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Gabriella Van Rij


Gabriella Van Rij


Gabriella Van Rij

Photo of Gabriella van Rij walking out of her office


Drawing from groundbreaking science, her immense cross-cultural experience, and her signature wit, Gabriella is the founder of the #DaretobeKind movement, a kindness expert, and a keynote speaker.

Her mission is to inspire organizations to tap into the power of kindness—the most underutilized skill in today’s world.

Adopted from an orphanage in Pakistan and one of the first cross-cultural adoptions of the 1960s, Gabriella van Rij has an undeniable story that has led to her life’s work. In the keynotes she delivers and through her activism, Gabriella reveals that the hidden ingredient in working toward public health and well-being, equality, peace, justice, and strong and stable infrastructure is kindness.

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Nobody strikes another coming from a positive place.

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Diversity needs acceptance.

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Kindness creates a company that runs smoothly, one where you would like to work.

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One of the kindest things we can do is to watch our delivery.

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We as a society have dropped the ball of human kindness. Will you help me pick it up?

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Dare to step into you!

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Gabriella has been featured in…

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Founder of the Dare To Be Kind Movement

Gabriella articulated what would become the Dare To Be Kind movement in 2010, while writing her first book With All My Might. She expanded on the concept during her travels and speaking engagements in 2012 with the Dare To Be Kind campaign, which gathered momentum and is now a full-fledged Kindness movement, with Kindness instigators across the globe. The mission of the movement can be summed up simply: "The vision is a SAFER world. The method is KINDNESS. The vehicle is YOU!"


Gabriella, thanks so much for sharing your message about kindness at Pittsburgh Technical College. Your enthusiasm, passion, and direct approach was a benefit to everyone who participated. Thank you again for giving back to our college community and presenting to our students and faculty.

—Melissa A. Wertz, Dean of Humanities, Sciences, Business, and Online Programs, Pittsburgh Technical College

Yesterday’s experience for my middle school students was eye-opening and heart-felt! Gabriella’s thoughts and ideas hit home for many, and her anti-bullying message was heard by all. When she spoke, you could hear a pin drop, so I know that their hearts were listening! Thank you so much for your visit to PS 232Q!

—Lisa A. Josephson, Principal, P.S. 232Q

Gabriella van Rij captures the importance kindness plays in our lives. [She] goes beyond civility to help us each consider the actions we take on any given day that can positively impact the people around us. Her presentation connected with students, faculty, and staff. To gauge her impact, all you have to do is watch all the people line up to talk with her. It is something special to witness.

—Tim Wynes, President, Black Hawk College

Ms. Gabriella van Rij was the embodiment of kindness. Through innovative and collaborative ways, she captivated the engagement of our Middle School students at PS/MS 207. Through discussion, a basketball, and simple photos, Ms. van Rij was able to change the mindset of students and give them a rebirth in their thinking of others. Thank you very much for the visit, we look forward to your return and good luck on the world tour!

—Michael Hendry, Acting Assistant Principal, P.S./M.S. 207: Rockwood Park

Gabriella is a wonderful lady who lives what she preaches!!! She visited my school and talked to first and second graders on kindness! They were so excited and talked about spreading kindness the rest of the afternoon. She is changing the world one kind act at a time!

—Liz Seng, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy

Gabriella’s message really resonated with our students because she relates her personal story to what we all have felt, and challenges the students to become allies, not instigators. Thank you, we were so honored to have you with us!

—Nancy Emmerson, Vincentian Academy

Gabriella is an outstanding speaker!  Our students have taken the initiative to put a stop to bullying on our campus, and did so with the implementation of "Project Z" at Tulare Union. "Project Z" stands for zero tolerance for bullying. Included in our "Project Z" kick off, Gabriella visited our campus and spoke to all of our students about the impact bullying had on her childhood, and what she has done to conquer those challenges and make a difference in the lives of others.  Her ability to share her story and connect to our students increased awareness throughout our campus.

—Michelle N. Tulare High School

Gabriella van Rij is the real deal.  She lives and breathes kindness every day.  Her enthusiasm is contagious. Boundless energy, extremely knowledgable, articulate, compassionate, reciprocal listener, supportive, creative, and appropriately empathetic, are all words I use to describe her.  On a 1-10 rating scale, Gabriella would get my highest rating of 11. Every time I see the word “Kindness” I think of Gabriella van Rij.  Rarely have a met an individual this motivated to change the world. This multi-talented woman will do it! 

—Don Lawson, Musician/Songwriter/Producer

I had the opportunity to interview Gabriella for The Kindness Podcast and it was a hit! She spoke both from the standpoint of an expert in the field of kindness and as a human who feels the raw power that comes from incorporating kindness into one's life.

—Nicole Locy Phillips

Author Gabriella van Rij was a half-hour guest on my television program, Conversations With Gloria Greer. Gabriella was one of the most interesting and articulate guests that I have interviewed. (And my guests have ranged from Benjamin Netanyahu to the late Betty Ford.) Gabriella’s book With All My Might is an example of how a person can succeed in life with intelligence, determination, and pride despite obstacles. Her story is fascinating and so is she.

—Gloria Greer, known for her television show Conversations With Gloria Greer

Using the portable microphone, Gabriella moved among members, adroitly using PowerPoint to augment her ideas on kindness. … The applause as the presentation ended was a clear indication that Gabriella had “hit a homer.” Members thanked her with many smiles in gratitude for her outstanding presentation.

—The Gimlet, Rotary Club of Duluth • Vol. 103, No. 30 • January 17, 2019

Gabriella ROCKS! Her message and mission is simple, authentic, and sincere. She is committed to changing the world one thought, one kindness, one life at a time.

—Jim Schneider, School to Work Coordinator, North Scott High School

Tap into the power of kindness—the most underutilized skill in today’s world.