Sarah Cornally enables leaders to create results that really matter with high levels of engagement, performance and achievement - getting the best from the people they lead.

Since 1983 Sarah has been a trusted leadership advisor to senior executives on leadership effectiveness and cultural change repeatedly achieving outstanding results especially in addressing challenging scenarios. She has practiced leadership herself taking on roles that enable her to face the challenges her clients do from the inside out.

Sarah is a pragmatist. She is interested in what works, and what doesn't, in the real world. She brings that insight and experience to her presentations ensuring her audiences benefit from her knowledge and experience across a rich and diverse range of clients from industry, commerce and government from the shop floor to the boardrooms of Australia. Her focus is to give real takeaway strategies and ideas with adequate insight to make them work.

As a member of the AICD faculty for the advanced diploma, 'Mastering the Boardroom', she facilitates high level learning experiences. In 2006, she received the Nevin Award, National Speakers Association of Australia's highest award for outstanding contribution to the speaking industry. She has coauthored several books including Lessons in Leadership - 'Turning Strategic Intent into Real Results' and Awakening the Workplace 2 'Courageous Conversations'.

Sarah earned her Applied Science in OT degree from Cumberland College of Health Sciences and her Masters degree in Safety Science from UNSW. She is a Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors and Associate Fellow, Australian Institute of Management. She certifies consultants in The Leadership Circle - leadership transformation technology in the Asia Pacific region.

Keynote topics
By working closely with the client, Sarah will tailor her keynote to achieve the desired outcomes for the event by relating to what is relevant in the real world of the client.

1.  Creating What Really Matters
Leading is essentially about creating. Taking an idea or concept and turning it into something real and tangible whether it is a service, process or product, simple or complex. Sarah walks through the process and disciplines that leaders need to understand to be able to create what really matters. She shares the distinctions that make the difference between 'sort of' and 'nailing it'. You will leave with a simple proven approach that will challenge you to step up to a new level of leadership effectiveness enabling you to create what really matters.

2. Courageous Conversations
All businesses need to have courageous conversations, both internally and externally. When we avoid these conversations it sows the seeds of resistance, hardship and struggle. A courageous conversation is about getting to the heart of the matter; it needs to exquisitely balance a tough and tender approach. Sarah identifies the 'sweet spot', the time and place at which a courageous conversation will have vast leverage and impact for the organisation and the individuals involved.

3. RARE Qualities of Great Leaders
Sarah defines the four qualities that must be present and work cohesively for effective leadership - being a role model, being authentic, being a realist and being an enabler. Through stories and applications that everyone can recognise, Sarah explains the four attributes, the internal disciplines to achieving them and the benefits of understanding and integrating them.

4.  Cultural Transformation - The Personal Journey
Cultural change demands personal change. It must make sense and be worth it. It demands more from the leaders if it is to work. Sarah shares the nature of the personal journey required to be successful in achieving this change and what makes it worth it and ways to navigate the journey to support your success.

5.  Other Topics often requested

  • Leadership effectiveness for women - what makes the difference?
  • Executive presence - making an impact
  • Strategic influence - what, who and how?
  • Building relationship effectiveness - what you already know but don't know you know and how to apply it for optimum impact.
  • Conflict as an asset - for anyone who avoids conflict.


The practical Leadership ideas you gave seem to have struck a chord. Our current leaders are looking at ways to develop their teams, the staff we have acquired are asking "what can I do" rather than "why is this happening to me" and the Company has started to address some very real Leadership and succession planning issues.

Sarah's workshops with us were very well received particularly the flexibility with which Sarah was able to cater to each individual group. Feedback from our team clearly identifies that they found Sarah to be "knowledgeable, engaging, down to earth and easy to work with". One of our Senior Managers has since approached me about arranging for Sarah to do some further work with their group and we look forward to working with Sarah in the future.
- Organisational Development Manager, NEMMCO

The process engenders within a leadership team a renewed energy, respect, trust and confidence, which literally breaths new life into an organisation and empowers the people within it.
- HR Director, Schering- Plough

All your insightful and probing questions paid off I got what I wanted, people walking away with can do's for business and life in general.
- Training Manager, Toyota Corporation

Your presentation on leadership certainly facilitated discussion - to the point where I had to plead with guests to leave. Thanks again.
- Manager, Business Briefings & Events, Australian Business

Sarah's style is a unique blend of toughnes, wisdom and deep respect for the individual. Her insight into corporate culture has in no way diminished her enthusiasm, her humour nor her compassion. She is a lift for the demoralised and a foil for the cynical.
- General Manager, National Education Australian Institute of Company Directors

Sarah Cornally speaker

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A massive thank you to you both for all your assistance from selecting to co-ordinating the speakers for our annual ProLoan conference. Feedback was that this year’s speakers where the best they had EVER heard at ANY event. So this is pretty amazing, because they do go to a lot of sessions like these.

Director of Network Relationships - Proloan (aust) pty ltd

Again this year you and your team have been fantastic and extremely helpful.  In regards to you Sharm, you have been an absolute star and phenomenal help with our speakers and presenters, a great communicator, wealth of knowledge and so prompt with responding and looking at ways to cater to our needs.

Event Manager Fitness Australia

I would recommend, without hesitation, the services of Jane Rowland Smith and Ovations. Jane answered a last minute call to arrange a guest speaker for our principals. Nothing was too much effort, all was arranged within hours, and went very smoothly. The guest speaker was exactly what we required and our brief was followed. Thank you Jane and the team at Ovations.

Executive Director of Schools Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

All aspects of the process has always gone seamlessly with Ovations and we will continue to seek your assistance for the awards in the coming years.

Thank you again, your help has meant that our Awards are very professional and extremely well received by our members and guests.

Executive Assistant BSCAA NSW Division

Jane, I personally want to thank you for all of your support, advice, patience and all round kindness that you have given me over the last 3 or so years.  This event would not have been as successful without the valuable MC’s you have recommended and the support you provided me when it all just seemed too hard

Shona Dilley – Smart School Awards, Department of Education
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