NSB Logo Sarah McVanel Sarah McVanel

Sarah McVanel


St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Recognition and Culture Expert

Sarah McVanel is passionate about guiding people to re-discover their own greatness, and recognize the greatness in others. With multiple certifications and designations in Human Resources, Organizational Development, Coaching, and Speaking, Sarah has the knowledge and skills to help individuals leverage the exponential power of recognition to retain top talent, fuel healthy teams and sustain healthy bottom lines. 

Keynote Speeches

Virtual Keynotes & Webinars
Contact us for more information about this speaker & their virtual presentations. Click here for some of the most popular formats for virtual events.
Unleash Your Inner Superhero to Ignite Greatness

What if you were a superhero and you never knew it? You may think you’re just doing your job and it’s “normal.” Whereas, to others, the work that you’re doing is extraordinary. This presentation will uncover and explore your unique gifts, strengths, and talents. Here’s the opportunity to refill your greatness gas tank, recharge your resiliency batteries, and activate your superpowers.

This presentation is not a ‘rah rah rah’, Instagram filtered, #MotivationalMonday, artificial platitudes, lollipops, and unicorns type session. It is designed to reveal the truth, facts, hard evidence, and reality about your undeniable greatness. Stop minimizing your greatness. Start getting inspired and into action so you can make the biggest impact.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to clarify and mobilize your unique strengths.
  • Ways to apply the 3-step process to dream bigger and decide your next action steps.
  • Determine your most important priorities and decide between a “heck yes” and a “no way.”
  • Solidify what brings you joy, resiliency, and energy so you can be productive and satisfied.
  • How to unleash your inner superhero and flex your greatness muscles (gym membership is optional).
Recognition in a Virtual World: Fuel Trust, Connection & Resiliency Through Challenges & Change

Recognition is one of the most effective, accessible and cost-effective ways to fuel healthy working relationships, trust and collaboration. Now, more than ever, we need to show how much we value each other (not to mention all the unsung heroes in the community helping us through the pandemic). How do you do this when you have minimal time, limited energy, and even less face-to-face contact? How do you express gratitude when typical recognition forums and systems for communication have changed? How do you find the energy to appreciate when you are overwhelmed yourself? Learn from Sarah McVanel – Canada’s Recognition Expert – and from your peers – about the multitude of manageable and effective ways to recognize virtually and remain more resilient in the process.

The Frog Factor: The Secret to Attracting and Retaining World-Class Talent!

Energize yourself and your workplace through this fun, informative and inspirational session. Get ready to turn your notions about recognition on their head by exploring it through a powerful solution focused lens. A proven process for self, team and organizational recognition is offered, F.R.O.G. Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness™, inviting you to identify key ways you can begin to shift your organizational culture right away. By the end of this session, you will be ready to trial easy, inexpensive and proven techniques for recognizing others in your workplace that support meaningful connection and lasting change. Let’s focus on the strategic language, business case and human case for recognition that will convince, inspire and influence decision makers. Whether you’re burnt out or energized, in a boom or bust economy, you can’t afford NOT to recognize…starting now!

Key Takeaways:

  • An effective “catchy” way to elevate individual, team, and organizational performance
  • The strategic language and business case to position engagement as the key driver of business success
  • Tools to immediately impact healthy culture through leading practice recognition strategies
  • A clear understanding of their role in creating healthy work cultures and strong relationships
  • The next step to resuscitate healthy organizational culture
The Flip Side of Failing

Failure isn’t something we like to talk about, let alone experience. We play it safe. We contain our expectations. We hide it and wonder “what’s wrong with me?” or “what’s wrong with this place?” What if, instead, we could ACCEPT failure as an inevitable, undeniable reality, and by doing so, build failure-resiliency in our organizations?

Through powerful stories of greatness – from Everest Climbers to 3M Scholars, from award-winning Journalists to Olympians – learn how failure was their gateway to success. And how these transferrable lessons can be for your company culture. In this energizing and entertaining presentation (with a few fun twists), you will awaken possibilities, deepen connections, and improve individual and organizational performance by seeing greatness in a whole new light.

Key Takeaways: 

  • The most important questions that accelerate learning from failures
  • A model for resiliency that bolsters wellbeing, performance and connections
  • The framework to share, explore and leverage the inevitable failures that happen every day
ROCKSTAR: Magnify Your Leadership Greatness in Times of Change

Busy, overworked, under-resourced, work-life imbalanced, exhausted (need I go on?) As a leader, you may not feel great let alone have the energy to magnify anything. Or do you? Learn what ROCK stands for and how you already ROCK as a leader. Pick up how you can tweak your approach for transformational results. Your reward? STAR results. Take the ROCK and STAR formulas back to your team to increase your resilience, resourcefulness and effectiveness, no matter what is thrown your way. Banish burnout. Ditch doubt. Grow greatness.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn about the ROCKSTAR leadership framework and how it can address pressing issues and gaps
  • Identify the ROCK leadership behaviours and team practices that already work for you and what can be enhanced
  • Explore specific strategies ROCK strategies – recognition, organization, communication and kindness – that can get you STAR results – satisfaction, teamwork, achievement, and retention
  • Construct an action plan for elevating ROCK behaviours and gauge how to see evidence of STAR results

Audience reviews:

  • Sarah brought an infectious energy in her virtual presentation! Her industry expertise coupled with her passion for people brought true value to our association. - Programs Chair, OD Network of Chicago
  • Sarah was just above and beyond. Our association has existed well over 30 years. We have had many keynote speakers over that time at our annual conferences. Sarah has certainly been the most anthropological speaker we have had. She invested so much time and energy into our group to understand us and our industry. Speaking to our group can sometimes be a challenge for speakers. However, Sarah was able to deliver a talk that was not only engaging but relevant! I highly recommend! - Conference Chair, National Amtelco Equipment Organization
  • Sarah spoke for us at one of our Women in Leadership events and received rave reviews. Participants rated the session as "excellent", finding it informative, relevant, and applicable to their work. I would recommend Sarah as a speaker to others in a heartbeat! Sarah was professional, easy to work with and flexible. A great overall experience. - VP Health & Safety, Dexterra
  • Sarah made a wonderful contribution in another successful Aventure Realty Network annual meeting. I know our members benefited professionally from the customized content she delivered in her keynote and workshop and enjoyed meeting with her to deepen the learning at our social functions. - President, Aventure Realty Network
  • She has a unique ability to resonate with all participants, create momentum, and move people into action with passion and purpose. As a speaker, facilitator, and coach, she helps leaders become clear on how to leverage their top talent and create plans that result in healthier teams and bottom lines. Sarah’s ability to get results, shift mindsets and fuel healthy cultures is second to none. - Senior VP Human Resources, Outland-Carillion Services
  • Sarah was instrumental in optimizing the performance of our team by keeping communication honest and effectual, and always aimed at our strategic goals. Sarah is a dynamic, fun, and effective facilitator and community engager. - Regional Supervising Coroner, Province of Ontario

Speaker Biography

Sarah McVanel inspires Greatness Magnified!

An experienced and dynamic speaker and coach, Sarah McVanel offers the business evidence to back up how recognizing greatness in ourselves and others is key to sustained business success; through improved morale, increased top talent retention, and generating a positive corporate culture.  

Her customized sessions offer individuals, teams and organizations insights & practical strategies to move from dysfunctional to cooperative, from divided to united, from inefficient to productive, and from disengaged to contributor.

She is a Certified Senior Organizational Development Professional (CSODP), Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL). She is one of 1500 Certified Professional Speakers (CSP) Worldwide and Past-President of the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS). She has a BA in Psychology, MSC in Family Relations, and diplomas in Human Resources and Healthcare Administration.  

Sarah has 20 years of experience including at a senior leadership level, runs her own boutique firm and is an author of peer reviewed journals, articles, and five books, including her 2020 offering;   “Rockstar: Magnify Your Greatness in Times of Change for Healthcare Leaders“.

Her other work includes:  “Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness: Solution Focused Strategies for Satisfied Staff, High Performing Teams and Healthy Bottom Lines”,

“The Frog Effect: Tools and Strategies to Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness”,

“#GreatnessBizHacks: 100+ Tips to Grow a Profitable, Service-Based Biz you Love!”,

“Flip Side of Failing: How to Recognize and Leverage Greatness in Life and Work” 

Sarah has put her psychology undergrad and MSc in family therapy/dynamics to good use and has excelled the field of Organizational Development, Training and Communications for over 15 years.