Empathy Lab’s mission is to create innovative communities of people by drastically improving the way individuals build, share, and support empathetic practices.

How are we living up to this mission?

Create a safe environments to learn about empathy and self awareness

Practice ways of being empathetic with yourself and others

Apply these learnings to all your real life needs – self, family, community, and work.

We are digging in our heels right here in Atlanta, Georgia.

One person at a time.

Who’s behind Empathy Lab and why?

Shelton at Empathy Morning
Shelton saying something silly at an Empathy Morning Practice.

I am Shelton Davis, a listener, son, friend, husband, father, founder, and recovering decathlete.

My story and life’s work has been one of careful listening, perspective taking, and adventuring down roads less traveled. I was born in Southern California to a couple of groovy kids, Christine and Elton. My mom, Christine, is white born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and my father, Elton, is black and born in Texas. Raised by my mother and grandparents in a predominantly white neighborhood, I was typically the only kid around with an afro and year round great tan. Living in Southern California’s cultural melting pot as a multiracial kid gave me the opportunity to experience different families, cultures, and ways of living. While I did find myself without multiracial tribe to hang out with, me and my fro was accepted into many other tribes. Long lasting friendships were built and plenty of amazing food was consumed. Sorry moms’ of my friends.

There are a few places where tribes cross cultural boundaries; academics and sports. Through high school and college, I focused my time on my new tribes; psychology, track and field, and design.


Why do people do the things they do?

Track and Field

How do I maximize my efforts without compromising my position?

(human factors + industrial design)

How can I improve lives by better understanding people’s motivations?

This combination of focused curiosity along with my ability to cross tribes of people put me in a unique position to empathize with individuals, discover behavior patterns, innovate ideas, and push/finesse the best concepts forward. This is my process as a team member, community member, and member of the human tribe.

My life has been lived in an empathy incubator and Empathy Lab is how I am manifesting it for the world. After many years of working with and studying small design firms, large corporate innovation labs, and a few well funded start-ups, I came to realize a few disturbing things.

Egos have taken over decision making and ego is the dominant culture.

Empathy for self and others is missing because it’s not equated into business success.

I believe that self empathy, community empathy, and other person empathy is ill supported and/or completely missing. Why? Empathy wasn’t taught in conjunction with personal success or business success. It is positioned as a soft skill that only soft people utilize. Because we’ve failed to teach, practice, and support  empathy as a necessary life tool, it has become a weak muscle. If empathy is the muscle that builds and drives communities, teams, and businesses, we need to practice using it.

I am on a mission to bring empathy back to practice with Empathy Lab.

Join me for our monthly Empathy Morning Practice OR Sign up to start practicing as an Empathy Decathlete!


As the Lab continues to grow, so do its supporters, drivers, and challengers. Many thanks to many friends!