Sarah McVanel

Sarah McVanel

St. Catharines, Ontario
International Recognition Expert | Certified Professional Speaker & Human Resource Leader | Author
Sarah McVanel is a highly accomplished recognition expert and certified speaker based in Canada. With her extensive experience and expertise, Sarah McVanel has made a significant impact in the field of recognition, empowering organizations to create cultures of appreciation and acknowledge the exceptional qualities of their employees. As a recognition expert, Sarah McVanel has developed innovative approaches to recognition and has successfully implemented them in various organizations. Her insights and strategies have helped companies invigorate their workforce, fostering a thriving work environment where everyone feels valued and included. She is an accomplished author, sharing her insights and knowledge through her publications. Her books provide valuable resources for individuals and organizations seeking to cultivate a culture of appreciation and recognition. Sarah's prowess as a certified speaker is recognized worldwide. Sarah McVanel has the remarkable ability to captivate audiences and inspire positive change through her speeches. Sarah McVanel is a Certified Senior Organizational Development Professional (CSODP), a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL).
  • Employee Management
  • Leadership
  • Peak Performance
  • Personal Growth
  • Women's Leadership
  • Business Management
  • Annual General Meetings
  • Awareness Days
  • Career Development
  • Celebrity
  • Certified Speakers
  • Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP)
  • Conference
  • Conferences & Summits


Sarah McVanel is a multi-talented individual with expertise in recognition, public speaking, coaching, writing, and fostering positive change. As a recovering perfectionist and movement maker, Sarah McVanel has developed her company to rejuvenate companies and empower them to acknowledge the exceptional qualities of their employees. This creates a delightful and thriving work environment where everyone feels valued and included.

Sarah McVanel’s journey as a recognition expert began with her deep passion for helping organizations create a culture of appreciation and acknowledgement. Over the years, Sarah McVanel has developed a unique and innovative approach to recognition, which Sarah McVanel shares through her speaking engagements, coaching, and writing.

Sarah’s expertise is not limited to recognition alone. Sarah McVanel is also a certified speaker, recognized for her exceptional ability to captivate audiences and inspire positive change. Through her speeches, Sarah McVanel shares practical strategies and insights that organizations can implement to enhance their recognition practices and ultimately create a thriving work environment.

In addition to her speaking engagements, Sarah McVanel is also a coach, working closely with individuals and teams to help them unlock their full potential and achieve greatness. Her 25+ years of experience in training, coaching, and leading teams have equipped her with valuable insights and strategies to support personal and professional growth.

Sarah’s impact extends beyond her professional endeavours. Sarah McVanel is also an accomplished author, with several publications that delve into the power of recognition and its transformative effects. Her books serve as valuable resources for individuals and organizations seeking to cultivate a culture of appreciation.

As a testament to her dedication and expertise, Sarah McVanel has acquired various certifications in her field. She is a Certified Senior Organizational Development Professional (CSODP), demonstrating her deep understanding of organizational dynamics and development. Moreover, Sarah McVanel holds the title of Professional Certified Coach (PCC), which showcases her ability to guide individuals and teams towards achieving their goals. Her certification as a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) further solidifies her knowledge and expertise in human resources practices.

Another notable recognition Sarah McVanel has received is being recognized as one of the 700 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) worldwide. This prestigious designation is a testament to her exceptional speaking abilities, as well as her commitment to delivering high-quality content and experiences to her audiences.

Sarah McVanel’s educational background complements her extensive experience and certifications. Sarah McVanel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, providing her with a strong foundation in understanding human behaviour and motivation. Additionally, Sarah McVanel possesses a Master of Science degree in Family Relations, further enhancing her ability to navigate interpersonal dynamics within organizations.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Sarah McVanel enjoys engaging in outdoor activities with her husband. Whether it’s kayaking during the summer or snowshoeing in the winter, she finds solace in nature and uses these experiences to recharge and find inspiration. Sarah McVanel also has a passion for cooking and indulges in preparing delicious feasts while immersing herself in audiobooks played at double speed.




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How Recognizing Your Employees Can Lead to a Better Workplace and Higher Employee Retention

George Torok

Recognition expert, Sarah McVanel talks about how to value and recognize your people



Episode #12: Would You Strive For Failure? Inspirational Sarah McVanel Interview

Sarah McVanel Topic Presentations

the exponential power of recognition

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day TrainingFull Day Training
  • If you had the easiest, fastest, simplest, and no-cost strategy to engage, unite, and retain everyone in your organization, would you want to know about it?

    Many passionate, brilliant, hard-working people want to do their best yet feel unappreciated and overworked. Similarly, there are well-intentioned leaders who wish to show appreciation to their people, but they’re busy and unsure if their efforts will make a difference.

    Add to that a stale and misaligned corporate recognition program, and what you have is the perfect recipe for disengagement and turnover!

    How do we bridge the gap between what employees need and what organizations are prepared to do?

    Recognition is the answer. And it’s easy! All you need to know are the 3 universal strategies that work instantaneously. As a result, you’re going to raise trust, boost satisfaction, deepen a sense of belonging, and you will go down in history as the best boss and colleague – ever!

    This work is magical. And it creates a ripple effect. It gets leaders, employees, and everyone in between excited again. It gives people hope that they can LOVE work again.

the great resignation solution

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day TrainingFull Day Training
  • You are not losing your best people to the competition. A bump in pay won’t stop the turnover floodgates. Gone are the days you have too many resumes. The Great Resignation is here.

    Microtrends have collided to create a cacophony of confusion about how to retain today’s workforce. The good news is, employees’ needs haven’t changed… they’ve just started voicing it louder as they stomp out the door. Are you listening?

    Welcome to the Age of the Employee Experience.

    Are you looking to cultivate some serious FOMO (fear of missing out) with anyone, not in your team? Are you ready to reimagine the most delicious workplace that makes everyone feel more personally and professionally satisfied?

    The solution has been there all along: recognition. Let’s turn today’s turnover tsunami into a comeback story; let’s make it so brag-worthy that it will impress the heck out of your board, the HR industry, and even your mama.

    Add to that a stale and misaligned corporate recognition program, and what you have is the perfect recipe for disengagement and turnover!

    How do we bridge the gap between what employees need and what organizations are prepared to do?

    Recognition is the answer. And it’s easy! All you need to know are the 3 universal strategies that work instantaneously. As a result, you’re going to raise trust, boost satisfaction, deepen a sense of belonging, and you will go down in history as the best boss and colleague – ever!

    This work is magical. And it creates a ripple effect. It gets leaders, employees, and everyone in between excited again. It gives people hope that they can LOVE work again.

flip side of failing - how unconditional recognition ignites resilience, relationships and retention?

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day TrainingFull Day Training
  • Failure is a tough nut. Either we treat it like the other “f-word,” or we’re espousing its virtues for learning. Let’s face it. We don’t have much resilience when failure comes crashing into our lives and careers.

    Most often, we play it safe. We avoid it or feel shame or blame when failure inevitably happens. We’ve had plenty of experiences that tell us to avoid failing at all costs.

    Before you think this is your “unmotivational” speech, trust me when I say that this is empowerment personified. We will be challenging the very definitions of success and failure that we’ve blindly accepted, and it’s sabotaging our well-being, performance, and satisfaction.

    What does failure mean to you? Does it define you? Can you give yourself permission to fail?

    In this session, you will truly experience and absorb the F.L.I.P. framework: Fail, Learn, Ignite, Praise. Each dimension of FLIP allows you to harness the power that comes from failure and let go of ego or judgment.

    Learning from your failures creates your path to greatness. These lessons will forever change you and help you become more decisive, confident, and action-oriented.

    The question is … where’s your FLIP? How can you become more failure resilient?

    If you’re ready to explore how unconditional recognition of yourself and others can ignite passion and performance, this session is for you.

    In this energizing and entertaining session (with a few fun twists), you will awaken possibilities, deepen connections, source solutions, and improve individual and organizational performance by recognizing greatness in a whole new light. Rather than kryptonite, let failure be your superpower.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Develop greater failure resiliency by deconstructing unhealthy failure resistance
    • Identify how to best share, explore, and leverage the inevitable failures to fuel performance and innovation
    • Experience the flip side of failing firsthand and reflect on its relevance personally and professionally
    • Create a failure resiliency intention at a self, team, and organizational level

solution focused greatness - how to amplify collaboration, resilience, and positivity in others?

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day TrainingFull Day Training
  • Sick of people fixating on problems, focusing on issues beyond their control, pointing fingers, and casting blame? Do you feel like you’re constantly firefighting a revolving door that churns negativity?

    Isn’t it more productive to identify solutions and, in turn, fuel connection, awaken creativity, and elevate appreciation? And what if you weren’t the only one doing it?

    Here’s the secret … everyone has greatness. They just don’t all believe it.

    People want to do well and have a desire to contribute. What if we see their greatness even when they’re not operating at their very best? How might you lead differently? How might you show up with greater curiosity? How might you do less telling and do more asking to co-create possibilities?

    When you embrace the belief that people are already greatness, it acts as a wedge in that negativity revolving door. You don’t lose hope, your best people, and your most innovative ideas.

    This session will empower you to leverage the 5 most resourceful questions (that you’re not currently asking) to access the solution to any problem.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Practice the 5 most effective, solution-focused coaching questions that address negativity, gossip, and a problem-fixated mindset
    • Understand how to foster an environment that’s rich with curiosity and continuous improvement
    • Increase your team’s hopefulness, resiliency, and well-being through easy to implement tactics
    • Notice the signs that you’re firefighting, micro-managing, and behaving un-resourcefully
    • Create collaborative and innovative solutions – even when no easy answers seem to exist

unleash your inner superhero - tap into the 5 secrets that will ignite your greatness

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day TrainingFull Day Training
  • You know you want to Unleash Your Inner Superhero if:

    You are a team that is committed to remaining resilient despite struggles

    You’re a leader who wants staff to be energized and work to their fullest capabilities every day

    You’re an organization that knows that happy and engaged staff are those who stay

    You need a delicious and engaging experience at your next recognition event

    Stop minimizing your greatness. Start getting inspired and into action so you can make the biggest impact.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Tap into the 5 secrets that will clarify and mobilize your unique strengths
    • 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” attitude
    • Solidify what brings you joy, resiliency, and energy so you can be productive and satisfied
    • Unleash your inner superhero and flex your greatness muscles (gym membership is optional).

recognition in a hybrid world rebuild connection and deepen engagement across the digital divide

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day TrainingFull Day Training
  • Contrary to popular belief, hybrid workplaces are NOT disconnecting your people. The problem is not employees logging in from different locations, watercooler conversations being moved to keyboards or the tumbleweeds rolling down your office floor like the wild west. The problem is that before the rise of hybrid workplaces, we did not have authentic recognition practices hardwired into the cultural fabric. What we know today is the need for clarity and conviction to make recognition practices strong, authentic, sustainable, and owned by all.

    The good news is that recognition is one of the most practical, accessible, and cost-effective ways to fuel healthy working relationships, trust, and retention. It allows your people to connect across the digital divide to participate, voice their opinions, brainstorm, and collaborate.

    And guess what? You can do it from anywhere!

    Consider recognition to be your cultural glue – whether you’re in-person or online. Let Canada’s Recognition Expert, Sarah McVanel, walk you through her three key remote recognition ingredients: nutritious, delicious, and luscious. Never has recognition been more important and as digestible.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Learn the most practical, hybrid-friendly ways to appreciate an individual, team, and organizational level
    • Hear what the most recognition-rich hybrid workplaces are doing to boost collaboration and deepen the connection
    • Develop greater confidence in giving and receiving authentic virtual compliments
    • Transform your face-to-face rituals that worked and amplify them into hybrid practices that are sustainable and infectious
    • Understand the data and evidence substantiating the exponential power of recognition from a neuroscience, behavioral economics, and work psychology lens

recognition - your customer retention superpower

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day TrainingFull Day Training
  • How can you retain, delight, and exceed client expectations when the bar is continually raised? How do you bring your whole team along with you to fuel this exceptional customer experience? How will this enable you to maintain a healthy lifestyle while growing your heart-based business?

    It’s simpler than it seems. Every person needs to feel heard, valued and appreciated. There is one overlooked, yet simple and powerful customer-facing strategy that every team member can execute, regardless of tenure, role, or seniority – Recognition.

    We give a lot of lip service to “customer satisfaction” and spend money measuring it. However, do we truly seek to form the deepest, most meaningful connection with our customers through micro-moments and long-term rituals? Do we truly value our customers and continually earn their trust and loyalty – even when we don’t have to?

    What does it take to cultivate a raving fan base? Customers who are as passionate about you as you are about them. Imagine what it will look like when your customers have an insatiable need to tell everyone how great it is to work with you.

    This session is designed for business owners and sales associates who have a deep desire to delight customers for life. But wait – everyone has a customer! This session is also for those who are working inside organizations and are committed to a collaborative, harmonious, and mutually satisfying relationship. In other words, anyone involved in the customer journey (internal or external) who wants to retain, elevate, and enhance the relational customer experience will walk away with boundless ideas and actionable possibilities.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Build your customer retention and recognition approach with a forever philosophy
    • Better understand the importance of knowing where you fall on the Relational to Transactional Continuum
    • Identify micro improvements for customer delight that create a substantial return on investment
    • Discern where appreciation can be hardwired into your customer experience journey
    • Plan your next steps to elevate your customers (internal or external) to create a deeper connection


Coming Soon!

Articles & Media

Unemployment in Canada has dropped, yet some firms are struggling to hire. Here’s why

Global News

The unemployment rate across Canada dropped to a new low of 5.1 per cent in May — the lowest since at least 1976 — yet some businesses are struggling to fill job vacancies. One of the main reasons for that, according to one expert, is that people are more “picky” when it comes to applying...


HR Professional Now

The exponential power of recognition is when recognition catches you off-guard and makes a beeline for the emotional centres of your brain. The element of surprise makes recognition more meaningful and memorable; we’re so caught up in our daily life, working as hard as we can and plugging...

Why praising people at work can be as motivating as money

The Globe and Mail

Sarah McVanel, a recognition expert, explains that workers who receive praise frequently are more likely to say their job gives them a sense of purpose – something workers are increasingly rating above financial gain in terms of their priorities. “Recognition taps into people’s intrinsic...


Forever Recognize Others' Greatness: Solution-Focused Strategies for Satisfied Staff, High-Performing Teams, and Healthy Bottom Lines
Forever Recognize Others' Greatness: Solution-Focused Strategies for Satisfied Staff, High-Performing Teams, and Healthy Bottom Lines
According to countless engagement surveys and polls, the majority of employees today want to feel more valued and to contribute in more meaningful ways. The results of disengagement are devastating: Top talent is considering or acting on their exit plan. Employees who remain are blocked from giving...
Flip Side of Failing: How to Recognize and Leverage Greatness in Life and Work
Flip Side of Failing: How to Recognize and Leverage Greatness in Life and Work
Who among us has never experienced a failure? We beat ourselves up whether the failure is big or small. And we judge others for their failures. We've been programmed to hide our mistakes, cover up our failures - to be ashamed. But what if it weren't like that? What if, on the other side of failure,...
Rockstar: Magnify Your Greatness in Times of Change for Healthcare Leaders
Rockstar: Magnify Your Greatness in Times of Change for Healthcare Leaders
Sarah McVanel empowers you with the ROCK leadership behaviours that will produce STAR results both right now and post-change. Written in a practical, non-nonsense style, ROCK STAR provides advice and guideliness to help you focus on what matters most - your people. Healthcare leaders want to...
How to book Sarah McVanel for an event?

Sarah McVanel keynote speaker is an expert presenter and has a wide range of experience speaking to a wide variety of audiences and organizations. Sarah McVanel delivers keynotes, workshops & training sessions. They may also host or emcee events. Hire Sarah McVanel from St. Catharines, Ontario for your event to inspire the audience to take action and make change in their work and their lives. Your workplace will benefit from our keynote speaker and their keynote talks and speeches will shift the mindsets or behaviours for the audience members in Canada. 

Interested in booking Sarah McVanel for an event?

Are you looking to hire Sarah McVanel for your event? Sarah McVanel St. Catharines, Ontario is a dynamic and engaging speaker that offers audiences researched content paired with expertise and a dynamic speaking ability. Sarah McVanel is also a Canadian corporate consultant and coach and facilitates workshops and training sessions for a corporate audience. Sarah McVanel is an expert keynote presenter and speaks on wide variety of topics. Hiring a great speaker for your event is important and working with a thought leader like Sarah McVanel from Speakers Canada’s roster will engage audiences into the content of the presentation to bring awareness and a fresh perspective for their approach to their work and their lives. Book Sarah McVanel to educate, motivate and activate the audience through an interactive and entertaining presentation at corporate meetings and gatherings.

Known as a popular key note speaker in Canada, Sarah McVanel creates life changing experiences for the participants with practical insights and strategic advice they can implement right after the session. Working with a one our leading expert speaker like Sarah McVanel from St. Catharines, Ontario offers organizations a fresh perspective to assist the people of the organization. No matter if it is a government, association, or business crowd, Sarah McVanel is a perfect speaker for your event. Through unique practical insights for trending topics and years experience speaking to different organizations, Sarah McVanel focuses on changing individuals to make better decisions at work and their lives. No matter if you are holding an in person or virtual event, having an influential speaker such as Sarah McVanel will engage, motivate, and activate the audience to make a change in their lives and inspire action for results to meet organizational goals. Your workforce will benefit from Sarah McVanel’s presentations and speeches, with measurable results set to shift the people of the organization and core direction of the company. Book Sarah McVanel speaker for your annual general meeting, conference, summit, or convention in Canada.

How much does it cost to hire Sarah McVanel for a keynote presentation or virtual event?

Sarah McVanel is an expert professional key note speaker with a lot of experience speaking and delivering engaging talks to organizations and audiences in Canada. Each of Speaker Bureau Canada’s talent have different ways to assess their fees, and Sarah McVanel speaker fee ranges depending on the size of the audience, event format (in person or virtual), event location, and if the organization booking them is a non profit, association, government department/government agency or business/corporation. The speakers we work with are flexible with their fees, and it is important for us to learn more about your event before we approach them, as it is our role to work for you, and to help you find a speaker within budget. 

Please contact Speakers Bureau of Canada and provide us with your event details so that we can contact Sarah McVanel to check availability or confirm the pricing and associated costs to hire a great speaker like Sarah McVanel for your event. As Sarah McVanel's agent and as a Canadian top speaker bureau and talent agency for speakers, we are able to propose each event opportunity from each host organization’s behalf to try to help you get in touch with Sarah McVanel and confirm them for your in person or online meeting/event. We can also provide and advise on the booking process and potentially negotiate their fee. Speakers Canada is a client focused speaker agency, and we work for you in finding good speakers for your team meetings and booking processes.

Sarah McVanel Disclaimer
Speakers Bureau Canada assists companies and event planning teams seeking to hire talent like Sarah McVanel for speaking engagements, virtual meetings, conference appearances, training sessions and workshops facilitations. Our Canadian speakers bureau does not claim to exclusively represent Sarah McVanel, however they are represented by Speakers Canada, and we work with them closely for their Canadian speaking opportunities and bookings. As Canada’s top speaker bureau, we represent Canadian motivational keynote speakers and professional guest speakers that will be available on your upcoming events date and location that are withing the budget. Our talented bureau speaker booking agency can help find business speakers or celebrity speakers that aligns with each organization, audience, event theme and the topic themes you hope for the speaker to address in their presentation. 

When SBC receives a request to book Sarah McVanel we provide you with their speaker fees, travel costs and check their schedules. We work closely with the host organization’s event planning team and the speaker to handle the logistics and to relay or negotiate associated costs. Our talented team members then will work with our talent directly or their agent/manager/assistant to confirm the Canadian speaker fee and travel expenses, so that event planning teams can receive an official quote for the speaker appearing at the event. Speaker fees and travel costs vary per speaker and our role is to contact Sarah McVanel about your event, after we have connected with the event organizers to learn all the event details and/or conference program. Each booking request is unique since session durations and audience sizes can vary which may affect the speaker’s fees. If you are looking to hire Sarah McVanel, we recommend filling out the booking request form so a booking agent from Speakers Bureau Canada can get in touch with our talent to help you coordinate with your team to engage the speaker for a successful event.

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