Chris Bashinelli

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”.


Renew Employee Inspiration: Creating a “People-First” Culture

Employee burnout, stress, and mental health challenges are at an all time high. “The Big Quit”, staff shortages, and uncertainty about our future all fuel our state of anxiety and fear. How do we stay motivated when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring? How can we strengthen employee faith in leadership? How can we lead our teams to success when we ourselves are overwhelmed? In this international keynote experience, Chris Bashinelli redefines “challenge” as an invitation to become our best selves and to better serve our organization.

Creating a “people-first” culture means everything we do is driven by a desire to better serve our clients and to better serve one another. From this place, every challenge is an opportunity to grow stronger, to learn more about ourselves, and to commit to our mission with greater resolve than we ever have before. Empathy is the key to transforming challenge into opportunity, overwhelm into inspiration, and fear into courage.

Coloured by stories of resilience and perseverance everywhere from the hillsides of Western Hunan to the grasslands of Mongolia, Bashinelli reminds us that when we put people first there truly is no challenge too difficult to be transformed. Attendees will be reminded of the power inherent in a team that leads with empathy — for each other, for our clients, and for our world.

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

There are few things more powerful than the strength of human connection. Building powerful teams means encouraging each member of our organization to bring their best, most inspired, and most authentic selves to work each and every day. Only when each team member feels seen, valued, and appreciated for who they are, can we tap into the true strength of our organization. Bash has forged lifelong friendships in a matter of moments with nomads in Mongolia, Lakota activists in Pine Ridge, and farmers from remote villages in China by realizing that it is only when we have the courage to be real, to be vulnerable, and to have empathy that we create a “safe space” for honest communication.

Chris Bashinelli simplifies diversity, equity, and inclusion to its essence — empathy and respect. We must create a work environment that fosters respect for all, inclusive of race, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, and even different points of view. When we do, we empower real innovation to occur — by leveraging the strength of our individual life experiences and our shared core values. We can’t afford not to be inclusive. If we all think and act the same, we will get the same result. In Bashinelli’s one of a kind, relatable style, attendees will be shown how to break down barriers, build true connection, and tap into the power of their teams.

Reduce Employee Burnout: Mental Health, Productivity and Creating Healthy Boundaries

“Zoom fatigue”, increased hours, and the dissolution between home and work have left so many of us feeling completely burnt out. How can we perform at our best when we are not feeling our best? It’s impossible. Serving our organization and our mission begins with taking care of ourselves, and that begins with how we choose to see the world. When we push ourselves beyond healthy limits, we are of very little use to our organization in the long term, and our well-being suffers greatly. Each mental health challenge we face is an opportunity to create healthier mental habits and boundaries, so that we can reduce burnout and increase productivity.

Pulling from more than a decade of in-depth mindfulness practice and firsthand experience in productivity as the creator and host of Bridge the Gap, Bash offers practical solutions to the mental health challenges of our time — one that doesn’t require us to get on a plane. Attendees will be guided through simple, yet powerful exercises they can bring back to the office today, so that we can reduce burnout and increase inspiration. Creating healthy boundaries allows us to do more, in less time, deepening our focus and expanding our capacity for joy.

In this interactive keynote we’ll explore how gratitude practice rewires our brain for happiness, how meditation reduces stress, and how work-life boundaries empower us to be more present at home and more productive in the office. Happiness doesn’t come from success — success comes from happiness, and that begins with a healthy mindset. When we are feeling our best, we have our best selves to give.

Global Citizenship: Change Your Mind, Change Your World

There is so much outside of our control — government regulations, company layoffs, budget cutbacks, etc. As long as we focus on what is outside our control, we are guaranteed to feel anxious, disempowered, and stressed — and our work will suffer. After studying anthropology in East Africa at 20 years old, Chris Bashinelli returned home to discover his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In this moment, his life mission changed from wanting to change the world, to wanting to change himself. The moment we take responsibility for what is in our control, we are empowered to act to change circumstances for the better. This talk explores what it means to become a “Global Citizen”, a productive, connected, and inspired member of our organization and our world.

In this talk, Bashinelli guides attendees on an international journey that shows how when we change our minds, we truly do change our world. From this perspective, challenge gives rise to strength and suffering to empathy. From the story of a remote Chinese village that multiplied its income by tenfold after a devastating fire, to a young man in Tanzania who overcame unthinkable odds to become a celebrated cinematographer, to our own experience of tragedy and triumph — we learn in practical terms how shifting our perspective has the power to shift our experience for the better. Becoming a “Global Citizen” has nothing to do with traveling the world and everything to do with understanding we each have a critical role to play. When we flourish individually, we empower our organization to flourish.