Sara Ross

  • VP- Head of Innovation, Research and Training at the Institute for Health and Human Potential (IHHP)

In a world where pressure pervades all aspects of our lives, Sara Ross is a uniquely skilled in helping people and organizations build their “pressure tolerance”.  Sara’s approach and expertise has her quickly becoming the highest rated and sought after “Performing Under Pressure” practitioner in North America. 

Sara has challenged and supported leaders of Fortune 500 companies including MARS, Allstate, Wyndham Hotels and TD Bank, as well as leaders at the University of Toronto and the U.S. Army, to be their best even in the most difficult pressure-filled situations; a skill that is a distinct advantage in today’s world.

 
  

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Rave Reviews About Sara Ross
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.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Sara Ross
  • Pfizer
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Scotiabank
IHHP Keynote Speaker: Sara Ross - Get Sharable Link
IHHP Keynote Speaker: Sara Ross
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Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Emotional Intelligence

Whether you are a formal manager or want to increase your individual performance (or both), this program will teach you the foundational principles and brain science of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Focusing on managing your emotions under pressure, this program will enable you to increase your perso ...

Whether you are a formal manager or want to increase your individual performance (or both), this program will teach you the foundational principles and brain science of Emotional Intelligence (EI).

Focusing on managing your emotions under pressure, this program will enable you to increase your personal leadership by learning how to manage your emotional brain in your most difficult moments. This will allow you to influence and engage others, and connect with them in a more meaningful way.

In this program, you will:

  • Learn the brain science of emotions that drives your behavior under pressure
  • Increase your awareness of the situations that put you at risk of having your emotions lead to unskillful behavior and poor decisions
  • Have the option to utilize our state-of-the-art EI360 feedback assessment to increase self-awareness of the 11 key EI competencies that drive your success
  • Learn practical strategies to help you respond more skillfully as pressure, tension and complexity increase
  • Identify patterns, triggers and emotional habits that either drive or derail your performance
  • Learn to suspend judgment – become ‘more curious and less certain’ – to effectively engage and influence others
  • Understand how to be an effective coach and help others develop the skills to perform under pressure
  • Practice techniques through interactive exercises and develop an action plan to put those strategies into practice

Performing Under Pressure: Doing Your Best When it Matters Most

Focusing on managing your thinking under pressure, this program will provide you with techniques and tools to help you overcome the sabotaging effects of pressure so you can think clearly and strategically, make decisions, perform complex tasks and lead others when there is change and pressure. In t ...

Focusing on managing your thinking under pressure, this program will provide you with techniques and tools to help you overcome the sabotaging effects of pressure so you can think clearly and strategically, make decisions, perform complex tasks and lead others when there is change and pressure.

In this program, you will learn:

  1. How to better manage pressure so it becomes a competitive advantage for you in growing your career and in helping your organization drive performance
  2. Research from our study of 12,000 people and what the top 10% did to excel under pressure
  3. Three pressure insights that will help you avoid the sabotaging effective of pressure
  4. Stories of leaders and organizations who have managed pressure effectively to succeed
  5. How pressure affects your brain and strategies you can use to perform under pressure in the moment
  6. Longer term ‘COTE of Armor’ (Confidence, Optimism, Tenacity, Enthusiasm) strategies that help inoculate you against pressure and increase your confidence as you walk into a pressure situation

This program is based on the ground breaking book, Performing Under Pressure, The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most, published by Crown Business/Penguin Random House in February, 2015.   For this New York Times bestselling book, co-authored by noted psychologist Hendrie Weisinger and IHHP’s J.P. Pawliw-Fry and , IHHP undertook a seven year study of more than 12,000 subjects from around the world.  We learned what the top 10% performers do to succeed under pressure!

This program may be taken stand-alone or can be preceded by our foundationalPerforming Under Pressue: The Science of Emotional Intelligencetraining, which is a pre-requisite for Performing Under Pressure: The Three Conversations of Leadership

Want to know how well you are performing under pressure?  Take the Pressure quiz!

Performing Under Pressure: The Three Conversations of Leadership

People want to make relationships work with their managers, teams, and peers. They want to give formal and informal feedback that improves accountability, clarity and performance. They want to bring their ideas and concerns to the table regardless of who is in the room.  What is surprising is the la ...

People want to make relationships work with their managers, teams, and peers. They want to give formal and informal feedback that improves accountability, clarity and performance. They want to bring their ideas and concerns to the table regardless of who is in the room.  What is surprising is the lack of skill and ability most people have to step into the difficult conversations they know they need to have.

Focusing on having effective conversations under pressure, this program will help people conduct daily, difficult and courageous conversations that cultivate teamwork, build connected relationships, and help global, highly matrixed, virtual teams learn to influence and collaborate more skillfully.

In addition to helping you have high-pressure and difficult conversations, you will also gain insight that when you are under pressure, you often have less effective daily conversations, which can erode trust and connection in your key relationships.

This program has been designed for people who are in formal leadership positions and responsible for both the performance and on-going development of their direct reports. This program builds on the foundation of Emotional Intelligence and will enable you to:

  • Understand the importance and impact of three critical types of conversations: Daily, Difficult and Courageous Conversations
  • Leverage insight from the brain science of emotions to have more effective conversations
  • Learn techniques to have high impact daily coaching conversations that build trust and drive results, even in time-constrained, pressure-filled environments
  • Practice having difficult conversations in a way that allows you to speak your truth and get to the “last 8%”, while not emotionally triggering the other person. Examples include:
  • Engaging people by creating emotional connection when rolling out change
  • Delivering bad news or saying “no” in a way that ensures a person is still valued andunderstands the message
  • Providing continuous coaching about behavior, performance and impact
  • Managing up and across when we have limited or no direct authority
  • Understand the importance of having a developmental mindset so you can coach people to the next level of performance

There comes a time when we need to have a difficult conversation in the workplace. This program will provide you with the knowledge and techniques required to have the critical conversations that you know you need to have. These kinds of conversations are never easy, but we need the skills to have them in order to consistently drive performance.

The Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Emotional Intelligence program is a pre-requisite for Performing Under Pressure: The Three Conversations of Leadership. This program may be preceded by or followed by Performing Under Pressure: Doing Your Best When it Matters Most.

Women Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When it Matters Most

Organizations that are Gender Diverse Outperform the Competition. Women have a brain based difference that predisposes them to weigh more variables, consider more options, see more context and visualize a wider array of solutions and outcomes to a problem when they or their organization are under pr ...

Organizations that are Gender Diverse Outperform the Competition.

Women have a brain based difference that predisposes them to weigh more variables, consider more options, see more context and visualize a wider array of solutions and outcomes to a problem when they or their organization are under pressure.

The Women Under Pressure initiative will answer

  • What is unique about a women’s brain and why is that important to organizations?
  • What is the second layer of pressure that women face that is different from men?
  • What did we learn from our research study of 6,000 women?
  • What strategies can women learn to perform better under pressure?

IHHP Expanded Keynote Experience

In our experience of delivering hundreds of keynotes every year, we find the most impactful keynotes have an experience that expands beyond the presentation for both the individual participants and the client organization. Our approach to keynotes incorporates three key elements that engage the part ...

In our experience of delivering hundreds of keynotes every year, we find the most impactful keynotes have an experience that expands beyond the presentation for both the individual participants and the client organization. Our approach to keynotes incorporates three key elements that engage the participant and organization before, during and after the keynote. Outlined below are the three components and how they contribute to an engaging experience.

1. Pre-keynote survey

The week before a keynote is delivered, we send out a custom link that directs participants to answer a link to a short (4 minute) survey to help uncover some of the key challenges they are facing. The data from this survey provides the speaker with insights that are used to ensure the presentation addresses directly some of the challenges identified by the respondents. The aggregate results (individual results are confidential) are presented as part of the keynote, providing a connection to the content and the audience.

2. Keynote presentation

The pre-keynote survey serves as a great segue to the core content of the presentation priming interest and attendees with a receptive mindset. The familiarity of the experience from the survey information combined with the thought-provoking, entertaining keynote presentation (developed and refined over working with a variety of audiences) ensures that the participants are engaged, and eager to learn.

3. Senior Leadership Team Executive Briefing

To provide a robust experience for the organization, our speakers make themselves available for a one-hour leadership briefing with your senior team immediately following the presentation to give them an opportunity to ask questions, build on the insights delivered in the keynote and develop thoughts regarding how best to apply the lessons learned and put the strategies & tools into practice.

We offer this pre, event and post keynote approach at no incremental cost as it is important to us that organizations experience the highest level of sustainable learning and swift movement toward behavior change.

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Biography

Sara’s clients include: Fortune 500 companies such as New York Life Insurance, Rogers and Allstate; tech companies such as Adobe; healthcare organizations like the University Health Network, Sunovion and Edwards Lifesciences; marketing agencies such as Environics; and financial firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Scotiabank, Fidelity and BMO. She works with clients ranging from surgeons, financial traders, lawyers and engineers to government agencies, nonprofits and entrepreneurs providing her broad perspectives and diverse experience. Through IHHP, Sara taught at Smith College’s Women’s Executive Leadership Program and worked with the leadership team of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

“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 awesome!” -Women in Engineering Conference Organizer

In her tenure with IHHP as their VP, she helped launch their New York Times bestselling book: Performing Under Pressure, as well as the leadership program for senior female executives – “Women Performing Under Pressure.” Sara remains a head faculty member, designing leadership development programs and certifying enterprise leaders from across the globe in IHHP’s flagship program “The Science of Emotional Intelligence”, as well as IHHP’s other “Performing Under Pressure” programs. Sara’s training includes a Master’s of Science degree (MSc.), certifications in coaching and as a language and behavioral profiler, as well as a master trained practitioner in Emotional Intelligence.