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Meet Sarah

"What I am, is a catalyst for transformation"

Meet Sarah Cornally

In my career I have been called a Leadership Advisor, a Frontier Rider, a Catalyst for Change and a Systemic Intelligence Pioneer. There is truth in all of these descriptions, though the reality of what I do is more complex and multi-faceted, and no one descriptor captures it all.

My passion and expertise is consulting with individuals and organisations to create a culture in which both people and businesses thrive.

Using a whole system perspective, which respects the unique balance that exists between the organic, scientific and artistic elements of an organisation, my focus is on pragmatic outcomes.

With clients my approach is to be challenging, balancing sensitivity and robustness. By insightfully exploring dynamics whilst enabling individuals and groups to create a deep sense of trust, which allow the real issues to be confronted respectfully, wise decisions made, people to be treated with dignity and real results achieved.

Clients recognise and respect me as a leadership advisor who supports not only individuals, but also the collective leadership and boards both locally and internationally. My passionate investment in people and belief in their capacity to connect and engage in challenging conversations is a hallmark of the work we do together. In this way complexity can be embraced and explored to find the optimum pathway, leveraging off the talents, insights and wisdom that people bring.

Connect with me to start the conversation.

“Most people already know the answers and have the skills. What they need is insight, awareness and a process of discovery, allowing them to access their greater wisdom. If we have the courage to face reality and deal with what we find with an open heart and open mind, we can achieve the results we imagine.”

SARAH CORNALLY

My Story

Early in my initial career as an occupational therapist in the 1980s, I specialised in treating complex, messy and resistant cases for workers compensation that other practitioners had deemed ‘untreatable’. Intuitively I realised that the only way to resolve these issues was to look at them systemically; to look beyond the injured hand, or the person sitting in front of me and consider ‘What was the whole system that they sat within?’. By treating not just the individual, but also the environment, the culture and systems they interacted with, the result was a phenomenal success rate at getting people back to work safely.

This got the attention of C-suite executives who then sought me out to work with them and their executive teams to address complex, resistant leadership issues. Executives said to me, ‘There’s things you know about people that we need to understand.’

Initially, I was reluctant to move into the corporate sector as I found my rehab work very rewarding. However, one particular executive’s response was a turning point for me. He said ‘We’re responsible for the lives of the people who work here, and we don’t always send them home whole’.

Understanding that the impact could be far greater beyond the individuals was the start of my commitment to help create environments in which both people and the enterprise thrive. I started a consultancy and within a very short period of time I had a prolific and blossoming business.

Since then I’ve had the enriching experience of advising leaders, both nationally and internationally many from top 100 companies as well as federal and state organisations. Clients include: Microsoft, Coca Cola Amatil, NAB, VF Corporation, PWC, BNP Paribas, KPMG, Dept of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Allens, QBE, APRA, Woolworths, Suncorp, Natixis, Baker & McKenzie, Macquarie Bank, NSW Department of Human Services, McAfee, Under Amour and CBA.

Iron fist in a velvet glove

Clients have described me as an ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’. My belief is that corporate life is very demanding; it asks of human beings extraordinary things. People in positions of authority can often have blind-spots, and they wear the consequences very heavily. There are so many well-meaning people in organisational life, but there can be a lot in the system that’s not conducive to thriving. That needs to change.

I walk with my clients through the fire, enabling their aspirations, while they and their organisations emerge transformed. People are far more capable and robust than they realise.

Through my deep study of systemic intelligence I have a greater repertoire to reveal systemic points of leverage. It’s my commitment, compassion, and whole-system thinking that is at the core of everything I do. It is a catalyst for positive change. There is a deep satisfaction from supporting clients to discover their capability and shape the systems that touch so many people’s lives.

“I was approached by C-suite executives to consult in the area of leadership and issue resolution as a result of my reputation in resolving complex and challenging issues. Executives said to me, ‘There’s things you know about people that we need to understand.'”

SARAH CORNALLY

“I have a compassionate heart for people in business. There are so many well-meaning people in organisational life, but there’s a lot in the system that’s not conducive to thriving.
I draw enormous satisfaction from helping to shape the systems that touch most people’s lives.”

SARAH CORNALLY

Qualifications

I’ve dedicated the past 30 years to deepening my understanding of how to create organisations where people can thrive for the benefit of the enterprise.

Initially qualifying with a degree in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy and practising in the field of Occupational Rehabilitation, I became a leader in this field, renowned for outstanding outcomes in highly complex resistant cases. Subsequently, I furthered my academic qualifications in behavioural, biological and engineering sciences, as well as organisational behaviour, industrial relations and leadership.

Formal qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy (University of Sydney)
  • Master of Safety Science (UNSW)
  • The Art & Practice of Leadership Development (Adaptive Leadership) (Harvard University)

Formal memberships include:

  • Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Associate Fellow, Australian Institute of Management.

Ongoing, diverse learning

For the past 10 years I’ve immersed myself in the study of System Dynamics in Organisations. My initial study was with the Bert Hellinger Instituut in The Netherlands. I’ve continued my deep exploration of this emerging practice with advanced training and dialogue with leading practitioners globally.

Additionally, I’ve continued my life-long love of learning, completing numerous short and long courses in leadership, coaching, mindfulness, and personal development.

Teaching the next generation of leaders

  • I’ve led certifications in the Asia Pacific region for the transformational leadership technology the Leadership Circle System™ since 2008.
  • I created and teach the System Dynamics & Organisational Constellations course
  • Previously for 10 years I was an accredited facilitator for the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ education program, including the advanced diploma ‘Mastering the Boardroom’

Accredited leadership tools

I’m accredited to deliver a broad range of leadership tools, which I use selectively based on relevance and transferability into practice. The purpose of each tool is to measure and bring something into view; the work then is to transfer that into new and different actions and results. These tools include:

  • The TLC Leadership Transformation System™ including
    • The Leadership Circle Culture Survey™ (Leadership Culture) (TLCS)
    • The Authentic Leader Program™ (TLC)
    • The Leadership Circle Profile™ (LCP)
    • The Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) Pule Survey
  • Growth Edge Conversations & Psychologically Spacious Coaching (with Jennifer Garvey Berger)
  • Leadership Maturity Framework (Completed Certification Training with Susanne Cook-Greuter)
  • Hogan Leadership Potential Series
  • PBC 360 Profile
  • A Values Inventory (AVI).
  • Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI)
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) accredited facilitator and directors’ coach for 12 years

Leadership experience include:

I also hold several alliances and partnerships with prestigious organisations.

“I’ve sought out practical approaches that are transferrable to the world of work and organisations. My special interest is to develop deep skills in leading edge methods that my clients can use effectively to meet their emerging needs.”

SARAH CORNALLY
Download my biography

Alliances

Alliances with international organisations allow me to enhance my offering and better serve larger clients and those with global reach. By leveraging like-minded and like-spirited professionals across the world, clients have access to an extensive pool of quality resources.

I am an active member with the following organisations:

My work emphasises the value of leading collaboratively and working co-creatively with partners and networks. Through this I’m able to enable the important work of distributed leadership and interdependence that is demanded of my clients.

Keynote Speaker

Described as a compelling speaker, I’m known for taking my audience on a profound journey of discovery. When speaking I draw on a rich suite of real-life case studies from 30 years as a sought-after consultant helping leaders and organisations transform.

I’m a ‘frontier rider’, inspiring, challenging and provocative, someone who explores beyond the boundaries, searching for emergent ideas that leverage the way we live and work together. As a pragmatist, I’m interested in what works and what doesn’t in the real world. My passion is help people to create what really matters to them in organisations.

Bringing this to my speaking engagements, my focus is to give my audience take-away strategies with insights to make them work, ensuring my audiences walk away with a new knowledge they can apply.

Take a look at my recent speaking engagements.

Speaking topics

I’m known for helping audiences understand the importance of courage, conflict, and systemic perspectives. My unconventional but profound approach means my presentations take you into new frontiers.

Some of my many speaking topics include:
  • Why quantum thinking is essential in the face of ambiguity and complexity
  • Transformation – What’s needed at a personal, collective, and global level
  • Leadership – Start with unconditional acceptance, then insist on radical challenge
  • Wisdom at the Edges – Listening to the Disruptive
  • Systemic intelligence – Discovering hidden resources and possibilities

Connect with me if you’d like to engage me for your next conference.

“Frontier rider, inspiring, challenging, provocative, compelling.”

“If you want to shape the future and enjoy the ride, embracing quantum thinking is essential. The old ways just don’t cut it any more in a world of ambiguity, pace and complexity.”

SARAH CORNALLY

“Topics such as leadership, organisational culture and transformation are upended with my quantum thinking approach.”

SARAH CORNALLY