About 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!

Speech Topics & Descriptions

The Future of Leadership: How Workplaces Use EQ to Thrive in a Pressure Economy

In a world defined by unrelenting pressure, it’s not surprising that a 2018 StressPulse survey found almost 60% of people reported being “highly stressed.” In response to the increasing intensity, the World Economic Forum ranked emotional intelligence as one of the top five business priorities people need to invest in to succeed in the future. And yet, as certain as the research is in demonstrating that it is a powerful predictor of performance and organizational success, studies and stories from across the globe indicate that it is harder than ever to build.

This gap inspired Sara Ross to conduct a global survey, across dozens of industries, and throughout all levels of business to focus on answering one critical question: What do you need in a leader?

Whether a seasoned executive, middle manager or a driven individual performer, in this keynote you will learn that the answers to this question are grounded in the practices of emotional intelligence. Building on cutting-edge insights from the fields of business, mindfulness, positive psychology and neuroscience, as well as her latest research, Sara will share:

  1. The top three drivers of leadership excellence and the mindsets that separate the best from the rest;
  2. How the brain influences performance, relationships and emotional energy in today’s pressure filled workplaces;
  3. An in-the-moment strategy to respond more skillfully in difficult situations to increase perspective, focus and calm;
  4. A practical, yet counterintuitive approach to strengthening the skill of empathy and influence without exhausting yourself!


Igniting the Leadership Vitality Factor: Next-Level Leadership for an On-Demand World

Organizations know that to be successful and innovative in a service and knowledge driven economy requires a workforce with expertise, intellectual curiosity and the ability to use emotional intelligence to collaborate and execute through people. And yet, with all the acknowledgement and investment in capitalizing on these skills, something is missing, and stress is exponentially rising.

In this keynote, Sara Ross will share the missing piece of the success equation that all too often is over-looked and under-valued. After a decade of studying high performers, Sara has found that the key differentiator between exhausted leaders and exceptional leaders is what she has coined their Vitality Factor.

This isn’t just about stress management, time management or simply sleeping more and working less. This is about strategy. How to move performance and leadership to the next level in an on demand world where an abundance of information, distractions, and expectations are unrelentingly pulling on time, energy and attention. This is how top performers pressure-proof their leadership impact.

The research is clear, how an organization manages that Vitality factor will either burn their people out or allow them to burn bright and bring their best work forward and Sara will show you how by sharing:

  1. The three common habits that are mistakenly leading to over-stressed, under-fueled brains and how they deceivingly influence decisions, effectiveness and leadership impact;
  2. A Key Vitality Indicator (KVI) system to identify the tipping point where more work becomes counterproductive and healthy challenge becomes unhealthy stress;
  3. Practices to expand productive vitality ranges to increase creativity, collaboration and agility;
  4. Insights to help leaders shift from inadvertently being a Vitality-Depleter to a positive Vitality Ambassador by multiplying each of these practices across teams and workplaces.

The Stress-Proof You 

Taking on anything challenging, even when meaningful, is going to require hard work. Add to that a global pandemic, and it’s not surprising that people are reporting a spike in stress levels and a drop in energy levels – both at work and at home!

In this session, Sara Ross, Chief Vitality Officer at BrainAMPED, will bring her contagious energy and latest research to teach you how to shift focus towards increasing your Stress Vitality Quotient so you stand out in the work you do, without burning out in the process. Sara’s advice isn’t the traditional “step back and slow down” because that doesn’t work, nor is taking the stress out of work and life right now even possible. Instead, Sara will provide you with tools to work with stress better without compromising your drive and dedication.

By looking through the lens of brain science, Sara will share the two most deceiving traps that disguise themselves as paths to success and how to combat them, a Key Vitality Indicator tool to help you better manage your energy, as well as a mindset shift to help you be more present with those at home and show the end of 2020 who’s in charge. 


**NEW** – The Art of Falling Down and the Science of Getting Up: Everyday Resilience for Everyday Challenges

Description coming soon!


Building Your “Bounce”: Using Resilience to Thrive through Change

Slowing down the pace or rate of change isn’t an option.  Therefore, skilling your people to more readily adapt to change as well as bounce back more quickly from challenging setbacks is your organizations competitive advantage.

The good news is there is clear evidence of people, whether individual contributors, managers or organizational leaders, working within the same environments, under the same pressures who instead meet the change and uncertainty by breathing a sense of curiosity, aliveness and enthusiasm into their people and projects.

The difference is that they intelligently use their emotions to help them adapt more quickly. They catch themselves before they get stuck in “obstacle-thinking” and instead, positively shift their thinking to focus on the opportunities those obstacles present.  Their choices and practices help them respond in a more resilient way.

Building your “Bounce” skills is a critical element in creating and sustaining your Leadership Vitality.

In this interactive, application-focused breakout session, Sara will walk people through a systematic “bounce approach” framework to strengthen the skills of resilience by:

  • Helping people find calm through the chaos to increase their uncertainty tolerance;
  • Decreasing wasted emotional energy on “false-threats” causing people to feel stuck and overwhelmed, and instead focusing on the most important information;
  • Increasing awareness of the choices and opportunities people have when facing change and ambiguity and channeling that into appropriate action.


Vice President of L&D Scotiabank

I do not say this lightly – Sara is one of 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.

Environics Communication CEO

Sara exceeded our expectations! What really made her stand out was how amazing she was to work with in the lead up, she was so dedicated to understanding our challenges and needs and that really came through in her talk. She is one of the best!

Fidelity Investments

Wonderful! Sara has the passion and the energy but her “in the leadership trenches” experience made this stuff applicable. Our senior leadership team couldn’t stop talking about her impact which is the highest of compliments!

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Would I recommend Sara Ross? Are you kidding - I want to be her! Seriously, Sara was awesome!!! She was so real and authentic that I felt like I was in a 1-1 conversation with her not sitting in the audience. Some of the stories she told and examples she shared were so relatable I felt like they were about me! She gave me a game plan to use with my team!

Women in Engineering Conference

Within the hour Sara made us laugh, reflect and stirred a deep emotion that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Sara’s insights were the thread that connected the rest of the conference, it was amazing.

Partner at Werksmans Attorneys

You are an inspiration…thank you for sharing with us, it was the best keynote of the conference. I am determined to make sure the people who deserve the best of me get it!

For Meeting Planners

Click on the links below for printable files