Erin Thorp

Erin Thorp

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Expert in Empathy, Coach and Author

Erin Thorp is an empathic keynote speaker, author, and coach for professionals struggling with conflict, communication, and performance during high-stress times.

She supports leaders in navigating difficult conversations, building powerful teams, and communicating with empathy so they can lead confidently.

With 20 years working in a male-dominated engineering and construction industry, leading teams and delivering projects, Erin noticed that her colleagues were highly skilled and cared deeply about their work, but most were incapable of fully holding their own emotions and therefore unable to hold the emotions of others.

After being told repeatedly she was “too emotional” and that she should “pull herself together,” she saw a big gap in what technical professionals were learning. She knew that skills often categorized as “soft” — connection, empathy, vulnerability — were the most difficult to learn but essential to creating leaders who make an impact at home, work, and in the world.

In 2017, Erin released her book “Inside Out Empathy,” which explores using the superpower of empathy to build effective leaders and teams.

Erin presents keynotes that touch on the fact that there are currently five generations in our workforce from various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds working together towards common goals. To build high-performance teams, ones that leverage diversity and foster a sense of belonging, we need to embrace our least-talked-about superpower — empathy.

As an engineer turned speaker, Erin gets it. She brings jam-packed sessions with actionable strategies, hilarious stories, and relatable anecdotes to come back to long after the discussion ends.

Below you’ll find five topics Erin would love to bring to your group. These are starting points, and every talk is fully customizable for your audience.

Erin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Calgary and is an Associate Certified Coach through Integral Coaching Canada. She currently lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with her husband and their three children — where they aren’t afraid to talk about their feelings.

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Speaking topics

Inside Out Empathy

We see empathy on the list of almost every workplace’s values, yet it’s the competitive edge most executives ignore. While many leaders are trying to fix, blame or minimize, the ones embracing empathy as their superpower are enjoying stronger connections with their colleagues — emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally.

This session is great for those recently promoted to a leadership position or who have been in the seat for many years. Get the tools you need to start doing empathy right away.

What to expect:

  1. Discover what empathy is and is not
  2. Learn the top 5 empathy skills for success
  3. What to do when empathy goes sideways
  4. An empathy toolkit for immediate implementation

*This session is based on Erin’s book by the same name, Inside Out Empathy, which debuted as an Amazon #1 best seller in 2017.   

Building Better Teams in a Hybrid Workplace

For the first time, many industries are making the hybrid workplace work. If your teams experience challenges while working remotely, on a job site, or in the office, a hybrid situation will only turn up the volume on those issues.

Whether your team is face-to-face or in a Zoom room, empathy is the secret weapon that will bridge the gap between workforce experience and cultures. Your teams can deliver results and build meaningful relationships.

Build your better team and learn:

  1. What an inclusive and diverse group really looks like
  2. The role empathic leadership plays in building trust and increasing inclusion
  3. Doable ways to start practicing empathic leadership today

Tackling Tough Conversations with Confidence

Conversations about missed deadlines, quality of work, misunderstandings, expectations, and feedback can feel awkward and uncomfortable. Worse, many leaders avoid them altogether, leaving much unsaid, doing more harm than good, and costing companies millions in lost production, turnover, and disengagement.

Are you a leader who uses email or text instead of phone or face-to-face communication for tough conversations? You know, the ones where there might be conflict or tough news to deliver — and you’re finding it’s not effective? Messages are misinterpreted, blown out of proportion, feelings get hurt, and relationships are damaged.

Step out from behind the screen and learn:

  1. How to not only get through but feel confident in every challenging conversation
  2. The top 3 secrets to preparing for any difficult situation
  3. The art and science of giving and receiving meaningful feedback

Creating Authentic Success in the Great Resignation Age

It’s not that your people dislike working — it’s that they want meaningful work and growth. Your people have ambition for more than just a paycheck.

Authentic success is totally possible when we know ourselves well enough to be brave and show up as our real selves instead of adjusting to fit in. As leaders, it’s important to create an inclusive environment where people feel seen and accepted.

Create a workplace with meaning and discover:

  1. How to listen to your inner knowing
  2. What that discomfort in the pit of your stomach might be trying to tell you
  3. Why success looks different to everyone

Burnout-Proof Your Life

The hybrid workplace has its benefits. On the flip side, one of the biggest downsides is working all the time. It’s hard to disconnect from work when the lines of family and work are blurry.

Success and ambition are fantastic fuel sources for getting ahead — but at what cost? Busyness is often celebrated, and the price we pay is burnout. Today it’s entirely within our control to make meaningful contributions without forfeiting our health, our family, or our hobbies. Let Erin show you how!

Learn how to be a high performer while:

  1. Getting ahead of burnout and stopping it before it starts
  2. Recognizing the early warning signs of burnout
  3. Setting and enforcing boundaries for individual success

Video clips

Live: Erin Thorp: Building Better Teams Through Empathy

Virtual: Erin Thorp: Empathy: Discover Your Leadership Superpowers

Speaker testimonials

We were lucky enough to engage Erin to speak about Empathic Leadership at our 2020 International Women’s Day Event. Erin’s passion for empathy and leadership was infectious, and that, combined with her authenticity, made her message relatable, relevant, and impactful. Everyone left the session inspired. They also wanted more, so we invited Erin to come back and teach us tips and tricks to add empathy into the workplace. Given the global events that unfolded in 2020, the timing and message of her speech resonated even more with the audience and helped us all put empathy into practice at work and home as the pandemic took hold of the world.”

Trisha Gibson, SVP, Strategy & Innovation, AltaGas Ltd.

“Erin is one of our go-to speakers and we’re lucky to have her involved in our Engineering Leadership Program and Conferences for the past three years. She designs her workshops with intentionality and precision and communicates very clearly, whether in-person or remote. She has an engaging way of delivering content that really captivates the audience. Our leaders appreciate her genuine approach and how she addresses every question with care and curiosity. She’s an expert at quickly building rapport to engage students in vulnerable discussions. I’m happy to recommend Erin Thorp as a speaker and facilitator.”

Catherine Cervantes, MEd, Specialist, Engineering Leadership, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary

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