such as Goldman Sachs and British Airways. She has also conducted neuroscience research at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).


What differentiates Shola as a speaker is that she has also spent time performing across the globe and captivating audiences as a professional entertainer. She therefore understands what it takes to keep her keynote attendees engaged and participating throughout the session, and she provides multiple opportunities for valuable self-reflection and outstanding levels of interaction.


At the moment her most popular keynote is on Elevating Empathy. In today’s challenging workplaces it’s crucial to meet people where they are, demonstrating curiosity and understanding. An empathic approach is also valuable when it comes to helping reduce resistance to change, such as restructuring, entering new markets or embarking upon new initiatives.


Shola also works with global teams that need to find ways to reduce bias and reach across cultural differences, creating an atmosphere of collaboration, inclusion and high performance. Her session ‘Inclusive Communication and Psychological Safety’ has been booked by a variety of international organisations, whether for leadership or wider groups and, as a skilled facilitator, she’s often called upon to run sessions that are a hybrid between conventional keynotes, town halls, and large group workshops.


As an introvert herself, she loves to create experiences in which everyone feels deeply involved and empowered to participate fully. Her virtual keynotes often elicit hundreds of comments in the chat, with off-the-chart participation from attendees.


She’s also a popular speaker for International Women’s Day and has worked with many organisations delivering communication programs that help women and other groups speak up and cut through the noise, enabling them to go further, faster, in their careers.


Speaking Topics - 


Elevating Empathy


To increase inclusion and engagement (Suitable for all employees and delegates)


Creating a workplace where everyone feels that they belong is more important than ever before, but how can you build supportive, cohesive environments within your organisation? This is a high-impact, inspiring keynote that offers the tools and the inspiration to become a more compassionate and effective leader, manager, or individual contributor. It may be modified for senior leaders, management, and whole-company keynotes. We’ll look at the important themes of curiosity, courage and being a catalyst and you’ll understand the vital components of empathy, how to be compassionate while avoiding burnout, and why skills like emotional intelligence are in high demand.


What will the audience learn?

  • Explore the value of active listening and reasons why we may be reluctant to practice curiosity and courage

  • Understand the different types of empathy

  • Find out what impact empathy and listening have on diversity, inclusion, engagement, retention, innovation, and happiness at work

  • Discuss how we might practice empathy in the virtual workplace

  • Spend time reflecting on our own levels of empathy and potential areas for self-improvement

  • Walk away with a simple three-step framework for being empathetic in nearly every situation


Embracing Psychological Safety and Inclusive Communication


Are you wondering why there has been so much interest in the topic of psychological safety?


During this interactive keynote, we explore the vital role of psychological safety in fostering an inclusive environment that values open, authentic communication. We’ll discuss the importance of embracing vulnerability, trust, and empathy in your daily interactions, enabling your team to unlock its full potential through collaborative ways of working.


What will the audience learn?

  • Understand the key elements of psychological safety and their impact on team performance

  • Explore the relationship between psychological safety and emotional intelligence

  • Discover strategies to create a culture of inclusive communication that values and supports diverse perspectives

  • Recognise the role of empathetic leadership in fostering psychological safety

  • Learn practical techniques for building trust and promoting vulnerability within teams

  • Understand that cultural factors also play a role in the creation of psychologically safe environments


Inclusive Leadership: Strategies & Skills


Equip your leaders with the skills and knowledge to combat bias and foster belonging


Today's leaders need an expanded repertoire of skills and know-how to ensure staff are engaged, happy and productive. In this highly impactful program, leaders are given the skill set to flourish in today’s complex work environments, managing ever more diverse and demanding teams.


What will the audience learn?

  • Explore the 6 key traits of an inclusive leader and their related behaviours

  • Review key data that support the value of compassionate leadership skills in today's work environments

  • Discover what it takes to create an environment of psychological safety

  • Explore inclusive communication best practices to ensure everyone feels encouraged to speak up and make a contribution

  • Discuss a number of behavioural nudges that help us bypass bias and create an atmosphere of innovation and belonging

  • Review important cultural factors that all managers must consider when they lead diverse, multigenerational, international or intercultural teams


Creating a Speak Up Culture: Empower, Encourage, Evolve


Give your leaders and their teams the inspiration, know-how and tools to create a culture of openness and collaboration.


During this high-energy, interactive keynote we explore the power of transparency, psychological safety and positive reinforcement to create a culture where everyone feels equipped, encouraged and able to share their views and ideas. The result of a speak up culture? A high performing, innovative, respectful workplace in which people can be who they are and express themselves without fear of retribution, rejection or ridicule.


What will the audience learn?

  • Look at some models and strategies that support a speak up culture

  • Review what happens when it’s not safe to express ourselves authentically, resulting in behaviours such as covering, groupthink and code-switching

  • Navigate ways to create team safety and an environment of collaboration so that colleagues feel comfortable sharing their views

  • Explore cultural factors that influence the way in which communication is delivered and received

  • Discover tools and communication frameworks that help everyone express themselves respectfully, regardless of personality type and cultural identity

  • Look at the role of encouragement and support when inviting people to open up


Unlock High Performance by Delivering Effective Feedback


Develop the skills to support and co-create your colleagues’ success (Session is suitable for all employees, not just managers)


At work and in our personal lives, delivering effective feedback is a valuable skill. Delivered in the right way, feedback can be empowering, inspiring and can drive an individual, and their team, towards fantastic success. However, delivered in the wrong way, feedback can be divisive, demotivating, and destructive. And when we avoid giving feedback to spare someone’s feelings, the eventual outcome can be just as damaging.


So what’s your intention as a manager? Is it to break or build? To crush or to co-create? Do you restrict your feedback to the obligatory once or twice a year, or do you feedback continuously, increasing the motivation and confidence of your team members?


What will the audience learn?

  • Understand the importance of providing ongoing, tailored, empathetic developmental feedback

  • Explore the repercussions of poor feedback styles such as The Drive-by, The Comparison, The Public Humiliation, and The Wrecking Ball

  • Discover the four elements required to create psychological safety so that your feedback is well-received

  • Take away an effective strategy for delivering feedback as an individual contributor

  • Learn three different feedback frameworks and the pros and cons of each keynote or workshop


Working With Resistance


Walk away with the tools and perspectives needed to navigate and transform resistance into a constructive force for organisational progress.


This dynamic and insightful keynote adopts an international perspective, and is designed for DEI, HR, and Talent Management professionals, and groups grappling with resistance in organisational change efforts. The session offers a blend of academic research, real-world case studies, and cultural insights. We explore the various forms of resistance encountered in organisations, understand the best strategies to counteract them, and learn how to foster an environment conducive to open communication and inclusive change.


What will the audience learn?

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the three main types of resistance encountered in DEI initiatives, informed by current research

  • Learn effective strategies to counter each type of resistance, drawing from a variety of real-life case studies

  • Explore some cultural factors that can make us reluctant to push for change, and discover how to empower individuals to take action in ways that align with their personal and cultural backgrounds

  • Learn how to apply practical communication tools and approaches that will help you immediately foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment


Participants will leave feeling reinvigorated, inspired, and equipped with empowering frameworks and proven approaches for working with resistance.


Three Steps to Inclusion & Allyship


Practical inspiration, helping you create a culture of belonging


This empowering keynote delivers practical frameworks and moving stories. You’ll walk away with the understanding that everyone can be an ally, whatever your situation. We’ll explore the importance of taking action - however limited - rather than feeling that you don’t have the power to make a difference. Discover a source of renewed vitality and enthusiasm for the important work of creating an inclusive workplace.


What will the audience learn?

  • Explore the power of curiosity and calling-in

  • Understand the importance of being an ally and calling out bias

  • Navigate the 7 dimensions of allyship and understand the various roles needed to create a sustainable DEI movement

  • Uncover the value of compassion for the self, and for others.

  • We can’t pour from an empty cup; discover why and how to cultivate a ‘gain’ mindset, instead of living in the ‘gap’

  • Learn strategies for replenishing your energy and avoiding burnout, especially when you’re hyper empathetic

Shola Kaye's Experiences

Virtual In-Person
Virtual In-Person

Payment Terms


The session was both interactive, fun and also compassionate. We received a lot of positive feedback.

Sumi Shukla, VP EMEA Marketing - Riverbed Technology

The combination of empathy in the workplace and DEI really spoke to our workforce and I am excited to continue to work with Shola.

Nasra Osman, UK Lead for Race & Ethnicity - Reckitt

Great session and a lot to reflect on individually, and as a group.

Paul Pythian, Executive Partner - IBM

Wonderful to collaborate with, and she delivered exactly what we were looking for... a top-notch keynote to more than 900 people.

Professor Allison G. Butler - Bryant University

Shola managed to navigate an emotive topic with clear, actionable takeaways and with calmness, poise, and respect.

Louisa Golden, SVP Technology Chief of Staff - Citi

"After hearing Shola speak several years ago, and being moved then by her vulnerability, I knew she was the right person to speak to our global group of lawyers and communicators about using "Empathy as a Superpower." Shola delivered an insightful and meaningful session that left people feeling empowered and inspired. Beyond that, Shola provided our team with the tools we can use to become more empathetic individuals. We continue to receive positive feedback on Shola's session and have teams already looking to work with her on new projects. She is a true professional and a real joy to work with. Can't recommend Shola enough!"

Sylvie Russo, Communications Manager, Mondelez International

"If you are looking for a top-notch, engaging, high-energy speaker to help motivate your company, Shola is your person. I had the opportunity to hear Shola speak on Empathy and Inclusive Leadership, and she speaks effortlessly on these topics, imparting knowledge in a way that makes the audience participate and take away solid messages. Her examples and methods to more fully engage in these valuable skills have proven valuable as I’ve been able to utilize them to build a stronger team. I highly recommend Shola to enhance your personal or business objectives."

Sonia Zacher-Martini, Manager, PSEG

"We were lucky enough to have Shola as our keynote speaker this week for our global Women's network @GlanbiaNow. Shola was perfect in addressing the #breakthebias focus of IWD and provided us strategies and practical ideas on how to manage this in the workplace. She was engaging and energetic and was a great speaker even in a virtual format. Thanks Shola and please let me know if you ever need a recommendation."

Wendy Chang Smith, CFO, Glanbia

"Shola is an absolutely exceptional speaker. I was lucky to take part in two of her workshops- one on Thinking on your Feet, for Harper's Bazaar, and another on Empathy. Both were brilliantly designed. I felt engaged, empowered, and learnt really insightful tools to become a better leader and make the world a fairer place for all. Thanks so much Shola for being such an inspiration!"

Flora Nicholson, COO

"Shola has been incredible to work with. She accepted the challenge of a last minute brief to deliver a virtual Keynote speech on Empathy to a global audience and blew us away ... inspiring, relatable, engaging and empowering. Thank you Shola!"

Rachael Rowland, Global Marketer, Ex-L’Oréal, Henkel

"One way to assess a speaker's impact is by the number of positive feedback generated from the audience long after they are gone. We hired Shola to deliver a keynote address on Empathy during our internal Black History Month celebrations. Shola was flexible and dedicated to learning about our organization, our people and customized her talk according to our needs. Delivering an interactive and engaging keynote address in the remote and virtual climate, we find ourselves in is ever-so-challenging. Shola was able to conduct a dynamic keynote address on Empathy with meaningful storytelling elements to emotionally engage us while driving home practical and implementable lessons to create a workplace of belonging. Overall, working with Shola has been a rewarding experience. I am looking forward to collaborating with her again in the future."

Jennifer Landgren, MBA, Dentsply Sirona

"Shola delivered a top-notch remote keynote address for our Bryant University IDEA Program focused on "Elevating Empathy." Shola was engaging, informative, and inspiring. She spoke to a group of about 900 students, faculty, and staff, and we received excellent feedback. Everyone loved her message and the practical tips she shared for how we might all learn to be more empathetic and emotionally intelligent. Shola told great stories during her talk and created opportunities for meaningful interaction with attendees even in the large webinar format. In the planning process, Shola was wonderful to collaborate with, and she delivered exactly what we were looking for. I highly recommend Shola if you seeking an outstanding keynote related to empathy."

Allison Butler, Professor, Bryant University

"Shola was a joy to work with as closing keynote for our recent all-company, virtual event. Shola took time to fully understand the organisation and the brief and delivered not one but TWO closing keynotes in one day for global teams spanning across the world, from Sydney to San Francisco. The content was so powerful and authentically delivered, our teams are still raving about it today. If you’re looking for a standout presenter, with lasting impact and actionable outtakes - Shola is the woman for you!"

Victoria O’Brien, Head of Marketing, Hotwire PR