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Shola Kaye speaker

Shola Kaye

Helping you create a PEOPLE-FIRST CULTURE, Author & award-winning global keynoter

Shola Kaye is the author of two books and an award-winning international speaker on Communication, Inclusive Leadership and Empathy at Work. She’s passionate about helping organisations create a People-First Culture. When a workplace is fully inclusive and welcoming, amazing things happen. People are transformed into leaders. Teams and groups perform better. Everyone gains. Shola’s work has appeared in a variety of industry journals, she’s a LinkedIn Learning instructor, and her clients include The United Nations and Deloitte.

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Shola Kaye's videos

What Shola Kaye's clients say

Here is some of the feedback from audiences and clients who have worked with Shola.
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Languages: 

  • English
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Shola Kaye's 2024 biography

Meet Shola Kaye

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.

Shola Kaye's 2024 talks & topics

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

Delivering effective feedback with emotional intelligence

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

Delivering effective feedback is a valuable life skill. Feedback can be empowering, inspiring and can drive an individual, and their team, towards fantastic success.

However, if 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.

Learning objectives:

  • Discover the four elements required to create psychological safety so that your feedback is well-received
  • Gain insights from powerful personal stories and statistics on how feedback affects motivation and performance
  • Explore the repercussions of poor feedback styles such as The Drive-by, The Comparison, The Public Humiliation, and The Wrecking Ball
  • Take away an effective strategy for delivering feedback as an individual contributor

After this session, you’ll feel renewed energy and enthusiasm for giving and receiving feedback. You’ll have a deeper insight into the role your personality plays when delivering feedback and will be able to take steps to optimise your performance. You’ll learn some effective frameworks for sharing feedback in a way that gets results.

Inclusive Leadership: Develop cultural awareness, create psychological safety and unleash the potential of your global, remote teams

Inclusive leadership is essential for success in today’s complex, dispersed and diverse workplaces. Inclusive leaders create a sense of belonging for all employees, regardless of their background, location or identity. This leads to increased engagement, happiness, and productivity. If you want your organization to succeed, you need to equip your leaders, and their teams, with the skills and knowledge to communicate inclusively.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the need for inclusive leadership, the six key traits of inclusive leaders, and how to translate those traits into essential behaviours
  • Learn to develop a psychologically safe environment that supports innovation and creativity
  • Develop cultural awareness and use language that is respectful and inclusive
  • Recognise the power of inclusion nudges for remote and in-person teams, and learn some simple but effective strategies for running inclusive meetings

After this session you’ll feel better able to support your remote, diverse, cross-cultural teams, creating an environment of understanding, innovation and high performance.

Human skills for the future-ready workplace

This keynote explores how emotional intelligence skills – in particular, empathy and self-awareness – can create a successful, high-performing workplace culture. Enlightened leaders focus on the whole person
rather than on task accomplishment. Through understanding, emotional intelligence, and other ‘power’ skills, we can create environments of belonging, innovation, and productivity. This is an interactive keynote with opportunities for reflection and stories to help land the learning.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the benefits of an emotionally intelligent approach to overcoming differences and creating cohesion
  • Recognise the value of self-awareness and self-regulation in the workplace
  • Create a link between empathy, feedback and performance
  • Gain insight into the generative power of encouragement and effective communication

This session helps your emerging and established leaders understand why it’s so important to recognise the whole person and develop stronger bonds with their teams. They’ll walk away with the practical relationship tools and transformational insights that facilitate success in workplaces of increasing complexity and technological advancement. Keynote may be additionally customised by mapping your corporate values onto the discussed skills and behaviours.

Elevating empathy: The power of effective listening

Walk away with the tools and the inspiration to become a more respectful and understanding leader, manager, or individual contributor. During this highly beneficial keynote, you’ll explore the vital components of empathy, how to be a better listener and how to develop compassion. Deepen your relationships and provide support for colleagues, friends and family.

Learning objectives:

  • Explore data points that emphasise the importance of empathy and perspective-taking for workplace success
  • Participate in powerful self-reflection exercises to learn more about your style of listening and your listening strengths and weaknesses
  • Find out how empathy and listening support diversity, inclusion, engagement, retention and innovation in the workplace
  • Explore the themes of curiosity, courage and being a catalyst for change

This session will help create an environment of understanding, lower resistance to change, and will prepare your employees for further interventions in the areas of D.E.I., Wellbeing, Emotional Intelligence, Kindness, Leadership Effectiveness and Respect in the workplace. Participants will take away frameworks and tools for approaching others with compassion, and communicating across differences

LEADERSHIP: Harnessing the power of Empathy

To improve inclusion, productivity and engagement

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 inspiring keynote speech will provide you with practical and effective strategies for becoming an inclusive leader. It can be modified for senior leaders, management, and whole-company keynotes. You’ll walk away with the tools and the inspiration to become a more compassionate and effective leader, manager, or individual contributor.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: Create a workplace of respect and belonging

Develop your listening, courage, and compassion to build an environment of trust and inclusivity

Bring our whole selves to work? How is that possible when we may not be accepted and valued by our colleagues?

This inspiring keynote speech shares stories, tools, and interactive exercises to help you see the value of ensuring everyone feels they belong. 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.

LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATION: Delivering effective feedback with empathy

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?

This interactive, high energy keynote contains insightful stories, impactful data, and valuable tools you can use again and again.

COMMUNICATION: Powerful under pressure

Communicate with impact and influence during meetings, Q&A sessions, interviews, and other high-stakes situations

Do you thrive under pressure, communicating with poise and power, or do you crumple into a stumbling wreck?

This practical, inspiring, and essential keynote will help you develop strategies to excel under fire during tough meetings and conversations. You’ll learn frameworks and strategies that will help you stay cool and collected, inspiring trust and respect in those around you. Whether dealing with a difficult customer, handling a question that could trip you up, or putting your best foot forward during an interview situation, these techniques will help you come out on top.

COMMUNICATION: Expressing your personal brand at work as a woman or minority

Articulate your value, develop your brand story, and shine!

For women and minorities, speaking up in the ‘wrong’ way can lead to the perception that we’re angry or have a chip on our shoulders. This can hamper progress at work, keeping us from reaching our full potentials. In addition, we may be reluctant to share our stories of overcoming challenges out of fear of being seen as too pushy or boastful.

So, how do we communicate our worth in the workplace? How do we convey the important work we do and achieve the recognition we deserve?

This speech shares valuable tools and mindset shifts to help you move ahead with confidence, shoring up your foundations with the understanding that you’re putting your best foot forward and presenting yourself as a person of influence and value.

Break the Bias with Powerful Communication: Practical Skills for Challenging Bias

In this session, we’ll look at strategies to fight gender bias.

You’ll walk away with practical tools and communication frameworks to make a difference.

What this session covers:

  • Common examples of gender bias and the damage they cause
  • Strategies for breaking bias
  • Calling out vs calling in – and how to decide which is appropriate, given your situation
  • Common gender-related microaggressions and strategies for responding to aggressors
  • Bystander interventions for male allies and anyone who wants to help fight gender bias
  • Recognising and understanding intersectionality: the overlapping of gender bias with other types of discriminatory behaviour

Session duration and format:  40-60 minute virtual keynote OR 60-90 minute virtual workshop with breakouts

CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE: The D.I.V.A. way

For IWD 2021, Shola Kaye shared how we can all be D.I.V.A.S. in the workplace, elevating our voices, increasing visibility, and creating opportunities for permanent change.

Challenging the status quo can be tough, and when we’re under pressure at work, instead of speaking up it can sometimes seem easier to take a back seat.

This celebratory, interactive keynote, with live demonstrations, chat and real-time Q&A,  is designed to support you in being seen, heard and valued. You’ll leave with practical communication tools to help you become more:

*DYNAMIC – Stop being a wallflower and instead, receive the attention you deserve during meetings and high stakes conversations
*INSPIRING – Develop a powerful brand story and use your career challenges to motivate and mobilise others
*VALUABLE – Share your opinion with clarity and precision using a simple but effective communication tool
*AUTHENTIC – Determine your communication values and develop an unshakeable foundation for speaking up
*SUPPORTIVE – Pick up strategies to amplify the voices of your colleagues and peers

Everyone can learn from this talk, not just women. We can all be D.I.V.A.S.

Shola Kaye's 2024 speaking fees

Shola travels from:
  • United Kingdom

Specific fees fall within the ranges shown. These are presented as a guide only and are subject to change without notice.

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