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Michele  Borba

Michele Borba

Best-Selling Author of UnSelfie, Parenting & Child Expert, Educational Psychologist


Michele Borba, Ed.D. is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, and parenting child expert recognized for her solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s and social-emotional intelligence and character and reduce peer cruelty. A sought-after motivational speaker, she has spoken on 19 countries in five continents, and served as a consultant to hundreds of schools and corporations. Clients include Sesame Street, Harvard, U.S. Air Force Academy, 18 US Army bases in Europe and the Asian-Pacific, H.H. the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and a TEDx Talk: “Empathy Is a Verb.” She offers realistic, research-based advice culled from a career working with over one million parents and educators worldwide.  Read More >

Dr. Borba is an NBC contributor who has appeared 150 times on the TODAY show and countless shows including: three Dateline specials, Dr. Phil, The View, NBC Nightly News, The Doctors, Dr. Oz, Anderson Cooper, 3 NBC Education Nation specials, Fox, and CNN. Her work is featured in TIME, Washington Post, Newsweek, People, Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, the New York Times, Reader’s Digest and The Globe and Mail. She’s a media spokesperson for major corporations including 3M, Office Depot, Unilever, Similac, General Mills, Mastercard, All, Galderma, V-Tech, Cetaphil, Splenda, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson and consultant to McDonalds and Disney. 

She is the award-winning author of 25 books translated into 19 languages, including her new book Thrivers, as well as Nobody Likes Me, No More Misbehavin’, Don’t Give Me that Attitude!, Building Moral Intelligence, Parents Do Make A Difference, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, End Peer Cruelty, Build Empathy, and UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

Her awards and recognitions include being a 2016 SHORTY nominee for “Best Social Media Influencer in Parenting,” the National Educator Award (presented by the National Council of Self-Esteem) and the National Child Safety Award of 2016 by Child Safety Network. She was named a consultant for the Character Education and Civic Engagement for the U.S. Dept of Education, Disney Influencer, and Goodwill Ambassador for M.I.T.’s One Laptop per Child project. Board memberships include Parents, Child Safety Network and Boys & Girls Club of America. Her proposal: “Ending School Violence and Bullying” (SB1667) was signed into California law in 2002.

Dr. Borba is a former classroom and special education teacher with a wide range of teaching experience, including work in a private practice with children with learning and emotional disabilities. She received a Doctorate in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of San Francisco, an M.A. in Learning Disabilities and B.A. from the University of Santa Clara, and Life Teaching Credential from San Jose State University. She lives in Palm Springs, California with her husband and has three grown sons. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDx: Empathy is a Verb

Unselfie: Why Emphathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

Virtual Keynote: How to Help the Pandemic Generation Thrive Both Now & Later

Tips for Raising Your Child To Be More Successful

You Are a Difference Maker

6Rs to Prevent Bullying

12 Keys to School Safety

Simple Ways to Boost Children's Character

How to Activate Kids' Empathy

Speech Topics

Why Empathy Is Crucial for the Pandemic Generation

Empathy is often sidelined as a “soft skill.” Dr. Borba offers hard evidence that it must become an educational and societal priority and crucial for helping students who have just faced a pandemic and dealt with social distancing, loneliness, anxiety and racial injustice. You’ll learn why empathy is one of the most important skills that 21st century learners will need to thrive in an uncertain world and simple but powerful empathy-building practices you can weave into existing lessons-whether digital or in-person. Best yet, every idea can be woven into your existing content. Examples tailored to parents or teachers (or both).

4 [No-cost, proven) Cs That Heal Trauma & Build Students’ Resilience & Empathy in Uncertain Times

Dr. Borba shares evidence-based, no cost ways to offers mental health support and tools students need most to reduce stress and build resilience during unprecedented times. She offers 4C’s Care, Connect, Cope and Cultivate Hope to reach kids-whether learning is digital or in person) during these challenging times. The 4 Cs also boost resilience, increase focusing, improve learning and reduce stress. You’ll leave with practical, everyday tools they need to thrive both now and later. Examples tailored to parents or teachers (or both).

Thrivers: What Really Helps Kids Find Happiness Today & Success Tomorrow (Keynote)

Michele Borba has been a teacher, educational consultant, and parent for 40 years. She empowers all of us by providing skills that allow us to support the current generation of kids. The bestselling author of UnSelfie explains why the old markers of accomplishment are no longer reliable predictors of success in the 21st century -- and offers proven traits that will safeguard our kids for what lies ahead. The high-achieving students she talks with every day are more accomplished, better educated, and more privileged than ever before.  But many are also more stressed, unhappier, and struggling with anxiety, depression, and burnout at younger and younger ages.  Thrivers are different: they flourish in our fast-paced, digital-driven, often uncertain world. Why? Dr. Borba found the difference between those who struggle and those who succeed comes down to the personal traits that set Thrivers apart and set them up for happiness as well as greater potential later in life. In her newest book and in her speeches, Dr. Borba offers practical, actionable ways to develop these Thrivers traits from preschool through high school and show how to teach kids how to cope today so they can thrive tomorrow.

Thrivers: 7 Teachable Traits to Ensure Students’ Happiness AND Lifelong Success (For Educators)

This session (one hour to a full day) focuses on seven traits students need to be mentally strong and more successful in school and life. Data shows that today’s youth are the loneliest, most stressed, and risk averse on record. Though well-educated, they are failing to launch in real life. New research says seven traits are key in helping kids thrive. Dr Borba shares details about each necessary trait from perseverance to curiosity and will explain how all seven traits combine to ensure happiness and success in life. All traits are teachable, do not require another program or investment. You’ll not only learn about research showing why each trait is critical for academic success and personal success, but also how these traits help to improve mental health and resilience. Michele will provide dozens of practical ways to weave those lessons into existing content so all kids thrive.

Raising Thrivers: Parenting Tips & Tools to Help Kids Thrive in An Anxious, Uncertain World (For Community)

Our kids are the smartest on record, but also the loneliest, most stressed, risk averse, and depressed. It’s why we must rethink our parenting so they can thrive in an anxious, uncertain world. The good news is that thrivers are made, not born. In this thought-provoking session, you’ll learn seven traits that science says matter most in happiness and success (even more than IQ and grades) and help kids thrive both now and later. You’ll learn how to help your child cope with everyday frustrations as well as bigger challenges, solve problems and develop resourcefulness, bounce-back from failure, develop an optimistic spirit, and recognize their unique passion to increase authentic confidence. This session offers hands-on tools to raise successful, self-reliant, and less-pressured kids who thrive in school and life.

How to Help the Pandemic Generation Thrive Now & Later (For Educators and Parents)

These are unprecedented times but how do we help our students? Dr. Borba explains why empathy and resilience are core when educators and parents are considering how to help their children before and after school. You’ll learn real, no cost, evidence-based ways to help children overcome adversity, be more resilient and learn skills they will need both now and later. You’ll hear a range of support options from how to: rebuild personal connection after experiencing disconnection, teach coping strategies, minimize anxiety and stretch focusing, and so much more! Most important, you’ll leave with strategies to improve school performance as well as help kids become thrivers both now and later.

UnSpoiled: How to Raise Independent Kids in an Over-Indulged Age (For Educators and Parents)

Kids today are more stressed, more indulged, yet less ready to take on the world than any other generation – that’s the problem. These kids aren’t ready to launch. They’ve been coddled and “snowplow-parented” their whole lives. After all, that’s what parents THINK they need to do to give their kids a leg-up in a hypercompetitive world: give them every advantage, make it “easy” for them, and help them succeed, no matter what it costs.  Parents believe they are helping their kids by overindulging them and making things easy … but in fact they’re raising kids who don’t have the basic tools to survive and thrive in the 21st century. What these kids need isn’t more help, it’s LESS. They need to cultivate independence. But as strange as it seems, no one is teaching kids how to build these skills – or showing parents how to instill them.  This program speaks directly to parents who desperately want to do this (but don’t know how to back off without letting their kids slide) and to educators who know self-sufficiency is what students really need (but struggle to get parents and even kids to get with the program).

The 9 Essential Habits that Unlock the Power of Empathy

The “Selfie Syndrome” is leading to an empathy crisis in youth. Teens today are 40% less empathetic than just a generation ago; narcissism has increased 58%. This isn’t just a crisis of character. Dr. Borba explains why cultivating empathy is essential to creating caring children, compassionate schools, just communities and a civilized society. She shares her nine-step “Unselfie” plan to stop the Empathy Crisis and creative ways to raise successful, happy kids who are also kind, moral, courageous and resilient. You’ll also learn that our exclusive focus on grades, scores and fat resumes is destructive to children’s mental health and robbing their potential to lead a happy and fulfilling life. By putting empathy at the core. we’ll raise children that become the citizens we hope they’ll be.

Cultivating Empathy: The 6Rs of Bullying Prevention

Research is clear: Bullying is learned, and can be unlearned. What’s more, cultivating empathy is the best antidote for bullying. Drawing from her book, The 6Rs of Bullying Prevention, Dr. Borba shares the evidence-based principles, policies, and proven practices that have made her a leading expert in this field. Her empowering, informative presentation is brimming with real life stories, the latest behavioral research, and simple tools to reduce bullying and victimization. This includes mobilizing student bystanders’ compassion to be “Upstanders” to help stop peer cruelty. Audiences leave ready to use the “6Rs” right away in their classrooms, schools, organizations and homes.

Teaching Empathy: Why “the Other Side of the Report Card” is a Must for Student Success

Empathy is often sidelined as a “soft skill.” Dr. Borba offers hard evidence that it must become an educational and societal priority. In this game-changing presentation, you’ll learn why creating empathetic, inclusive climates as the foundation for learning is the smartest strategy for ending the cycle of youth violence. You’ll also learn why empathy is one of the most important skills that 21st century learners will need to thrive in a complex, global, digitally-driven world. Dr. Borba shares how educators around the globe weave empathy-building practices into existing lessons and help students to develop empathic mindsets in a test-driven culture (that doesn’t always value it.) This inspiring session is guaranteed to be informative and filled with practical ways to create positive outcomes by cultivating empathy in your classroom and school.

How to Raise Caring, Successful Kids in a Plugged-In, Trophy-Driven World

Today’s parents are dealing with technology and digitally driven challenges that no previous generation has faced.  What really matters in raising successful, happy, compassionate and socially responsible children in a hyper-competitive, plugged-in world? Dr. Borba cites the latest research to identify nine crucial habits and one invaluable life skill: empathy. In this game-changing “how to” presentation for parents, you’ll learn proven strategies to give your child the Empathy Advantage and cultivate their social and moral competence. You’ll also learn common-sense ways to nurture the core habits of self-control, courage, collaboration, perspective-taking and leadership — the very qualities that colleges and employers say they’re seeking. This session is guaranteed to change the way you think about raising kids in today’s complex world.

Direct from TEDx- Empathy is a Verb: Lessons for Success in the Digital Age

What can businesses, organizations, institutions of higher learning and associations learn from the latest science on empathy? Plenty. Especially in today’s plugged-in world of virtual workplaces, electronic communications and increasing personal disconnection. Dr. Borba points out that we’re all born hard-wired to care, but like all human qualities, empathy must be constantly activated. The habits that achieve this also make us more effective leaders, insightful managers, collaborative colleagues, and compassionate community members. Drawn from her inspiring TEDx talk, Dr. Borba shows us how to use the “Empathy Advantage” to build valuable social capital within our organizations and with customers, patients, donors, and students. Her motivating presentation is a reminder that being more empathetic makes our workforce stronger, our communities more stable, our stakeholders more engaged, and all of our relationships longer lasting.