Sara Ross |  Leadership Strategist and Researcher

Sara Ross

Leadership Strategist and Researcher

Sara Ross

Sara Ross is a Speaker and the Chief Vitality Officer at BrainAMPED, a research and strategy firm dedicated to redefining how we succeed at work and thrive in life by sharing brain-based, vitality-enhancing strategies to create healthier, happier, high performing leaders and workplaces. Sara is a contributor at Thrive Global and her work is earning her a reputation as a fresh and thought-provoking voice in the discussions of leadership, work-life balance, emotional intelligence and organizational health.

Before founding her company, Sara spent a decade with the Institute for Health and Human Potential, formerly serving as their Vice President and Global Head of Leadership Innovation. As head of faculty, Sara led the delivery of leadership programs, assessments and award-winning coaching and accreditation programs aimed at helping leaders grow their emotional intelligence and be their best, even in the most complex and pressure-filled moments.

Sara has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as; UnitedHealth Group, Verizon, Rogers and Allstate; tech companies such as Adobe, WAVE and ATS; financial firms such as Scotiabank, Fidelity, BMO and PwC; pharmaceutical companies such as Sunovion; educational institutes such as Smith College and the University of Toronto, and the leadership team of the NBA's Orlando Magic. Her clients have ranged from surgeons, bankers, lawyers, air traffic controllers and engineers to government agencies, nurses, nonprofits, start-ups and entrepreneurs. This broad perspective and diverse experience help explain why she is often called on to work with some of the most senior, technically sophisticated and skeptical audiences.

Balancing relevance and practicality with a contagious energy, Sara integrates cutting-edge science with real-life stories of success and failures. Her approach is guaranteed to challenge the status quo, provide new insights and inspiration, and most importantly, leave audiences with a blueprint of actionable strategies.

Sara has a Master of Science (MSc.) Graduate Degree. Outside of work, she is a coffee loving, meditation rookie who can't help but slip in the occasional Canadian "eh" at the end of a sentence. Her husband describes her career as professional eavesdropping-people-watching. She argues that she is merely a dedicated street scientist doing her professional duty to better understand why people do what they do, and why they don't do what they know they should!

Sara Ross
Featured Videos

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The Brain Science Behind Leadership
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Dear Work
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Sara Ross
Featured Keynote Programs

Stand-Out Leadership - Thrive with vitality in the future of work

Taking on anything challenging—even when meaningful and exciting—will involve stress, discomfort, and struggle. In a world defined by uncertainty, the most powerful way to raise the bar and get to the next level is to boost the collective potential of how people work together. That starts by helping leaders and their people build awareness of their behavior, learn to embrace the emotions that come with challenges, and strengthen the skills of empathy to thrive collectively together, whether in-person or virtually.

Sara Ross, Chief Vitality Officer of the leadership research firm, BrainAmped, studies the influence of emotional intelligence, vitality-generating energy, and organizational culture on leadership, performance, and teamwork. Combining these areas and looking at them through the lens of brain science, Sara uses humor and storytelling to ensure people have actionable strategies they feel empowered to start using the moment they leave their seats.

Specifically, Sara will share the following in her keynote:

• It’s less about what you know and more about how you lead; learn the key behaviors that differentiate the best from the rest for creating stand-out leadership, performance, and teamwork.

• Knowing what to do and doing what you know are not the same; establish an in-the- moment emotional management strategy to strengthen personal accountability, make better decisions, and respond more skillfully—even in the most challenging circumstances.

• Trust is both a science and a skill; uncover the brain science of trust and how to use it to create more collaborative, innovative, and diverse cultures.

• To demonstrate empathy, you need to first develop it; learn an approach to extend empathy, especially in difficult conversations that get to the heart of the matter while strengthening relationships and driving results.

• Caring for people is not the same as carrying people; embody a mindset to shift leadership fatigue into leadership vitality.

It tends to be the best fit for groups looking for tools and insights around:

• Helping people strengthen their emotional intelligence and creating high-trust environments.

• Creating collaborative cultures where people feel cared about, respected, and part of something bigger.

• Strengthening leadership, relationships, and teamwork.

• Addressing change, getting buy-in around change initiatives, and creating cultures that foster innovation.

• Helping people build self-awareness and take personal ownership of their actions.

• Strengthening emotional-management strategies to help people approach and deal with

difficult conversations, feedback, and relationships.

• Increasing the skill of empathy to strengthen diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

• Bettering listening, communication, and coaching skills, particularly in virtual and hybrid


• Insights on how emotional intelligence influences recruitment, retention, and psychological safety.

Activate Your Aliveness Factor - The unmatched advantage to reshaping how you lead and refueling how you live

We all want to put the last few years behind us. Unfortunately, with stress spiking, energy dropping, and levels of languishing—that motivation-dulling sense of blah-ness—lingering, we can’t ignore the toll things have had on people.

Based on the research and principles shared in her book, “Dear Work, something has to change,” Sara Ross shows that addressing these challenges and navigating the changing world of work requires a new question. Instead of asking how to help people feel less stressed and tired, Sara transforms the traditional approach by asking how can we help people feel more ALIVE. After all, the antidote to languishing isn’t to languish less—it’s to flourish more.

Looking through the lens of brain science, Sara teaches organizations, leaders, and their people how to boost their work vitality quotient to activate their Aliveness Factor. In addition to learning, this keynote will leave audiences laughing, inspired, and feeling recharged with actionable take aways to create more human-centered organizations, energized leaders, and healthier, happier, high-performing people.

Specifically, Sara will share how:

• Beliefs can be the biggest barriers; identify three common misconceptions people hold regarding work, success, and rest that keep them stuck in the survival zone and how to shift them into aliveness activators.

• Surviving the day is not a strategy; learn a mindset to work better with stress and how to use it to fuel the energy needed to pursue bold, meaningful goals, invest in important relationships, and live a full, energized life.

• Boosting vitality requires intentionality; build physical, mental, and emotional fitness and fortitude by practicing more strategic self-care both at work and outside of it.

• Standing out does not require burning out; highlight the vitality amplification effect of incorporating three simple yet empowering questions that leaders can use to help their people work from their stand-out zone, while moving themselves from feeling leadership fatigue to leadership vitality.

• This is the era of work-life blur; break the cycle of over-working and under-living by managing work-life boundaries (yours and others), while simultaneously contributing to an organizational culture that supports vital work and people—particularly in hybrid environments.

It tends to be the best fit for groups looking for tools and insights around:

• Addressing stress, burnout, well-being, and happiness.

• Building resilience, fortitude, and mental/emotional/physical health.

• Reigniting a sense of purpose, possibility, and a positive mindset to overcome the inevitable obstacles and embrace the undeniable opportunities of the future.

• Establishing healthy work-life boundaries and habits for better productivity and effectiveness, including creating better screen-life balance.

• Practicing more strategic self-care and energy management through breaks and time off – even without an abundance of time.

• Working and leading in virtual/hybrid work environments that are based in empathy and empowerment.

• Managing leadership energy to better engage, motivate, and support their teams (even when both are maxed out).

• Setting clear expectations for teams creating healthier and happier workplace cultures.

• Insights on how organizational vitality influences retention, recruitment, and psychological safety.

The Confidence to Get Knocked Down and The Resilience to Get Back Up

What would you do if you could not fail?" This is a good, thought-provoking question, but unfortunately, it is inherently flawed. If you are going to take on bold goals, get outside of your comfort zone, try new things, and build new skills - it will be hard and you will fail along the way.

Instead, "What would you do if you knew that even if you failed, you'd be okay?" This is what it means to have the confidence to get knocked down and the resilience to get back up; stronger, faster, and healthier each time.

While researching for her upcoming book, “Dear Work, something has to change” Sara Ross found that in a time of record-setting stress, uncertainty, and change, those most successful didn’t fail less often. Instead, they learned better. It’s the connection between confidence and resilience that free’s people to consistently stretch their potential to innovate, adapt, and thrive – even in the most stressful times.

Too many people miss out on opportunities in work and life because they lack the confidence to try. It might be taking on a new role, adjusting to changing client expectations and competitive market landscapes, or simply seeking feedback. All because they fear that they aren't equipped to handle the obstacles that come with each.

In this session, Sara will change that by taking the audience through a practical four-step method to strengthen their confidence - resilience loop by:

• Explaining the brain science of emotions under stress and sharing a strategy to address the three thieves of confidence: perfection, comparison, and the fear of judgment.

• Addressing common misconceptions about what confidence and resilience are and how each is built and maintained.

• Identifying where mindset shifts will help change the narrative of the story people tell themselves when it's keeping them stuck, scared, discouraged, and overwhelmed.

• Building a “resilience resume” to highlight strengths and experiences to draw from when faced with obstacles and channel both into positive, momentum-creating action.

Sara Ross
Featured Book

Dear Workby Sara Ross

Dear Work

by Sara Ross

Don’t burn out―stand out.

Do you find yourself striving for big goals but running on fumes? Are you ever stuck in the frustrating cycle of overworking and under-living? Do you love the work you do―or at least used to―but feel overwhelmed by it?

When it comes to work and our relationship with it, something has to change. This doesn’t mean you need to bound out of bed every day in love with your work, nor do you need to settle for dragging yourself out of bed surviving your way through it, but you can feel a greater sense of aliveness engaging in it.

Dear Work transforms traditional advice by using the power of brain science to show you how to boost your Work Vitality Quotient so you stand out, bringing your best, most energized self―without burning out. Sara Ross, chief vitality officer and leadership expert, will show you how to:

- Identify the four “success traps” that limit your potential by luring you into thinking you’re doing what it takes when really what you’re doing is taking from you.
- Adopt a “yes, and” mindset to work better with stress and feel fueled and fulfilled in the process.
- Expand your approach to self-care to strategically identify when slowing down is needed and when accelerating in a different direction is even better.

In a world that refuses to let up, reigniting your take-on-the-day vitality will be your competitive advantage at work and your path to pursuing a fully lived life outside of it as well.

Sara Ross
Featured Reviews

Sara Ross
Featured Articles & Resources

PAST: Sara Ross | 5/29

Presentation Topic: How to Build Your Emotional Vitality and Lead Through Uncertainty  When there is no playbook, being tasked with leading teams virtually, determining how...
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