A range of topics are available as shown below, including self-paced online training, virtual and in-person workshops. Our series workshops are curated learning pathways to further your leadership developmentAll sessions will be customized for your specific organizational context. Please refer to our FAQ for more information.

Standalone Topics

Successful businesses understand that in today’s increasingly diverse workplaces, a culture of trust is necessary to attract and retain top talent. Learning how to authentically communicate and listen to perspectives other than our own, is a critical skill. Yet, it is still an underrated one. When it comes to sensitive topics of identity, like race or gender, many employees fear that what they say could compromise mutual respect. However, there is a way to deepen trust across diversity, and it’s through the timeless medium of stories. If you’re interested in an evidence-based learning process that goes beyond theoretical concepts, and helps you implement inclusive mindsets and behaviors, this is for you. 

“I took away so much from your workshop, but the most impactful was to de-center and create a space to hear someone’s story, and be present while they allow me into their life.  This will truly help to cultivate lasting relationships at work, home and in my community!”

This workshop covers the baics of diversity concepts, such as identity, or intersectionality, and sets the foundation for using storytelling to build empathy, while surfacing and interrupting bias This workshop is recommended as a starting point for anyone looking to ground or refresh their understanding in concepts.

“Thank you so much for the special invitation to this meeting. I very much enjoyed this presentation and recognize that I have some reflection to do.”

 “I appreciated that Gayathri’s talk gave us the opportunity to reflect on questions about the biases we face in our work, or, to be pleasantly surprised when we were able to answer “no” to the questions she posed. I appreciated her honesty about her experiences, and her focus on learning from other women leaders and their approaches. I would love to see more of this. All in all, thank you! “

The need to be seen, heard and valued is universal – and it requires you as a leader to learn how to create lasting, trusting relationships with your teams. Our communities today are becoming increasingly diverse, globally connected, and socially conscious. Research shows that companies who represent the diversity of communities they serve outperform their competitors. These dynamics require that emerging leaders first be self-aware of their own strengths and biases. Second, they must be able to build competencies to lead across borders, cultures, and styles of thinking and communication.. Regardless of your role, this workshop will equip you with tangible tips to reflect and practice authentic communication skills. 

“It was a beautiful, heart-full and intimate experience with just one other person. Actively listening to another person without thinking about how to “respond” was interesting and an important embodied experience. The distractions of a workday were challenging, and made me think about the importance of making time for work like this which is sacred, because there is great power in it.”

” This workshop really made everyone comfortable and really helped us understand the importance of inclusivity.”

Empathy is essential to building a trusting mentor-mentee relationship, and storytelling is a powerful tool to foster empathy in diverse settings. Diversity comes in the form of differences of any kind – gender, age, cultural background, as well as our professional or personal lived experiences. These differences, when leveraged positively, can result in a transformational and reciprocal relationship between a mentor and mentee. When empathy is lacking, however, it can lead to feelings of not being seen for who we are, misguided advice, and a missed opportunity to cultivate a trusting relationship. This workshop is for participants to learn the essentials of empathy, and practice skills in a safe space through mentoring-related scenarios. Included as part of this workshop are storytelling prompts and facilitation by Gayathri Shukla.

I wanted to send a personal thank you to you. The sessions and workshops you host are so truly impactful, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of them. I genuinely believe that the more we self-reflect and dig into our inner selves, the better humans we become and carry higher vibrations, which causes significant shifts in the world…Thank you for holding space and asking all the right questions.”

-Vanessa Brown, Influence Mentoring Society

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing work environment, it is more important than ever to create a workplace culture where employees feel comfortable taking risks, sharing their ideas, and being vulnerable. This is where psychological safety comes in. In this workshop, we will explore the role of storytelling in cultivating psychological safety, and provide practical strategies for how to use storytelling to create a more inclusive and supportive work environment through hands-on practice scenarios.

“I feel this experience has provided evidence of just how directly this all relates to equity, diversity, and inclusion. In making oneself vulnerable, and by practicing active listening and being mindful of the empathy fails – we are put in a space of having to consider perspective. If we don’t force ourselves to consider different perspectives, we expand only our individual bubble filled with only our own ideas, feelings and judgements. This would be powerful teambuilding for everyone…”

This workshop creates a safe space for a brave conversation on anti-racism, including basics of anti-racism, prompts to reflect on lived experiences, and guided strategies to practice allyship.

“This experience was truly remarkable in understanding the different perspectives, beliefs and vulnerabilities of our colleagues. When we are able to connect with each other in a deep and meaningful way we can better approach problems of practice together to find solutions that everyone has had input in. When we listen we learn, and when we learn we listen.”

This workshop is for teams who have recently formed or are seeking to complement their strategic planning process through a strengths-based approach. Participants are guided to identify lived experiences where they witnessed their values in action and apply their learnings to explore current shared priorities while deepening trusting relationships. 

“It was the actual writing of the story that I found powerful. It allowed me to be more reflective of how I could be an agent of change.”

We know that storytelling is a powerful way to communicate with impact. However, you may be unsure of what story to share and how, especially if you’re just starting out, or if you are in a state of transition and change. In this workshop, you’ll use an authentic way to build self-confidence based in the evidence-based method of guided autobiography, Walk through a structured approach to help you reflect on your past successes, and elicit your learnings from challenges you have overcome. You will also have an opportunity to practice storytelling skills in small groups.

“I learned that I should not be too hard on myself for my shortcomings and not to feel alone in failure, I’m only human and others go through the same things every single day.”

This session is designed to celebrate cultural diversity in your team using engaging storytelling, while building understanding and appreciation of differences.

For example, Empathy Week 2020 event used Pecha-Kucha to celebrate the diversity of science and engineering talent in Calgary, as participants reflected on the value of empathy in their careers. 

“Campfire Kinship curated a touching and diverse group of individuals to share their stories during Humainologie’s 2020 Digital Empathy Week. While the through-line of all the presenters’ stories was their STEAM background, each of their unique life journeys exposed resilience, kindness, and self-care. Gayathri has curated a phenomenal community, coming together around empathy and shared humanity first, and as STEAM professionals second.” – Emily Knight, Humainologie

Mental health and wellness is a priority being tackled by many workplaces, and storytelling is an entry point into having courageous conversations. This workshop is a space to practice self-care and hone your skills in creating the conditions for community. Gayathri has led versions of this workshop for organizations like Engineers Canada, Calgary Women in Energy and Humainologie. This can also be used for year-end conversations to reflect on team successes and learnings,  and acknowledge the person or experience that had a transformative impact.

“Tonight’s session reminded me of the wisdom I have within myself and how I can call upon this from my past experiences. The feedback method was so powerful. It brought a new lens to me about how important it is to just listen to each other, without advice, but just openness and support.  To receive that was such a gift.  Thank you so much Gayathri.  You have an incredible way of making people feel seen, heard, and fully accepted. “

Burnout is a common phenomenon for those working in environments that involve a high degree of change or emotional labour. This workshop provides a safe space to take an intentional pause, reflect on your experiences around perseverance, and apply your insights towards current challenges in a small group setting.

“I was able to learn something in this workshop that I can implement in my classroom on Monday morning.” 
“It was honestly exactly what I needed, personally and professionally, in that moment. It also helped me to achieve a much deeper understanding of one of my colleagues.”

This event was sponsored by Calgary Pride to reflect on our experiences of courage, while being powerful allies with the LGBTQ2S+ community. Participants had a chance to craft micro-memoirs while receiving a professional portraits. Here’s what they had to say:

“-I love meeting and sharing each other’s experiences – feels so genuine!”
“I love this and can’t wait to see what the next project is, keep it up!”
“I enjoyed the techniques for offering feedback.”
“There are still great people in the world who are willing to learn and improve.”
“I am positive that with this much similarity with stories, we can be more inclusive, and recognizing each other who are diverse.”
“Comfortable, safe atmosphere and effective, clear facilitation.”

This Circle was hosted for National Indigenous People’s Day with a diverse group of people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, across the nation, who came together in solidarity to honour the lives of children discovered at Indian Residential Schools. Net proceeds were donated to Orange Shirt Society, a non-profit organization supporting Indian Residential School Reconciliation. Gayathri shares her reflections from this event in her blog post, urging all Canadians to take action on Truth and Reconciliation. 

Workshop Series

Self-paced Learning


Frequently Asked Questions

Why focus on stories?

We use the term ‘storytelling’ in the of context articulating your life experiences in an autobiographical style. Our method includes self-reflection through mindfulness activities, and a guided approach to sharing in circle formats. We simplify the process for you through the use of guided prompts and customized case studies. This takes out the guesswork of “but what story do I share?” while providing an effective and efficient method to build empathy skills. Please note, this is not storytelling based on fiction.

We live in a world that is increasingly divided, from wars raging in different parts to the polarizing cancel culture. At times it may seem like the problems facing us are too vast and too complex to solve, and traditional EDI approaches, like unconscious bias training, are not enough to sustain change.

To counter this, believe that it is critical to move from awareness to action, from a space of pure knowledge-sharing to social-emotional skill-building, and then taking what we learn to advocate for policy change.

At the heart of Campfire Kinship’s vision is the idea that we are all human beings with unique histories and shared values. It is through our stories that we can move beyond the labels or categories we assign to people based on their demographics, and see them for the complex, multifaceted individuals that they are. When we listen to someone’s story, we are given a glimpse into their lives, into their struggles, into their triumphs. We can see the world through their eyes, and we can begin to understand what it is like to be them. This creates a space for authentic connection, where we can find common ground and shared values that transcend our differences.

Further, immersing ourselves in a set of stories allows us to notice patterns and trends affecting equity-deserving communities. We then have an opportunity to harness the wisdom of these lived experiences to strategically shape policy and advocacy. Our workshops and consulting practices equip you with these skills.

Storytelling has been used to bring people together for centuries and across cultures. From the ancient myths and legends that have been passed down through generations to the stories that we tell each other today, storytelling has always been a way to connect with others, to share our experiences, and to build empathy.

There are many documented benefits of storytelling for individuals, such as:

  • To practice self-care as you reflect on life experiences, strengths, and values
  • To receive community care through supportive and positive affirmations from your cohort
  • To build your ability to empathize with others and deepen connections across diversity – our workshops are an amazing way of doing this (even in a complete group of strangers)!
  • To preserve your story in a creative form (as many of our participants have done so for our bestselling anthology, podcast, and video stories)
  • To deepen human connections, and have a structured format to provide/receive mentorship
  • To actively practice inclusive mindsets and behaviours

We all have a story to tell. We also all have the power to listen. It is through our stories that we can move beyond the labels and categories that divide us, and into a space of authentic connection. At an organizational level, our hope is that you will get to experience the HOW that ultimately creates a culture of belonging, and better attraction and retention outcomes for your staff. The workshops embed human-centered design and guided autobiography principles to equip you with a structured method to learn the HOW.

We primarily utilize an experiential, evidence-based method called guided autobiography. At the heart of this philosophy is reflecting on the defining moments on select themes, sharing lived experiences, and providing supportive feedback within a group setting. We also incorporate the principles of human-centered design, i.e. building in the lived experiences of those who are affected by inequities, and working alongside them to incorporate their qualitative feedback into policy development (versus the top-down methods which typically making assumptions about what they want or need). Our participants repeatedly tell us this approach helps puts their EDI learning into action, moving from theory to skill, and creating safe spaces for brave conversations.

You’ve likely not heard of it yet as Gayathri is the first instructor bringing this innovative method in Calgary! Originally pioneered at the Birren Center of Autobiographical Studies over 4 decades ago, it is recognized as an evidence-based approach that has benefitted thousands of participants. Several studies have shown the effectiveness of guided autobiography in boosting self-acceptance, and the ability to accept others despite individual differences. For example, here’s a study that assessed what participants had learned; their quotes are summarized below :

1. I am learning to trust.

2. I am learning not to judge others.

3. I am learning to have faith in myself.

4. I am learning to forgive myself.

5. I am learning to have better self-esteem.

6. I am learning to love myself.

7. I am learning to love others.

8. I am learning to let the small stuff go.

9. I am healing the past.

10. I am looking forward to the future.

And if you’re curious to learn more, here is another article conducted on how this method enhances well-being.

We primarily host workshops for organizations, including for-profit companies, academia, and non-profits in support of their goal to advance EDI. Depending on where you are on your EDI journey, you have a few ways to engage: You can begin an EDI discovery, explore a customized engagement, or book one or more workshops you see on this page.

If you are an individual looking to make a career transition or build leadership skills, feel free to check out our journals or self-paced learning on this page.

Our scope is wide, yet our design principles are focused: to create spaces where everyone is equal and everyone belongs. The more diverse the group, the richer the experience to be had.

Workshops are primarily facilitated by Gayathri, who has received her instructor certification from the Birren Center of Autobiographical studies. Additionally, our team members co-facilitate workshops.

Workshops are standalone or a part of a series, offered virtually or in person for a range of audience sizes. Timing per workshop is typically 60-90 minutes. The series workshops can be scheduled over 1-3-days or spread out over several weeks per your convenience.

We’re happy to tailor based on your audience’s needs. 

Feedback is less about the story itself, and more about supporting you for the experiences you’ve had which are uniquely yours. Our workshops and online training covers the method for providing feedback.

Please note, you are never forced to share what you are not comfortable sharing. We will never expect, for example, that marginalized communities only share stories of how they have been harmed, which carries the risk of tokenization. We also ask all our participants agree to confidentiality prior to joining a group session.

Also, keep in mind, this is not a “quick fix” / cookie-cutter type of program. Our structured method will require you to put in the work of introspection and brave conversation. This can feel uncomfortable at times. However, as you start to ‘peel back the layers’, story-crafting can help you come to terms with, and even feel empowered by, what you’ve been able to overcome and what you can achieve in the future. When we do this in an organizational setting, participants tell us the biggest benefit of all is the deepened relationships with their peers and alignment on shared values, leading to a renewed commitment to advancing EDI.

Yes. Check out our story-crafting course Kindle Your Spark. This is suited for anyone who is in the midst of a transition and wants to take a reflective and imaginative approach to envision their next steps. No age limit is set! For example, if you are just starting out in your career, you can use the program to define what success looks like to you, and anchor to an authentic vision to propel you forward in your career. If you are towards the end of your career, this course will allow you to articulate and pass along a legacy of meaningful stories and life lessons.

We also have a course on the foundations of empathy – this is for you if you are part of a team and want to explore how storytelling can bring your EDI goals to life.

Additionally, we have journals you can download and work on your time!

Not at all! Just write as you would if you are conversing with your friend – in simple, everyday language. We incorporate writing in some of our activities for its proven benefits in evoking memories, and creating conditions for mindfulness and creativity. We explain the process in detail in our workshops and provide you time to allow the ideas to flow. We are a supportive community – you are not judged for literary style, grammar, etc!

We offer creative media services, including video storytelling and writing for your publication (see examples of articles here.) Send us a message to explore this option.

Yes! We have designed and delivered storytelling workshops on a host of other topics not listed here. Book a complimentary call to discuss your needs.

We’ve got lots of them! Check out our testimonials page here. 

We’re unable to offer refunds, however, you’re welcome to check out our free resources. Also, if you sign up for our mailing list, you’ll be added to the exclusive Campfire Kinship Insiders community where you’ll be first to hear about free events & specials.

We’re happy to explore a solution that works for you.

Contact us and we will get back to you within 2 business days.