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 the high-profile sector because I believe that influencers are 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 focus on creating yet 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 is themselves, 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 ourselves, 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 fully 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 vibrancy and joy in your life.  


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, from a dozen to around 2,000 members in Austin, Texas. I’ve helped train and mentor over 200 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.

While my skill set is robust, I am not qualified to treat or diagnose abnormal psych issues, nor do I work with active trauma, though I'm trained to recognize signs of active trauma and can refer you to someone with a relevant specialty. 


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 long-time, off-and-on resident 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. Midnight skinny dipping in gorgeous, bioluminescent waters overseas despite cold temperatures and my phobia of the ocean at night? Gotta do it. Step on stage to do improv when I don't really know what I'm doing? As much as I want to avoid it in the moment, I have that rule... a rule that includes what may be scariest thing in life: directly addressing high-stakes, vulnerable conversations. I figure that every time I give in to those fears, it perpetuates the fallacy that there's something worth being afraid of. I opt to not be thusly addled.

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



*paraphrased quote