Speaking to the World
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Chris Bashinelli, better known as “Bash”, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to Lebanese and Italian-American parents. After a decade-long acting career including an appearance on the HBO hit television show, The Sopranos, Bash decided to follow his real passion - using media to build bridges between cultures. He now traverses the globe from Uganda to Haiti as Host of Bridge the Gap, a television series featured on PBS and the National Geographic Channel, where he experience’s life in someone else’s shoes. Read More >
A celebrated Diversity and Inclusion speaker, Bash has traveled the world for more than a decade sharing a message of empathy and understanding everywhere from Fortune 500 Companies, to inside prison walls, to the United Nations General Assembly Hall. His world view was shaped on his childhood “Stoop” where his friends shared a combined total of thirteen nationalities. He has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, the UN Secretary General and his mentor – Dr. Jane Goodall.
After studying Anthropology in East Africa at 20 years old, Chris Bashinelli returned home to discover his father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The death of his father sent him on an international quest to better understand the human condition and the universal qualities that lead to a happy, meaningful life. Bash has lived with nomads in Mongolia, worked with suicide prevention activists in Pine Ridge and Sumo wrestled the heaviest Japanese human being in recorded history. Through one of kind stories of adventure and authentic moments of human connection, Bash truly bridges the gap between self and other, helping us recognize our shared humanity.
Bash has spoken around the world - from TEDx, to Abu Dhabi, to Azerbaijan, at multi-million dollar corporations and Ivy League Universities. At 24 years old he became one of the youngest moderators in the history of the United Nations. Bash is a National Geographic Explorer, a UN Moderator, an Eagle Scout and has interviewed some of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People on the Planet.
The idea for Bridge the Gap spawned in 2007. It was the dawn of the era of the mindless reality television program – the kind that serves to divide human beings against one another. It was also an era of incredible television programs like Planet Earth (BBC) that captured the beauty of our natural world. Chris saught to create a television series that would capture the beauty of humanity – he traveled to Tanzania to experience life in another culture firsthand and Bridge the Gap was born. Inspired by the people he met in East Africa, Chris returned to the USA with one mission- to use media to bridge the immense inner and outer gaps between people and cultures. What began as a travel series that aimed to “help people”, transformed into a show that aimed to better understand the human condition.
“From Haiti to the Pine Ridge Reservation, I have met countless individuals living in incredibly difficult external conditions who are often more content and inspired than people I know in far “better off” conditions. The common thread many of these individuals share is their concern for others, often even above their own welfare. Through these experiences I am reminded that happiness is a state of mind, not a state of the external world. Perhaps by walking in other people’s shoes and gaining a glimpse into their experience, we can tap into a deeper wisdom that will inspire each of us to live more conscious lives and reach our full potential.”
– Chris Bashinelli Read Less ^
Mental Wellness Tips
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Finding Your In
Employee burn out, stress and mental health challenges are at an all time high. “The Big Quit”, staff shortages and uncertainty about our future all fuel our state of anxiety and fear. How do we stay motivated when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring? How can we strengthen employee faith in leadership? How can when we lead our teams to success when we ourselves are overwhelmed? In this international keynote experience, Bash redefines “challenge” as an invitation to become our best selves and to better serve our organization. Read More >
Creating a “People-First” culture means everything we do is driven by a desire to better serve our clients and to better serve one another. From this place, every challenge is an opportunity to grow stronger, to learn more about ourselves and to commit to our mission with greater resolve than we ever have before. Empathy is the key to transforming challenge into opportunity, overwhelm into inspiration and fear into courage. Colored by stories of resilience and perseverance everywhere from the hillsides of Western Hunan to the grasslands of Mongolia, Bash reminds us that when we put “People-First” there truly is no challenge too difficult to be transformed. Attendees will be reminded of the power inherent in a team that leads with empathy – for each other, for our clients and for our world. Read Less ^
There are few things more powerful than the strength of human connection. Building Powerful Teams means encouraging each member of our organization to bring their best, most inspired and most authentic selves to work each and every day. Only when each team member feels seen, valued and appreciated for who they are, can we tap into the true strength of our organization. Bash has forged lifelong friendships in a matter of moments with nomads in Mongolia, Lakota activists in Pine Ridge and farmers from remote villages in China – How? By realizing that it is only when we have the courage to be real, to be vulnerable and to have empathy that we create a “safe space” for honest communication. Read More >
Bash simplifies “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” to it’s essence – empathy and respect. We must create a work environment that fosters respect for all, inclusive of race, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation and even different points of view. When we do, we empower real innovation to occur – by leveraging the strength of our individual life experiences and our shared core values. We can’t afford not to be inclusive. If we all think and act the same, we will get the same result. In Bash’s one of a kind, relatable style, attendees will be shown how to break down barriers, build true connection and tap into the power of their teams. Read Less ^
“Zoom fatigue”, increased hours and the dissolution between home and work have left so many of us feeling completely burnt out. How can we perform at our best when we are not feeling our best? It’s impossible. Serving our organization and our mission begins with taking care of ourselves, and that begins with how we choose to see the world . When we push ourselves beyond healthy limits, we are of very little use to our organization in the long term, and our well-being suffers greatly. Each mental health challenge we face is an opportunity to create healthier mental habits and boundaries, so that we can reduce burnout and increase productivity. Read More >
Pulling from more than a decade of in-depth Mindfulness practice and firsthand experience in productivity as the Creator and Host of Bridge the Gap, Bash offers practical solutions to the mental health challenges of our time – one that doesn’t require us to get on a plane. Attendees will be guided through simple, yet powerful exercises they can bring back to the office today, so that we can reduce burnout and increase inspiration. Creating healthy boundaries allows us to do more, in less time, deepening our focus and expanding our capacity for joy. In this interactive keynote we’ll explore how gratitude practice rewires our brain for happiness, how meditation reduces stress, and how work-life boundaries empower us to be more present at home and more productive in the office. Happiness doesn’t come from success – success comes from happiness – and that begins with a healthy mindset. When we are feeling our best, we have our best selves to give. Read Less ^
There is so much outside of our control – government regulations, company layoffs, budget cutbacks. As long as we focus on what is outside our control we are guaranteed to feel anxious, disempowered and stressed – and our work will suffer. After studying anthropology in East Africa at 20 years old, Bash returned home to discover his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In this moment his life mission changed – from wanting to change the world – to wanting to change himself. The moment we take responsibility for what is in our control, we are empowered to act to change circumstances for the better. This talk explores what it means to become a “Global Citizen”, a productive, connected and inspired member of our organization and our world. Read More >
In this talk Bash guides attendees on an international journey that shows how when we change our minds, we truly do change our world. From this perspective, challenge gives rise to strength and suffering to empathy. From the story of a remote Chinese village that multiplied it’s income by tenfold after a devastating fire, to a young man in Tanzania who overcame unthinkable odds to become a celebrated cinematographer, to our own experience of tragedy and triumph – we learn in practical terms how shifting our perspective has the power to shift our experience for the better. Becoming a “Global Citizen” has nothing to do with traveling the world and everything to do with understanding we each have a critical role to play – when we flourish individually, we empower our organization to flourish as a whole. Read Less ^
"Chris Bashinelli has got to be one of the best speakers we’ve ever had on our stage. His energy and inspiration to help people become global citizens and understand what that means, was absolutely phenomenal. Thank-you, Chris!”
"Chris made us laugh. He made us cry. He nailed it! He knew our company better than any other public speaker we’ve ever hired. Of our 2,000 people that attended today, no less than a dozen come up in tears and say the message they heard in terms of connection, the message they heard in terms of empathy and caring, is a message that will resonate with them for the rest of this show and probably for the rest of their lives. He was one of the best, if not the best, public speakers I’ve seen on circuit in my 25-year history in this industry."
"Thought-provoking, Engaging, Inspiring are the words I would use to describe Chris Bashinelli. With people in the audience from around the globe, I was initially concerned if Chris’s message would resonate with our diverse team. I soon realized my concerns were unfounded. Chris has the ability to inspire and enlighten across cultural boundaries. His talk touched all of the participants. As employees of a multi-national company, Chris’s comments about our responsibilities as Global Citizens hit home. His message about finding the opportunities to communicate and share are relevant to business as well as personal life. Chris left the team inspired to do more and be more."
"What I love most about Chris is that he treats everyone exactly the same- be it the United Nations Secretary General or the hotel concierge. He does not distinguish between rich people, poor people, famous people, and everyday people. For Chris, everyone is equal. He has a great deal of respect for the ‘human being’ and this is a rare quality. Chris embodies what we say in Germany, ‘Wir sind alle gleich’, which means, ‘We are all the same.’"
"Chris Bashinelli is a delightful, dynamic surprise to be found on the speaker circuit. Raw, open, authentic and inspiring. Unlike many presenters, he truly did the prep work required to deliver a customized and personalized presentation. His message resonated with a diverse, multigenerational mix of attendees. He engaged the audience from start to finish with his brief, high energy kickoff to our global conference. Chris rocked the stage! He is such an authentic person and it truly resonated with our audience."
"Chris inspires and is inspired in equal measure. Anyone looking for motivation to make a positive change in their lives or realize their full potential should listen to Chris's moving and powerful life story. His vibrant energy reminds us, as entrepreneurs, of the importance of always believing and never giving up, especially when our backs are against the wall. Very few people deliver on this message as Chris did."
"Chris Bashinelli is an inspiration to youth worldwide. He speaks with passion and his message is one of hope, cultural tolerance, and call to action. He knows how to reach young and old alike. Bridge the Gap shares exciting and inspirational stories of daily life from the developing world and encourages us to realize that at the end of the day, we really are all the same and every single one of us makes a difference. We need more people like Chris in the world."
"Chris Bashinelli brings creativity and talent to the cause of intercultural dialogue, which he embraces with enthusiasm. In May 2010, at short notice, he staged for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations the awards ceremony of the Marketplace of Ideas, which recognizes the most innovative civil society initiatives for intercultural dialogue and cooperation. In front of several thousand participants of the Rio de Janeiro Global Forum of the Alliance, he wrapped the award winners and the prize itself with warmth and a justified sense of big, though unconventional, achievement. One year later, he did much of the same with the Alliance in Baku (Azerbaijan). A social innovator himself, through the Bridge the Gap project, he is a powerful advocate of living together in diversity."
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