Relationships change the world.

Great leadership is more than a set of skills. It’s about being human.

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A journey through the five aspects of social-emotional learning

Our Heart Smart Classroom™ curricula links directly to CASEL’s core competencies. We start with foundational components of Social and Emotional Learning, and then systematically teach through self-awareness, self-regulation, interpersonal skills, empathy, and effective decision making.



The Art and Science of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

Self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy and interpersonal skills drive effective decision-making in leadership.


Workshops That Engage

Great leadership is more than a set of skills. It’s about being human. The Applied EQ Group helps educators, business leaders, and athletes apply the power of emotional intelligence (EQ), so they can build positive and productive relationships with their teams.

Mental Health First Aid in the Classroom

We don’t need to be a cardiac surgeon to perform CPR, and sometimes CPR can save a life. Similarly, we don’t have to be a licensed mental health professional to provide basic mental health first aid in the classroom.

Relationship-based Behavioral Intervention and De-escalation

Crisis situations can leave a wake of difficult thoughts and feelings. Students and teachers can feel lingering shame, anger, fear and confusion for days—even weeks or months—after a traumatic event. The good news is that crisis situations do not have to be harmful to a relationship, and in fact, they can serve as a doorway to deeper trust, intimacy, and respect.

Embracing Diversity: Building Connections Across Differences

When we don’t engage specific communication strategies, our busy will keep us from connecting with others, especially when others are different. But by practicing a few simple communication and behavioral strategies, we will be much more equipped to build meaningful relationships across differences.

Relationships That Work

Most of us already know that relationships matter in any field, but particularly in education. The question is: how? How do I build life-impacting relationships with students? How do I build resourceful relationships with my colleagues on campus? How do I build supportive relationships with my students’ parents?

The Power of a Teacher

Remember? You went into education to make a difference! But is it really possible to build the kinds of life-impacting relationships with students in educational systems that have the potential to leave you physically and emotionally drained?

Stress-Management 101: Riding the Wave to Peak Performance

Stress, when understood and managed effectively, can result not only in increased personal wellbeing, but also in authentic community among our colleagues and relational connection with the students on our campuses.

The Truth About Mental Illness (Hint: It’s Probably Not What You’ve Been Told)

Dr. Sáenz concludes this empowering talk by sharing how he has dealt with depression and anxiety over the years, dating back to his years in junior high school. We wouldn’t be ashamed to acknowledge that we had a sore throat or headache; we shouldn’t be ashamed to acknowledge when we feel sad or afraid.

Finding Balance and Wellbeing As an Educator

Educators are nurtures, which means they make tremendous sacrifices to empower their students to grow and develop. That is a significant part of why education is commonly considered the noblest profession. Self-sacrifice, though, can become a liability when not considered in proper context; just as a cell phone battery must be recharged regularly so as not to lose all capacity, so too must the life of the educator be recharged so as not to lose the passion for this noble calling.

The EQ Intervention

We have entered the Age of Emotional Intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and interpersonal effectiveness are now the must-have skills that drive high performance, in the classroom, on the campus, and on the playing field. Dr. Sáenz presents research that validates the practice of SEL, and he shares two powerful case studies that prove its effectiveness in schools.

The Stages of Community

We’ll explore the stages of communityin greater detail, and we’ll conclude with practical strategies to empower you to lead your campus to the highest stage —it is attainable, and it is where we live our best lives.

Mastering the Fine Art of Work-Life Balance

Being an effective professional and having a satisfying personal life do not have to be mutually-exclusive endeavors. In fact, when we are mindful about creating the right personal infrastructure, we can actually build excellence in both arenas. It won’t happen, though, without deliberate planning and goalsetting.

Embracing Diversity: Why You Are Hard-Wired to Fear Difference, and What You Can Do To Overcome It

Our workplace is increasingly diverse, and that is good news. There is only one small catch: we have literally millions of years of evolution working against us, telling us our primary need to surround ourselves with what is predictable. The key is to hack our reptilian brain and move into our frontal lobe, where higher-order thought occurs. It is in this place that we build strategies to embrace diversity in practice.

The Keys to Effective Communication

Considering that we spend 70 to 80 percent of our waking hours communicating in some form, we might say that effective communication skills are the key to 70 to 80 percent of our life. The goal of this workshop is to equip participants with the knowledge and skillset that will minimize communication breakdowns, errors, and failures.

Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence—not intellectual ability or content knowledge—is the most needed asset across all levels of professional development, from the entry-level administrative assistant to the top-level executive. Emotional intelligence makes us better employees because it makes us more effective human beings. When we invest in developing our emotional quotient, we position ourselves for peak performance across all domains of our life.

Navigating Conflict (Without Power Struggles, Shaming or Blaming)

Conflict does not necessarily have to destroy professional relationships and community. In fact, when handled appropriately, conflict can actually deepen and strengthen connections. When we understand the nature of conflict and how to break negative feedback loops, we equip ourselves with the ability to resolve conflict in a relationship-honoring manor. We can be unified without being uniform.

Mastering Change Dynamics

Change, as stress, has the potential to bring out the worst in us, to expose our fears and inadequacies, and to erode a team dynamic. There is good news, though: change doesn’t have to be the enemy. In fact, when we know the dynamics associated with any change process, we can position ourselves for peak performance, both as individuals and as groups.

Problem-Solving and Creativity: Making the Most of Logic and Emotion

In the absence of a set protocol for problem-solving, we typically default to emotion-based decision making, which can hold tremendous liabilities for the individuals and groups involved, and for the organization as a whole. The most effective solutions are those that invoke a creativity process and empower groups in the decision.

Leading Group Dynamics (to Lead Dynamic Groups)

From the time we wake up each morning, we are involved in some form of group interaction, and any group’s effectiveness is the product of the interaction of individual behavior, group size, member status, and the nature of the task. It’s a complex process, but it’s one that we can construct to create purposeful outcomes.