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Sarah McVanel

International Recognition, Retention, Culture & Leadership Expert

True acceptance is believing people are worthy before they’ve earned it. Imagine a workplace that extends acknowledgement and appreciation to its employees before they even start? Sarah McVanel is a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, recovering perfectionist, and movement maker of F.R.O.G. Forever Recognize Others’ GreatnessTM. 


With 25+ years of experience, she invigorates companies to see their people as exceptional so that, together, they can create a scrumptious, thriving culture where everyone belongs.


As the founder of Greatness Magnified, she is proud to have built a thriving organization that specializes in providing training programs and certifications for employees at large. By being equipped to stay positive, solution-focused, and resilient in changing times, they can help to build a healthy and recognition-rich team.


Here’s the fact: recognition is the single, most effective, and the cost-efficient way that organizations can decrease burnout, sick time, change fatigue, and hiring costs. The reward? Increased employee retention, safety, innovation, and customer satisfaction... as a starting point. What organization doesn’t need this in a competitive marketplace with a talent shortage?


And it gets better. When you practice recognition in all areas of life, especially at home, it turns even the most difficult challenges and greatest tensions into opportunities to connect, commits, heal, and belong.


Recognition: The Solution to the Great Resignation 


You’re 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 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 it will impress the heck out of your board, the HR industry, and even your mama.

Get ready to banish exit interviews, redeploy your recruiters, and free up your leaders. After all, no one ever left a job because they were too appreciated.


Learning outcomes: 

  • Explore retention through today’s employee experience lens 

  • Develop intentional recognition practices that sustainably attract and retain

  • Understand what microtrends are causing you to lose great talent

  • Understand the data and evidence substantiating the exponential power of recognition from neuroscience, behavioural economics, and work psychology lens

The Exponential Power of Recognition

Superglue your culture through meaningful connection and abundant appreciation


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? 


There are so many passionate, brilliant, hard-working people wanting to do their best yet feeling unappreciated and overworked. Similarly, there are well-intentioned leaders who want 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 could actually LOVE work again. 


In this session, we will introduce you to a proven process for self, team and organizational recognition called F.R.O.G. Forever Recognize Others' Greatness™. You will walk away ready to take action to shift your culture right away. 


Tap into this universal need that everyone has and isn’t getting enough of. Join Canada's Recognition Expert, Sarah McVanel, in creating a recognition movement that will be so contagious it will cascade through your event and beyond.


Learning outcomes:

  • Develop greater confidence in giving and receiving sincere and authentic acknowledgements

  • Understand where your organization is wasting time and money on recognition programs that do not work (and what to do about it)

  • Be inspired to apply simple recognition habits at home and at work

  • Understand the data and evidence substantiating the exponential power of recognition from a neuroscience, behavioural economics, and work psychology lens 

  • Explore what retention-rich organizations do differently that transforms their employees into an army of recruiters

Flip Side of Failing

How unconditional recognition ignites resilience, relationships and retention 


Failure is a tough nut. Either we treat it like the other ‘f-word’ or we’re espousing the virtues of it 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 failure should be avoided 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 the 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 judgement.  


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 relevant personally and professionally

  • Create a failure resiliency intention at a self, team and organizational level

Recognition: Your Customer Retention Superpower

How to fuel customer retention with a forever philosophy


How do you retain, delight, and exceed the expectations of your clients when it seems like the bar is always being 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 actually 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 on, 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 means that 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 customer delight improvements 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

Solution Focused Greatness

THow to amplify collaboration, resilience, and positivity in others


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 unresourcefully

  • Create collaborative and innovative solutions – even when no easy answers seem to exist