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Heather K McClellan


Choose the thing that creates the most meaning in your life, and trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.*

–Kelly McGonigal


Why I do what I do

I love people. I incessantly root for people to be the best version of their genuine selves.

I focus on influencers because I believe they're critical sources of swaying the broader public to value self-awareness and emotional skills. As those skills become more common, more people in the world are fulfilled, people and children are treated better, and there’s thus less abuse or bullying. There are then more thriving, healthy, happy people who can domino effect more good for the world.

Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.

–Brené Brown

Like Hannah Gadsby in Nanette, when one person has a clear, strong sense of self and bravely presents as such, more people free up to be an at-ease, honest version of themselves. Instead of busying ourselves with reflexive strategies to garner approval and fit in, we can be vibrantly authentic, feel happier, and create and accomplish more. When people feel belonging rather than threatened, they have far more space to take on other perspectives.

Per Google's Project Aristotle, psychological safety is critical for maximum effectiveness. Their research was about work teams; I believe and understand that it's also true for individuals in terms of their relationship to both themselves and others. 

I also care about people thinking clearly. I believe rationalizing without feeling is as insidious as are flights of emotion not grounded in reason; this is backed up by research on moral decision making. Many don't realize it (pre/post fallacy), but ideally, one can fully feel their feelings without getting hijacked by them. Per neural research on innovation, this yields better decision making, and per Brown's research, we'll experience significantly more joy, as humans can only numb feelings globally rather than selectively.

Your work with me, in gradually increasing your capacities including access to your feelings, will leave you feeling more vibrance and joy in your life.  

*paraphrased quote


Relevant background

I’m an emotional intelligence (EQ) consultant currently based in San Francisco, where I work with startups to Fortune 100 companies as well as individuals and executives. My work includes training EQ and empathy skills into elite engineering teams. I've also been flown across the country simply to get a read on a given person.

For five years I helped grow and run the largest Authentic Relating community in the world. We grew from a dozen to around 2,000 members in Austin, Texas; I now sit on the Board of Directors for Connect Humanity, the registered 501(c)(3) non-profit born out of that community.

I’ve trained and mentored over 250 facilitators, who in turn have started dozens of other communities in the US and overseas. 

I donate my time and skills to international charity projects for incredible causes, from Effective Altruism organizations to bridging gaps between racially divided groups.


About me

I’ve traveled through 46 countries thus far, almost always solo, self-organized, and usually in developing areas—because I love people, culture, and perspectives. I've lived for stints in Manhattan, Australia, Bangkok, Paris, and Tuscany. I'm a devoted albeit off-and-on citizen of my core home: Austin, Texas.

I’ve worked for the United Nations and in the high fashion world; I've done speaking and emceeing; and I ran PR for a boutique firm for years. I'm an honors graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a suma cum laude graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology.

I have a personal rule that if I'm drawn to something but am afraid of it, and it is healthy, legal, doesn't pose a reasonable threat, doesn't hurts others, etc., then I have to do it. Step on stage to do improv when I've never tried it before? As much as I want to avoid it in the moment, I have that rule. Learn to scuba dive despite my phobia of deep water and the panic attack I had the first time I went under during my licensing course? Gotta do it. The rule also applies to one of the scariest things for anyone: directly addressing high-stakes, vulnerable conversations. I figure that every time I give in to superfluous fears, it perpetuates the fallacy that there's something worth being afraid of.

I love my life, and I am endlessly grateful for the rich relationships I have with my incredible, inspiring friends.