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Michele Borba        

Speaker, Psychologist, & Author on Empathy, Moral Intelligence, Parenting, and Bullying

Dr. Borba is an internationally-recognized educational psychologist and parenting, bullying and character expert whose aim is to strengthen children’s empathy and resilience, and create safe, compassionate school cultures. A sought-after motivational speaker, she has presented keynotes throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific and served as a consultant to hundreds of schools and corporations including the Pentagon and 18 US Army bases in Europe and the Asian-Pacific.

In our hyper-connected, social-media-saturated society, many of us (especially young people) are so obsessed with snapping “Selfies” and living a virtual life online that we’re forgetting how to care for the people right in front of us IRL (that’s “in real life”). That resulting 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%.

But there is a solution: studies show that the antidote to Selfie Syndrome is empathy. And the good news is that empathy can be cultivated in children, starting even before they can talk. In UnSelfie, esteemed educator Dr. Borba presents new and compelling research that explains how to impart this key skill to kids—whether it’s teaching toddlers how to comfort one another or giving teens the tools to stand up to bullying—and why empathy paves the way for future happiness and success, and offers audiences practical ways to activate empathy to raise kids with compassion, courage, conviction to become social Changemakers and make a difference in our world.

Caring about others isn’t just about playing nice; it’s a skill that’s vital for children’s mental health, leadership skills, and continued well-being, today and tomorrow. Dr. Borba’s 9-step plan for raising successful, happy kids who also are kind, moral, courageous, and resilient provides a revolutionary new framework for learning empathy and is culled from 30 years of research and traveling the world to find the best solutions. Her findings show that empathetic kids will thrive in the future, but the seeds of success can be planted today—one habit at a time.

Dr. Borba is the award-winning author of 22 books translated into 14 languages including Nobody Likes Me, No More Misbehavin’, Don’t Give Me that Attitude!, 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know, Building Moral Intelligence, Esteem Builders, Parents Do Make A Difference, The Big One Gateway Center Book of Parenting Solutions, The 6 Rs of Bullying Prevention, and UNSELFIE: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All-About Me World.

She is a regular NBC contributor appearing 135 times on the TODAY show, featured on three Dateline specials as well as Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Dr. Drew, The View, NBC Nightly News, The Doctors, Fox News, The Early Show, CNN and others. Dr. Borba has had a wide range of teaching experience, including work in regular education and private practice with children with learning, physical, behavioral 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 earned a Life Teaching Credential from San Jose State University. She lives in California with her husband and has three grown sons.

Speech Topics


Building Students' Moral Intelligence: Our Last, Best Hope

Our students' character is in trouble and scores of disturbing indicators prove it, including a steady rise in anxiety, bullying, apathy, depression, aggression, and substance abuse, as well as a sharp decline in respect, civility, personal accountability, and honesty. In all our efforts to boost achievement and reduce negative behaviors, the one element we've overlooked is our students' moral intelligence: the learned capacity to decipher right from wrong, choose what's right, and then behave morally.

This inspiring keynote based on Dr. Borba's award-winning book Building Moral Intelligence shares research confirming that character can be learned, provides a framework for teaching it, and shows simple no-cost ways to integrate moral intelligence builders into existing academic content. Borba shares heartwarming stories to prove just how influential educators can be and show how they may well be the last, best hope for many students. This presentation is an inspiring and timely address filled with uplifting stories and proven, practical solutions for turning today's "Crisis of Youth Character" around.

Teachers DO Make the Difference: The Five Teaching Keys to Unlock Students' Potential

This motivating and inspiring keynote explains why educators have the power to turn around their students' lives and help them reach their potential as learners. Michele Borba offers inspiring stories and real-life examples of teachers who are making a difference in order to help remind educators that they are door-openers to their students. She shares five critical teaching keys that maximize student success, character, and self-worth as well as practical, no-cost ways to infuse them into existing content and best teaching practices.

Educating for Hearts & Minds: Teaching the Other ABCs That Cultivate Habits of Heart & Reduce the Cycle of Youth Violence

More and more of our students are becoming victims of bullying, insensitivity, and disruptive behaviors. But research clearly shows that violence and cruelty are learned and not genetically inherited. The seeds of compassion can be cultivated and aggressive attitudes can be changed. This motivating keynote explains why teachers not only do have the power to transform students' character and behavior, but how they may do so by teaching the critical ABCs that create positive moral change: Attitudes, Beliefs, and Character. Michele Borba shares inspiring stories and examples to show how educators can apply these essential ABCs. She provides ways to teach eight proven teaching practices ("Habits of Heart") that reduce bullying and activate empathy. Best yet, participants leave with practical ideas and field-tested strategies that can easily be woven into existing content to mobilize students' hearts, break the cycle of youth violence, and create moral learning communities.

Raising Our Girls to Be Confident, Compassionate & Morally Courageous

Of course we want our daughters to grow to be strong and confident, but statistics are showing a troubling picture that instead displays low self-esteem, anorexia, suicide, depression, sexual abuse, and bulimia. In fact, one of the most concerning trends reveals that today's girls are also becoming meaner and more physically aggressive. In this thought-provoking session, you'll hear not only a shattering array of statistics that prove all is not well with our girls' emotional health, but also the reasons why. But more importantly, you'll learn what we can do about it. You'll hear uplifting stories of parents, educators, and organizations creating positive change for girls. In addition, you'll learn essential skills you can teach girls to cope with rejection, navigate the vicious social jungle, deal with cyber-bullying and vicious gossip, handle peer pressure, develop authentic self-esteem, and remobilize their empathy. Doing so is the best way to help our girls become confident, compassionate, and morally courageous young women.

Self-Esteem: The Same in Any Language

Basic principles of authentic esteem-building transcend race, culture, age, and gender. This inspiring address emphasizes five critical building blocks of self-esteem that dramatically impact children's achievement, behavior, and inner-motivation. This inspiring keynote features motivational stories of those who have made a significant impact on our most at-risk and troubled youth and real examples of practical yet powerful ways they touched those children's lives. The message is always the same: children everywhere have the same basic feelings and needs. It's up to us to ensure that those needs are met so our youth have a safer and more hopeful future.

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