Karl Shallowhorn

Addiction Expert, Mental Health Advocate, Businessman, Author, Speaker.
Karl Shallowhorn 1200x

Speaking Topics

A New Approach to Leadership – In this talk, Karl illustrates a new approach to leadership, which is outlined in his book Leadership Through the Lens of the 12 Steps. This program, which is geared for professionals across disciplines, provides audience members with actionable steps they can apply in the workplace. Karl has a 28-year career working in the fields of addiction, mental health education and advocacy, and higher education. His experience in long term recovery in a 12 Step program has provided him with a profound insight into the correlation between the principles found in recovery programs and those in leadership.

You Already Have the Answer to Success Within – In this presentation, Karl shares the challenges of living with co-occurring bipolar disorder and addiction during his college years and beyond. He shares how he learned to overcome self-perceived limitations to live a life beyond his wildest dreams. By utilizing strategies that include developing healthy habits, engaging in supportive relationships, goal-setting, accountability to self, and being resilient, he has become an accomplished and award winning professional. This program is guaranteed to inspire, give hope, and motivate audiences in a way that is both relatable and relevant. Audiences will walk away with valuable tools, feeling inspired to live their best lives, and learning how to tap into their potential for success.

Race, Culture, and Unity –  Race and culture in America are complex issues. Karl lives at the intersection of both, yet has managed to discover his authentic self. But it goes deeper than that. In this talk, Karl describes his remarkable story of adoption, growing up as a biracial man in suburbia, and discovering his true sense of self. His story challenges stereotypes, in addition to providing the audience with an opportunity to hear firsthand the issues many Americans face everyday but are often misunderstood. This presentation is needed now more than ever to help bring a deeper understanding of the fact that we are more alike than we are different.

Can Spirituality and Mental Health Coexist? –  Spirituality, religion, and mental health are often seen as being mutually exclusive. Many individuals and faith communities continue to perpetuate stigma, whether it be by excluding others from worship or clergy who tell parishioners to “pray on it” to gain relief from their pain and despair. Karl, a practicing Christian, breaks down this topic by sharing his experience of living with bipolar disorder and co-occurring addiction as well as describing how faith leaders and those who they serve can bridge the divide between faith and mental wellness. His story of overcoming his illness sheds light on how people can embrace their mental health while at the same time follow their spiritual paths.


Karl Shallowhorn is the President and Founder of Shallowhorn Consulting, LLC. He has a Master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration from SUNY Buffalo State, is a New York State Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC), and has worked in the field of addiction and mental health for 20 years. Karl is the author of Working on Wellness: A Practical Guide to Mental Health and Leadership Through the Lens of the 12 Steps. He coordinates and writes for the United Church of Christ blog, The Journey and has been a contributing writer and blogger for BP magazine. He is the Chair of the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition, and Chair of Affiliate Relations for the Mental Health Association in New York State Board of Directors. Karl has received numerous awards for his mental health advocacy work, including from the National Federation for Just Communities and the Buffalo Association of Black Social Workers. Additionally, in 2021 Karl will be a speaker for TedX Buffalo with his topic being centered on African American men and mental health and also appearing in the TV docuseries Reversed 2. He is the host of the Mental Health Verses podcast and is a member of the Black Speakers Network.


Speaker Requirements

Client is responsible for a well-lit podium, a handheld microphone and a bottle of water. An attached microphone is acceptable, but no lavalier microphones.
About Karl Shallowhorn
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