Tina Varughese

Cross-Cultural and Diversity Expert

Tina Varughese

Named one of Canada’s 10 Notable Speakers by Ignite Magazine, audiences describe Tina as ‘dynamic, highly energetic, relevant and hilarious’. She is often rated as ‘the best speaker of the conference’. Her interactive approach is insightful yet practical and her delivery is highly entertaining. She breaks down barriers to create a comfortable, inclusive and fun space leaving attendees inspired to think, behave, act or communicate with intention.

Tina is an Indo-Canadian daughter of first-generation East Indian parents, which allows her to find ‘the best of both worlds’ and shed light, knowledge and most importantly universal humour into the intercultural workplace. She draws from her experiences as an entrepreneur, mother, daughter, wife, sister and friend when delivering keynotes on work-life balance and diversity and inclusion-topics which resonate with her both professionally and personally.

For fifteen years Tina Varughese, B.A.; B.Comm, worked with immigrants in her roles with the Province of Alberta’s immigration office as well as running her own successful relocation and settlement firm.

She is currently the immediate Past-President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (Calgary).

Tina is a contributing writer for the Human Resource Institute of Alberta’s Network magazine, Calgary Real Estate News, Home to Home magazine and was profiled in Alberta’s Venture Magazine. Tina has been the face of diversity, literally, when she was chosen to be in Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty representing beauty in diversity. With two kids, five fish and one husband, she resides in Calgary where she recently began hip hop classes.

Please contact us to book Tina Varughese for your next event!

  1. Virtual Leadership: When Communication, Collaboration and Compassion Intersect

    Are issues like these causing stress, fear, confusion, inefficiency, insomnia and productivity in the work from home space?
    • I am lacking focus and motivation while working? How can I make my day more productive,
    efficient and even energizing?
    • Fear, ambiguity and negative thoughts continually creep into my head. I feel deflated, angry
    and immense sadness. When should I be concerned if I’m situationally depressed, anxious
    or both? What can I do to protect the mental health of myself and my family?
    • I do not know how to effectively connect with clients in a virtual environment? Can I still build
    trust, authenticity and continue to strengthen relationships with clients, customers, suppliers
    and team members or is everything on hold?
    • Covid-19 feels like a living nightmare. How can I become purposeful, passionate, mindful and
    meaningful controlling what I can for a stronger and more resilient outcome for all?

    With the immediate onset of Covid-19, organizations were forced to pivot, adapt and plunge into the face of uncertainty. Despite title, rank or position we are all leaders at work and at home and have the capability to impact, influence and inspire others through intentional actions.

    Virtual leadership begins with effective communication, collaboration, empathy and
    understanding. With employees becoming increasingly demotivated and disengaged coupled
    with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and addiction on the rise it is integral to
    lead with compassion, transparency, integrity and most of all resilience as we stand together
    apart. This is a virtual interactive, ‘hands-on’ inspirational keynote utilizing Zoom where attendees will
    participate in live polling, group chats, slide shares including videos, morale-boosting activities
    and Q and A to promote social inclusivity, engagement and unity.

    Key takeaways:

    • Standing Together Apart: How to create respectful, communicative, inclusive, collaborative
      virtual teams
    • Death by Virtual Meeting: Four key steps to inclusive and effective virtual meetings, virtual sales and virtual social inclusion
    • When Fear Takes Over: How to Actively Listen, Empathize and Empower Others’ Towards a Positive Paradigm
    • Immunizing our Mental Health
    • The Power of Surrendering to Circumstance: Why Letting Go Strengthens Resilience
    • The Transformative Power of Servitude: Why Serving Others Provides Purpose During Difficult Times
  2. 50 Shades of Beige: Communicate with the Cross-Cultural Advantage

    Successful organizations understand that being able to communicate cross-culturally in the workplace leads to enhanced productivity, performance and employee engagement. Managing diversity drives profitability, leads to innovation and promotes an inspiring workplace culture.

    • Cultural differences in communication: Indirect vs. direct speaking styles
    • Individualistic and collective cultures: How values change the way we communicate
    • Effective day-to-day communication when English is a second language
    • Non-verbal communication: Why the “unspoken” word is the most important of all
    • How global companies lose millions in revenue due to a lack of understanding of cultural differences

  3. Inclusive Leadership: From Silos to Solutions

    Creating a great organization isn’t just about breaking down cultural barriers. It’s about building a workplace where everyone works towards a common purpose and feels included despite title, rank or position. Successful leaders understand people do not leave jobs. People leave people. Today’s successful leaders believe not only in investing in themselves, but encouraging others to grow, to learn and to develop in order to build inclusivity and trust, breakdown silos, foster employee engagement, encourage open lines of communication, promote creativity and create a healthy, happy and inspiring workplace.

    • Breaking down silos: How to create respectful, communicative, inclusive and collaborative teams
    • Death by meeting: Five key steps to inclusive and effective meetings
    • Inclusive personal and organizational purpose: How recognizing others’ contributions gives you a stronger sense of purpose
    • Negative Nellie and Nasty Ned: How to actively listen, include and empathize to change negative behaviors at work
    • The importance of stress management for leaders

  4. What is Unconscious Bias: Making A First Impression in Seven Seconds or Less

    First impressions, positive or negative, are made in seven seconds or less. We all make quick assessments of others without even realizing it. We are not born with bias. Biases are formed by past situations, experiences, background and culture. Unconscious biases typically exist towards gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability (both physical and mental), and weight. Most of us will say “I see people for who they are” but do we? Unconscious biases affect and impact decision making both professionally and personally with real impact. Recognizing, managing and mitigating unconscious bias promotes diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion drives innovation, increases productivity, and stimulates creativity while promoting a healthy, happy, engaging workplace culture.

    • The Neuroscience behind Unconscious Bias (“No blame, no shame”)
    • Managing and Mitigating Unconscious Bias in Recruitment, Retention and Employee Engagement
    • Breaking Bias – Strategies for Gender, Maternal, Affinity and Ageism
    • Sesame Street 2.0 – One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong… or does it? How Diversity Drives Innovation, Creativity and Productivity
    • Why Creating a Culture of Inclusion affects Positivity, Profits and Purpose

  5. Gen Zen: Communicate, Collaborate and Cooperate in the Changing Workplace

    Successful leaders understand today’s increasingly multigenerational, multicultural and multifaceted workforce brings both opportunities and challenges if not managed effectively. To create trust, collaboration and creative work environments, inclusive leaders need to effectively communicate, understand and listen to their fellow employees. Everybody wants to be seen, wants to be heard and wants to be acknowledged. Learning how to communicate and cooperate in the workplace leads to a healthier, happier, motivating and inspiring workplace where everybody benefits.

    • Are you generationally ‘savvy’?
    • Does your leadership style reflect “gen zen”?
    • Play nice in the sandbox – team building through collaboration and understanding
    • Empowering introverts in the workplace
    • Individualistic and collectivist cultures: how values change the way we communicate
    • What time is it? The difference between monochromic and polychromic cultures and why it matters to the workplace

  6. Ctrl-Alt-Del: Give the (Re)Boot to Work-Life Balance

    Only 23% of working Canadians are highly satisfied with life. In fact, one-third of Canadians feel they have more work to do than time permits. Work-life balance is not a gender issue. Men have the same issues balancing career and family as women do and also struggle with obtaining work-life balance. With technological advances coupled with more women entering the workforce due to economic pressures, work-life balance can seem evasive and unobtainable. But with essential tools, tips and strategies, employees can minimize stress, maximize efficiency, improve productivity and boost positivity both at work and at home. Increased work-life balance leads to lower employee absenteeism and turnover rates and higher levels of employee engagement.

    • 168 hours = 168 hours: Why more time does not mean more balance
    • Five key stress busters that are essential for a healthier, happier, and more balanced life
    • Tips and tools for difficult conversations at work and at home
    • Increasing your work-life balance score with the Japanese concept of ‘kaizen’
    • Cultural differences in the perception of work-life balance
    • The high cost of always saying ‘yes’
    • Retrain your brain for positivity
    • Having it all… or having it all right now?
    • Prioritize your life the way you want your obituary to read

  7. Successfully Selling and Servicing to All Cultures

    The population in general is becoming increasingly multicultural. One-fifth of Canada’s population was born outside of Canada (much higher in urban centres) – making it one of the fastest growing niche markets today. Second and third generation immigrants are highly influenced by parental values, beliefs and cultural nuances. With diversity comes opportunity, and potential for growth in sales, brand loyalty and profitability. By building trust and rapport through understanding, recognizing and respecting cultural differences, successful companies can capitalize and profit from this often untapped market.

    • Work less, sell more: Increase repeat and referral business cross-culturally
    • Are we speaking the same language? Successful cross-cultural negotiations
    • When yes means no: How communication styles differ across cultures
    • Multicultural marketing: Spending dollars strategically in multicultural markets
    • Non-verbal communication aka “The Seinfeld Syndrome”: Are you a loud talker and losing business because of it?
    • What women need to know to succeed cross-culturally
    • I don’t understand: When strong accents inhibit communication and what to do about it
    • Million dollar mistakes: How global companies fail due to a lack of understanding cultural differences

Tina’s keynote, ’50 Shades of Beige: Communicate with the Cross-Cultural Advantage’ was the highest rated at this year’s HR and Leadership Conference. She brought tremendous energy to the conference and engaged the audience throughout the keynote. Some of the comments: “I really enjoyed Tina’s keynote! It was high energy, fun and also informative” “Tina was excellent. I loved that she was able to have some audience participation” “Tina was fantastic – love that she was able to engage and interact with the audience”
Ron Gauthier
CEO, CPHR Manitoba
The standing ovation you received was heartfelt. All I can say is WOW! You made a difference in helping over 300 people feel better about work life balance while building leaders in our department. Your humor is fantastic, which engaged our staff from the moment you set foot on stage. They are talking about their level of stress and how they are going to bring it down and what they are going to do to make that happen. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, your positive spirit and your humor. I look forward to working with you in the future!
Kathy Magee
City of Ottawa
Your keynote presentation was the hit of the conference. Thank you for starting off our day with such an energetic, fun and positive presentation that not only entertained but also educated the audience.
Terry Swain
Conference Chair 2018 Western Conference on Safety
Tina is an electrifying speaker. Her passion is infectious and highly relevant. In just one hour, attendees of various ages and stages of life gained a fresh perspective on the value of work life balance and how simple changes can have long term positive effects mentally, physically and emotionally. Her keynote is impactful, engaging and includes a refreshing dose of humour. She will deliver valuable information in an inspiring and entertaining manner.
Warren Wood
CFA, CFP BMO Nesbitt Burns
Your session was so impactful and you are such a lovely speaker. Working for healthcare has its challenges, and at the core of our values and vision right now is diversity and inclusion. Needless to say, your material resonated with us.
Danielle Towne
Alberta Health Services HR Advisor

Speaker Videos