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Award-Winning Leadership Strategist, Personal Mastery Expert & Author

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Happy is not something you are, it’s something you do.

An Award-Winning Leadership Strategist, Harvard-trained coach and member of the esteemed Forbes Coaches Council, Shadé Zahrai is a specialist in building a success mindset, self-belief and self-mastery for business professionals, and enhancing people-centric cultures.

Current Work

Shadé Zahrai is recognised for her superhuman ability to translate neuroscience and psychology research into practical, actionable strategies to accelerate success. As Principal and Director of her positive-leadership company, Influenceo Global, she consults, trains and coaches leaders and teams from startups to Fortune-500s, breathing life into organisational culture to enhance change-readiness for transformation, increase engagement, support the development of people-centric strategies and boost commercial performance. A former commercial lawyer with a background in psychology and strategy consulting, bolstered by 10+ years across a top tier legal firm and Big-4 bank, Shadé is very in touch with the human side of a business and how to optimise performance. She also specialises in programs for high performing women to maximise confidence and supercharge success.

As an in-demand keynote speaker, Shadé is renowned for her ability to infuse motivation, science and storytelling with practical strategies and solutions to shift mindsets and drive positive action in audiences. Her passion lies at the intersection of psychology, spirituality and business. Shadé’s keynotes are characterised by authenticity, practicality and empathy, and create lasting impact.

Shadé is a best-selling author, Harvard-trained leadership coach, an established performer and speaker featured on TED and TEDx, and 3x Australian champion latin dancer. She's a former lawyer with a background in psychology (specialising in positive psychology) and also received her MBA in 2018.

Previous Experience

Awards and Accolades: She’s a current member of the esteemed Forbes Coaches Council and a regular contributor to, named Mentor of the Year in the 2019 Women in Financial Services Awards, a finalist in the prestigious Telstra Women in Business Awards in 2019 and 2020, finalist in the the Women in Finance Awards 2019, a Future Business Council Scholar and Future Leader Scholar in 2017 and 2018, and a Westpac Woman of Influence in 2016.

Talking Points

Evolving Leadership during times of Transformation and Change

We know from research from 2003 to today that leaders who are happier are rated as more transformational, and transformational leadership enhances financial performance & innovation within organisations. Everything tells us there’s a positive correlation between transformational leadership, happiness and commercial success.

This dynamic talk is all about evolving leadership thinking and growth for the present day reality of unprecedented change. Weaving together psychology, neuroscience and real-world examples from business, Shadé examines the core development fundamentals necessary to be a transformative leader of impact, unpacking the three core areas of mindset, method and mastery.

In this informative and insightful keynote, audiences will learn what transformational leadership looks like in practice, why it plays such a crucial role during times of organisational transformation and change, and specific hacks and strategies they can apply immediately to step closer to becoming a transformational leader for accelerated success.

The Science of Change and Influence

We’re living in a world and business landscape that’s changing at an unprecedented rate. It’s imperative that we continually evolve the way that we work and lead so we can continue to achieve excellence in this era of uncertainty.

What goes on in our minds when faced with change? Why is it sometimes so hard to manage our emotions and why do we resist? Through an understanding of the basics of neuroscience and the psychology behind how our brain responds to changes at work or in our environment, audiences will be equipped with the Three Part Framework for Change, and strategies effectively lead themselves, and their teams, through a changing business landscape.

Using examples from leading global companies, Shadé will explore the Changesilience Matrix, the importance of a culture of ownership, accountability & responsibility and tools to navigate complex emotional states. Audiences will be equipped with strategies to help them thrive in the face of change to transform themselves and their teams, while contributing to greater commercial success.

‘Balance for Better’: A Commercial Imperative

Inspired by the story of her refugee family who narrowly escaped severe persecution for their beliefs in gender equality and the elimination of prejudice, Shadé demonstrates how deep-rooted beliefs about gender bias affect our perceptions and how we view our own potential.

In the current day reality of work, women face unique challenges around navigating unconscious bias and the legacy effects of male dominated industries, along with their own self-limiting beliefs around their ability to succeed. According to a report from US investment advisory firm Cornerstone Capital Group, technology and automation will disproportionally impact women, with women being twice as likely as men to work in jobs with a high chance of being replaced by the impacts of technological advancements. We all need to be aware of the facts before we can start to address the lack of parity.

In this optimistic and empowering keynote, Shadé shares insights of how gender equality is not only good for women, it’s good for our economic wellbeing and prosperity - research shows that in times of unprecedented change, teams with greater gender equality and cognitive diversity are more innovative, more strategic and more likely to deliver competitive success.

Equipped with a ‘Diversity Leadership’ toolkit of strategies to put into practice immediately, audiences will understand that through working together and embracing diversity they can create a workplace culture (and world) where everyone is encouraged to utilise their strengths and contribute to the acceleration of commercial success.

Demystifying Mindfulness: A Resilience Imperative for the Modern-Day leader

The modern day world of work sees leaders living in environments of unprecedented change and pressure: they have to be always-on, they experience information overload and they can easily become distracted or over-stressed. The antidote to the ‘Attention economy’ is mindfulness: switching off the autopilot and getting in the driver's seat of your life. In this keynote, audiences will explore the Mindful-Leadership Matrix and will leave with a selection of personal strategies to sustain their energy levels under pressure, to cope with disruptive change and enhance their leadership effectiveness and overall wellbeing.

The Art & Science of Happiness: The 5 Hacks to Developing One of Life’s Most Important Skills

Everyone says they want to be happy and more successful, but it's so much easier said than done. Many think that by pursuing success, they'll eventually be happy. But, science tells us that it doesn't exactly work that way. In fact, it would be the other way around: Happiness comes first, then success follows. Based off the best-selling book, this keynote explores the neuroscience, brain training, and positive psychology around what it means to be happy and how this translates to greater success and enhanced wellbeing. Audiences will leave with 5 actionable, proven Hacks for rewiring your brain and shifting your lens towards a happier and more successful life.

Show Up, Step Up, Speak Out - for Women in Leadership

Countless studies have shown that women have more of a tendency to focus on what they lack, their gaps and their weaknesses rather than strengths. By combatting self-limiting beliefs and learning hacks for greater confidence and wellbeing, women will be ready to confidently communicate their vision and leadership purpose and to have greater clarity in their goals and aspirations. This keynote explores the research and neuroscience behind what frequently holds women back, the basics of how the subconscious creates our reality, and the tangible tools and strategies that women can embrace to have more confidence, greater presence and greater success in their careers.

Workshop: Change Readiness and Influential Leadership

Neuroscience tells us we are built to resist change and protect the status quo. By unpacking the science we work with leaders and teams to rewire their brains and help them develop the strategies they need to embrace transformation.

Workshop: A Winning Mindset

Successful transformation starts with people, and people’s willingness to embrace change starts with their mindset. We teach the 101 to a winning mindset for greater success and team engagement.

Workshop: Emerging Leaders Program (Women)

Transformation requires leaders at all levels. We educate, empower and inspire the next generation of female leaders within your organisation to step up to the challenge and lead by example, exploring topics ranging from crafting a powerful mission statement and emotional intelligence to leading under pressure.

Workshop: High Performing Teams

Collaboration and performance are essential during times of change. We work with leaders and teams to equip them with the skills to become a high performance team.

Workshop: Persuasive Presentations

Transformational leaders needs to be able to communicate persuasively to take their people on the journey of change and help them understand the ‘why’. We teach them how to persuade with sophistication and impact.

Workshop: Positive Pyschology, The Science of Happiness

An introduction to positive psychology and the 5 action, science-backed Happiness Hacks for rewiring your brain, shifting your lens towards greater happiness, fulfilment and career success.

Workshop: Innovation and Design Thinking

An innovative and creative culture separates companies who thrive from those who don’t. We equip leaders and teams with an innovation toolkit to help them solve problems with an innovative approach and empathy.

Workshop: Your Social Currency - Personal Brand and Online Presence

Your online presence is your social currency - it’s how you’re found, how you build trust and determines whether someone purchases from you. We explore the essentials for building a powerful online presence and ways to elevate brand profile.
Shadé was a delight to work with and really took the time to understand our business… She really captivates the audience and has an energy that keeps you engaged. The material truly resonated with our audience of senior leaders from across the business… from equipping our leaders with essential resources and skills to manage change with agility, to leverage it as an opportunity to thrive and to be influential change-makers transforming our teams and business…Thanks Shadé, you were awesome. Winc. Senior Leaders Conference

We invited Shadé to wrap up the event with a motivational speech on happiness. I expected Shadé to be fantastic, as her reputation preceded her. Shadé had everyone absolutely transfixed - a very hard act to achieve… Shadé is so accomplished and her messages for the students were brilliant at a time when so many students struggle with the pressure of school and home life.

St George Banking Group

Shadé Zahrai was our Guest Speaker at The Banking and Finance Oath (The BFO) 2019 Young Ambassadors event… Quite simply, Shadé captivated the room with her insights on what it means to work with purpose and put personal values in to action. She spent considerable time researching the objectives of the event, understanding the purpose of The BFO and who the audience would be, and tailored her message accordingly. Shadé brought the perfect combination of passion, energy, storytelling and knowledge to our event. The feedback we got from our 2019 cohort of Young Ambassadors and other senior leaders in the room was that Shadé brought to life with great clarity and poise, how they can consistently align their purpose and values to do good in society and be fulfilled in their careers.

Banking and Finance Oath

Without question, each and every one of the 90 people in the audience were both mesmerised at your passion and your energy. When I asked the team about the event the first thing they spoke about was the session on Empowerment and thought your part of the day was one of the highlights. It set the tone and the bar for the event which was a hard act to follow. Thank you.


Shadé is one the most incredibly accomplished young speaker's I have ever met. Shadé tackles every topic with a refreshingly vibrant approach and backs it up with the perfect amount of data and science. I have had the privilege of attending several of Shadé's key notes on mindfulness, positivity and the powerful impact it can have on our personal and professional lives, and have always left learning new things about myself and how I can make a bigger difference.


Shadé was the Keynote Speaker and panel facilitator at Cognizant's Outreach Event. I cannot emphasize enough on how well she delivered her speech on emotional intelligence and its influence on leadership and happiness. Her style is engaging , relaxed and extremely professional. Shadé took keen interest in understanding what Cognizant as an organization wanted to achieve out of the event. She recommended we do connect sessions prior to the event to ensure we are fully prepared for the messaging at the event. She researched our panel thoroughly and carved out questions that truly made our panelists comfortable, and brought out a lot of information. Shadé is a lovely individual, very easy to work with and someone I would love to bring back at Future events at Cognizant.


We chose Shadé to present the final session of our conference. This was an inspired decision. Her presentation style and content struck exactly the right note. The feedback we have received from numerous sources, whilst complimenting the entire program, identified Shadé’s session as a highlight. As a result, we are now fielding requests for a repeat of Shadé’s presentation.

NSW Health

Shadé ran a fantastic session for an impressionable group of students on the theme of ‘Personal Brand’. The students were in awe of Shadé's positive style and we received superb feedback from all. I have no hesitation in recommending Shadé as a facilitator and motivational speaker, she is clear, authentic, engaging and a brilliant communicator. Her facilitation style leaves you wanting more - she has a natural ability to connect, inspire and make a lasting difference.


From Shade's initial interaction with our group of employees her professionalism, innovative approach, fantastic communication stills and passion to drive both staff engagement and morale was evident. She has the unique ability to draw a crowd in, to really listen on the edge of their seats, to believe and want to follow her philosophies and strategy to deliver exceptional results and superior customer service.


Shadé Zahrai spoke at our FBAA International Women’s Day event in Sydney on 6th March 2020. I was the lucky one as the event coordinator for this event to lialise with Shadé and pick her for the event. From the first contact with Shadé, she was flexible, easy going with the content that she could provide to talk to our finance attendees for this event and suited her brief to our audience and what would be received the best. Shadé had a brief ready to go and was very organised in sending through everything We needed along the way. On the day of the event she spoke about diversity, gender equality and incorporated her life experiences into the delivery. She delivered her piece perfectly on time and kept the audience engaged throughout her whole presentation while interacting with them at the same time. We received a lot of great feedback from our attendees and couldn’t have asked for a more suitable speaker for o.ur event. I would highly recommend Shadé for any event, as there are many topics she speaks on and can tailor to any requirements. We will definitely be using Shadé to speak again at future events of ours.

Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA)

Shade was a very engaging and timely speaker. She provided us with plenty of practical, valuable takeaways from her session. It was great to have a speaker with recognisable credentials and who was very well spoken. Her positive tips on resilience were very well received given the challenging times. We would welcome Shade back any day.”

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