People-Focused Leader | Founder, Campfire Kinship
Gayathri Shukla is a dynamic, thought-provoking speaker who inspires individuals to rise to their personal and collective potential. She is the Founder of a social enterprise, Campfire Kinship, where she masterfully harnesses the power of storytelling to help diverse teams discover their unique strengths while building inclusive cultures.
Gayathri is known for her keen ability to see issues from different perspectives and unearth creative solutions for business leaders and professionals. Having lived in 3 countries by the age of 15, and travelling extensively to many others, Gayathri Shukla has developed a deeply personal sense of global citizenship and interconnectedness. A Professional Engineer with over 17 years of experience in the energy sector, Gayathri started her career in Fort McMurray, Alberta. As one of the few Indo-Canadian women working in an industrial environment, she honed the practice of navigating diversity early on. She stood out not only for her exceptional technical contributions but also for re-inventing her skills multiple times throughout her career. After building hands-on experience in her technology discipline, Gayathri Shukla pivoted into project management and led the schedule integration efforts for Fort Hills, a $17B greenfield oil sands facility. The safe and timely start-up of this facility was seen as an industry first.
Gayathri also obtained an Executive MBA program at Queen’s University, while simultaneously balancing her duties as a full-time employee and a parent of young kids. In her MBA project, Gayathri Shukla focused on how to unleash innovation by tapping into the wisdom of stakeholders’ lived experiences and stories. This work was recognized at executive levels and informed the creation of a new transformation department. As a result, she spearheaded digital strategy and innovation programs within this department for the Mining workforce.
Gayathri most recently served currently a Fellow for Financial and Economic Inclusion at the Public Policy Forum where she designed a storytelling process for youth in Canada to share their experiences related to financial and economic inclusion, to support the development of policy solutions. She also hosts a podcast on radio station CJSW 90.9 called Hearth 2 Heart. She was awarded two grants in 2021, one for a video storytelling project called Unlikely Friends to build empathy amongst differences, and the second for the publication of a bestselling book, Landed, Transformative Stories of Canadian Immigrant Women. This project was nominated twice for the Calgary Awards (Community Award in 2022 and Arts Award in 2023), and the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee medal which Gayathri received in 2023.
Leveraging the power of stories, this keynote is an inspiring message on building a culture of belonging through inclusive leadership.
Successful leaders understand that in today’s increasingly diverse workplaces, a culture of trust is necessary for companies to thrive. The need to be seen, heard and valued is universal. Learning how to communicate authentically, understand, and listen to employees is thus a critical leadership capability. Ultimately, it shapes a sense of belonging in which all levels of the org chart are empowered to make meaningful contributions.
Target audience: Anybody who is part of a diverse team, with or without a formal leadership title.
In a world of constant distractions, cutting through the noise to deliver a relevant and persuasive message can be a challenge for many. Individuals can often get stuck in the self-doubt of “I don’t have anything worthy to say,” or “I don’t want to rock the boat.” In this keynote, Gayathri demonstrates storytelling in action by drawing from her own stories, while offering tangible tips to help you distill your authentic stories. She offers a unique perspective on how you can harness the timeless art of storytelling to connect hearts and minds and bolster your communication skills.
Target audience: Anyone looking to share a message with impact, authenticity, and creativity.
This keynote supports an organization’s EDI transformation goals by inspiring teams to move from awareness to action.
It is no secret that change is difficult, yet employees at every level are having to build up their capacity for change. In this keynote, Gayathri shares examples of common pitfalls that impede the adoption of EDI approaches for employees. She will share tangible methods employees can implement immediately from the “inside-out” – a learning mindset, and practices rooted in empathy to build their resilience. Based on the proven application of human-centered design, this keynote enables employees to reflect on how they can connect the dots between their core values and that of their organization.
Target audience: Anybody who is on a journey of personal or organizational change in their EDI goals.