Chris Bashinelli Profile

Perhaps best known for his role on the worldwide hit HBO show The Sopranos, Chris Bashinelli is a motivational speaker who focuses on cross-cultural issues reflecting his passion for improving life for those from poorer cultures. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, he moved to Tanzania to explore the poverty on the other side of the global equation. He now travels the world examining the problems of impoverished areas; his TV series Bridge the Gap, which he produces and presents, promotes intercultural dialogue with its presentation of other lives as lived around the world.

Bridge The Gap TV is Chris’s socially conscious production company that focuses on understanding what it is like to walk in another’s shoes for a day. His interviewees have ranged from Ben and Jerry to NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, and his partners include the Jane Goodall Institute and Do Something, amongst other leading non-profit organizations.

Holder of a BA in Theatre Arts (Cum Laude) from Marymount Manhattan College, Chris is an Eagle Scout and a United Nations Guest Speaker who has spoken and emceed events in the UN General Assembly Hall in the presence of Ban Ki-Moon. As an actor his credits include An Inconvenient Truth Special on MTV and of course the aforementioned runaway worldwide success The Sopranos.

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    Chris Bashinelli (The Sopranos, HBO) was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. After years of reading headlines about world hunger, human suffering and extreme poverty, he decided to move to Tanzania. Now he travels to impoverished areas worldwide to find out first hand how the other half of the world lives. Chris is the producer and host of Bridge the Gap, an internationally recognized travel series that fosters intercultural dialogue by highlighting stories of every day life from around the world.

    Chris traveled to Tanzania with a Sony handy cam and came home with a newfound meaning for life. He returned to New York to face tragedy and within two years would bury his father due to cancer. These turbulent times forced Chris to find meaning, and he did so in Bridge the Gap.

    Chris is the founder of the socially-conscious production company, Bridge the Gap TV. He’s interviewed everyone from Ben and Jerry to NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, and has formed partnerships with the world’s leading non-profit organizations, including the Jane Goodall Institute and Do Something.

    Chris’s experience is in the world of film, with credits ranging from The Sopranos (HBO), to An Inconvenient Truth Special on MTV. He holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts (Cum Laude) from Marymount Manhattan College. He is an Eagle Scout and a United Nations Guest Speaker. He has spoken at international youth conferences and Emceed in the UN General Assembly Hall with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Chris is determined beyond measure to produce wide-reaching, socially conscious media.

    Chris traverses the globe from Tanzania to Thailand as Host and Executive Producer of Bridge The Gap, a new TV show (premiering onPBS TV later this year) where he discovers what it′s like to walk in someone else′s shoes for one day.

    He′s interviewed some of Time Magazine′s 100 Most Influential People on the planet, and at 26 years old, has become the United Nations Go-To-Kid for all things youth, Brooklyn, and cultural exchange.

    Chris′ passion and charisma have made him a celebrated speaker and emcee at home and abroad.

    Chris Bashinelli, also known as, “Bash”, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. After a decade long acting career including an appearance on the HBO hit television show, The Sopranos, Bash decided to follow his real passion – using media to build bridges between cultures. In his early 20’s, he became one of the youngest Moderators at the United Nations and made a documentary about his journey to Tanzania. He now traverses the globe from Uganda to Haiti, as Host of Bridge the Gap, a television series featured on PBS and the National Geographic Channel, where he discovers what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.

    Of Lebanese and Italian descent, Bash knows what it takes to live in a diverse world. He has harvested buffalo with Native Americans in Pine Ridge, lived with nomads in Mongolia, and Sumo Wrestled the heaviest Japanese human being in recorded history. He is a United Nations Moderator, an Eagle Scout, a National Geographic Explorer, and has interviewed some of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People on the Planet.

    Bash has spoken around the world – from TEDx, to Abu Dhabi, to Azerbaijan – at multi-million dollar corporations, Ivy League Universities, and in the United Nations General Assembly Hall. He has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Dr. Jane Goodall and former United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

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Chris Bashinelli's Speech Descriptions

Chris Bashinelli’s presentations are universally inspirational. He discusses topics of leadership, community-building and social responsibility from a unique perspective. He engages audiences and inspires them to reach out to everyone around them and find some common ground. He also encourages audiences to find direction in their lives using concrete examples from his own.

Chris presents a series of inspirational talks in which he approaches familiar topics from eye opening new perspectives. He has a passion for inspiring his audiences to reach out and find common ground with others. He talks of how he made his journey from a Brooklyn kid to someone who can raise $100,000 from companies such as Ben and Jerry’s and have his own TV show on PBS. Inspired by his travels around the world, Chris encourages his audience to drop their perceptions of their own limitations.

Talking of his travels all around the world to examine different cultures, Chris explains his concept of the stoop, the place of common ground where neighbourhoods and cultures meet, and shows how “finding the stoop” can create a more cohesive workplace. Chris is passionate about the search for true meaning and global awareness, and after hearing him talk you will be too.

For more than a decade National Geographic Explorer, Chris Bashinelli, has traveled the world walking in other people’s shoes and trying to better understand the universal human condition. Pulling from more than ten years of Meditation practice and first hand cross-cultural experiences in 40 countries – Bash brings to life for your audience the powerful tools he’s learned around Mental Health, Well-Being and the Importance of Connection. Invite “Bash” to help your attendees see themselves, each other and the world around them as they never have before.


Only when each member of our team feels seen, valued and respected, can we tap into the true strength of our organization. Chris has forged lifelong friendships in a matter of moments with nomads in Mongolia, Lakota activists in Pine Ridge and farmers in the remote villages of China - How? Through the transformative approach of finding our “in”. Our “in” is a moment of connection where the wall that separates us from another human being dissolves, and we immediately recognize their humanity. When this happens, the other person feels safe, they can trust us, and the strength of our relationship grows tremendously.

Bash simplifies Diversity and Inclusion to it’s essence - empathy and respect. By sharing stories of authentic human connection and the methods for which we can do the same, this talk empowers organizations to tap into the true strength of their team - where every single person is encouraged to bring their best, and their whole selves to work. The result? A more present, connected and inspired organization.


Employee burn out, stress and mental health challenges are at an all time high. Our increased work load, longer hours and the dissolution between office and home boundaries have left many of us feeling more stressed and anxious than ever before. Pulling from more than a decade of in-depth Meditation studies and firsthand experience in presence and productivity as creator and Host of Bridge the Gap, Bash offers practical solutions for Mental Health and Well Being, from a Global Perspective.

Colored by stories of perseverance and mental agility everywhere from Western Hunan to the Mongolian grasslands, Bash reminds us that there truly is no circumstance to difficult to be transformed (and that one’s perspective truly does shape one’s reality). Attendees will be guided through simple, yet powerful exercises they can bring back to the office today, to help reduce stress, increase enjoyment at home and fuel productivity in the office. In order for our employees to perform at their best, they must be feeling their best - this talk offers a practical solution to the Mental Health challenges of our time - that doesn’t require attendees to get on a plane.


There is so much outside of our control - government regulations, company layoffs, budget cutbacks - as long as we focus on what is outside our control we are guaranteed to feel anxious, helpless and stressed - and our work will suffer. After studying anthropology in East Africa at 20 years old, Bash 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.

In this talk Bash takes 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 - empathy. From the story of a remote Chinese village that multiplied it’s income by tenfold after a devastating fire, to a young man in Tanzania who overcame unthinkable odds to become a celebrated cinematographer, to Chris’s 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. “Global” Citizenship has nothing to do with traveling the world, and everything to do with understanding that we each have a critical role to play and that our organization will only flourish when we flourish individually.

What People are Saying about Seeing Chris Speak

Rating Entries


  • UN Launch of International Year of Youth- UN General Assembly Hall, NYC
  • United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Bridging Cultures Forum- Brazil
  • United Nations World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue- Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Empower Youth 2011 Conference, Reach out to Asia- Doha, Qatar
  • Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoos National Leadership Retreat- New Orleans, LA
  • Girls Who Rock Benefit Concert w/ Shontelle- NYC
  • Global Issues Conference, American Community School of Abu Dhabi- UAE

    “Chris Bashinelli is an inspiration to youth worldwide. He speaks with passion and his message is one of hope, cultural tolerance and call to action. He knows how to reach young and old alike. Bridge the Gap shares exciting and inspirational stories of daily life from the developing world and encourages us to realize that at the end of the day, we really are all the same and every single one of us makes a difference. We need more people like Chris in the world.”
    JANE GOODALL PhD, DBE – Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, United Nations Messenger of Peace

    “Dear Chris, It was a pleasure to meet you at the United Nations International Day of Peace. Your handling of the student panel discussion and your own speech were excellent. Your motivational skills and energy along with the positive message you send will truly inspire people to help make this a better planet. Congratulations and best wishes for a very promising future.”
    MR. MICHAEL DOUGLAS – Academy Award-winning Actor, United Nations Messenger of Peace

    “G’day mate! Great to meet you! I love your message and it fits perfectly in the corporate market. Who knew that traveling the world and living with nomads relates to work in an office setting!? I introduce a lot of speakers to events around the world and I rate your session very highly- Entertaining, engaging, compelling… All the good stuff!”
    LARRY EMDUR – Australian Television Personality

    “Chris is a gifted speaker that has the uncanny ability to fill any venue with positive energy and excitement. He has a rare knack of being able to help bring out the best in every member of the audience. I’m very impressed with his ability to communicate complex messages in an easy to understand and entertaining way. His message as relevant in the cubicle as it is in the space station. I would highly recommend Chris for any speaking venue.”
    RON GARAN Col, USAF (Ret) – NASA Astronaut

    “Bashinelli’s journeys are genuine and without pretense. Bridge the Gap offers a message that we should embrace and act on right now – chances are we’d all be better for it.”
    CHRISTOPHER COLLINS – Executive Producer of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”

    “I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Chris speak on numerous occasions and each time I’m blown away. He is a perfect blend of passionate and compelling, while remaining down to earth and relatable. He knows how to cater his message to different crowds and he never fails to add humor. He is a true artisan with words and a natural leader. I’m excited to see the impact that ‘Bridge the Gap’ will have for this generation and all the ways that Chris Bashinelli will inspire us all to look within, go beyond our comfort zones, and be a voice to those who were otherwise silenced.”
    MONIQUE COLEMAN – United Nations Youth Champion, Actress from High School Musical 2

    “Chris is one of the most inspiring new voices on television. His curiosity and enthusiasm for new experiences is infectious – he’s part Anthony Bourdain, part Anderson Cooper, and 100% fresh. Whether Chris is crying with an Indian prayer circle, or screaming with his arm most of the way inside a cows backside, you just can’t stop watching.”
    JERRY KOLBER – Executive Producer of “Brain Games” on National Geographic Channel

    “Chris Bashinelli fearlessly takes on cultural diversity and uncovers the humanity that is in us all.”
    TRAVIS SHAKESPEARE – BBC Worldwide, Senior Vice President

    “Chris’s charm and etiquette will go a long way. He is able to capture audiences when he speaks and one gets a sense that it is truly from the heart. His appeal is not limited to any particular age group or class. People are very comfortable around him and seem to respond to him endearingly, no matter what walk of life. Chris is helping to change the world. We should all be contributing whatever resources we can, so that Chris may continue ‘Building Bridges’…”
    SHONTELLE LAYNE – Motown Singer & Songwriter

    “Bash, You are too much! I knew you’d done a lot of cool things but your speaking is ridiculously good. Your speaking style is so well done, so polished, so powerful. I would push more and more that you are an INSPIRATIONAL speaker more than anything, because you’re an inspirational PERSON. It’s almost as if you are too big, too much like an icon in the making, like Anthony Bourdain charisma meets Nelson Mandela peacefulness and Colin Powell diplomacy, after meeting you that’s what I felt I was in the presence of, someone significant, an international juggernaut and difference maker. Excited to see your influence continue to rise.”
    JASON HEWLETT – Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker<b>

    “Chris opens peoples eyes up to the different worlds in which we live and makes people think about things we in the developed world take for granted. Exchanges like those we see in ‘Bridge the Gap’, which at first seem to be from worlds apart, in fact serve to make use realize how interconnected we all are”
    DR. LOUISE LEAKEY – Paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer in Residence

    “Chris was outstanding and willing to go the extra mile to meet students. Every young person should hear his message.”
    North Central Michigan College
    (Event booked by

    “Bridge the Gap is a great idea and it’s need has never been greater.”
    UN Ambassador Ombeni Sefue (Tanzania)

    “Chris’s project is exciting and helpful to the people of our world.”
    Princess and Ambassador Mbikusita-Lewanika (Zambia)

    “Chris is beyond inspirational. Before, I thought ‘I’m just one person, what can I do?’ But now I feel I can really make a difference.”
    Mackenzie Stack (15 years old), Student at Qatar Canadian School

    “Chris is a trailblazer in that he is able to entertain and educate simultaneously.”
    Damian Wampler, Photographer, Founder of Colony Magazine

    “Chris has a one of a kind entrepreneurial spirit coupled with an overwhelming desire to be a positive influence for his generation.”
    Alfred Hanssen, former COO for Miracle Corners of the World

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