Biography

A professional musician and storyteller, Sarah will guide your audience on an inspiring journey of connection, demonstrating how sharing the right stories at the right time can help them be stronger advocates for their organizations and happier in their work.

Sarah is a classically trained vocalist who became the lead singer of a 60s style rock band at age 40. She has shared stories and music in a variety of fabulous venues, performing from the historic Wilma Theater in Missoula, Montana to southern France and many places in between.

After nearly 20 years in the public sector — implementing software at federal agencies, coordinating multi-million-dollar state projects, and managing local government events — her years in every possible customer service scenario sparked an epiphany: 90% of workplace dissatisfaction and stress is caused by miscommunication. Even when we speak the same language, we often don’t speak the same language.

Sarah founded Elkins Consulting to improve communication in the workplace, reduce tension, and help people begin to like their jobs again.

To fuel that goal, she became a Gallup-certified CliftonStrengths coach. The StrengthFinder assessment has immediate practical application, improving communication through healthy self-reflection and acknowledging the value of diverse ways of thinking. The intensive training, certification, and coaching time with more than 1,000 clients has been a game-changer for her business and personal life.

Sarah’s podcast, Your Stories Don’t Define You – How You Tell Them Will is consistently ranked in the top 10% of global podcasts, and her book of the same name has been called “A masterclass in storytelling.”

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Testimonials

Sarah breathes new life into the art of storytelling from the stage. I recently attended her keynote presentation at the SGR Conference and was impressed by how she captured the audience’s attention from the first moment - and didn’t let go! You get the sense from watching her that she brings her whole self onto the stage with her and participants want to show up for her in turn. Her content is compelling, original and highly relevant to leaders looking to nurture organizational health through culture. I can’t wait to hear Sarah speak again!
– Wendy Ryan, CEO of Kadabra
Sarah provided a keynote speech at the Montana Watershed Symposium and we couldn’t have been happier. This is a biennial event hosted by the Montana Watershed Coordination Council that brings together local watershed organizations, conservation groups, and state and federal agencies to help solve some of the pressing conservation issues facing Montana. Our theme for 2018 was Advancing Conservation through Effective Communication, a bit of a hedge on basing the conference on storytelling, which seemed a bit too squishy for some of our more science-oriented partners. Any reservations on the need for better storytelling in the work we do was quickly put to bed after Sarah gave her keynote. We got immediate positive feedback and there was a buzz in the room from the lightbulbs going off in people’s heads. We can’t be effective in watershed conservation work if we can’t directly connect with people through shared stories and experiences.
– Eric Trumm, Board Member, Montana Watershed Coordination Council
Sarah has a special way of connecting with her audience and helping them to connect to one another. If you’re looking for an engaging and compelling speaker on the topic of storytelling, there is no better choice for you than Sarah. You will not regret it!
– Heather Younger, 2x TEDx Keynote Speaker | Author, The Art of Active Listening
Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) had the pleasure of listening to Sarah Elkins’ presentation, “Workplace Family: It’s Complicated!” at our annual convention in 2022. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, our entire staff was invited to gather in person, and for many this meant relearning workplace practices. The conundrum of workplace “families” can be a touchy subject and often a difficult lesson to learn, but Elkins educated staff on when to bring at-home practices to the workplace and where to draw the line, all while being engaging, personable and professional. Elkins also encouraged participation by providing a workbook that allowed staff to follow along and set their own goals during the presentation. Our staff felt comfortable openly sharing personal anecdotes and asking questions due to Elkins’ responsiveness. Her presentation was interactive and informative, and RCAC staff has given nothing but positive reviews. Thank you, Sarah Elkins, for a job well done!
– Michelle Ayers, Event Manager, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (Sacramento-based)
While the 2020 COVID pandemic forced us to move from a face-to-face conference to an online conference, adaptation and flexibility were so important. Sarah handled the changes with the utmost professionalism and did an exceptional job of keeping the audience engaged, while delivering a powerful session. The feedback from our conference attendees regarding Sarah’s presentation was overwhelmingly positive.
– Kay Pace, Senior Human Resource Generalist, State of Montana

Booksby Sarah Elkins

Your Stories Don't Define You

Blog Posts

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Achieve Work-Life Balance by Setting Clear Expectations With Your Team

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Embracing Balance: Tips for a Stress-Free Lifestyle

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