Sarah Ciavarri

Sarah Ciavarri

Sarah Ciavarri, M.Div., PCC, BCC, CDTLF, CDWF-C

Transformational.   Playful.  Power-packed storytelling.  Daring.  Authentic.  Riveting.  = So engaging participants actually put their phones away. = This is how event players and participants often describe Sarah’s presence. Through empathy, vulnerability, and her ability to dance in the moment, Sarah has the rare ability to connect with audiences live and virtually at a deeper level.  Sarah is a sought-after creative thought leader on vulnerability and resilience, trained in all of Dr. Brené Brown’s curricula, who leaves her audiences with clear action steps to craft a life they love, minimize regrets through bold strategic action, and to achieve professional excellence in the midst of uncertainty and division. 

During the pandemic Sarah worked on a COVID healthcare unit and knows in her bones the resilience and dedication to mission that is needed to stare down stress, fatigue, and fear and do what needs to be done.

Sarah’s programs help you and your team:

  • Develop Resilience
  • Unleash Kindness and Curiosity to Transform your Culture
  • Harness the Power of Authentic Vulnerability
  • Tap into Dr. Brené Brown’s Research on Leadership and Courage
  • Learn How Empathy Can Increase Sales
  • Move from Surviving, Through Striving, to Thriving

All of Sarah’s keynote programs are customized to each audience through a pre-event call to learn your organizations goals and what success looks like for you.  Sarah does her research on your industry!  Each program can be tailored to be delivered virtually, hybrid or in person.  Most of these programs can be presented as a keynote, ½ day, or full-day workshop.

Sarah’s Virtual Experience:  We got this!  Sarah has facilitated hundreds of virtual events so you can trust your virtual event will go off without a hitch.

About Sarah:

Sarah Ciavarri, founder of Level Up Leadership, LLC, is a gifted keynote speaker, author, and thought leader who has been helping organizations, leaders, and teams achieve professional excellence and craft a life they love through increased resilience and authenticity for over a decade.  Sarah is able to quickly connect with audiences large and small and travels the country inspiring participants to be courageous, resilient, and authentic. Sarah wrote, "Finding Our Way to the Truth: Seven Lies Leaders Believe and How to Let Them Go" to inspire leaders through her own relatable and humorous stories and to provide readers easy steps to be more successful in their own skin. Sarah is keenly attuned to the inner life of leaders and regularly presents on resilience, burnout prevention, and compassion fatigue.

Sarah is a Certified Facilitator of all of Dr. Brené Brown’s curricula: Dare to Lead, Daring Greatly, Bold, and The Gifts of Imperfection. Sarah has facilitated over 200 workshops on Dr. Brown’s research and has supported thousands of leaders to dream and live big.  Sarah is among those who have been facilitating Brené’s research since the beginning.  Sarah has the unique honor of being among just a handful of facilitators dual certified in Dare to Lead and Daring Greatly.  In addition to this honor, Sarah was asked by the Daring Way senior leadership to step into greater responsibility eight years ago within Brené’s organization as a Case Consultant supervising candidates through integrating Brené’s research into their context. Sarah is Vice President of Spiritual Life at a large senior healthcare organization headquartered in Minneapolis, MN.

Sarah’s Alphabet Train:  Sarah’s got lots of letters behind her name but really why you should care is this means Sarah is always learning and adding rigor to her coaching skills.  If you want more details, here they are:  Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation and is a faculty member with Coaching4Today’s Leaders and LeaderWise, Leadership Agility 360 Assessments, Train the Trainer Certification, 1600 hours of Clinical Pastoral Education, and Board Chaplain Certification. She earned a Masters of Divinity from Luther Seminary where she was a Presidential Scholar.  Sarah is an Advisory Board member for the Women in Leadership Program at Mankato State University, Mankato, MN.

Sarah is Vice President of Spiritual Life at a large senior healthcare organization headquartered in Minneapolis, MN.

A few fun things: 

  • Sarah got her afrave on this summer when she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a nationally televised Twins game.
  • Sarah lives on 10 gorgeous acres with her family, a small herd of goats, and two horses that are the best therapy money can buy.
  • Sarah and her spouse designed and built their home. She can use a plumb bob, wire a house, and hang drywall with the best of ‘em.
  • Sarah put herself through grad school by singing and dancing.

Most Requested Programs

Passion, Purpose, and Paychecks: Unveiling the Heart of Employment!

Join us for a playful and insightful journey that will leave you feeling re-energized and ready to fall in love with your job all over again. In this engaging keynote speech, we'll explore actionable resilience steps that will help you thrive in your role and connect to what drives you to do your best work. Discover how to bounce back from challenges with a spring in your step, reignite your passion for public service, and find deeper purpose in your work. Prepare to laugh, learn, and love your job like never before as we delve into and uncover the true magic behind combining passion, purpose, and those ever-important paychecks. Don't miss this opportunity to reignite love for what you do  and become a more resilient employee.  Pssst, this also helps you get more done with less effort!!

So Over It:  Overcome the Overload and Overwhelm with Resilience

Most of the time you love what you do helping people.  But sometimes the routine feels . . . well . . . routine.  And you are just so over it!  This keynote gives practical strategies for injecting excitement into the everyday and reigniting your sense of purpose.  Your contribution matters.  Learn how to harness the power of resilience to weather challenges, adapt in change, and remain upbeat so the next time you say, "How may I help you?"  you don't dread the answer.

Putting the Kind Back in Human

With the pressures of our modern world and frayed nerves from the pandemic, we could all use a little more honest-to-goodness kindness in our lives. More of ‘we are in this together’ and ‘we can get through mistakes and setbacks,’ more genuine interest and concern. Learn actionable practices to support your team, self-compassion practices to support yourself, and unleash the power of curiosity to use when in hard, heated, or horns-locked conversations, and the three-step process for healthy conversations.

The Seven Lies Leaders Believe and How to Let Them Go

Based on Sarah's book, this session gets real real fast. Do you have people on your team that don’t believe they are good leaders? Do you struggle to set clear boundaries and expectations because you want to be nice? If so, the lies about leadership just might be working overtime in our thinking. Lies that say you must please everyone, you must have all the answers, you must avoid judgment, and you somehow tricked the people who hired you. You get the idea; all the thoughts that isolate us. But here’s the secret: those lies aren’t true. Learn what the lies are, how to catch them, and practice accessible tools to grow as a leader in emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, and self-awareness.


“Sarah provided a very powerful training on resiliency for our agency. She worked with us ahead of time to get to know our work, and taught us ways to build resiliency as professionals as well as how to promote it in the families we work with. We all left the training inspired and equipped with new skills to bring our personal values and self-compassion into our emotionally-challenging work. Sarah is a compassionate and enthusiastic trainer who had us sometimes laughing or crying as we learned together.” - Jake Johnson, Families First of MN

“Working with Sarah was a delight! She listened thoughtfully, had great ideas about how to address our needs, and was flexible and creative in offering solutions. Feedback from the participants in a recent two-day course was extremely positive, and all would be interested in attending additional workshops or courses offered by Sarah in the future. Comments focused on Sarah’s thorough preparation for the course including beautiful workbooks for attendees, her in-depth knowledge of the material, and most importantly, on her authentic interest in the topic, and sharing it with others.” - Rebecca Amundsen, Executive Director for Continuing, Studies and Outreach Continuing Studies and Outreach

“Sarah's endearing and practical presentation style combined with her deep knowledge of Brené Brown's research offered just the right amount of instruction, mindfulness and playfulness to our annual lunch celebration. She inspired social workers and graduating students to lean into the vulnerability, the uncertainty, and the heartbreaking realities we encounter with wholehearted living, daring leadership and self-understanding. We left our event uplifted.” - Sande Traudt, LICSW, Director of Field Education - Bethel University, Roseville, MN

“We brought Sarah Ciavarri to our learning event that she might provide some next level practical coaching practices for our leadership. Sarah’s engaging instruction was contagious and life-giving. We, undoubtedly, left with tools to move to our preferred future as leaders. Sarah’s presentation included a rich supply of resources. Her leveling of information was refreshing!” - Rev. Karen Hayden, Director of Leadership Excellence of the Missouri Annual Conference

“Sarah Ciavarri is an incredibly professional speaker who engages with the audience through stories that add to her teaching. She also included fun large group and small group activities and discussions that added to the audience's engagement which truly made for a meaningful experience for all. Sarah is so knowledgeable with the subject she presents that it seems to flow effortlessly from her heart. We have had Sarah be our keynote speaker twice for our yearly women's event and everyone loved having her and she did an amazing job. She was easy to work with and her positive attitude and upbeat personality seemed to rub off on everyone.” - Sue Oberg, King of Kings Lutheran Church