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       Mary Gordon


Mary Gordon is recognized internationally as an

award-winning social entrepreneur, speaker, educator,

author, child advocate and parenting expert who

has  created programs informed by the power of empathy.

Booking Mary Gordon

If you would like to book Mary Gordon, Founder and President of Roots of Empathy for a virtual presentation now, or an in-person presentation at a later date, contact: Ivonne Guerra, President’s Office, iguerra@rootsofempathy.org. 

You can follow Mary on Twitter @MaryGordonROE and on LinkedIn. And Roots of Empathy on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn – @RootsofEmpathy

Mary Gordon speaks on topics such as: empathy, innovation, education, civil society, leadership, social entrepreneurship, pluralism, early childhood development and parenting.

May 3-9, 2021

 THE MINDFUL PLAY SUMMIT is a free online virtual conference for parents and educators looking for playful strategies to ease stress and anxiety in children. By supporting the children around us using playfulness, games and mindful activities, we can create emotional resilience for both caregiver and child. The event will have 25+ top experts, including Mary Gordon, Fonder/President ROE, to share their stories, struggles and breakthroughs while emphasizing the benefits of play-based learning and mindful practices to reduce stress and anxiety in children. Register HERE

March 28 – April 3, 2021

Swarthmore College and Ashoka Japan present the international Social Innovation Lab at the Lang Centre and Ashoka Japan Youth Venturer’s International Youth Social Innovator Symposium. Mary Gordon will be the keynote speaker for this virtual, three-day exchange event. Hosted by Professor Denis Crossan, formerly of Trinity College, Dublin, Mary will address “Empathy: platform for social innovation.”

March 4, 2021

ANNUAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FOR A DAY at Mount St Vincent University is a collaborative event connecting students with social enterprises. Panelists speak to their views on how entrepreneurs can make a positive impact on society. Hear Mary Gordon Founder/President of Roots of Empathy. FREE Register  HERE

February 22-26, 2021

Presenting at the 4th ANNUAL PRESCHOOL MINDFULLNESS SUMMIT, Founder Mary Gordon addresses social-emotional learning, and wellbeing strategies to use with students, teachers or parents. Past summits have attracted audiences from over 72 countries around the world and have featured speakers such as Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Daniel Goleman and Dr. Rick Hanson. FREE Register HERE.

February 19, 2021

“BUILDING EMPATHY: The Missing Piece in Violence Prevention”

Presenting to school counsellors and mental health professionals at the Melissa Institute, Mary Gordon will focus on the role of empathy in the prevention of violence and aggression; executive functioning capacities; using the lens of Temperament to understand periods of child development, and ways to nurture empathy. Additionally, Mary Gordon will outline the differences between cognitive empathy and affective empathy and how these distinctions are important in the function of empathy development. Participants will be able to utilize this knowledge to assist children and families they work with to encourage empathy and prevent later incidences of violence. This presentation will be used to offer continuing education credits to participants. FREE Register HERE

January 18, 2021

“WHERE PARENTS TALK” Interview with journalist Lianne Castelino. Mary Gordon presents to an award-winning digital community created to educate and empower parents. Click here to hear the podcast.

December 1, 2020

UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY Nurturing Empathy in Uncertain Times – Pluralism and Global Citizenship webinar series

The University of Calgary has made pluralism a university-wide banner initiative. As part of this initiative, the University is hosting a pluralism podcast/webinar. Moderated by highly regarded journalist, UCalgary Chancellor Deb Yedlin, Mary Gordon joins panelists Dr. Dianne Gereluk (PhD, Dean, Werklund School of Education, UCalgary) and Benedict Kojo Otoo (PhD Candidate, Werklund School of Education, UCalgary). Dr. Aleem Bharwani (MD, physician, Clinical Associate Professor, and Director of Public Policy and Partnerships for the Indigenous, Local, and Global Health Office in the Cumming School of Medicine and O’Brien Institute for Public Health) will introduce the panel, who will be speaking on the topic of helping parents and teachers understand how we can nurture and teach empathy in a digital sphere. How do we teach critical citizenship skills when more and more of our kids’ interactions are digital?

November 26, 2020

BRITISH COLUMBIA NURSES’ UNION 2020 Human Rights & Equity Conference In the Wake: Pandemics and Public Health

Mary Gordon will discuss the many health, social and political issues that have arisen in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference will offer members an opportunity to engage in dialogue on these and other related issues and to reflect on how we can begin to shape our collective future as nurses, health care workers and union activists. Mary’s presentation “What Happened?” delves into the universal experience of the pandemic that hasn’t built solidarity, but loneliness and poor children’s mental health.

November 19, 2020

Rediscovering Certainty Empathy & Deep Listening Session

Mary Gordon will explore the theme of empathy and the relationship between deep listening and empathy in this Ashoka Changemaker Summit. With a global audience, the panelists include Vuslat Dogan Sabancı, who recently established a global foundation to support initiatives using deep listening and Kinari Webb of Harmony for Health, who uses deep listening to save rainforests in Indonesia. The summit poses questions like how, at this moment are we trying to shift our perspectives? How do we rediscover certainty? What are the firm values that keep us going?

Date TBA

THE DALAI LAMA Global Vision Summit

An online event hosted in acknowledgement of the Dalai Lama’s 85th birthday, The Dalai Lama Global Vision Summit will be a six-day virtual summit personally endorsed by His Holiness. The summit is a celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, bringing together teachers and speakers all illuminating the themes of the Dalai Lama’s life and work. Mary Gordon was invited to join the celebration where she will be sharing footage of her previous dialogues with his Holiness.

Mary Gordon invitation to conferenceOctober 14-25, 2020

EMBODIMENT CONFERENCE Mary Gordon presents “Creating an Empathic and Emotionally Literate World”.

Mary Gordon’s compelling presentation in the Leadership and Business channel, explores her empathy-based program, Roots of Empathy, which taps into the emotional lives of children, their creativity and imagination. Mary discusses the research confirming the program’s impact on three continents. Research on Roots of Empathy shows that as children’s empathy increases, aggression and bullying decrease, and prosocial behaviours increase. Over 400,000 people registered for the conference.

September 8, 2020

ASHOKA INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER SERIES Geneva Switzerland “EMPATHY—The new essential skill”

Audience: registered participants from Switzerland, Japan, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. Mary Gordon joins Ashoka panellists to discuss questions such as: Does empathy help us when going through schools closures, lock down, and solidarity needs? We are on the cusp of a one-in-a-lifetime moment. After disruption and chaos, our society and economy are now being rebuilt. We have, therefore, an unique opportunity to design the world of tomorrow. What should its fundamentals be? How important will empathy be? How to foster such a skill in the next generation? Ashoka Switzerland hosted “outstanding Canadian Fellow, Mary Gordon, founder of the ground-breaking Roots of Empathy.”

August 31 – September 3, 2020

Preschool Neuroscience Summit 2020  Keynote speaker Mary Gordon presents “Cultivating Empathy in Children”.

Mary will discuss why empathy is needed now more than ever in society and the pivotal role that Early Childhood Educators play in its cultivation. Understanding the brain and how it works is essential for preschool teachers and parents. Registrants will learn about how to help children and themselves develop self-regulation and well being. Host of the summit is Dr. Helen Maffini, researcher, co-author of Developing Children’s Emotional Intelligence and creator of Thriving Kids, has successfully run international summits over the last three years with over 30,000 registrants that were headlined by Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Daniel Goleman, and Dr. Rick Hanson, Susan Kaiser Greenland, and many others. This is a 3-day long virtual conference where pre-recorded interviews with industry experts will be broadcast.

August 21, 2020

FIRKI TEACH FOR INDIA “Why empathy is crucial in our post-covid world”.

Mary Gordon presents at Firki, the teacher education portal of Teach For India and a fellow winner of the HundrED educational innovator award. She will describe the history and research on the Roots of Empathy program. Narrative, video and children’s art will be used to explain how this school-based initiative has captured the attention of neuroscientists around the world. Emphasis will be placed on how the organization pivoted in the face of COVID-19 to design a new program adaptable to COVID-19 challenges.

August 6, 2020

Mary Gordon is invited by the SAMUEL CENTRE FOR SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS for a Roundtable Discussion to support its Social Connectedness Fellowship program. Topic: Domestic Violence The Social Connectedness Fellowship is supporting its fifth cohort of young leaders who are carrying out community-based research related to overcoming social isolation and building belonging. Part of their outputs last year was producing policy proposals to address the harmful impact of COVID-19 measures in relation to domestic violence. Mary Gordon was invited to contribute to this Roundtable Discussion as SCF believes her experience and knowledge would be of great value to the Fellows.

Publish Date TBC

ESPERANTO is the first English language magazine published in Japan. Mary Gordon, a Global Social Entrepreneur of influence has been invited to give her view of the future post-covid. In their first issue, world class photographer and journalist Nanako Watanabe will be highlighting writing from Mary Gordon along with three other renowned social entrepreneurs, Bart Weetjens, Hasina Kharbih and David Green. The magazine is looking for a global and humanistic view of the coming era as a common thread.

July 17, 2020

THE GRIT New York INTERVIEWS MARY GORDON Loralyn Mears, Journalist, from Grit Daily News asks “What’s at the Root of Empathy? We asked Mary Gordon” Grit Daily News is the top news source on Millennial and Gen Z brands — from fashion, tech, and influencers to entrepreneurship and life. Based in New York, their team is global and brings with it over 400 years of combined reporting experience. Grit Daily’s team includes all stars and media veterans from ABC, CBS, CNN, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Vice, and Vox — among others. Grit Daily embodies — and covers — the changes of our times. READ THE ARTICLE HERE https://gritdaily.com/collision-from-home-mary-gordon/

July 16, 2020

TVO TEACH ONTARIO FEATURE, “In Conversation with Mary Gordon”

TVO TeachOntario is an award-winning online community that supports sharing, collaboration and knowledge exchange amongst educators across Ontario. A unique destination for teachers, TeachOntario’s purpose is to serve and celebrate Ontario educators for the broader benefit of Ontario’s students. Mary Gordon’s presentation explores the role of teachers in the success of the Roots of Empathy program and their leadership in nurturing empathy within the classroom.  CLICK HERE TO READ THE CONVERSATION rb.gy/2sf7e8

June 26, 2020

“Towards a Bully Free World” by Mary Gordon Article for Principal Connections Magazine. Published in the Fall 2020 Vol 24 Issue 1 of Principal Connections, a magazine designed for principal and vice-principals of Ontario. This edition will be themed around “bullying”. Principal Connections is the only publication in Ontario that is sent to a wide range of Catholic education leaders, including Principals, Vice-Principals, Directors of Education and Superintendents

June 24, 2020


In this cutting-edge podcast from North America’s fastest growing tech conference, renowned News Anchor at China Global Television Network, Rachelle Akuffo moderates panelists Mary Gordon and Tracey Welson-Rossman, Founder of Chariot Solutions/TechGirlz. With over 30,000 attendees from over 100 countries, Mary presents Decode Empathy Education – revealing the balance needed between relationships and technology and the crisis of connection that is affecting all of us due to COVID-19. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO https://cutt.ly/ChbXeJm

June 17, 2020

PODCAST Cork, Ireland  “How to talk policy and influence people”

Interviewer and global advocate Jane Mulcahy speaks with Mary Gordon about empathy, the importance of the attachment relationship between a baby and their primary carer, safety, and the fact that “love grows brains”. They also discuss inter-generational trauma and violence, and how the Adverse Childhood Experiences studies have clearly established a range of negative health, relational and behavioural consequences of relational poverty and an accumulation of adversity in childhood. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO https://youtu.be/JiRddeuXQ0g

June 16, 2020

THIRD SPACE THOUGHTS TO POLICY, Virginia, USA “Episode 30 – How Empathy Can Break Cycles of Violence”

International podcast host Amina Derbi interviews experts and stakeholders in the field of education policy reform including policy advisors, governmental officials, academics, teachers, and parents. Mary Gordon’s interview discusses how it is not just about mastering arithmetic and literacy, but improving community mindedness, moral reasoning, forgiveness, and empathy so that learning is transformative. The podcast was top and trending multiple times on Messy. FM from 2019-2020. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO shorturl.at/dmyJY

May 18, 2020

Romanian ONLINE PANEL “Empathy to tackle the New Inequality”

Mary Gordon speaks on well-being and mental health, the emotional literacy of children and the value of early learning in the family dynamic. Speakers include Ashoka Fellows Flavio Bassi – Latin America,  Ole Kassow – Denmark and Dorica Dan – Romania. The host from Ashoka Romania indicated it was their most successful session that day with over 3.3K views.

May 14, 2020

EMPATHY MUSEUM PANEL Cologne, Germany “A Mile in My Shoes”

Dorothea Marcus, cultural journalist and theatre critic from Cologne, moderates panelists Clare Patey (Director of the Empathy Museum) and Mary Gordon. Mary discusses empathy and the Roots of Empathy approach, including how the program impacts not just the students, but the participating mothers and babies. FOR MORE ON THE EMPATHY MUSEUM https://cutt.ly/uhbUUMJ

April 22, 2020

THE WEEKLY ARTS SHOW on Drive 105, Northern Ireland

Radio interview by Writer and Creative Director Eileen Walsh with Mary Gordon, who will discuss the need for empathy, particularly relevant now. With a focus on the real world as opposed to its digital alternative, Mary discusses raising children in the digital era. CLICK HERE TO HEAR THE PODCAST shorturl.at/ewPZ7

April 16, 2020


Mary Gordon Presents “Childhood is the springtime of humanity”, a hopeful presentation discussing the impact of trauma on children and their resilience in dealing with grief and generalized adversity. We all have personal experiences with childhood but now we have neuroscience to inform us about how early experiences shape brain development. Audience Demographic: Early Years Educators, children’s organizations working with special needs kids, parents, grandparents, volunteers and all 30,000 constituents of the Discovery Museum database.

March 11, 2020


The Order of Ontario is the province’s highest honour for an Ontarian who has shown outstanding qualities of individual excellence and achievement. The Lieutenant Governor, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, inducted Mary Gordon with the Order of Ontario in the category of Education. Mary Gordon gave the response to the toast on behalf of all of the 21 inductees.

February 27, 2020


Mary Gordon presents an exploration of teacher well-being and how it plays an important role in the development of positive teacher-student relationships and in creating a healthy learning environment. To Teach is to Reach is theme of the presentation which places emphasis on how teachers can develop an awareness of their own needs to positively influence their role in the classroom. The greatest learning occurs when children and teachers are equipped with experiences and skills that promote social emotional understanding and wellbeing. Mary Gordon will also present a 30-minute closing plenary for the conference.

February 11, 2020

DIGITAL LIFE DESIGN CONFERENCE Munich, Germany “Teaching is Reaching”

Mary Gordon presents the keynote speech as well as a workshop and closing plenary at Europe’s biggest technology conference. Mary speaks alongside neuroscientist Susan Greenfield. More than 200 speakers and 1,300 attendees will touch base at #DLD20. For the sixteenth time, “Europe‘ s hottest conference” brings together the most influential opinion-makers, industry leaders, start-ups, and digital giants in Munich and around the world. The Digital Life Design Conference is an invitation-only conference.

January 18, 2020

RESPONDING TO CANADA’S URGENT CHALLENGES “Is Human Touch at Risk in the Digital Age?”

Mary Gordon’s presentation looks at how human beings are naturally social and thrive on human connections. Modern digital life gets in the way – we are connected, yet disconnected. The growing trend of Digital Detox shows how people are currently trying to solve this conflict. But are there solutions where technology can help us to enjoy meaningful human connections? How can we all together play a role to serve people’s most fundamental need for more human touch? Joining the discussion is Baroness Susan Greenfield, founder and CEO of Neuro-Bio Ltd and Ralph Zimmerer, VP Global Brand and Design NIVEA.

January 15, 2020

MARS DISCOVERY DISTRICT Toronto Mary Gordon joins a panel of social entrepreneurs, moderated by Anna Maria Tremonti. Before an audience of people who are successfully engaged in reimagining and rebuilding society, Mary Gordon joins Ms Tremonti in demonstrating the value of the Ashoka network and its critical role in addressing urgent challenges facing the world today.


November 28, 2019

9th EDUCATION INNOVATION FORUM; Education to Save People, Korean Teachers’ Credit Union – Seoul, Republic of Korea

Mary Gordon is the keynote speaker at the 9th Education Innovation Forum in Korea where she shares research on the success of her international bullying prevention program. Mary touches on the lifelong effects of adverse experiences, how inequality leads to large social problems later, and the growing sense of frustration and despair of the inequality between generations; rich and poor, educated and not educated, top schools and lower schools. Click here to watch the presentation.

October 27-30, 2019

SAMUEL CENTRE FOR SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS 2019 Global Symposium; Re-Imagining Community in the 21st Century Evergreen Brickworks – Toronto, ON  

Mary Gordon joins an international panel discussion alongside Ian Skelly, Mary Davis, Honourable Rehmah Kasule, Ramona Herdman, and Sabina Alkire, called: What do we value? Towards Human-Centered Policy Making. This symposium explores how leading organizations and individuals can work to strengthen human connections and build the resilient communities of the future—ones in which we all belong.

October 24, 2019

NURTURING EMPATHY IN YOUNG CHILDREN – Parent and Professional Resource Centre, Lambton College

This presentation by Mary Gordon utilizes videos, art and narrative to show the power of early relationships in all domains of development, in particular, in the development of empathy. Of all the human attributes, empathy tops the scale. Yet empathy is endangered, with rates of empathy declining, with loneliness and alienation increasing. This workshop will celebrate the power of Early Educators and the pivotal role of family in building the next generation of citizens and parents. The Parent & Professional Resource Centre (PPRC) offers professional learning opportunities to all Registered Early Childhood Educators, ECE students, home child care providers, parents, teachers and other community partners working with children and youth.

September 21, 2019

ART FOR CHANGE EXHIBITION; Nourishing the Roots of Empathy: Towards a Non-Violent Aotearoa/New Zealand  Auckland, New Zealand

Art for Change is a group of artists who donate time and art to help humanity. Based in Auckland, they assist not-for-profit and community groups to raise awareness and funds for their causes via exhibitions. Mary Gordon joins the opening of the exhibition, which aims to highlight the critical need to help future generations develop empathy – to ‘place themselves in the shoes of the other’ – and so reduce the misunderstanding, prejudice and stereotyping that lead to anger and violence. Nourishing the Roots of Empathy: Towards a Non-Violent New Zealand has the theme of empathy/compassion/non-violence, and will raise awareness and funds for Roots of Empathy.

August 29, 2019


Mary is invited by 90by30 to help celebrate the success of rural Lane County’s pilot year of her ground-breaking program to teach children empathy and compassion through interactions with an infant. Next year, classrooms in all seven regions of the county, including Eugene and Springfield, will join the Roots of Empathy pilot.

June 19, 2019

SCIENCE OF HUMAN CONNECTION PANEL– Project for the Advancement of our Common Humanity (PACH)

Mary, who contributed a chapter to the book by PACH (Project for the Advancement of our Common Humanity) called “The Crisis of Connection” – joins a panel discussion and reads an excerpt from her chapter of the book at the Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville, NY USA. PACH is a think-and-do tank that draws from the science of human connection in order to create a more just and humane world. Click here to listen to Mary Gordon read an excerpt from her chapter of the book.

Mary 31, 2019

SPIRIT OF HUMANITY FORUM; Discovering Harmony in a World of Difference – Spiritual Resilience in Practice  – Reykjavik, Iceland

In this panel, “Harmony in Ourselves and in Our Communities”, Mary Gordon, Boris CyrulnikImad Karam, Dina Shoman, and Caroline Casey share their personal stories and look at how inner harmony might contribute to peacefulness in our communities. Watch Here

May 16 – 17, 2019

2019 ROOTS OF EMPATHY SYMPOSIUM – Toronto, Ont., Canada

Mary hosts the 8th annual Roots of Empathy Symposium at the Globe and Mail Centre – with thanks to our sponsor Nivea and our media sponsor The Globe and Mail. Roots of Empathy’s goals are to mobilize new knowledge around relevant themes and create space for enhancing connections between researchers and research users and beneficiaries. Each evening includes a keynote presentation followed by a question and answer session with the audience to round out the discussion, incorporating perspectives from those in attendance.

April 25, 2019

Mary is the keynote speaker at the MetroWest Foundation’s Spring Inspiration Breakfast: a celebration of youth and family philanthropy. The Foundation for MetroWest’s mission is to connect philanthropic opportunity with demonstrated need. They promote philanthropy in the region, help donors maximize the impact of their local giving, serve as a resource for local non-profit organizations, and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

March 28, 2019

VANIER INSTITUTE CONFERENCE; Little Data Through a Family Lens – Ottawa, ON.  Joined by singer and activist Susan Aglukark, Mary joins a panel titled “Little Data Through a Family Lens” where she discusses the ways in which we measure empathy and love and their impact on our understanding of families.

This inspiring panel will share their insights and experiences through moderated discussion. The panel is comprised of diverse individuals from across Canada who either study, serve or support families who have lived experience relating to the panel topics and themes. Panel: Mary Gordon, Lisa Wolff, Bryan Smale, Simona Bignami, Susan Aglukark, Anne Hollonds

March 20, 2019

WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN 2019 CONFERENCE; What Price Infant Mental Health? – Park Place, London, UK

Mary provides a keynote presentation on infant mental health and is joined by Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Dr Pam Jarvis, Dr Aric Sigman and Dame Sarah Storey. The focus for the 2019 conference is infant mental health and what needs to change to reduce the growing number of children and young people with mental health problems.

February 22 – 23, 2019

ASHOKA U EXCHANGE 2019: BEYOND BOUNDARIES & BORDERS; Expanding Possibilities for the Future of Higher Education – University of California San Diego, CA. U.S 

Mary Gordon, an Ashoka Fellow, will lead an immersive session called The Essential Element in Leading Positive Social Change, which shows you how to bring more empathy and humanity into your leadership roles and everyday practices.

The Ashoka U Exchange is a 3-day learning lab, testing ground, space for celebrating innovation, and spark for the collaboration of 700 educators, students, and other higher education professionals from across the world. It’s a home for creative problem solvers, learners, listeners, and visionaries. Despite our diverse roles, experiences, and background we share the same vision: We must rewire our colleges and universities to enable, empower, and catalyze change makers across our institutions.

The 2019 Exchange is designed to reinvigorate your work as a change maker educator and connect you with a community of others who share your same passion and vision for a change maker world.

February 15 – 17, 2019

EDUCATING WITH EMPATHY CONFERENCE; Cultivating Kindness, Compassion,
Cooperation, and Good Behavior
Learning and the Brain San Francisco, CA. Mary Gordon will be part of the workshop THE SCIENCE OF EMPATHY: TEACHING GRATITUDE & PROSOCIAL BEHAVIORS. Mary will speak on nurturing the Roots of Empathy in Education. Learning & the Brain is an internationally recognized education conference organizer that has been providing pivotal education conferences since 1999. This year’s conference focuses on Empathy and explores the “Science of Human Goodness” and how empathy, compassion, and kindness are hardwired in the brain and are essential for human survival. 

January 24 – 25, 2019


Mary Gordon joins a Panel on Impactful and Scalable Grassroots Innovations. This session will showcase some of the HundrED global education innovations that have successfully driven impactful and scalable change within education globally. This conference will drill down into how these projects achieved scale, how they were funded and the tangible outcomes that resulted from each project.

This two-day event is a great opportunity for educators, investors, corporates, EdTech start-ups, policy makers, and media to participate in intellectually honest conversations about the current state and future of learning. Learnit’s mission is to create a better world by catalyzing change in education globally. They believe that by uniting the global learning community, and leading an intellectually honest conversation about the current state and future of learning, we can revolutionize education, and ultimately change the world.