In 2004 Sarah took the journey to Sierra Leone to meet her birth father and family and discovered she was considered a mahaloi, the child of a Paramount Chief, with the status of a princess. After going to Sierra Leone and seeing the aftermath of an 11 year civil war she co-founded Sierra Leone Rising, a non-profit to support the community. Sarah shared her inspiring story in a book she co-authored titled, “A Princess Found.” Her story has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Tamron Hall show, BBC radio, LA Times, Singapore News and many other media outlets. Her passion for education does not stop with Sierra Leone; as Director of Outreach at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles, Sarah works daily with middle and high school students.
Princess Sarah has over 10 years of experience creating diversity, inclusion, equity programs to both corporate and educational groups. She relates her real-life stories, from growing up in a bi-racial family to becoming a princess and understanding the various intersections of life and how they bring us together.
Princess Sarah travels around the world speaking on diversity and inclusion, empowerment, leadership. She focuses on building a better community and culture both in and outside the workplace.
- Better Together: How to Build a Culture of Belonging
The landscape of leadership and organizations have changed. Whether in a corporate or volunteer setting, team members want a sense of community and belonging. However, building this kind of culture doesn't happen on its own, rather it’s based on action. Princess Sarah’s keynote is for groups who are serious about recognizing differences and taking on people challenges to solve and innovate.
Princess Sarah uses her personal experience as an adopted child growing up in a bi-racial family, as well as understanding a whole new culture when she discovered that she was a real-life princess in Sierra Leone. In addition to this inspiring journey, she draws from her business side as an entrepreneur (in entertainment and gaming).
In this keynote, filled with stories and value, Princess Sarah covers three areas:
• Embrace your assumptions to elevate yourself and those around you.
• Be willing to get uncomfortable and have the challenging conversations
• Navigate with compassion and use humanity to listen and learn to drive decisions
Building a culture of belonging is more than top-down leadership and operating on the mindset that it’s someone else's responsibility. Princess Sarah focuses on empowering YOU, the individual, to take action and build a tribe that is meaningful, passionate, and sustainable. Princess Sarah customizes her talks for each group based on their needs (in leadership, teams, culture, and D&I).
- Diversity and Inclusion Program: Take Action and Transform
Princess Sarah’s program is more than an inspiring story of discovering her roots of becoming a princess. Sarah works with organizations to customize a message that is right for them. Sarah has over 10 years+ of working with corporate and education groups on developing successful D&I programs as well as how to have conversations.
With Sarah’s program, groups will learn:
• How to listen to each other, even when you don’t agree
• How to create empathy
• Understand Intersectionality more
Princess Sarah uses her personal experience as an adopted child growing up in a bi-racial family, as well as understanding a whole new culture when she discovered that she was a real-life princess. Along with real personal examples, Sarah provides actionable takeaways based on the needs of the organization.
- Princess Found: You Are More Than Your Title
Raised in West Virginia by her adopted parents, Sarah Culberson had little knowledge of her ancestry. She grew up in a loving, white household, but she had questions about her identity and biracial roots that led her to hire a private investigator. When she began her unforgettable journey to find her family, she never imagined what she would discover or how it would change her life: she was related to African royalty. Her biological grandfather is the Paramount Chief of a village in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Sarah is considered a Mahaloi, with the status of a princess.
Princess Sarah takes an audience on her journey from princess to humanitarian. She shares that everyone has to earn their title, whether it’s that of being a mother, a company leader, or new team hires. The title alone does not give a person success. Sarah’s talk focuses on core values that attendees can use personally and professionally:
• Build a community and culture
• Embrace diversity and inclusion
• Overcome your fears to live your dreams
From a dancer to princess, to humanitarian (where she co-founded a non profit, Sierra Leone Rising, to support rebuilding education, public health, and female empowerment), to being an educator (as director of Outreach at the Oakwood School in LA), Princess Sarah uses warmth and humor in her keynote to provide a unique experience filled with stories, images, art, and above all, kindness.
The result of her keynote is a challenge, to all attendees, to make their own discovery of self identity and transformation.
- Fear to Fabulous: Overcoming your Fears & Taking on Dreams
In ‘Fear to Fabulous’ Sarah Culberson explores how she achieved her dream of connecting with her biological family: an experience that changed the trajectory of her life for the better. She began her journey faced with the fear of rejection but stepped into a fabulous world where she met her family, connected with her tribe, and accepted the responsibility of supporting those with low visibility. Discovering her heritage revealed a new purpose where she actively works alongside community leaders in order to promote various infrastructure, public health, and female empowerment initiatives throughout Sierra Leone. With both a BFA and MFA in theater, Sarah mastered public speaking and acts as an advocate to campaign for diversity, equity, and self-discovery. Sarah inspires others with her experience of how she embraced the unknown and ventured into a wonderful world where she found what she is meant to do in her lifetime.
-Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta