Nicole Bensen

Through interactive workshops, you’ll empower your team with strategies used by top tech companies, leading to a happier, more motivated workforce, ultimately impacting morale and productivity.

Boost morale,
reduce burnout, and increase retention


Boost morale, reduce burnout, and increase retention

simple tools, powerful results:
build a thriving team

simple tools, powerful results: build a thriving team

Recent clients include:

Recent clients include:

BOOK TIME TO CHAT

BOOK TIME TO CHAT

*Disclaimer: Of course, these examples are for entertainment and informational purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. I’m not a doctor. I’m just a former-burned-out, neurodivergent techie who’s taught 1000+ other techies simple, fun, Band-Aid solutions for when you can’t fall apart at work. 

You walk into the office, feeling energized and ready to tackle the day. You’re greeted by a team buzzing with ideas, diving headfirst into challenges. Gone are the endless pings asking, “How should I handle this?” Because you’ve equipped them with the tools and confidence to rock their roles and growth. 

They’re self-starters now, taking ownership of their work and careers. Forget the constant questions about promotions—you’ve helped them get clear on their strengths, values, and passions. They have a roadmap for the future, so they’re empowered to navigate their careers with confidence, and you’re no longer the only one behind the wheel.

This frees you up for the good stuff! You can focus on strategic initiatives and leadership, the parts of your job that truly light you up. Let’s celebrate!

Imagine This

“Wow! I am so grateful that we were introduced to Nicole through a colleague! Nicole's workshop, Increasing Happiness, Resilience & Success closed out the UCAN Mental Health Employee Resource Group's Mental Health Matters Month slate of events. The session was relatable, actionable and most of all engaging! Participants gained valuable tools (MVE!) to integrate into their daily routines. Thank you, Nicole for creating a welcoming space for our group. We look forward to future sessions!” 

—SHAWN ACHOR, Harvard psychologisT, author, speaker

“75% of long term job success is predicted not by intelligence and technical skills, which is normally how we hire, educate and train, but it’s predicted by three other umbrella categories...”

VIEWING STRESS AS A CHALLENGE TO OVERCOME INSTEAD OF A THREAT

STRESS PERCEPTION

WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE DEPTH AND BREADTH IN YOUR SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS

SOCIAL CONNECTION

THE BELIEF YOUR BEHAVIOR MATTERS IN THE MIDST OF CHALLENGE

OPTIMISM

1

2

3

Introducing

interactive team workshops that:

interactive team workshops that:

  • reduce employee burnout
  • improve communication and collaboration
  • energize your team
  • increase employee retention
  • help set and achieve ambitious goals
  • attract top talent
  • support mental health
  • Reduce employee burnout
  • Improve communication and collaboration
  • Attract top talent
  • INCREASE EMPLOYEE RETENTION
  • HELP SET AND ACHIEVE AMBITIOUS GOALS
  • SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH

click me to see session topics and descriptions

click me to see session topics and descriptions

1. Empowered Employees:
My workshops equip your team with skills like personal branding, goal-setting, and self-advocacy. They gain the confidence to own their daily work and chart their own career paths, reducing your need for constant guidance.

2. A Thriving Culture:
We foster collaboration and communication with interactive sessions, leading to a stronger sense of team spirit. This supportive environment allows your team to solve problems and celebrate each other’s successes, nurturing meaningful connections.

4. More Time for You:
With happier, strengths-focused employees, you’ll see a decrease in burnout and a boost in productivity. This frees up your time to hone in on what matters most—strategic planning, team leadership, and pursuing your own personal and professional goals.

3. Reduced Turnover:
Tired of the constant churn of new hires and the time it takes to onboard and train them? By empowering your team and helping them feel valued and fulfilled, these skill-building sessions can significantly reduce employee turnover, saving you time and resources.

The best part? The benefits extend beyond the office.

When your team feels supported and fulfilled at work, it carries over into their personal lives. They’re less stressed, bringing that positive energy home to their families and hobbies. This creates a happier, healthier overall environment for everyone—including you.

Why should you invest in wellbeing workshops?
How does this impact the bottom line?

Wharton: 5 Reasons to Offer Employees Learning & Development Opportunities.

WANT to see MORE NUMBERS?
click me.

“Your session was just what we needed and was timed so perfectly to close our year. It almost felt indulgent during the 90 minutes yesterday. Thank you for your passion about this and leaving us with tools to use. We are all better for it!”

— Julie, Director, Google

“Just what we needed. We are all better for it.”

“At Netflix we are a culture of individuals who are high performing and results driven. Often we ask so much of ourselves that we forget what makes us happy and what truly quantifies "success". In Nicole's workshop, Increasing Happiness, Resilience & Success, I was able to let go of my expectations and instead enjoy the success I have in this very moment. Nicole provided me with tools to imagine the best future for myself and the steps to follow to get me there. Our team was even given pre-work that we could print out and look back on to remind ourselves of the wonderful lessons that “Tentacles and Tea” brought. I have already skimmed over the worksheet multiple times to remind myself of all the things that make me happy and the everyday joy I already possess.”

— Colzie Tucker, Netflix HR Talent Coordinator

“I was able to let go of my expectations and enjoy success.”

“Wow! I am so grateful that we were introduced to Nicole through a colleague! Nicole's workshop, Increasing Happiness, Resilience & Success closed out the UCAN Mental Health Employee Resource Group's Mental Health Matters Month slate of events. The session was relatable, actionable and most of all engaging! Participants gained valuable tools (MVE!) to integrate into their daily routines. Thank you, Nicole, for creating a welcoming space for our group. We look forward to future sessions!”

— Ashley Snyder, Manager, Studio Operations

“...relatable, actionable and most of all engaging!”

“We cannot thank you enough for your incredible facilitation of #IAmRemarkable and for helping MIT’s female business leaders with confidence and self-promotion!”

— MIT Sloan Women in Management

“Helping MIT’s female business leaders with confidence and self-promotion.”

“A sincere thank-you from our entire team for the amazing Building Connections session you facilitated this week. This type of vulnerable, reflective and engaging exercise is exactly what the doctor ordered for a team that was coming together for the first time in-person.

Also - I can’t even count how many times the ‘80 year old bday party’ was referenced throughout the remainder of our offsite. It is certainly going to be a mainstay reference within our team and speaks to the power of that type of futuristic reflection.

Thank you so much! We are honored to know you and have shared this experience with you.”

— M, Account Executive, Google

“Exactly what the doctor ordered for a team coming together for the first time in-person.”

“Nicole is an awesome presenter with a deep understanding of wellness science and practice. She’s confident, accurate, thoughtful, and passionate. Our team said the workshop was the best part of the summit - leaving them with a sense of calm and realistic methods to increase their happiness.”

— Brea, Administrative Business Partner, YouTube

“[Her] workshop was the best part of the summit.”

“It was so great to have you as a speaker for our IWD North America 2022 event. The audience loved the exercises, and found it incredibly helpful and enjoyable. We look forward to more opportunities to partner for future developer community events!”

— North America Developer Communities Team, Google

“...speaker for our IWD North America 2022 event.”

“A sincere thank you, Nicole. The team is still smiling and feeling energized. We really appreciate you setting such a wonderful tone for vulnerability and connections.”

— J, Director, Google

“Vulnerability and Connections”

“Nicole recently ran an #IamRemarkable workshop for our Women@Signifyd ERG, and it was truly transformative. Not only did our participants leave with an important, enriched perspective on their accomplishments and how to talk about them out in the world, they all bonded on a deeper level than most of us ever have in a professional setting. Seeing our brilliant, accomplished women get so vulnerable and raw was one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve gotten the pleasure of participating in. Thank you, Nicole!”

— Emily Mikailli, VP of People Operations, Signifyd

“Truly transformative. Seeing our brilliant, accomplished women get so vulnerable and raw was one of the most meaningful experiences.”

“Thanks a million for spending time with [our leadership team] yesterday! It absolutely got at what we needed. The reflections and gratitude shared during our debrief were exactly in line with what we were hoping for. There was depth. We focused on us as humans. Our connections. Belonging. All of it. Appreciate you big time.”

— Manager, Google

“The reflections shared were exactly what we were hoping for”

“Nicole is a natural-born facilitator!!! She led an eye-opening #IamRemarkable workshop for our leaders on my team. This material is truly transformative. Nicole’s approachable character allowed our team to feel comfortable enough to discuss the challenges of self; she shared personal examples, as well as research studies, and provided a safe place for all of us to be vulnerable and share our experiences. The feedback survey showed 100% of the team felt it was a good use of their time, and we all finished the workshop feeling ‘empowered and in-touch with our self-emotional IQ.’ I’ve never been a part of something like this with this team before; that was really powerful. Thank you for arranging this for our team. Our team members are connected on a new level, and I'm so appreciative of Nicole leading this for us.”

— Andrew Levie, Workplace Experience Director, CBRE

“I’ve never been a part of something like this with this team before; that was really powerful.”

“Nicole created and facilitated a 90-minute workshop for my team called, ‘Increasing happiness, resilience and success.’ She shared research and exercises and fostered a safe space for my team members to connect with each other and learn tips to boost their wellbeing. People said the session allowed them to reground and refocus, and in some cases made them realize that they hadn’t taken a moment to slow down until that very moment. This exercise was imperative for our team after the craziness of 2020 where many of us are balancing work and home life in a way we’ve never had to before. Nicole’s presentation style adds to the calming and grounding nature of the content, she is very inclusive and does a wonderful job fostering a safe environment for people to share. Looking forward to partnering with her again soon.”

— Jenica Erickson, Staffing Manager, Google

“Calming and grounding. Inclusive.
Safe environment for people to share.”

“Nicole ran a 90-minute workshop for our Virtual Offsite, and it was a fantastic experience. She curated the flow of the class to meet our team’s needs and made it engaging and entertaining for everyone. If you are looking for happiness and well-being training, Nicole’s workshop is the best in class. Nicole teaches the team about the importance of Happiness, but she also empowers attendees with tools and actionable advice!

I can not recommend this workshop enough! Thank you, Nicole, for your expertise and professionalism.”

— Event Planner, Google

“The best in class”

“Nicole’s session was therapeutic, thought provoking, and an inspiring push to take control over the life I want vs. the life I have. It’s powerful to re-evaluate our happiness and own it. Thank you, Nicole.”

— Rachel D., Google

“Therapeutic and thought provoking”

“So grateful for the work you did to hold space for this team. You asked the right questions and allowed us to come into a special safe circle, lean in and be accepted as who we are. You are so good at this craft. Grateful for you!”

— Manager, Google

“Allowed us to be accepted as who we are”

“Nicole’s presentation [for the Women’s Empowerment Network Conference at San Jose State University] was inspiring and engaging. Her sense of commitment, combined with humility is a unique style that enrolled the audience to explore how change informs shifts in direction and is a sign of growth and not failure. She instills personal efficacy and respect to support and encourage career and life changes. Our university program participants’ feedback (mostly juniors, seniors and recent graduates) affirm that she is incredibly insightful and has an extraordinary ability to connect and provide the space for others to grow and excel to the next level!”

— Diana Ruiz, Women’s Global Leadership Initiative WGLI

“An extraordinary ability to connect and provide space”

“Nicole is well-researched and experienced. One of the most notable impacts is my ability to break out of spirals. I am a chronic overthinker and overanalyzer. The [Next Level You] workshop helped me to stop the spiral and move out of it with several different methods—I’ve used a bunch of them at different times. I fall asleep easier by shutting these spirals down!”

— Erin Watson, Senior Program Manager

“Nicole is amazing...an absolute delight of a human being.”

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed with no time for yourself (like I was), you’re going to benefit even more by signing up for Next Level You. The workbook is still something I pull out. It’s been helpful to look at the things I was trying as part of the workshop homework and realizing six weeks later I’m naturally doing some of these things week-over-week. I want to say it’s been life-changing, and I know that sounds silly, but it brings me immeasurable joy to practice some of the things I learned. I now write gratitude letters every single week!”

— Victoria Kroll, Product Support Manager, Google, and President of a non-profit

“I want to say it’s been life-changing, and I know that sounds silly.”

“Nicole Bensen designs thoughtful and hugely effective programs for high achieving women — she is hands down the best program manager I’ve ever worked with. Run, don’t walk, to sign up for her new program, as it is sure to sell out soon!”

— Christine Carter, Ph.D., Author, Speaker, Coach & Consultant

“Thoughtful and hugely effective programs for high achieving women”

“We are *so* grateful for you. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with the women@BLD community, designing a workshop that is relevant, timely and empowering, offering tools that are accessible and easy to maintain. The workshop went really well—am in AWE of the number of folks that joined us (it’s amazing for us to hit 50+), and clearly, the feedback has been tremendously positive.”

— Natasha Wright, REWS People Development Program Manager

“Relevant, timely and empowering”

“Next Level You is a way to connect with other people, learning how to take on life’s challenges, or even your own personal internal challenges. It’s a course that is grounded in facts and research and also has a community aspect.”

— Ashley Mills, Management Consultant

“Grounded in facts and research”

“Nicole is truly a gift...the generosity of her energy, time and glow were beneficial to our organization as we celebrated the value of being ‘Better Together.’ Her ability to jump in, include others, and leave a positive vibe in her wake is why she’s been a legend at Google and beyond. Can’t wait to attend one of her travel retreats and learn more from her! Thank you Nicole... much love!”

— Heather Webb, Talent Development Leader, Google Operations Center

“Ability to jump in, include others, and leave a positive vibe in her wake”

“My team was overwhelmed with positive emotion after taking the #IamRemarkable workshop. In such a dark time, it has been difficult for myself and my team to remember exactly why we are amazing, what we are truly gifted in, and how and WHY we should be sharing our accomplishments with others. It was motivational, and is a lesson in self-advocacy and kindness that I utilize in my personal and professional life.

Plus, Nicole is a gem to chat with. Her energy is so calm, non-judgmental, and you can see her passion for helping others grow internally. 10/10, would recommend this workshop and Nicole’s presence to any working professional!”

— Robin, Event Team Lead, CBRE

“Remember why we are amazing, what we are truly gifted in, and how and WHY we should be sharing our accomplishments with others.”

“Your content could not be more timely for so many of our managers both personally and professionally, and it was lovely to see everyone respond to you - those who know you and those who don’t. Thanks again for sharing your scientifically grounded approach to what really makes our worlds spin and for giving us more tangible resources to support ourselves and our teams.”

— Nina, Staffing Manager, Google

“Tangible resources to support ourselves and our teams”

“The most valuable thing you presented for me today was actually the thing you said about, if ruminating/over-thinking was actually working, you would have solved the problem by now. That was such a simple concept, but my mind was blown. The overall value I think your program offers is showing how, as humans, we are very much alike. We are biologically wired and have evolved to perceive certain things as a danger to us even if it really is not something life threatening. And that even the highest-achieving people can feel like frauds and make mistakes. So much good stuff that your program [Next Level You] puts out.”

— Sabrina Porter-Parees

“Even the highest-achieving people can feel like frauds.”

“[The Next Level You program] is a way of examining our thoughts and the lies we tell ourselves to break past that and become better, happier people.

Two benefits: 1) Setting the time aside to invest in myself was really valuable to have that thing I knew I was going to do every week that was going to bring me something and nurture something in me. 2) Having this toolbox I can draw from of things to turn to when I feel stuck and blocked and boxed in.”

— Crystal Coleman, Product Support Manager, Google

“A way of examining our thoughts and the lies we tell ourselves”

“Nicole recently hosted a 45-minute Happiness Workshop for my group. She is an amazing facilitator, her calming presence is contagious and the content she shared was fascinating and well-researched. I particularly enjoyed the actionable small ideas that will make a big difference in my and my groups’ lives. Thank you so much for your time and energy.”

— Julia Arndt, CEO, Peak Performance Method

“Amazing facilitator...presence is contagious, and the content is fascinating and well-researched”

“Nicole Bensen is an extraordinary guest speaker and workshop host! Nicole's research-backed, thoughtful content and contagious positivity greatly impacted our team summit in the best way. The planning process was seamless with consistent check-ins leading up to the event. I always knew I was in good hands with Nicole and would not be stressed day-of. As a planner, I actually got to relax and feel like an attendee the entire workshop. :) I have only received positive feedback from my team. Thank you, Nicole!”

— Megan M., Google Health

“Extraordinary guest speaker and workshop host”

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend your [Next Level You] sessions. The information, practical tools, and connection with the other ladies was exactly what I needed at this point in my life. Thank you.”

— Michelle Kandah, IT Program Manager, Cisco

“Exactly what I needed”

“AMAZING. Real, honest, open. It was a truly memorable experience, that has played a huge part in me pivoting from over-functioning / undervaluing and thinking so little of myself to WOW I am incredible!

I have recommended you and the [#IamRemarkable] workshop to so many already - it is a must for every woman who ever questions herself. Your approach made me feel safe, secure, and able to be bluntly honest with complete strangers from all over the world!! What was a shock - those who I saw as 'sorted' or accomplished, have near identical feelings and issues of undervaluing and hoping they will be seen and not have to stand up for their worth.

Nicole, you have been an angel for me this year. I feel truly blessed to have met you. Experiencing your coaching and true passion for all women to believe in themselves has been life-changing that is playing out in real time as I type.” 

— Julie Pole, UX Researcher

“Life-changing”

“I’ve picked up so many tools to level up my self-confidence! I loved being a part of Next Level You. This couldn’t have come at a better time. I also learned different practices on how to stay calm—which I need because school starts next week!”

— June Caloroso, Speaker, Career Coach

“So many tools to level up my self-confidence”

I participated in an #IAmRemarkable workshop that Nicole facilitated for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Silicon Valley chapter. The research that she presented was helpful and the exercise she led was eye opening in the best way. Her friendly, knowledgeable and inclusive demeanor made participants feel welcomed, safe and empowered during the session. I took away some great advice that I could immediately implement—valuing and acknowledging my personal and professional accomplishments rather than ignoring them. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the session with Nicole so much that I contacted her so she could virtually facilitate an #IAmRemarkable workshop with my colleagues at Accenture through our Women’s Employee Resource Group in Washington DC. Nicole is an incredibly ally and I highly recommend her services!

— Kathleen Hom, Cybersecurity Counsel at Accenture Federal Services and
Networking Committee Co-Lead of Accenture Women’s Employee Resource Group, Washington DC 

“Great advice I could immediately implement”

Kind Words

Dissatisfaction in “Engagement and Culture” is by far the most prominent theme (41%), followed by “Wellbeing and Work-Life Balance” (28%).

Together, these make up 69% of the total reasons employees quit in 2023.

4X as many people left their job due to “Engagement and Culture” or “Wellbeing and Work-Life Balance” reasons, compared with the number of people who primarily left for better “Pay/Benefits.”

GALLUP: 2023 EMPLOYEE RETENTION & ATTRACTION

WHY DO PEOPLE LEAVE COMPANIES?

A sincere thank-you from our entire team for the amazing Building Connections session you facilitated this week. This type of vulnerable, reflective and engaging exercise is exactly what the doctor ordered for a team that was coming together for the first time in-person.

Also - I can't even count how many times the "80 year old bday party" was referenced throughout the remainder of our offsite. It is certainly going to be a mainstay reference within our team and speaks to the power of that type of futuristic reflection.

Thank you so much! We are honored to know you and have shared this experience with you.
—Molly

Building employees’ strengths is a far more effective approach to improving performance than trying to improve weaknesses.

When employees know and use their strengths, they are more engaged, perform better, and are less likely to leave their company.

—Harvard Business Review, Gallup


Developing employees’ strengths
boosts sales, profit, and engagement

In the “Crafting a Strengths-Based Personal Brand” workshop, you’ll walk out with a deeper understanding of your strengths, values, and passions, and will create a personal branding statement, aka “elevator speech,” so you’re ready the next time someone asks, “So, what do you do?”

How does this benefit the organization?
90% of the workgroups that implemented a strengths intervention of any magnitude saw performance increases at or above the ranges shown below:

10%-19% increase in sales
14%-29% increase in profit
3%-7% increase in customer engagement
9%-15% increase in engaged employees
6- to 16-point decrease in turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
26- to 72-point decrease in turnover (in high-turnover organizations)

HBR: Developing Employees’ Strengths Boosts Sales, Profit, and Engagement


Nicole Bensen is an extraordinary guest speaker and workshop host! Nicole's research-backed, thoughtful content and contagious positivity greatly impacted our team summit in the best way. The planning process was seamless with consistent check-ins leading up to the event. I always knew I was in good hands with Nicole and would not be stressed day-of. As a planner, I actually got to relax and feel like an attendee the entire workshop. :) I have only received positive feedback from my team. 
—Brea

My name is Nicole Bensen; I’m a neurodivergent happiness and wellbeing enthusiast, and I’m delighted you’re here. After spending nearly a decade at Google, where I spent time managing the wellbeing program for executive women leaders, I ironically experienced burnout myself. In pursuit of a healthier mental place, I had questions like:

I launched Tentacles and Tea to share the research I learned, and to teach simple, creative ways to increase happiness, resilience, and wellbeing through keynote talks and workshops.

(And, no, I’m not a meditation expert; yes, I still have champagne taste, and no, research shows that wanting to be happy does not equal being selfish. In fact, happier people are more likely to help others!)

You’re not alone. I’ve been in your shoes. You deserve to live a more meaningful, connected, happy life. You deserve to play and to enjoy this one life, and you don’t have to give up your hard-earned seat at the table to do so.

I’m here to encourage you to set boundaries, to offer yourself compassion, to do things that make you happy, and to remind you to use your strengths to achieve your dreams—whether your dream is to volunteer full time, learn French, visit all the 5-star spas in the world, or use your private jet more often.

I look forward to meeting you soon!

“Is it possible to be happy without becoming a meditation expert?”
   
“Am I allowed to want nice things, or is that being selfish?”
   
“Actually, is wanting to be happy the very definition of being selfish?”
   
“Why do I believe being selfish is ‘bad’?”

Hello!

Ready to chat?

I'll be in touch as soon as I can. If you haven't heard from me in three business days, that means there may have been a submission error, so feel free to email me directly at nicole@tentaclesandtea.com.

Thank you, my friend!

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who is nicole bensen?

Recognized as a “Woman of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Nicole Bensen helps companies create a culture where people feel seen, supported, and inspired. 

She spent nearly a decade at Google where she managed executive learning and development programs before experiencing burnout. This propelled her to pursue her Positive Psychology Coaching certification and found her company, where she transforms dry, research studies into vibrant, interactive experiences designed for wellbeing and connection—aka, science-backed ways to be happier. 

Nicole is trusted by leaders at Fortune 500 companies, including Google, YouTube, Netflix, and eBay, to lead engaging workshops that provide concrete methods to boost morale, reduce burnout, and increase retention.



...and just in case you want the "official" version...