Sara Fernald

Founder & CEO

At four, I stood by my father and shook hands with guests at our family's summer resort. By 14, I rescued boaters in high winds, cleaned cottages, taught novices to water-ski, resolved quirky customer complaints and mastered stage one of professionalism and service.


I sought to broaden my pragmatic New England upbringing by studying psychology, sociology and politics at a Canadian university. This confirmed my passion for the practical application of social science.  I launched my career - in today's terms - as a social entrepreneur.


For 17 years, I led the start-up and expansion of crisis intervention services for the un-served and misunderstood: victims of rape, child abuse, domestic violence and discrimination.  Pragmatism met innovation fueled by dogged determination.


In 1995, I refocused my work, shifted to the for-profit sector and launched my coaching business.  Coaching in 1995 was like cell phone use in 1985; a core group of enthusiasts surrounded by a lot of explanation.


40,000 hours later, many things are easier. I’ve had the good fortune to develop expertise with industries ranging from aerospace engineering to Alzheimer's care. Progressive organizations are now investing in workstyle assessments in their pre-employment screening due to their recognition that some candidates who look great on paper and in the interview process are not always the person who shows up on the job – especially under the pressures of deadlines and difficulties. Workstyle assessments allow employers to ‘look under the hood’ to see both a candidate’s innate strengths and have their ‘eyes wide open’ to problematic characteristics. What distinguishes the organizations that I work with is that they also invest in a robust on-boarding process for the new hire based on the workstyle assessments. Most importantly, my clients rely on the workstyle data – on an ongoing basis - to strengthen their teams’ capacity to adapt and excel in their market niche.


In addition to my expertise with workstyle assessments, I incorporate practical insights from the rapidly advancing field of neuroscience into Fernald & Co.’s services. One example of this is how I help clients recognize when their ‘primitive brain’ [the amygdala] is becoming overactive and how to employ strategies to become ‘full-minded’ to expand beyond the fear-based impulses of fight, flight or freeze.


My life experience has taught me that personal and professional development is a journey, not an end-game. If my expertise and services pique your curiosity, let’s talk and explore how Fernald & Co. might help you and/or your organization rise to the next level.

Fernald & Co.