Belinda Parmar OBE is an empathy & innovation expert, author and corporate activist.
Belinda works with leaders to transform organisations from within using the power of empathy.
We spend on average 50 years of our lives at work yet 1 in 10 people are unhappy in their jobs.
Belinda changes cultures to bring more meaning and empowerment to people’s lives. Parmar is leading an empathy revolution at work and has helped changed some of the world’s biggest banks and energy companies in Europe.
Belinda is an expert in nudge theory and works with companies to make hundreds of ‘empathy nudges’ in a company that come the grassroots of an organisation. Belinda’s focus is empathy in language, empathy in leadership and empathy in conflict. Belinda works with her team including a hostage negotiator to deliver empathy in conflict training and how to have honest productive conversations.
In 2015, Belinda received an OBE for services to women in technology. Furthermore, she has been voted by Forbes as ‘one of the most innovative women on Twitter’ and been chosen to be a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum.
Her new campaign, The Truth About Tech, fights against Tech Addiction and has taken her to Davos in 2019 and had coverage on the front page of the Guardian.
Belinda is currently Empathy-In-Residence at Centrica, one of the world’s biggest utility companies.
Speaking topics include:
Empathy in Tech:
Belinda argues that technology is fuelling the empathy deficit despite its promises of democratization, and that our biases are becoming embedded in our algorithms and empathy is becoming scarcer.
With a new workforce of digital natives, we are witnessing a backlash from society towards big business.
Belinda puts the case for businesses to be more empathic and shows the opportunity, drawing on tangible ‘nudges’ that companies can implement to improve their empathy.
All of her talks are based on changes that she has made in businesses which have impacted company performance.
What will the future of work look like?
- What new skills will we need in this new technological era where robots don’t just perform menial tasks?
- What will our working lives look like for us and for the new generation of millennials who will have an average of twenty jobs over their working life?
- And is the 9-5 working day gone for ever?
This talk argues that the most precious skill in an automated future will be our humanity. Our ability to problem solve, our creativity and our ability to empathise.
We will need to re-examine our relationship and interactions between man and machine (who is freeing who?) and learn new skills to augment and co-exist with machines.
Our loyalty to companies is also changing with future generations being less tethered to a company and an individual, and more tethered to a purpose that drives them.
The fourth industrial revolution demands a rethink in the way we train our staff and how we motivate the next generation of workers who want more purposeful and empathic cultures.
We have been taught to override and suppress our emotions but we will need to be more aware of our emotions to create a symbiotic relationship between man and machine.
The future of work belongs to the emotionally literate geek.
Hostage Negotiation workshop:
This workshop is a practical, intense, hands-on session which tests individual empathy skills in extreme conflict.
Developing empathy skills with people you like or are similar to you is easy.
This workshop is about pushing your empathy skills in stressful situations with those who are different from you.
This workshop works well with frontline teams, complaints teams, customer support, sales teams, company branch workers… anyone who has to deal with conflict on a regular basis.
Why diversity programmes don’t work?
This talk is based on Belinda’s Guardian article on how diversity divides but empathy unites.
Belinda presents the data for why diversity programmes have failed over the last 30 years and combines this with her own journey from a diversity based business to an empathy business.
This controversial talk focuses on the opportunities for empathy based businesses where empathy becomes ‘core’ business, not the responsibility of a person or a department.
The Empathy Quotient: Why both Men and Women need to lead with Empathy at Work
Belinda talks about the power of empathy at work. Belinda talks about how companies can define empathy, how they can transform their companies and leadership and the impact of small changes. Belinda will share her journey from being the founder of a female focused business called Lady Geek to going on to running The Empathy Business and her experiences of using empathy in male dominated industries including finance, tech and energy.
This provocative and honest talk also challenges the effectiveness of diversity programmes and shares a new vision for what a gender balanced world at work could look like and the commercial benefits it will bring.
The Cost of Avoiding Difficult Conversations
70% of us avoid difficult conversations at work. 1 in 2 of us ‘deal’ with toxic situations by avoiding them. Having difficult conversations can be hard when you don’t feel comfortable in conflict situations. This new workshop will give you the tools and techniques to face conflict head-on using the power of empathy. Many people believe that being empathic is about avoiding conflict. The reality is being an empathic leader is about pro-actively managing conflict with empathy and dignity.
Belinda draws on her research in understanding the Israeli Palestian conflict on the ground and brings her experience of 20 years in some of the world’s biggest business.
In this provocative talk, Belinda will explore the emotional and commercial cost to business of avoiding difficult conversations, how to manage conversations and create an environment where healthy conflict is encouraged.
Belinda charts her journey from flipping burgers in McDonald’s to receiving an OBE for services to women in technology.
Belinda’s path to becoming an entrepreneur was neither straight, narrow nor well-trodden.
At convent school she first set her sights on becoming a nun. And being a born non-conformist she never imagined she’d end up advising some of the world’s most successful companies on how to transform their businesses through empathy.
In 2010 Belinda started her first company, Lady Geek, inspiring more women to enter technology. She contributed to changing the way technology was sold to women, opening the door to an alternative to the ‘pink it & shrink it’ approach.
She realised the work she was doing was improving the lives of men as well as women, and that focussing on gender was not the best approach. She realised that empathy had the power to transform businesses, with benefits for everyone, regardless of gender.
In 2016, Belinda rebranded her business The Empathy Business and is the pioneer behind The Empathy Index.
At every stage on her journey she has been driven by an unflagging determination to improve the state of the world and has come to understand that this is often best achieved by changing small things. Lots of small things.