Mary Gordon is the inspiration behind Roots of Empathy and Seeds of Empathy
Mary Gordon is recognized internationally as an award-winning social entrepreneur in the field of education. She is also an educator, speaker, author, parenting expert and child advocate who has created programs informed by the power of empathy.
In 1996, she created the Roots of Empathy program for children ages 5 to 13 in Ontario. In 2005, Ms. Gordon created the Seeds of Empathy program for 3 to 5 year olds in child care. Today, her programs are offered in 14 countries.
Mary Gordon created Ontario’s Parenting and Family Literacy Centres in 1981, which have been used as a best practice model internationally.
In 2002, Mary was named Canada’s first Ashoka Fellow, recognizing her as a member of an international circle of social entrepreneurs who have the creativity and skill to envision and bring new ways of addressing persistent social problems. In 2011, she was named an Ashoka Globalizer, joining a select group of Ashoka Fellows supported in extending their message and impact to the global level.
A dynamic and insightful speaker, Ms Gordon has presented to, collaborated with, and advised governments, educational organizations, and international bodies including:
- World Health Organization
- United Nations
- Skoll World Forum
- UBS Global Philanthropy Forum
- The Embodiment Conference
- University of Calgary – Pluralism
- BC Nurses Union
- DLD Munich
- Peschool Neuroscience Summit
Mary has participated in several dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has expressed that programs like Roots of Empathy will build world peace.
Mary has received many awards, including:
- Governor General of Canada Innovation Award, the only award for social innovation among science awards
- Order of Canada
- Order of Ontario
- Order of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for outstanding and exemplary contributions to communities or to Canada as a whole
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant contributions and achievements by Canadians
- Manning Innovation Award, the only social entrepreneur among science awards
In her book, Roots of Empathy, Founder/President Mary Gordon chronicles the creation of her award-winning classroom programs. Mary shares her vision of a society of compassionate and caring children who will pass on their legacy of empathy to their own children.
Mary was featured in Alex Gabbay’s documentary “Love Hate and Everything in Between.” She was also featured in Who Cares? This 93-minute international documentary by award-winning Brazilian filmmaker Mara Mouão profiles Mary Gordon as one of 18 global social entrepreneurs who have solutions for some of the toughest global issues.
Both Mary and Roots of Empathy have been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, Time Magazine , PBS, CNN, NHK Korea, Radio New Zealand, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, and many more.
Mary has written articles and book chapters. Her book, Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child, is a Canadian bestseller which is available in many languages and formats such as e-book and audio book.