Charlene Lam

Grief Coach and Curator at The Grief Gallery

Health, Wellness and Fitness

Education: UC Berkeley and Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC
Lisbon, Portugal


Charlene Lam is a certified grief coach, speaker and the founder of The Grief Gallery. After her mother died suddenly in 2013, she leaned into her creativity and instincts as a curator to guide herself through grief.

That work led her to help other people to process their grief and losses.

As a grief coach, she helps bereaved people to feel less alone and better equipped to deal with the practical and emotional aftermath of losing a loved one. She designed her Curating Grief framework to help individuals to process grief in a creative and accessible way.

As curator of The Grief Gallery, she speaks and presents exhibitions online and in-person about grief and loss during international design events and festivals, including NYCxDESIGN, DesignTO (Toronto) and the London Design Festival.

She speaks about:
- the role of art, design, creativity and storytelling for healthy grieving and post-traumatic growth
- how to choose what to keep after a loved one dies
- managing transitions and change
- her Curating Grief framework for guiding people through grief

She’s the author of the forthcoming book Curating Grief: A Creative Guide to Choosing What to Keep After a Loved One Dies. Her podcast guest appearances include Nomdatopia, Grief is My Side Hustle (episode live Dec 2022) and the What Works podcast with Tara McMullin.


International travel and living, especially now that it's more possible and I would argue, more valuable, for us to have a second passport and/or to build a location-independent life. I was born in Germany, grew up in NYC and the San Francisco Bay Area, have lived in London and northern Sweden, and am currently based in Lisbon, Portugal. My favorite trips include eating my way through Lima, Peru; snorkeling with jellyfish and manta rays in Maratua, Indonesia; and climbing trees in Costa Rica.

Featured Video

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

Everything is negotiable


grief finding joy after grief managing transitions loss how to overcome loss creative problem solving posttraumatic growth personal growth workshop design art creativity creative thinking creative grief transition transitions death death acceptance death and dying grief recovery end of life planning end of life endoflife

Origin Story

When I was faced with the difficult task of clearing out my mom’s 3,000 square foot house after she died, my instincts as an independent curator kicked in. I asked myself:

“If I was to curate an exhibition about my mother, which 100 objects would I choose?”

That question and way of thinking transformed my life in so many ways. It sparked:

- A practical strategy for getting me through the arduous process of emptying my mom’s house, one of the most difficult and loneliest periods of my life.

- A creative practice: The objects I selected for that imaginary “exhibition about my mother” were the catalyst for a real-life exhibition in London in 2015. I continue to commission artwork in memory of my mother and orchestrate installations, exhibitions and activations that explore grief and loss as The Grief Gallery.

- A grief coaching framework: My Curating Grief framework offers grieving people a creative, accessible way to process their pain and grief after loss.

Example talks

Curating Grief: How to Choose What to Keep After a Loved One Dies

After a loved one dies, we’re often confronted with the painful task of sorting through their belongings. But how do you decide what to keep and what to discard, when you’re potentially paralyzed by grief and overwhelmed by emotions?

In this personal and relatable talk, grief coach and curator Charlene Lam shares her creative approach to dealing with the practical and emotional aftermath of loss. An enlightening talk that can free bereaved people to move forward with more clarity and peace, whether they’re grappling with the tangible or intangible aspects of grief.

This topic can be presented as a TEDx-style talk, an interactive presentation or a workshop.

How to Work Through Grief and Loss

As busy professionals and responsible human beings, how do we stay productive and present when we’re grappling with grief, bereavement and loss? In this practical and thoughtful presentation, certified grief coach Charlene Lam talks about working through grief on multiple levels:

🟡 Processing death, grief and loss in a healthy way AND
🟡 Somehow managing to perform as a business owner, consultant, manager or employee, not to mention parent, spouse, caretaker, etc!

She shares the accessible frameworks she’s developed to help herself and others in the aftermath of losing a loved one. This topic can be customized to address different kinds of grief and loss.

Packing and Unpacking for Your Next Adventure: Lessons from a Grief Coach

In times of transition, it's important to take the time to fully unpack what you've accumulated from your past, in order to move forward with clarity into your future. This friendly, accessible talk by certified grief coach Charlene Lam provides practical tips, analogies and exercises to help the audience make intentional choices about their next move.

This topic can be presented as a talk or a workshop.