Elevate Empathy is a corporate training company, working with forward thinking Australian organisations.

Our teaching can embed the powerful skillset of empathy into group norms and protocols, thereby raising a team’s collective empathy – allowing everyone the opportunity to thrive

It is our mission to create a meaningful impact on lives by describing and coaching the skillset of empathy. We want to normalise empathetic understanding as the gold standard for human interaction, starting in workplaces

Cate Richards

Empathy, defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, and to respond appropriately, is central to our lives.   As individuals, our empathy helps us respond well in social situations, build social connections, support healthy emotional regulation and encourages compassion.  

Empathy also exists in the collective as the capacity of an organisation to demonstrate empathy both internally (within and between teams) and externally by truly understanding and supporting the needs of customers

Because empathy is contagious, we can raise collective empathy by embedding positive group norms, guardrails and protocols directly into our systems, uplifting everyone and reducing the burden on individuals to deliver care.

Empathy – the remarkable, replenishing human resource, can easily become a central organising principle for teams – making your organisation a great place to be. By transforming culture and systems with empathy the lives of both employees and customers are positively impacted

Cate Richards – MD of Elevate Empathy

Cate Richards is the managing director of Elevate Empathy. This new company builds upon her 15 years of experience making teams better. Cate believes the addition of empathy as a guiding principle will take collaboration, inclusion and performance to the next level for most teams.

In 2006, Cate founded Australia’s leading team building company, Team Bonding.  She enhanced and expanded the business until 2020, becoming an expert at designing and facilitating immersive team experiences which were rewarding and transformative

Each and every day for 15 years, Cate had the opportunity to study the attributes which underpin effective team cultures, noting the way teams interacted, included everyone (or not) and how leaders motivated their people (or not).
Over the journey Team Bonding worked with over 3,000 teams and 75,000 individuals, including every one of Australia’s top 25 companies. 

In the midst of a pandemic shutdown in 2020 came an unexpected opportunity. Cate Richards sold Team Bonding to two wonderful young women who have infused it with fresh energy and are thriving in spite of challenging times.

Life Before Team Bonding

Prior to launching Team Bonding in 2006, Cate Richards held senior roles in research, branding, insight and customer experience for the likes of Commonwealth Bank and St.George.  Between these 2 roles, she enjoyed the challenge of 4 years at Singleton Ogilvy & Mather (now Ogilvy) as a business strategist. In this role Cate collaborated with talented colleagues to develop insight and marketing strategy for some of Australia’s leading brands.  

Some of Cate’s books on empathy, emotion and related topics.

The idea for Elevate Empathy found Cate on a cold day in August 2020 as she listened to a podcast featuring Alan Alda and Brene Brown. 

The episode included a brief discussion of empathy, with Brene Brown noting most people could improve their set level of empathy with the right intention and approach.

Cate felt a jolt through her body – she instantly saw that all of her experience with improving teams and culture could be based around empathy.   The spark was lit …. and the study began.

Intensive research dominated the latter stages of Cate’s pandemic, with isolation and delays allowing time and inspiration to go incredibly deep into a sprawling topic.   Empathy is researched in psychology and sociology through neurobiology, anthropology, evolutionary psychology and moral philosophy, which meant her topic kept expanding.

Cate has read over 40 books (including “Against Empathy” :-)), listened to thousands of hours of podcasts and lectures, took notes, synthesised findings, checked, rechecked and tested academic findings against her real world knowledge of cultures and teams.

A particular breakthrough came with the development of the POLAR framework.  A unique feature of our model is it’s plasticity. Once learned, it is simple to apply to any situation which would benefit from empathetic understanding, from the smallest human interaction to the largest system.

To develop the module on understanding emotions Cate took a long detour into emotion research and is excited about the potential of this module to help people with emotional regulation.

After a year spent crafting the content, Cate has launched Elevate Empathy with a signature workshop, which is an accelerated immersion into empathy.   The hardest thing has been deciding what to leave out, as all the information on empathy and emotion is fascintating for any student of human nature.  Needless to say, she has drawn on her team building experience to add plenty of fun and games to bring the information to life.

Cate continues to finesse the signature teaching content of Elevate Empathy, and fully expects it will be a never ending task.

Cate Richards whole heartedly welcomes you to Elevate Empathy.
She is available to talk further about the needs of your team or organisation here.

Elevate Empathy gifts 6 free workshops per year to charitable organisations who work on the front lines of empathy, supporting people who need our compassion. We love to support the people who offer so much of themselves. You can read more about the charity scholarships here.

Elevate Empathy Values