More Than Just a COO: The Multifaceted Life of Sarah Andreas, a Leader, an Artist, and a Coach

Elegance in Leadership The 10 Most Inspiring Women in Business, 2024

Dr. Sarah Andreas, Owner and COO of WiseWood, embodies the power of visibility. “The very act of being a visible woman in leadership can change the construct of what a leader looks like in society,” she states. This conviction fuels her commitment to fostering an inclusive leadership landscape. She adds, “There is a need for women to be visible leaders so that young women have examples of women in leadership roles.” As a shining example, Sarah is named one of The 10 Most Inspiring Women in Business, 2024,” a testament to her impact. Her leadership philosophy extends beyond her own success, as she actively fosters an environment where every voice is heard and valued.

WiseWood wasn’t Sarah’s first rodeo. Before that, she held the Director of Operations and Training position for a group of five Harley-Davidson dealerships, a role she fondly remembers as a valuable learning experience.

Sarah’s definition of success has transformed from chasing financial markers to finding fulfillment in personal purpose. Early on, monetary prosperity equated to success. However, mentoring business students at Kent State shifted her focus to freedom and shaping future leaders. Now, she sees true success beyond monetary gains, business accolades, or even the impact in the classroom. It’s about living a life aligned with her values, filled with joy, and pursuing passions. Whether it’s the creative flow in her art studio, the impact of her coaching, or the balance she maintains between her passions, teaching, and personal life, that’s where she truly thrives. This journey reflects her constant learning and desire to live authentically, making every step count.

Sarah has a keen intellect that maneuvers through industry complexities, making her an invaluable asset for everyone around her. But her expertise doesn’t define her. This doyen is a “Herald,” wielding art as her secret weapon. “When I am creating art,” she asserts, “I am trying to inspire and celebrate transformation.” This proficient executive is more than just a leader; she’s an alchemist, blending intellect and artistry to forge something extraordinary. 

From Harley Davidson to Heart-Led Success with WiseWood

WiseWood, LLC, began as Sarah’s passion project while managing five Harley-Davidson dealerships. In 2019, driven by a desire for freedom and control, she transitioned to WiseWood full-time after completing her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership.

She defines her journey with WiseWood as ‘evolution and discovery.’ Initially, Sarah traversed to the US, sharing leadership development insights. However, the unforeseen advent of COVID-19 forced a pause, leading her to explore the link between creative practices and leadership. Art became Sarah’s unexpected sanctuary, where she could express and connect in ways she never imagined. Despite financial constraints, she took a bold step, enrolling in an online oil painting class with the Milan Art Mastery Program. This leap of faith paid off handsomely, as her burgeoning skills allowed her to sell enough artwork to fund her education. This marked a turning point, ushering in a significant shift in her life and work.

Reflecting on this journey, this young entrepreneur recognized she had carried over the intense corporate work ethic, realizing that constant busyness wasn’t the key to fulfillment. Inspired by the mantra “Have a love affair with life,” Sarah committed to 104 days of self-care and embraced the principle that “10x is Easier than 2X.”

Forget canvases; today, WiseWood is Sarah’s living masterpiece, a testament to her leadership journey, belief in transformation, and the power of art to inspire change. Now, she embarks on a new mission: “to encourage others to craft their own paths to a life they love, one brushstroke and one leadership lesson at a time.”

The Greatest Achievement as a Leader

For Sarah, leading isn’t just about boardrooms. It’s a canvas woven with her passion for art and expertise in development, a unique platform inspiring personal and professional transformation. This fusion has not only allowed her to live a life she deeply loves but has also enabled her to guide others in finding their own paths to fulfillment and success.

Through WiseWood and her art, Sarah empowers individuals to embrace their authenticity, lead courageously, and view challenges as opportunities. Transforming leadership principles into visual art opens avenues for dialogue, self-reflection, and inspiration, making the abstract tangible and relatable.

Her greatest reward is witnessing individuals awaken to their potential through the art-leadership blend she champions. She notes: “It’s a reminder that leadership is not confined to the boardroom but is a canvas we all paint upon in our daily lives.” This journey of empowering others to lead lives filled with passion, purpose, and creativity is what she considers her most cherished accomplishment as a leader.

Embracing Challenges, Redefining Leadership, and Inspiring the Next Generation

Sarah’s journey as a woman commanding as an industry leader hasn’t been a smooth sail, but it’s been one of immense learning and impact. She acknowledges the challenges many women who don’t readily see themselves in leadership roles face, highlighting the stark reality of only 8.2% of S&P 500 CEOs being women. Her research in “Advancing Women in Leadership” dives deep into the obstacles that deter women from such head-honcho roles, sparking critical conversations.

However, this seasoned executive isn’t just focused on the challenges; she celebrates the positive shift. The rise of 13 million women-owned businesses in the USA showcases their unwavering determination and ability to forge paths aligning with their values. This entrepreneurial spirit is redefining leadership, allowing women to lead on their own terms and contribute their unique perspectives.

She conveys a clear and powerful guiding statement to fellow women: “Embrace visibility. Step into the light as business and community leaders.” By leading visibly and collectively, one can reshape societal norms and broaden what it means to be a leader. She points to a recent experiment with DALL-E, where visualizing a “leader” resulted in the stereotypical image of a dominant male figure. This underscores the need for more women to stand tall and showcase this concept’s diverse and vibrant nature.

“Leadership isn’t a one-size-fits-all model,” Sarah asserts. It’s about finding one’s unique voice, living a life that fulfills and excites them, and demonstrating that success is not just about professional achievements but also about helming a balanced, joyful, and meaningful life. By stepping into one’s power and spearheading authentically, they pave the way for future generations, showing that leadership is an expression of their true self, contributing to a world where everyone is empowered to trailblaze in their distinct way.

WiseWood’s Vibrant Future: Where Art and Coaching Collide

Imagine a future painted in vibrant hues of growth and transformation – that’s the horizon for WiseWood, LLC. Over the next decade, Sarah’s dual passions of coaching and art will blossom, impacting more lives and igniting positive change.

Her coaching practice will continue to empower two distinct groups: leaders seeking to cultivate thriving teams and individuals yearning to live their most fulfilling lives. In this journey, art emerges as a powerful tool – a visual narrative that speaks directly to the heart of transformation.

Sarah envisions weaving art and coaching into a tapestry that beautifies spaces and uplifts lives. She aims to spur personal and professional transformations through inspiring art and empowering coaching. Her objective is to encourage individuals to embrace their full potential and craft lives and careers that resonate with their deepest values and aspirations.

Approach to Staying Up-to-date in a Competitive Industry

This visionary COO eschews the conventional view of a competitive landscape, envisioning it instead as an energetic constellation of individual journeys, including her own. Her unique approach to staying “abreast” involves introspection, measuring her growth against her past self rather than external benchmarks. This inward focus keeps her grounded in her purpose and ensures the genuineness and impact of her work. Her guiding question: “Am I evolving? Am I contributing more meaningfully than before?” Positive answers mark her progress. This philosophy nurtures appreciation for the unique value other brings, viewing them not as rivals but as companions on the path of creativity and leadership. By staying aligned with her mission to inspire and empower, Sarah finds security in knowing her journey is distinct, marked by her own milestones and achievements.

Regular Workday

Forget the mundane 9-to-5! Sarah’s days flow seamlessly between purpose and self-care. Instead of rigid schedules, she prioritizes Focus Days, dedicating her energy to 1-3 impactful teaching, coaching, or art creation tasks. These days are fueled by laser-sharp focus, allowing her to immerse herself truly in her passions. Prep Days provide a necessary counterpoint, filled with research, reading, and strategic planning for future endeavors. And when the sun shines and the hammock beckons, she embraces Recoup Days, savoring moments of relaxation and rejuvenation amidst the hustle. This diligent approach allows Sarah to operate at her peak, ensuring her work remains both impactful and fulfilling.

Personal Goals as a Businesswoman

Sarah, a prescient businesswoman, isn’t just chasing quarterly reports; she’s weaving a life filled with pursuit and motivation. This year, her goals transcend the boardroom, embracing three distinct yet interconnected areas: family, personal growth, and inspiring transformation.

Nurturing the Roots: Family and friends are the bedrock of her happiness. Sarah prioritizes quality time with her husband and son, cherishes breakfasts with her aunts, catches up with friends over coffee, and plans to visit her parents. These connections fuel her and remind her of what truly matters.

Leading by Example: “I am living a life that I love and want to inspire others to do the same,” Sarah declares. This way of life permeates her approach to learning and growth. She continuously challenges herself to expand her knowledge and skills but doesn’t keep the journey solo. Through her art, teaching, coaching, and even how she lives her life, Sarah models this growth for others, encouraging them to embark on their own transformative journeys.

Art as a Catalyst: Sarah’s creative spirit finds expression in her art, and it’s not just about self-expression. She sees it as a powerful tool for transformation for herself and others. Through her art and coaching, she strives to ignite a spark of inspiration, encouraging individuals to discover their own potential and create lives that resonate with their deepest desires.

Message to Aspiring Businesswomen

Aspiring businesswomen, Sarah’s message is a clarion call for empowerment and self-discovery. Success begins within, she urges them. Invest in their personal growth – find a coach, therapist, or mentor who resonates with them and guides them on their self-understanding and development journey. This adept professional believes that uncovering and addressing areas for growth is the cornerstone of leading fulfilling lives, building businesses that reflect their passions, and making impactful contributions.

She regards self-love as the bedrock of any successful venture. She urges them to embrace the journey of becoming their best selves, recognizing that this inner work is as crucial as any business strategy. Seeking a life filled with purpose and joy isn’t just a personal achievement; it’s a gift to the world. When businesswomen lead lives rich in fulfillment and self-compassion, they set a powerful example, creating ripples of positive change that extend far beyond their immediate circles.

Sarah highly recommends that they immerse in transformative ideas that challenge and inspire. Books like “10x Is Easier Than 2x,” by Dan Sullivan, and “Be Your Future Self Now,” by Dr. Benjamin Hardy, offer profound insights into personal and professional growth. These works underscore the importance of vision, mindset, and the transformative power of embracing your potential now, not later.

“Your journey is uniquely yours,” she advocates, “but remember, you’re not alone.” She suggests for seeking a supportive community of women who share similar aspirations. Sarah concludes by underlining the collective effort to build a world where more women can lead fulfilling lives, thereby improving communities, industries, ‘and the world at large a better place for everyone.’