Bashinelli Chris Headshot

Chris Bashinelli

National Geographic Explorer | Executive Producer and Host, Bridge the Gap

After a 10-year acting career that included an appearance on HBO’s The Sopranos, Chris Bashinelli decided to follow his real passion and use media to build bridges between cultures. He now travels the world as the host of National Geographic’s Bridge the Gap where he experiences life in someone else’s shoes. Through one-of-a-kind stories of adventure and authentic moments of human connection, Bashinelli shows audiences how to “bridge the gap” between self and other, helping them recognize their shared humanity.

As the executive producer and host of Bridge the Gap on PBS and the National Geographic Channel, Bashinelli has taken millions of viewers on meaningful adventures around the world. He has harvested buffalo with Indigenous people in Pine Ridge, lived as a nomad in Mongolia, and sumo wrestled the heaviest Japanese human being in recorded history.

A celebrated speaker, Bashinelli has traveled the world for more than a decade sharing a message of empathy and understanding everywhere from TEDx to Fortune 500 Companies, from inside prison walls to the United Nations General Assembly Hall and Ivy League universities. At 24 years old, he became one of the youngest moderators in the history of the United Nations. Bashinelli has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, the UN Secretary General, and his mentor, Dr. Jane Goodall.

Bashinelli is a National Geographic Explorer, a UN Moderator, an Eagle Scout, and has interviewed some of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People on the Planet”.


Step Into Your Potential: Change Your Mind, Change Your World

Potential is the space between where we are and where we can be. It is our unrealized abilities, personally, professionally, and as an organization. Stepping into our potential means understanding that it is only because of challenge, not in spite of it, that we can become our best selves. In this one-of-a-kind keynote, coloured with international stories of adventure, resilience, and triumph, Chris Bashinelli shares the power available to each of us when we stop seeing challenge as an obstacle to success, and instead as the very vehicle by which we can achieve it.

From a remote Chinese village that rebuilds after a devastating fire, to a young Tanzanian filmmaker’s unimaginable dream come true, to Bashinelli’s own personal experience of tragedy to triumph, this talk reminds us that when we change our minds, we truly can change our world. This keynote experience is at once a call to action for each of us personally as it is a reminder of the impact that’s possible when we tap into the collective strength of our shared humanity. We will only realize our potential as an organization when every single team member is committed to realizing their strength individually.

The Power of Human Connection: Embracing Diversity and Building Stronger Teams

It is only when every single team member, from the office manager to the CEO, feels safe to bring their whole, most authentic selves to work that an organization can realize its full potential. If any single team member feels that they have to hide who they are, we leave untapped potential on the table — and results will suffer for it.

From his childhood “stoop” in Brooklyn where his friends shared a combined total of over 13 nationalities, to his grandparents that immigrated to the US from Lebanon through Ellis Island, Chris Bashinelli’s understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion is built into the very fabric of his DNA. Pulling from experiences in over 40 countries as a National Geographic Explorer — living with nomads in Mongolia, farming for tea on the hillsides of China, and Sumo wrestling the heaviest Japanese human being in recorded history — Bashinelli shares very simple steps on how to create an environment where employees not only feel safe but empowered to bring their whole selves to work, creating trust and allowing any organization to tap into the power of our shared humanity. By recognizing the strength in our diverse experiences, cultures, identities, and perspectives we tap into a power that is far greater than we could ever imagine.

Renew Employee Burnout, Renew Inspiration: Mindfulness, Mental Health, and Creating a Healthy Workforce

We are working harder, longer, and under more pressure than ever before. Without a mindful approach to our work, one that reduces stress and renews inspiration, this type of employee output is entirely unsustainable. If an organization is to succeed, leaders must find a way to not only manage, but transform the stresses and pressures of our constantly changing world. From economic downturns to global pandemics to employee shortages, the list of stress factors is endless. Although there is so much that is outside of our control, there is one thing we can always control — our minds.

Drawing from more than a decade of in-depth meditation and mindfulness studies and interviews with some of the world’s most renowned thought leaders, Chris Bashinelli walks attendees through a powerful approach to mindfulness that we can apply in our work and our lives immediately. He shares the practical tools he’s used to reduce stress, increase productivity, and create peace of mind — all while hosting an international television series for National Geographic, leading life-changing expeditions around the world, and maintaining a hectic international travel schedule for over 15 years.

From gratitude practice to smart phone “retreats” to guided meditations, Bashinelli reminds us that creating a healthy workforce begins with each of us playing our part and taking responsibility over our own minds.

Start at Step Z: Stepping into What’s Possible

What is your “Step Z”? The goal you feel will truly bring your life meaning. It could be a new client, a new partner, or a new home. What if you could arrive at that destination before you even begin the journey? We tend to be so fixated on our goal that we forget to examine how we are viewing ourselves. We feel that if our circumstances were different our goal would be attainable. In reality, we can only go as far as our shadow will let us. It’s not the circumstances that have to change, it’s us.

Chris Bashinelli walks attendees through a scientific method for recognizing and reducing their most limiting beliefs, thereby opening the doorway to a whole new world. With total clarity, he emphasizes that the swiftest way to get from where we are to where we want to be, is to be there first — on the inside. The best way to get from Step A to Step Z is to start at the end. It may seem counterintuitive, but our best chance at achieving our goal is to imagine it is already accomplished. Step firmly with faith into the shoes you were meant to fill, and live, breathe, work, and act from that place.

From moderating a major United Nations event in Brazil at 24 years old with no prior experience to leading a National Geographic Expedition in Mongolia when nearly all funding had been pulled one month before production, Bashinelli uses his own experience to show how when we change our mind, we can change our world. The key to creating success lies not in getting what we want, but in realizing that we already have everything we need to live a happy and meaningful life. When we connect our ultimate goal to a mission that benefits others, and have unwavering faith in our potential, we will find the inspiration necessary to reach our Step Z.