March 10, 2016 “SheSays” event on COURAGE for women in digital downtown Denver. There were four panelists and over 100 guests. I was the courage moderator. Panelist Rachael Donaldson said, “You are a lovely person, I can’t imagine a better person building up people’s courage. Thank YOU for being a fantastic moderator and helping shape such a positive, impactful event.”



April 22, 2015 Standing Ovation from Sold-Out Crowd

The Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC) is dedicated to helping women to succeed in business. CWCC hosts numerous events to inspire and educate women as they navigate their careers or grow their businesses. We strive to introduce and recognize women leaders who have overcome barriers to their success and to learn from their insights.

Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert’s presentation at our April 2015 luncheon about courageous behaviors attracted a sell-out crowd and garnered an outstanding response. Sandra’s exceptional business experience along with her approachable style were both enlightening and entertaining.

As President and CEO of CWCC for the past 7 1/2 years there had only been 3 other standing ovations and it was no surprise that Sandra received one after her presentation. Sandra’s relevant experiences along with her entertaining personality are a winning combination.  I highly recommend Sandra as a speaker for anyone interested in educating, entertaining and empowering people.

Sincerely, Donna Evans, President & CEO Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and The Women’s Leadership Foundation

Takeaways from attendees who attended Sandra’s speech:

  • Sandra’s personal journey exemplifies the strength of heart necessary to have courage.
  • Courage is not about physicality—it is about your heart and spirit.
  • Decisions to stand in your own truth are the most courageous, and opening your heart to hear it’s guidance is an act of courage.
  • Courage does not always take place on a huge scale but in the everyday interactions.
  • Celebrate even the smallest steps of courage!
  • People will throw rocks at your decisions, at your courage. Let them. Stand in your truth and let the quiet courage of your heart speak for you.
  • Walking away from Sandra’s speech changed me as a parent. I am going to make sure I use the word courage with my little girl and encourage her heart as well as her mind.
  • What I appreciated most about Sandra’s speech was your candor and raw honesty. It takes an incredibly strong person to share a very personal story with a room full of strangers and to make a lesson out of it.
  • I found the message of being courageous through adversity to be very pertinent. It felt like you were speaking directly to me, then I realized that many (or most) career women struggle with courage.
  • I didn’t realize how much I had in common with the rest of the attendees until you addressed the fact that women tend to swallow their voice and not speak their truth. But you refused to allow us to be victimized for that, because being victim is a choice and you choose not to be one. By choosing courage, you choose your truth.
  • When I returned to work, I courageously interacted with my coworkers whom I feel intimidated by, and I courageously spoke my truth to them. It’s a choice that we make every day. Thank you for helping me to see that.





January 30, 2015

To Whom It May Concern,

The Business Opportunity Council would like to acknowledge and thank Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert, for her inspirational and thought-provoking keynote “Courageous Leadership – An INside Job!” delivered at the Business Opportunity Council’s Annual Holiday Luncheon on December 11, 2014.   She was encouraging, focused, and exceptionally knowledgeable, and engaged our members in a lively discussion about courageous leadership.

No matter what role you possess, from employee to employer there will be times you need to step up and lead and Sandra’s extensive research on the topic of courageous leadership proved useful and applicable to our audience.  Sandra definitely met our expectations!

Sandra was a pleasure to work with and I would highly recommend her as a motivational speaker to any group.


Rexann Dunn, Chair, Business Opportunity Council

August 2015, from an organization in Michigan that launched an “Excellence in Leadership” program: 

“Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert, she was our keynote speaker at our initial kick-off session of Leadership Development in August. Sandra spoke on ‘Courageous Leadership—An INside Job!’ to two different audiences.

Sandra and I, Senior Human Resources Training and Development Specialist, worked together to formulate an impactful message of courage and leadership. It was Sandra’s twenty years of original research and thorough knowledge of the discussion that made this possible and the session successful.

Her boundless energy, commitment to quality, enthusiasm and passion for life are authentic and are not just there on the days of training, but begin way back on the first initial contact in January and continued throughout the development process.

Sandra was simply a pleasure to work with and I absolutely look forward to having her return next year and beyond.

Thank you Sandra for a job well done!”


Feedback from an International Corporation in Calgary, Canada 

How would you rate the topic/session (“Courageous Leadership–An INside Job!”)?

  • Very useful and relevant.
  • I thought that is was very useful.  It gave a different perspective on leadership that I think anyone can use.
  • Yes, I found it very motivational.
  • I found the topic and discussion very interesting.
  • I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did but really feel challenged to be courageous.
  • Found the topic helpful in both professional and personal life.
  • Very relevant and useful for being proactive at work.
  • It was relevant if you were just starting out or if you have been in the trenches for a while.
  • Was one of the best presentations I’ve attended.
  • The topic was very timely for me personally, and provoked much thought/reflection over the weekend.
  • Very interesting and motivational.

November 17, 2013 Endorsement for keynote given October 17,2013 for the Annual Women’s Success Forum at the Denver Convention Center:

I attended Sandra Walston’s keynote Courageous Leadership—An INside Job!” at the annual Women’s Success Forum for The Leadership Investment. Sandra’s content was rich and thought provoking, and she structured the event to include engagement with the audience and small group discussion to further facilitate our learning. I walked away from the session motivated to make positive changes, with a sense of how to concretely make those happen in a personalized way. Sandra’s work is essential for any organization looking to develop their leaders.

Jan Shegda, Founder, Clarity Coaching and Counseling, LLC

August 12, 2013 Letter of Appreciation for opening keynote at Delta Kappa Gamma International Southeast Regional Conference

To Whom It May Concern:

Sandra Ford Walston, “The Courage Expert”, recently spoke to The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, Southeast Regional Conference on Courageous Leadership – An Inside Job! Her opening keynote presentation was inspiring and energizing as she shared her years of extensive research on the twelve behaviors of courage. She was genuine, sincere and passionate about her desire for the female audience to reclaim their hidden virtue “courage” and illuminate its possibilities in every phase of their lives. 

Sandra led an audience of almost 600 women through the purpose and use of the “Source Wheel: Behaviors of Courage” diagram.  She shared examples using the “Source Wheel” and how its use can help them determine areas of weakness and take action to reclaim their critical everyday courage. A true sign of Sandra’s success were the questions asked from the members in the audience at the end of her presentation. Many members continued to talk with Sandra throughout the day and constantly raved about her using comments such as “memorable” and “inspiring” long after the conference, and weeks later through emails.

Sandra Ford Walston, as opening keynote speaker, set the conference on a road to success with her enthusiasm, passion and courage. I would recommend her to any organization wishing to tap into her wealth of research and knowledge on courageous leadership and finding one’s true self. 

Dr. Hanna Fowler 2012-2014 Southeast Regional Director, The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International

May 11, 2013 Letter of Appreciation Virginia Commonwealth University Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute (seven years of participation)

Dear Sandra:

 It is with great appreciation that I write to you to express my sincere thanks for taking the time each year to interact with the participants of HIGHER Ground. We are so grateful that you were willing to share your time with us, and I am glad you were able to see our participants this year! Your presentation, Leading With Courage, was very motivational, and your ability to encourage a room full of women from diverse backgrounds and professions is such a value to our program.

Our participants raved about how fantastic you were! It is nice to be reminded that we all face challenges and everything can be overcome with courage. Your remarks have empowered us to incorporate courage into our lives. 

 We look forward to continuing our relationship with you. Thank you, again, for your generosity on behalf of the Institute and HIGHER Ground.


Nakeina E. Douglas-Glenn, Ph.D. Director, Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute Virginia Commonwealth University

January 21, 2013 Letter of Recommendation
To Whom It May Concern:
I recently hired Sandra Ford Walston to present “Courageous Leadership – An INside Job!” at the Colorado Assessors’ Association annual winter conference.   She did a fantastic job of enlightening and encouraging our members to live their lives with courage.  She is energetic, intelligent, and a wonderful speaker who sweeps the audience up with her enthusiasm.  After giving us an overview of the concept of courage and her research on the topic, she broke us up into groups and guided us to draft a “pretend” Courageous Leadership Charter, detailing how we would hold our organization and its members accountable for being courageous leaders, and what the results of that might be.Some of the participants took the charter back to their offices and were excited to create a “real” charter with their staff.   I think this is the utmost compliment that can be given – that what they learned is important and they are going to pass it along to others.  I can always tell when a speaker has been successful at our conferences because I hear the group repeating concepts, anecdotes, examples, etc. which they heard during the presentation.  And this was certainly true with Sandra’s talk. I would recommend Sandra to anyone looking for an enthusiastic, tireless, and informative speaker, with years of research to back her up.
 Karen M., Executive Director, Colorado Assessors’ Association
“Sandra Walston is an engaging and thought provoking speaker and workshop leader. Her books on Courage are a must read for organizations. Sandra’s style is direct, focused with a good dose of humor and her clients appreciate her ability to address their critical issues quickly which ultimately increases their bottom line results.”
Carolyn Keyes, Former Newfield Network Coach, October 7, 2012
Excerpt from letter of recommendation, Donna Evans, CEO, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, July 17, 2012
The Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to create an environment and resources to help women to succeed and we host monthly luncheons featuring inspiring female speakers.  Our goal at the luncheons is to introduce and recognized women leaders, hear about their lives and learn their success strategies. Sandra’s expertise in courageous behaviors; her business experiences; and her speaking style culminated into a presentation that received enthusiastic feedback from many of our members who found Sandra to be both enlightening and entertaining.Sandra demonstrates an outstanding ability to convey her expertise in a manner that is both profound and relatable. Her personal stories made the audience feel comfortable and connected and demonstrated the immediate applications of courageous thoughts and behaviors.  One of our members commented, “I especially enjoyed her supportive style and the sense of community in the room”.

I highly recommend Sandra as a speaker for anyone interested in educating, entertaining and empowering people.  Her ability to bring together and entertain an audience is truly remarkable.  Sandra’s lessons about courage are applicable and empowering to all.


Donna Evans
President & CEO
Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce


Kara Stafford Lindahl (client) Kara hired you as a Speaker in 2012
Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity
“Sandra is passionate about courage especially when it comes to making sure every woman exudes her own unique courageous style. She is a true example of a courageous woman and she shares from her heart and with an inspiring spirit. In a former job as the Manager for Women’s Leadership, I was responsible for the annual women’s leadership conference, including the theme and speakers. I decided the 2012 conference theme would be “The Courageous Leader.” When I found Sandra’s website, I was very excited as she appeared to be a perfect fit since she was known as “the courage expert.” I read about Sandra and her work before I spoke with her so I had a lot of excitement and anticipation before our call. As I spoke with Sandra, I could actually feel her heart and spirit across the phone line, across many miles, as she was in Denver and I was in Cleveland. We had a connection and I felt that she was the right woman to be the keynote at the Cleveland YWCA’s 7th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference. Fortunately, though no longer in my role at the YWCA, I had the opportunity to attend the conference as a participant and hear Sandra speak. She did not disappoint, and she received a standing ovation. She made a great impact on the nearly 350 women in attendance helping us all see the courage in ourselves that we call upon on a daily basis in our work life, home life, and relationships. I highly recommend Sandra if you are looking for an expert speaker on courageous leadership who has an important message to share and who does it with heart and spirit, engaging the audience and helping them to discover and learn more about who they are.” March 27, 2012

Loretta Shaffer, CDME, Director of Marketing and Internet, Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council 
“Wow, talk about a fantastic keynote speaker with amazing information and fantastic delivery! I was so honored to have the opportunity to meet Sandra after one of her keynote presentations and was so impressed with both her professionalism and knowledge. I would highly recommend Sandra in any professional setting as her passion for Courage in professional and personal settings is admirable!” April 6, 2012

Gary Namie, PhD, Workplace Bullying University, Workplace Bullying Institute’s training for professionals (colleague)
“For nearly a decade, I’ve admired Sandra’s work on Courage. I believe she is tapping one of the key underlying aspects of human behavior that distinguish positive from negative experiences. When a person languishes with the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” philosophy, she or he could have used a dose of courage. Sandra can show individuals through her coaching that positive outcomes are not only accessible more readily than the negative ones, but that the risks anticipated are overestimated. Courageous decisions are actually easier and less stressful to make than the over-thought and postponed ones. Only with the help of her expertise can someone discover the paradoxical ease of not only doing the right thing but the most personally beneficial things for oneself.” February 15, 2012

Taylor Mallory Holland, Little PINK Book Editor, PINK magazine (business partner)was with another company when working with you
“Sandra Walston is a positive, cutting-edge thinker whose message about the power of courage could change the world. Her philosophies were a regular inspiration to me when she blogged for the PINK magazine website, which I formerly managed. Her immense kindness and optimism are contagious and inspirational. I’m lucky to have worked with her and proud to call her my friend!” March 16, 2010

Linda Devonish-Mills, CMA,CPA, MBA, Director, Corporate Development and Advocacy, Institute of Management Accountants 
“The Institute of Management Accountants conducts a webinar series monthly for members of the organization to inform them of issues that impact the management accounting profession. During December 2007 and December 2008, I had the pleasure of moderating webinars where Sandra served as our guest speaker. Her topics were on Communication and Time Management skills. Sandra is a dynamic speaker who was able to emphasize the impact that effective communication and time management skills has in both professional and personal settings. She was very successful with encouraging dialogue with me as the moderator, which is an important component of making a webinar successful. The setup of our webinars does not allow for participation from attendees. However, based on evaluations received, I think that there would have been strong participation from attendees if given that option. Feedback received from participants through inquiries indicated that there was an interest in taking notes on points that Sandra made reference to during the webinar on time management skills that were not illustrated in an accompanying power point presentation. It should be noted that participants would not take notes if there was not an interest in the subject matter. I would highly recommend Sandra Ford Walston to serve as a guest speaker at any forums that encourages professional development among individuals employed at corporations/organizations.” August 5, 2009

Rowena Morais, Programme Director, Flipside and Editor, Accelerate Magazine 
“I am very happy to have gotten to know Sandra. Researching the area of courage, I came across Sandra’s profile. She very happily agreed to contribute an article on this topic area, in HR Matters Magazine, some time back. Sandra is warm and generous of spirit and is doing truly valuable work in the area of courage leadership. Her vision of what it means to be courageous in all aspects of our lives will be enriching to all those fortunate enough to meet her or access her work.” April 13, 2009

Connie Evans, Project Manager, Jones/NCTI 
“I met Sandra many years ago at a training program she conducted on women and courage for Women in Cable and Telecommunications (WICT). During her presentation about “Courage” she used a standard ladder to represent an analogy about how we become stuck on a step (“He who hesitates before each step spends his life on one leg.”). That depiction of her standing on a lower step of the ladder is such a vivid memory that I always relate it to Courage in my own life. The “Courage” presentation revealed the 12 “Behaviors of Courage.” This insight was so informative for me, I knew I had to find a way to get to know this powerful woman. At the event I purchased her book, COURAGE, which she graciously autographed, and then I met her several times over coffee to discuss training opportunities, how I could become more courageous, and later she interviewed me for her second book. Sandra came into my life quite unexpectedly. Her vision, knowledge and most of all, her Courage has helped me become a much better leader, manager and person.”