Speakers and Topics

Leslie Russell's Speaking Topics

  • Innovation and Creativity: 7th Sense Strategies for Breakthrough Insights
  • Applied Positive Psychology, Laughter & Play
  • Mindfulness

Inkandescent Speakers Bureau

Leslie Russell, founder, 7th Sense Strategies

A dynamic speaker, trainer, executive coach, laughter therapist, performer, educator, and cognitive alchemist, Leslie E.R. Russell, M.A. has traveled the globe supporting a variety of Fortune 500 companies, small and medium size businesses, hospitals, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, government officials, financiers, and entrepreneurs to access their inner genius, accelerate personal growth and drive their business objectives.

Leslie is a successful entrepreneur, CEO and founder of 7th Sense Strategies, a coaching and workshop training firm. She has spent decades working as college professor, professional off-Broadway actress, comedy improviser, screenwriter, cognitive alchemist and laughter therapist. It was only natural for her to combine her experience and knowledge to help thousands heal and live the lives they imagine through innovation, creativity, personal effectiveness, change management, leadership, teambuilding, applied positive psychology, laughter, and diversity training.

As the V.P. of Training and Innovation consultant at Negotium Innov8 and the Trans-Atlantic Negotiation School of Business in Nigeria, she understands that innovation is the leading-edge operative in our hyper-competitive global economy. At the heart of innovation, resides the creative impulse to think out-of-the-box, take risks, make mistakes and dare to experiment with the unknown. Innovation is about creating a new vision and deriving a strategic plan to support that vision.

Leslie coaches her clients to recognize that often their brightest ideas and decisions come when they sidestep their linear, rational predispositions and harness a different type of intelligence, their intuitive intelligence, wholistic brain. This is the wellspring of intelligence where the Nobel Prize is born, quantum leaps in science are discovered and brilliant new trends in business, management and technology are revealed. She encourages her clients to step up their game and access an entirely different skill set: finding and challenging the status quo, uncover strategies for discovering new uncontested markets, develop new approaches to creating value through business model design, relinquish antiquated methodology, relieve articulated and the unarticulated needs of the customer/ marketplace and most importantly, leverage their creative inner genius…

Leslie’s mission and greatest passion lies in her ability to facilitate and train individuals and businesses in unleashing their “joy” and true potential, break barriers, uncover their limiting beliefs – and access their inner genius. It is through this transformational process that ordinary executives and employees turn into extraordinary innovators once they are given the tools and perspectives they need. Innovation at this level creates barriers to competition – keeping clientele ahead in a fast changing world.

A natural proclivity for unabashed joy and laughter, her improvisational comedy career began at the famous Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles where she wrote and performed in numerous comedy sketches with a sundry of “Saturday Night Live” comedy stars. She is founder and artistic director of the all-female comedy improv troupe Women Gone Mad.

Also an accomplished writer and screenwriter, Leslie is an adjunct Professor of Screenwriting at Stern College in New York City and Theater Arts teacher at Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy. She is also a certified Hatha Yoga teacher and mindfulness meditation instructor. In her previous incarnation, she worked as a producer/writer in Hollywood.

Leslie attended Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and received her Master’s degree in Theater and Bachelor’s degree from the University California at Santa Barbara in Organizational Psychology.

Joy Breaks Barriers – Coaching & Training Workshops from Ryan James on Vimeo.

Joy Breaks Barriers: Training Workshops

Joy Breaks Barriers offers an impactful, dynamic, and experiential learning laboratory where innovative and breakthrough modes of thought and behavior are explored and implemented. Participants are encouraged to take risks, be innovative and explore what’s possible.

Workshops are available half-day, full-day and three-day training sessions with discovery session, feedback and individual coaching as follow-up measures.


The significant challenges we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. — Albert Einstein

The work place reverberates with creative impulse. Innovation and creativity are essential to the economic growth of any business or organization. In essence, innovation is synonymous with human evolution – without growth moving forward, life and business is stagnant. Today, in every department from customer service to finance, people need opportunities to experiment with new solutions. The Innovation and Creativity workshop offers a dynamic, and safe experiential learning laboratory where participants are encouraged to take risks, be innovative, test out new ideas, and explore what’s possible. Introducing a cadre of customized creative methodologies, participants are able to advance their professional and personal objectives often with bottom line results.

What you will learn:

  • How to formulate your professional goals and achieve a new level of clarity about how to follow your vision
  • Integrate 7th Sense Strategies for breakthrough techniques to coach yourself and others to “Aha!”moments
  • Develop the tools to explore your own creative process: observation, quieting the internal critic, discovering ideas, incubation, illumination, and implementation.
  • Form a theoretical base for understanding the use of your intuitive brain as a powerful instrument for spontaneous complex decision making, problem solving and thinking on your feet
  • Apply tools and techniques to real life problems, challenges and opportunities
  • Learn techniques to eliminate limiting beliefs and expand boundaries of what’s possible
  • Introduce innovative strategies for discovering new uncontested markets
  • Discover your innate cognitive processes of divergent thinking perspective using metaphors, non-linear patterns and symbols
  • Maximize the connection between courage and creative thinking
  • Αpply practices and guidelines that create an innovative workplace environment


“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Recent studies out of Harvard found that happy employees are successful employees, not the other way around…joy increases employee productivity and satisfaction. Joy is not just a mood. It’s a work ethic. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly born out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe. Current research supports what children teach us constantly: impactful education is optimally cultivated in an environment where the alpha brain state is dominant – that means a joyful, playful, open, non-judgmental, deep learning state. Laughter and joy are measured agents of all deep learning, goodwill, personal and professional effectiveness. Having trained and coached thousands of workshop participants in locales around the globe, I’ve created a dynamic, unique, and effective training program to deliver the following objectives and skills:

What you will learn to:

  • Align with a positive attitude and learn new tools for increasing true enduring joy
  • Develop a deeper self awareness and understand how to use your signature strengths to your advantage
  • Laugh, laugh, laugh and laugh some more!!! Breathe, relax and reduce stress.
  • Uncover limiting beliefs that inhibit your success and rewire new positive thought patterns that increase effectiveness and productivity
  • Build authentic connections and better team synergy through laughter and joy
  • Positively impact others and build positive relationships that lead to win-win
  • Generate gratitude and re-discover challenges as points of discovery
  • Learn to create an optimal learning environment and “happy” work culture that supports creativity, innovation and visioning


You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf. — Jon Kabat Zinn

We can’t change the world but we can change ourselves. Mindfulness is a function of “learning how to surf.” Recent neuroscience and developmental brain research demonstrates we have the power to change our brains by how we act and even by how we think. As we build up new habits, we stimulate neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells, setting the groundwork for new skills and new ways of being. Through learning new mindful meditation techniques and mindful habits of living we begin to the master the essential quality of our life. We become the master our thoughts and emotions rather than them mastering us.

What you will learn:

  • Practice new mindfulness techniques to incorporate into your daily life such as: meditation, cognitive alchemy, laughter therapy, breathing, visualization, intuition, journaling, exercise, proper nutrition, rest, and more
  • Enhance the quality of your relationships, perceptions and become more appreciative of the present moment
  • Discover the mind-body connection between your consciousness and your overall health
  • Uncover your pain points of stress and the difference between healthy stress and negative stressors
  • Understand the new science around learning and brain neuroplasticity
  • Reinvigorate your organic joy and love of life!
  • Develop and commit to a stress-reduced daily routine and cultivate new habits


At Joy Breaks Barriers our mission is to open a doorway to the realm of infinite possibility and true innovation that is an integral part of your inherent signature strengths. What you cannot see or haven’t experienced, you assume is not available. It’s not part of your brain’s wiring and therefore not a familiar skill or just not part of your schemata of reality. More than creative talent, it takes courage to push yourself to places you’ve never been before. To test your limits, to break through barriers.

An JBB executive coach provides the tools to give you the brain technology, insight and tools you’ll need to open new doors, see what is possible, how you can innovate, and ultimately help you to design your own path to success and fulfillment. Using positive psychology which highlights, vision, signatures strengths and dreams, we assist you to excavate your authentic sense of self, identify signature strengths and uncover the underlying limiting beliefs that inhibit your inherent greatness. Coaching your brain to those “Aha!” moments of breakthrough insight is just one of the many techniques we use to accelerate your innovative brilliance. Through completion of the coaching program, you will develop a clear understanding of your purpose and vision as a leader by understanding how to choose new actions, how to effectively utilize feedback from your environment and integrate your internal cues.

You will begin to innov8 yourself, your relationships, your business, your organization and live in the realm of what is infinitely possible for you!


  • Intuitive Intelligence for Business Success in the 21st century
  • Using the Storytelling Model for Authentic Branding and Powerful Presentations
  • Spiritual Partnerships: A New Paradigm of Authentic Leadership and Teambuilding
  • Diversity Training for a Better World

CLIENTS INCLUDE: IBM, XEROX, AT&T, Trans America, Ernst & Young, Dorian Drake International, Negotium Africa, Negotium Innov8, TransAtlantic Business School of Negotiation, NonProfit HelpDesk, Laticrete, Anti-Defamation League, Broadfin Capital, New York Community Bank, United Way, Diversity Builder, Yale Health Center, Yale University Alumni, Southern Connecticut State University, The Graduate Institute, Stern College, N.J.Women’s Business Network, Rockville Community College, Literary Assistance Center, Jewish Federation and Family Services, Literacy Assistance Center, Pomerang Woods, Tower One Senior Residence, Whitney Senior Residence, Coachman’s Square, Women and Family Life in CT, Chabad of Shanghai, Chabad of Beijing, Friendship Circle, HASC, A-Time Infertility, cancer survivors, caretakers, non-profit organizations, and special-needs populations


Professor Lade Adeyemi, Esq., Small & Medium Enterprise/First Empire Consulting Group/ International Business Negotiation/ Transatlantic Negotiation School of Business
“Leslie is one of the most innovative and creative individuals I have had the pleasure to meet. I brought her to Nigeria to serve as the VP of Training and Innovation for the opening of the Trans-Atlantic Negotiation School of Business. She served as a trainer and innovation consultant for my company Negotium Innov8 and the First Empire Consulting Group. She was a much beloved trainer amongst the African entrepreneurs, and business community here in Lagos. She designed and delivered innovative trainings that targeted the needs of the Nigerian audience and also adapted the sessions to meet their education level and skill. Beyond her skill as an outstanding trainer, was the indelible mark she left on the students as a deep connector and relationship builder. This is where she was a star in our universe!.”

Pam Dunn, PhD, CEO and Founder Your Infinite Life Training and Coaching Company
“Operating from a keen intuition, joined with her incisive intelligence, Leslie is a trainer I hire for my company over and over again. She is a versatile, compassionate trainer who can competently walk into a personal growth seminar, as well as a corporate boardroom. She is a unique individual with the exceptional gift of truly seeing the magnificence in everyone especially in encounters that appear challenged or conflicted. She has grown to become not only a much-sought out professional colleague, but also a dearly valued friend. I recommend her highly.”

Donna Gordon, Clinical Director, Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts
”The workshop Joy Breaks Barriers presented by Leslie Russell was more than amazing. Not only did it help staff to loosen up and to laugh together, it also helped staff to recognize that if we can find joy and laughter in the things that we do everyday then we can find healing in the most curious of places. Jewish Family Services employs staff from numerous countries. Staff speak Somali, Kurundi, Kinyarwanda, Lengala, Vietnamese, French, Arabic, Hindi, Nepali, Swahili, Thai Burmese, and more…. As an administrator I am always looking for ways to connect staff and to help them put the pressures of their job behind them for just a little while, help them connect with one another and understand that their similarities are much stronger than their differences. In just one hour Leslie accomplished just that.
She had a way of engaging staff and helping them to feel uninhibited and comfortable. Leslie Russell showed the JFS staff that although people may come in many different colors, the laughter that binds them is all the same flavor.”

Joyce M. Saltman, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus Special Education Department, Southern CT State University
“Leslie Russell performed “magic” for the Healing, Education, Laughter and Play Institute offered annually at Southern Connecticut State University . She engaged the entire audience, most of who were trained educators, in activities, stories and fun, and showed them how to use these techniques in their classrooms to enhance learning. She is a bright, creative and charming woman, who knows how to get her points across effectively and with pizazz, and she is a joy to work with. I recommend both Leslie and her workshops to anyone seeking a positive therapeutic learning experience.”

Peggy Britt, Executive Director, Women & Family Life, Guilford, CT
“Leslie’s session at our annual women’s health conference was one of the most popular of the day. She received high marks in the evaluations and many indicated her session was the most valuable part of the day.”

Ronni Rabin, Marketing Director, Yale Alumni Magazine
“Number one is Leslie’s infectious enthusiasm for her topic making her presentation both powerful, authentic and impactful. She has a great command of the subject including up to date research. Putting the information into action is where Leslie’s magic is revealed. She adapted theater games and exercises to challenge participants to open their minds and engage with each other into unchartered territory. This is a great workshop for any business, organization or family. Seeking better communication increased self-awareness and improving working relationships. Thinking differently and understanding the dynamics of others is the first step in developing better working relationships and being more positive about your work, your world your contributions.”

Vivian Kantrow, Development/Community Relations Director, Tower One/Tower East
“Leslie is absolutely marvelous with our senior population. She brings a depth of insight and sense of fun that is ageless and timeless. Every senior needs to be reminded that the source of their aliveness and longevity is in remembering their “joie da vie!” Thank you Leslie for laughing with us and reminding us that laughter truly is the best medicine! Every chuckle and smile added years to their life.”


Speaking Events

more Date: May 13, 2016 Speaker: Leslie Russell Topic: Innovation and Creativity + Applied Positive Psychology = Laughter and Joy Organization: oung Leadership/Entrepreneur Seminar Location: Berlin, Germany
more Date: Apr 07, 2016 Speaker: Leslie Russell Topic: Salon for the Soul: Discover the language of the soul and excavate your deepest knowing Organization: Private event - call for details Location: Los Angeles, CA
more Date: Mar 09, 2016 Speaker: Leslie Russell Topic: Applied Positive Psychology: Find your hidden joy and inner laughter Organization: Women's Circle, Chabad of Wilkes Berre Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
more Date: Feb 18, 2016 Speaker: Leslie Russell Topic: Applied Positive Psychology, Laughter and Joy Organization: United States District Court, District of Connecticut Location: New Haven Courthouse: Support court for probation population
more Date: Jan 21, 2016 Speaker: Leslie Russell Topic: Keynote: Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Growing Business Acumen Organization: Dorian Drake International, Inc. Location: Westchester, NY