Sara Ross

Sara Ross

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Chief Vitality Officer at BrainAMPED and contributor at Thrive Global

Sara Ross is an international keynote speaker, the founder and Chief Vitality Officer at BrainAmped—a leadership research firm—as well as the author of the book, Dear Work: something has to change.

Sara is on a mission to help organizations and their leaders reignite a sense of aliveness in both their work and at home. She and her company do this by using brain science-based strategies to teach people how to amplify their emotional intelligence, resilience, and well-being.

As a leadership expert, Sara’s ideas and research have earned her a reputation as a fresh and thought-provoking voice in discussions focused on the future of work. As such, Sara is called on to work with clients such as Microsoft, PepsiCo., Cisco, Wells Fargo, T-Mobile, Rogers, Allstate, United Health, Fidelity, BMO, Stanford University, and as diversely as the U.S. Navy SEALs and the leadership team of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, among others.

In addition, Sara has worked with numerous government agencies, foundations, and associations as well as guest lecturing in the executive leadership program at Smith College. This broad perspective and diverse experience help explain why Sara is called on to work with some of the most senior, technically sophisticated, and skeptical audiences.

You can count on Sara to bring her trademark energy with the integration of relevant, cutting-edge science and relatable 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.

Before founding BrainAmped, Sara spent a decade immersed in the neuroscience of Emotional Intelligence and Performance at a leadership development company where she served as their Vice President and Global Head of Leadership Innovation, Research and Education. As head of faculty, Sara and her team led the development and delivery of award-winning leadership programs, assessments, coaching and accreditation programs that helped leaders from across the globe to be their best, even in the most complex and stress-filled moments.

Sara has a Master of Science (MSc.) from the University of Waterloo. 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! 

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Speaking topics

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 environments.
✓  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. 

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Speaker testimonials

I do not say this lightly – Sara is one of the THE MOST engaging speakers I have ever listened to. I have heard her speak three times and every time I learn something new but even more notable, I am taken in by her openness, energy and insight. I promise you can count on Sara to over-deliver.


I have had the pleasure of working with IHHP twice recently in both a keynote and in training for our sales force in EQ and conversations under pressure. Each time the IHHP team provided a thorough, relevant and highly impactful session. I can honestly say that our sales team is simply better thanks to the training they received from IHHP. Look forward to welcoming IHHP back at our first opportunity!


Awesome training program! You exceeded our expectations – this session offers a unique perspective on personal leadership. I like the way you bring science to our understanding of human behavior in an accessible and inspiring way. This session helped our people think differently about their personal relationships, their motivation and their performance. Your enthusiastic presentation really made a difference for our team.

Johnson & Johnson

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