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Empathy at the Heart of Organizational Success

Shola Kaye

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Shola Kaye: Bridging Cultural Divides with Inclusive Communication. Drive high performance and collaboration.

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5 out of 5 stars

Shola was professional and friendly. She delivered an engaging speech and got the entire audience interacting with each other which was great.

Francesca Laudat - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles See all references

Why you should book speaker Shola Kaye

  • Harness the power of Shola’s diverse industry experience, benefiting from proven methodologies and best practices honed through collaboration with global leaders across various sectors.
  • Partner with a renowned industry thought leader, recognized for pioneering innovative solutions and driving meaningful change in organizations worldwide, resulting in measurable improvements in performance and culture.
  • Access the wisdom of an accomplished author with two acclaimed books, providing authoritative insights and actionable strategies that have garnered widespread acclaim and recognition.
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Elevate your organization with Shola Kaye's transformative keynote, leveraging the power of empathy and inclusive leadership to drive innovation and engagement. With a proven track record of success with industry giants like Google, IBM, and American Express, Shola delivers actionable insights and captivating stories, empowering companies to create people-first cultures that foster belonging and productivity.

Why you should book speaker Shola Kaye

  • Harness the power of Shola’s diverse industry experience, benefiting from proven methodologies and best practices honed through collaboration with global leaders across various sectors.
  • Partner with a renowned industry thought leader, recognized for pioneering innovative solutions and driving meaningful change in organizations worldwide, resulting in measurable improvements in performance and culture.
  • Access the wisdom of an accomplished author with two acclaimed books, providing authoritative insights and actionable strategies that have garnered widespread acclaim and recognition.

Meet Shola Kaye, a dynamic keynote speaker renowned for her transformative approach to organizational culture. As a motivational speaker and expert in empathy-driven leadership, Shola brings a wealth of experience and insights to every event.

As a seasoned professional, Shola Kaye understands the challenges faced by today’s businesses in creating environments of empathy and belonging. Her wealth of experience, gained from working with global corporations across diverse industries, ensures that her insights are not only practical but also easily implementable.

Shola Kaye’s motivational talks are described as engagingly practical, easily implementable, and inspiring. She shares moving stories, accessible case studies, and actionable insights, tailored to the specific needs of your organization. Whether it’s reducing bias, fostering collaboration, or driving innovation, Shola Kaye’s sessions deliver tangible results.

With a client roster boasting industry titans like Google, IBM, and American Express, Shola Kaye’s reputation precedes her. Her ability to captivate audiences and drive meaningful change has made her a sought-after speaker for organizations looking to create inclusive, high-performing cultures.

In today’s fast-paced world, where empathy and understanding are more crucial than ever, booking Shola Kaye for your event is a strategic investment in your organization’s success. Let her expertise guide your team towards greater collaboration, innovation, and productivity. Unlock the potential of your workforce with keynote speaker Shola Kaye.

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Keynote by speaker Shola Kaye

Elevating Empathy

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.
Keynote by speaker Shola Kaye

Embracing Psychological Safety & 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.
Keynote by speaker Shola Kaye

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.
Keynote by speaker Shola Kaye

Unlock High Performance by Delivering Effective Feedback

Develop the skills to support and co-create your colleagues’ success.

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.
Watch Shola Kaye in action!

Shola Kaye Speaker Demo Reel

Watch speaker Shola Kaye in action!

Why we need more empathy in the workplace by speaker Shola Kaye at TEDxPeckham

Watch speaker Shola Kaye in action!

Scrum Alliance Amsterdam 2023 Shola Kaye - The Gift of Encouragement

See keynotes with Shola Kaye


It was an absolute pleasure working with Shola at the Women in Engineering and Women in Technology Events that we ran this autumn. Shola is incredibly professional and flexible in her content set. It was evident from the start that her calm personality really put the conference delegates at ease, making them happy to take part in the interactive break out sessions. Her natural story-telling technique and humour kept the audience engaged throughout. Thank you Shola!

Campus Media - BigChoice Group

Shola was professional and friendly. She delivered an engaging speech and got the entire audience interacting with each other which was great.

Francesca Laudat

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

I reached out to Shola, following an introduction from a colleague within our inclusion team. I was looking for a speaking to compliment our agenda for international women’s day which was attended by over 120 female entrepreneurs and internal female corporates. Shola was extremely professional, the feedback we received off the back of her talk was fantastic… the audience were inspired and constantly engaged throughout the session, making this a great way to open our event. I would highly recommend Shola for any organisation that is looking for an inspiring / motivational speaker on communication in the workplace. Shola – thank you once again for your support on the day and bringing such great energy to the event.

Victoria Legg

Business Growth Manager, NatWest

I was lucky enough to participate in two of Shola’s sessions at the Women of Silicon Roundabout conference. Both were amazing - inspirational and educational. What I like most about Shola, and the reason I was so eager to attend her workshop for the second year, is how she provides practical tools and frameworks I can directly apply to my work, and she delivers them with style and grace!

Laura Turner

Client Success Manager, Radient 360 Solutions

An eye-opener for me. I exercise empathy often however, I considered it more of a nice to have. Now I realise the importance of it in our day to day lives.

Achu Mani

Event Manager, Deloitte

Shola is highly intelligent and approachable and was so well received by our Women In the Law audience at Grant Thornton. Shola is so unique in that she has an outstanding education, professional experience in the corporate world, is a writer and also a professional singer, and draws on all of her experience to deliver very inspiring sessions.

Sandra Mossios

Director, Forensic and Investigation Services (Valuations) Grant Thornton UK LLP

I’m happy to share that the feedback we received for your session was extremely positive! Respondents rated it a 4.7 out of 5 stars, and 100% said they would recommend it to a colleague.

Mariana Ortega

L&D Director, Sony Music Entertainment

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 - Project Controls at PSEG

A great company-wide virtual keynote on Empathy in the workplace. It was a fascinating subject, and I think it was the most engagement I have seen with a topic – clearly it gave people food for thought and resonated. Our HR team has already said that they would like to incorporate some of the tools you gave us into the updated manager training programme. Our Diversity & Inclusion sponsor on the board of directors even contacted me to say that he really enjoyed the talk and especially how engaging it was for the audience – which I consider a great success!

Natasha Gibbs

Diversity & Inclusion Council, S-RM Corporate Intelligence

Shola was a joy to work with as the 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 Morrison

Global Marketing Director at Hotwire

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

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 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

How to be a presentation all-rounder using D.I.V.A.

When audiences hear that I’m about to deliver my ‘How to be a presentation D.I.V.A.’ speech, the men sometimes worry that the talk won’t be relevant to them. However, D.I.V.A. is an acronym and represents what it takes to be an all-rounder at presentations so have no fear, this talk is most certainly relevant to all.

Did you know that the word ‘diva’ is derived from ‘divine’?

So, in this blog I’m going to describe what the D.I.V.A. acronym means and give a few examples of how to be a divine speaker the next time you make a presentation at work.

D is for DYNAMIC

Do you need to ramp up the energy when you speak, or at least provide a little light and shade in your delivery? That’s what it means to be a dynamic speaker. No, you don’t have to jump up and down, punching the air like Tony Robbins. There are a variety of ways to be more dynamic on stage without breaking into a sweat. You can do it with your voice, with your words, with your movement, with audience engagement and more.

I like to use examples from the world of pop music to bring things to life for my listeners, so I liken a DYNAMIC performer to someone like Pink. She’s a bit quirky, she does her own thing and she’s not afraid to grab your attention.

One super simple way to become a more DYNAMIC speaker is to use more pauses when you speak. Yes, it seems a basic change, but whenever I ask my audience to practice a short poem or rhyme with additional thoughtful pauses, they’re amazed at the difference it makes to their expression, their meaning and their delivery. Even their diction and emotion changes.


Being an inspiring speaker is all about telling stories. These could be powerful stories that move your audience to take action, as well as small, simple stories about everyday life that show you’re human and help to build a connection.

People remember stories more easily than they do facts and figures, so wrapping your message up in a story is like sugar coating a health-giving pill, or making a controversial or difficult idea much easier to take on board.

Performers like Ed Sheeran are all about stories and during my speech I give the audience two simple but highly effective storytelling frameworks they can use at work.


To be a valuable presenter, do your audience research and make sure your content is suitable, interesting and relevant. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time so make sure any charts or diagrams are clear and easy to read, your slides are impactful and don’t contain a jumble of bullet points and tiny text, and most of all, that your message is useful and actionable.

I think of the valuable entertainers as the all-rounders with big shows that keep everyone happy. Like consummate all-rounders Beyonce or Prince, the valuable presenter makes sure all the boxes are ticked and they put the audience first and foremost.


Authentic speakers are truly themselves on stage. They’ll hopefully be their best self, but they don’t try to copy the words or the motions of anyone else. They know that being themselves is enough. But being yourself doesn’t mean being the same person all the time. As humans, we’re all multi-faceted. We might behave in one way with, another with a partner and yet another way when we’re with a child. It’s important to not limit ourselves and our behaviour so a thorough exploration of our different personas in different situations can reveal a lot. We see the range of expressions and behaviours available to us, and can use them in our public speaking.

I love using David Bowie, who had multiple personas like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, as well as singer Adele, who is much-loved for being down to earth with no artificiality, as two examples of authentic entertainers.


I hope you have a better idea of how to make your next presentation stand out using the D.I.V.A. framework. Becoming a divine presenter is only a few steps away!

How to Actually Increase your Confidence

The internet is filled with blogs on confidence, and I decided to take a look at the subject of how to increase confidence. I noticed how advice on confidence ranges widely. One blog recommended ‘Spritz yourself with perfume/after-shave’ while another advised readers to ‘Stand up straight!’. Over the years I haven’t always felt confident in every situation but, one thing for sure, is that as time has gone by, my self-confidence has increased.

Here are three tips that have served me well and I like to share when I’m speaking or training

1. Screw perfection. It’s unhelpful to hold ourselves to another’s standard (or even to our own standard) of perfection. Achieving a 95% result might be relatively straightforward while that final 5% that leads to perfection could be excruciating. Is it worth it? A good question to ask in these cases is: what does excellence look like, rather than perfection?

2. Hear no, say next. When we’re rejected, it can sting and our confidence can take a knock. But hearing ‘no’ is just a fact of life. And in fact, as many a salesperson would probably tell us, “no’s” are expected on the path to “yes”. So, instead of seeing rejection as something to avoid, we could ask ourselves: how did a rejection or setback serve you? Maybe we saw that by not getting a particular job, or going on a date with the person we had our eye on, something better or preferable eventually came up instead. Audience members are typically happy to share near-misses where in hindsight, things worked out better when they didn’t get what they thought they wanted at the time.

3. You can’t please everyone. Most of us have people in our lives who are very difficult to please. Maybe they have impossibly high standards or very different tastes to our own. Rather than contorting ourselves to make these people happy, and probably make ourselves unhappy in the process, we sometimes have to make a choice – us, or them? And if we decide on us, then we have given the other party the best we can but are at peace understanding that it’s too hard (or impossible) to please them, and we should give up the fight. In certain situations, it can be more empowering to be 100% ourselves and know that person X won’t be happy, than to be 90% ourselves and person X STILL isn’t entirely happy. In these situations, we can ask ourselves: what would being yourself look and feel like?

The key to being confident is having a good level of self-knowledge and self-reliance. Enjoying who we are or, at least, having a very healthy dose of self-acceptance comes into play too.

So rather than confidence being a simple matter of standing up straight or spritzing ourselves with perfume/after-shave, as those blog posts suggested, maybe what’s more important is enjoying the perfume/after-shave not because others will think we smell good but revelling in the choice we made to buy that particular scent in the first place.


Interview with Shola Kaye

How did you begin your speaking career?

I’d been working as a professional singer for a number of years when I read one of High Performance Coach Brendon Burchard’s books about sharing your message. In one chapter he described the life of a public speaker, and what it felt like to inspire an audience and transform people’s lives. That chapter made me feel incredibly emotional and I took it as a sign that public speaking was for me.

A while later, I signed up for some speaker training and as soon as it began, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to speak professionally and within a year and a half of that day I secured my first professional speaking opportunity.

What are your biggest goals in your life/career currently?

One of my current goals is to complete my second book, called ‘Speak Up On The Spot’. I need to make a few more corrections before I send it off to be edited. I’d wanted to complete it last year but life gets in the way! The book contains strategies for communicating with more power using frameworks, dealing with difficult questions and being heard during meetings.

As an introvert who once had a corporate career, it’s a book I would have benefited from hugely during my days as as a consultant and an account director and I’m hoping that many who struggle with communication in the workplace will find it useful.

What are 3 habits for success?

I actually have a speech about this! I would say that three habits that have served me well are

  • To think as an experimenter rather than an expert. We can get really attached to being right which leads us to take fewer risks and to be less innovative, so I think it’s important to realise we don’t have all the answers.
  • To delegate certain tasks so I can focus on my areas of strength. I have a mechanic type personality profile which means I like to try things out and get involved in everything. But sometimes that’s not the most efficient or effective behaviour.
  • To realise that done is better than perfect. Roll up your sleeves, get on with it and don’t procrastinate!

Who or what inspires you most?

I’m inspired by people who make the tough decision to speak out and stand up for the greater good, even when it’s easier to hide away or stay quiet.

Why do clients typically hire you to speak?

I tend to combine communications skills training, storytelling and (sometimes) a bit of singing in my speeches, as well as lots of interactivity and audience engagement. Clients typically want me to wake the audience up, make them smile and transform they way they communicate, whether during workplace meetings, tough situations or more conventional public speaking scenarios.

Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?

I recently gave the closing keynote at an event here in London and afterwards, several attendees approached me and said that they were inspired to speak up and be more visible at work as a result of my speech. I inject a bit of humour and lighthearted fun into every talk but ultimately, it’s a huge honour to be able to influence people’s lives and it’s one I take very seriously.  

See keynotes with Shola Kaye
Non-binding request for Shola Kaye

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

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Shola Kaye
Shola Kaye

5 out of 5 stars

Shola was professional and friendly. She delivered an engaging speech and got the entire audience interacting with each other which was great.

Francesca Laudat - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles See all references

Keynote topics with Shola Kaye