Opening Keynote Speaker
Begin this year’s conference in conversation with Gayathri Shukla, who will speak about the art of inclusive leadership, and the importance of moving from awareness to action on diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Using storytelling, Gayathri will illustrate how to strengthen personal leadership styles and offer practical tips to authentically engage with people of different backgrounds and viewpoints through empathy, curiosity, and respect.
Gayathri is the founder of Campfire Kinship, a social impact firm offering story-based training, advisory services and creative media to celebrate diversity and build inclusive cultures. She is a professional engineer and holds an electrical engineering degree from the University of Calgary and an Executive MBA from Queens University. She started her engineering career in Fort McMurray and spent 17 years in the energy and mining sector within technical and leadership roles.
Throughout her career, she observed how teams thrive when every member feels valued, seen, and heard. Since starting her company, she has guided hundreds of leaders in the use of storytelling to elevate their empathy skills and communicate with authenticity.
She recently published a bestselling anthology, Landed: Transformative Stories of Canadian Immigrant Women, in which she led a group of 37 participants through a guided process of telling their heartfelt stories with impact. Both a love letter to the places they have left behind and an exploration of the bittersweet parts of immigration, this book inspires, builds bridges, and celebrates diverse voices.