Shola Kaye

Communication Specialist
Shola Kaye
  • Empathy & inclusion speaker, communication specialist, author, and award-winning speaker
  • Speaks on how to create a more inclusive environment for introverts with SAY IT!
  • Former international professional singer who has appeared on the BBC & her work has been mentioned in Forbes and Harper’s Bazaar

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Shola Kaye MSc FRSA DTM​ is a communication specialist, award-winning international speaker and author of two books. She speaks on Empathy in the workplace, Inclusion, Leadership and Communication.

She spent the first part of her career in IT consultancy in the U.S.A., consulting at household name investment banks, and in the U.K for global clients in aviation and finance. Her struggles to communicate and gain visibility in the workplace - as a black woman and an introvert - led her to develop an interest in learning to create inclusive workplaces with open, supportive communication. Shola eventually left the corporate world for a while and built a career for herself as a professional singer, appearing on stages around the world.

Shola has a unique interactive delivery style that combines the energy and engagement of a performer with the insights and actionable tools and models of a scientist or technical expert; Shola spent time as a scientific researcher at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Today she blends her STEM and entertainment background to share clear, effective communication frameworks that help people work better together. These are delivered in a high impact style. The word most frequently used to describe Shola’s work is ‘engaging’. Clients often comment that her interactivity, and encouragement of the audience to transform during her presentation, makes her a stand-out speaker who gets results and delivers work that will be remembered long after the event is over.

Her keynote and masterclass topics include communication for diversity and inclusion, leadership, workplace communication, and workplace empathy. She also speaks about how to create a more inclusive environment for introverts, especially within the technical/data/STEM/healthcare work space.

Shola has been featured in Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar and on the BBC. Her work has been mentioned in Forbes and she regularly writes for industry publications such as HR Zone, Management Today and People Management.

In her role as a communication specialist, Shola hosts a popular podcast, and has created a top 10 rated weekly video blog. Shola’s first book was an number one bestseller and her second book, ‘Big Talk, Small Talk’ was published in November 2020. Shola is a LinkedIn Learning Instructor and has tens of thousands of students around the world who have enjoyed her programmes.

In 2016 Shola won the Jenny Seagrove Speaking award. She has also presented a TEDx speech on Empathy in the Workplace. Her speeches and programmes are in demand and she is frequently rebooked or tasked with running the same programme at multiple client locations. Shola provides keynotes, masterclasses and consulting.

Shola’s specialist areas:

  1. Communication, DEI, Leadership and Workplace Culture
  2. Keynote speaker
  3. Author and moderator

Shola has a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, and went on to obtain a Postgraduate teaching qualification from Oxford University before relocating to the USA to study neuroscience at Emory University, with research at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. She’s a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and is also a Distinguished Toastmaster - the highest honour awarded by Toastmasters International.

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Shola Kaye Virtual Demo Reel

Shola Kaye Speaker Demo Reel

Why we need more empathy in the workplace | Shola Kaye | TEDxPeckham

Shola Kaye - At Women in Data 2019 - Speak up on the spot

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.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the different types of empathy and their impacts on your well-being
  • Find out how empathy impacts diversity, inclusion, engagement, innovation, and happiness
  • Walk away with a simple three-step framework for being empathetic in nearly every situation
  • Optional downloads help you keep the momentum up, providing reminders and prompts to take action

Virtual session? We’ll use chat and other forms of interactivity to encourage engagement.

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.

Learning objectives:

  • Develop your listening skills so those around you feel supported and encouraged
  • Build on your bravery and understand why impact matters more than intention
  • Recognise the damage done by microaggressions, and how to address them
  • Become a catalyst for the growth of your colleagues Keynote or workshop

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.

Learning objectives:

  • 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

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.

Learning objectives:

  • Learn to express your opinions with a clarity that stops interruptions in their tracks
  • Deliver bad news with poise using this simple technique
  • Quickly analyse various types of difficult questions and assess the best ways to respond
  • Share your ideas persuasively, encouraging others to take action

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.

Learning objectives:

  • Use your personal and work values to ensure you’re communicating your best self
  • Tell your brand story in a way that’s powerful, valuable, and inspiring
  • Understand the impact you have on others and develop the gravitas you need to be taken seriously
  • Learn to read the personalities of your colleagues and increase your powers of persuasion




EMBRACE EQUITY: The Power of Empathetic Communication

The theme of IWD 2023 is all about supporting gender equity. The progress of women and marginalised groups has been hit hard by the pandemic and other economic and political factors. Now, more than ever, we must take steps to redress imbalances and get on the path to creating a just environment for all. The goal: to show up at work (and in the world) as our best selves, and be treated with respect, fairness, compassion and consideration, regardless of our gender and other identity markers.

Each workplace is unique with its own set of challenges so in this keynote Shola will focus on giving participants the inspiration and tools to rally stakeholders and be catalysts for change.

The keynote will begin by exploring some of the reasons why gender equity is urgently needed in today’s workplaces. We’ll then look at the power of empathy and the impact of creating an empathetic environment. We then explore communication strategies for challenging the status quo so that your attendees walk away with concrete tools for advancing change.

Learning objectives:

  • Where are we now? Exploring some priority areas for workplace equity
  • The value of empathy and compassion
  • The importance of taking an intersectional approach - advancing together, not apart
  • Bias-breaking questions to ask whenever we make decisions are made that affect others
  • How to speak up, be heard and challenge others respectfully
  • Empathetic questioning: techniques for calling out and calling in when you see inequities and bias in action
  • How to ask for what you want - it starts with us!

This is a dynamic keynote which incorporates plenty of opportunities for audience interaction as well as moments to reflect.

BREAK THE BIAS: Practical and empowering communication strategies to fight bias

You’ll walk away with practical tools and communication frameworks to make a difference when working with colleagues, customers, clients and suppliers. It can often feel challenging to speak up and do the right thing when we witness biased behaviour. In this session we explore the foundations of bias, and we’ll look at bias in action such as microaggressions, as well as ways to challenge others and be heard, whatever our personality type and communication style.

Learning objectives:

  • Common examples of 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 examples of microaggressions and strategies for responding to aggressors
  • Bystander interventions for allies and anyone who wants to help fight bias
  • Recognising and understanding intersectionality: the overlapping of different biases and discriminatory behaviours


This year for IWD, Shola Kaye will share how we can all be D.I.V.A.S. in the workplace, elevating our voices, being more visible 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 seem easier to take a back seat.

Learning objectives:

This 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 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!


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