Our Story

Get to Know Our Reason For Being

Our Thing: People

Our Signature Dish: Recognition

Our Patrons: Caring Leaders

Our Critics: Bullies

Our Recipe: The G.R.E.A.T MethodTM

Our Juiciest Ingredient: A ‘Thank You’

I stumbled into the world of work. Like a siren song, that “HELP WANTED” sign drew me through the doors of our local greasy spoon. The place where my friends and I blew our allowance, sharing plates heaped with steaming fries and gravy. I knew which tables were plastered with gum, which salt shaker tops the grade 8s always loosened, how the coke was more watered down than the 7-Up. The job was mine.

My soon-to-be boss stared me down in his splattered cook’s apron as I squeaked, “I’m here for the job.” Looking from my jelly shoes to my knobby knees to my yet-to-be-covered-in-acne 10-year-old face, he laughed sarcastically, “Come back when you are out of diapers, little girl.” (For the official record, I was out of diapers and, to his credit, he probably hadn’t had a day off since before the Food Network was born). Sliced with the knife of incivility, I slunk out, with my head bowed in defeat.

Was my rosy-cheeked, left-winged, soft-spoken, lovely hippy mama wrong when she said I could do “anything?” Was it everything up to but excluding a dishwasher?

(And I never did get a dishwasher gig. Babysitter, yes. Papergirl, absolutely. Cleaner to salesgirl. Busser to server. Staff to middle manager. Executive to entrepreneur. But never a dishwasher.)

Armed with a BA in Psych, Master of Family Therapy and a whole host of post-graduate designations, I’ve insulated myself with certificates of worthiness. I’ve had something to prove – to have credentials at the ready for my next cookoff with the critics.

But it is exhausting walking around believing that work is a messy place. Confusing ingredients. Irritable cooks. Anonymous critics. Confounding recipes.

Every organization I’ve worked for has had their Gordon Ramseys. Yelly, ill-tempered, quick to criticize, bullies with ever-changing expectations, all in the name of excellence (or ego). The difference is, some organizations revere them, while others deal with them.

Do you give your most illustrious cook prime time? Or do you cancel their season?

That decision impacts everyone – front of the house, back of the house, customers, suppliers, reviewers.

Here’s the truth, though: your product isn’t worth it if the service is atrocious.

And you can’t be bequeathed in your industry’s version of a Michelin Star if everyone hates the place. Inevitably people are going to walk.

There are workplaces where you’re not at risk of daily soul poisoning.

Don’t believe me? Check out your Glassdoor score, sick time rates, turnover, or latest super-expensive engagement survey report.

You know the one thing the Gordon Ramseys of the work world fear most?


When you say:

  • There are bullies around here, and it is NOT cool
  • I have great ideas, too, and I AM going to share them
  • People are sick and stressed and overworked, and this is COSTING us money
  • No one wants to work here, and I’m out, out, OUT if things don’t change!

In some organizations, these are the underdogs.

I’m a card-carrying, paid-up underdog ready to call out anyone who treats their people as disposable.

Your people aren’t Chinet. They are Royal Dalton limited-edition, gold-plated, heirloom-quality human beings. They only ever APPRECIATE in value … if you appreciate them.

There is ONE thing I’ve learned from a wannabe dishwasher to a senior leader: the one universal need of every single person in any position is recognition.

To be valued.

To make a difference.

To be appreciated for their work.

Do you know what else I’ve learned? It’s often a missing ingredient. Miss the wrong ingredient, and your cultural cake won’t rise.

My greatest mentors have taught me that respect for people is the key to weathering any organizational change, merger, corporate reshuffle or crisis. No matter how tough things got, they always believed that people wanted to do great work. And sure enough, people, including me, would work to prove them right.

At Greatness Magnified, we’re on a mission to disrupt the stat that “only 30% of people are satisfied at work.” The benefit of being the underdog is you’re not afraid of a challenge.

If you, too, want to make your organization the most rewarding place to work and grow, we should talk.

With any luck, we won’t be the underdogs for much longer.

(And for the record, I would have been the best damn dishwasher that greasy spoon had ever seen. And come to think of it, the fries were rather soggy too.)

Are you ready to be the Michelin Star of your industry?

“A boss wants to pay for results, an employee wants recognition for effort. If a boss recognizes effort, they will get even better results.”

– Simon Sinek

Perry Ruehlen

Executive Director, Canadian Association of Safety Engineering

"The delegation was engaged from the moment she took the stage through to her last word. Her engagement of the audience and advanced preparation to ensure that her message was tailored to the audience are to be commended. It is without hesitation that I recommend Sarah McVanel as a keynote speaker!"
Spyros Volonakis

Executive Director, Network Child Care Services

"Thank you for your most inspiring and enthusiastic keynote address at our annual event for Staff and affiliated Home Child Care Providers, which among other things, marked Network’s 30th Anniversary. Our participants appreciated your positivity, timely remarks, and encouraging comments in the chat during the various presentations. It was a pleasure to work with the team at Greatness Magnified to plan this session and to have Sarah speak."
Kendall Netmaker

CEO, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, Speaker

"Sarah is one of the best in the industry in helping her clients recognize greatness in their workplaces. As a coach, author and speaker, Sarah has become the "go-to" person in helping leaders recognize and engage top-level talent for positive bottom-line results. I definitely recommend getting her to speak to your organization as soon as you can!"
Thomas Schenk

Software Developer, PeoplePraise

"We jumped at the chance to be the sponsor of Sarah’s keynote on recognition. Not only is it aligned to our product, we believe we had more folks visit our booth because they left her session motivated and ready to bring recognition deeper into their organizations. It really showed that she did her homework to get to know the industry. We definitely would sponsor Sarah again."
Stephanie Staples

President, Your Life Unlimited

"Sarah is the real deal; bright, inspiring, creative, personable and kind. As a co-founder of the Nurses Week Resiliency ReBoot, I am fortunate to watch her in action during every phase of planning these global virtual events. From ideation to execution to post-event recognition, Sarah leaves nothing to chance to ensure that her audiences (and everyone on the team) feel heard and appreciated. Her passion for her subject, her depth of expertise and her enormous heart bundle together in the perfect package that results in the 'you'll-always-be-happy-when-you-hire-Sarah' phenomenon!"
Greatness Magnified

Some of the Great Organizations We Serve