Steve's Bio

A powerful storyteller with a powerful story to tell, Dr. Steve L. Robbins has an uncanny ability to inspire people even in the midst of disrupting and challenging the way they think about the world. Born in Vietnam, Dr. Robbins immigrated with his mother to the United States where they faced many challenges during a time when there was much anti-war and anti-Vietnamese sentiment.


Working through and rising out of the challenges of poverty, discrimination and the tough streets of Los Angeles, Dr. Robbins now brings insightful perspectives on issues of inclusion & innovation, leadership, and the power of caring. Drawing upon a compelling life journey, his talks and workshops are filled with intriguing stories, laugh-out-loud humor and a keen understanding of human behavior.


Dr. Robbins uniquely knows how to simultaneously challenge and motivate people with a dynamic use of storytelling, humor and extensive knowledge of pertinent issues and concepts. The inclusive power of his message are why organizations like Disney, Walmart, NASA, Caterpillar, Boeing, Microsoft, Gap Inc., Michelin, Toyota, Daimler-Benz and numerous others call on Dr. Robbins to inspire, educate and prepare their people for the exciting challenges of dynamic and diverse environments.

A thought leader and innovator, Dr. Robbins' unique, science-based approach to inclusion and diversity has captured wide acclaim from numerous audiences and organizations across the United States. His approach does NOT blame or point fingers. It uses neuroscience and the science of human behavior to encourage individuals and organizations to be more open-minded, mindful and intentional about inclusion and valuing people for their unique gifts, abilities and experiences.

His new video training series called “Inclusion Insights” is already being talked about as a much-needed and effective tool for cultivating and maintaining conversations on pertinent inclusion and diversity related issues. He describes the short, two to three minute videos as “burst-learning” opportunities that help to create inclusive mindsets and encourage the practice of inclusive behaviors. His book, “What If? Short Stories to Spark Diversity Dialogue,” is used by numerous organizations and schools to invite people into deeper conversations about diversity, inclusion and the power of caring.

Dr. Robbins earned an undergraduate degree in Communication from Calvin College, and his masters and doctorate in Communication Science from Michigan State University. His background in communication, socio-psychology and cognitive neuroscience drive his work with individuals and organizations – the core of the work is about understanding human behavior and leveraging human differences in an ever-changing, fast-paced 21st world.

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Dr. Robbins speaks and presents across the world to many different audiences. Whether it's a an hour keynote or a two-day workshop, he views his engagements as opportunities to do what he loves, teach. Often called a "diversity expert," he readily admits that he doesn't know if he's a diversity expert.  Steve considers himself more an experienced student of human behavior. For him, issues of inclusion and diversity are fundamentally issues of human behavior in a world filled with human differences. His life experiences and academic background in communication science, social psychology and cognitive neuroscience are the foundation from which he crafts his talks and workshops. That foundation guides his work and allows him multiple perspectives that he brings to bear on issues of inclusion and diversity. The following presentations/workshops are his most requested.

  • You're Brain is Good at Inclusion ...Except When It't Not
  • Unintentional Intolerance: How NICE People Make Mistakes
  • Membership Has Its Privileges
  • An Open Mind is a Terrible Thing to Close
  • Inclusion & Innovation
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Education Videos

Inclusion Insights "Burst Learning" Videos

These twenty-four (24) short videos are approximately two minutes in length and are distributed twice monthly. Designed to be used regularly, they provide opportunities for “burst learning” and keep relevant ideas top-of-mind. Each video covers a science-based topic that creates better understanding of human behavior that can be applied to issues of diversity and inclusion, team-building, leadership, communication, trust, etc. Pulled from his research into the fields of behavioral science and cognitive neuroscience, Dr. Robbins presents topics ranging from the various forms of unconscious bias to the neuroscience of learning to why humans resist change. Each video comes with insightful questions and suggestions for action that encourage conversation and best practices.

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Most Requested Presentation/Workshop

“Your Brain is Good at Inclusion… Except When It’s Not”
This presentation provides an innovative, science-based look at the benefits of creating inclusive workplaces. Using the fields of cognitive neuroscience, socio-psychology, and communication (among others), Dr. Robbins explores with his audience the human, hard-wired need to be valued and included – and what happens when that need is not met. He demonstrates how our brain has natural tendencies (i.e. biases) that can help us achieve goals, but also lead to unintended consequences, like the exclusion of others who are different than us. He provides listeners with terms and a language that invite people into productive conversations about inclusion and diversity. In the end, Dr. Robbins shows that the key to battling bias in organizations begins with understanding how individuals’ brains operate, but ultimately requires changes in organizational patterns of beliefs and behaviors.

The presentation makes a compelling, neuroscience-grounded case for why addressing inclusion and diversity is not an option, but an organizational imperative for excelling in a dynamic, 21st century world. And as always, Dr. Robbins brings all this science-based content neatly packaged in real-world relevance, a good dose of storytelling and laugh-out-loud humor. Ultimately, listeners will walk away with 1) a greater motivation to engage the work of inclusion and diversity, 2) better understand what that work looks like, and 3) how such work will enhance individual and organizational performance.

Presentation Objectives
To help participants:

  • Better understand the work of inclusion and diversity from the perspectives of human behavior and cognitive neuroscience
  • Understand how the brain’s natural functioning can lead to unintended consequences and prevent us from leveraging human differences
  • Better understand the root of cause(s) of inclusion and diversity-related problems
  • Obtain concepts, terms and language that invite people into conversation about inclusion and diversity
  • Walk away with a deeper commitment and simple, yet powerful actions to address issues of inclusion and diversity

How Can we serve you?

Contact us to find out more about how we can assist you as you journey down the path of creating a high performing, inclusive and diverse organization. We believe you will find Dr. Robbins' approach is innovative, insightful, and impactful. And, he's a pretty good guy too!