Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

About Sarah (Sam) Elliston

I have been been working with volunteers and others and training and teaching about them for over 30 years.

My passion is training and designing an experience that allows learners to find a process that works for them to make the changes they desire. I am a gentle, persistent, humorous and intelligent trainer. I draw from many sources and am always willing to admit that I might not know the answer.

I spent 23 years with United Way’s Volunteer Center, coordinating volunteers for city government, training local volunteer coordinators and board volunteers, and managing the volunteer program for United Way.

Before that, I taught High School English, French and Social Studies in Utica, NY and Batavia, Ohio.

Before that, I earned a BA from the University of Maine in International Relations and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University.

While at United Way, I developed and managed a certificate-earning series on volunteer management with Northern Kentucky University and the Union Institute and University. I also taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in Volunteer Program Management at Northern Kentucky University. This class is currently a required class in their certificate series in Non Profit Management.

My career at United Way included initiating and managing the Municipal Volunteer Program, Volunteer Cincinnati, for 15 years. I worked closely with non profit agencies to empower their volunteer programs and boards of trustees and served on the Executive Committee of the Cincinnati Association of Volunteer Administrators. A major success was developing a consulting team of professional volunteer administrators who worked with non profit organizations in Greater Cincinnati to assess their volunteer programs and develop strategies for greater success. This resulted in changes that increased program effectiveness in the agencies. 

I am certified in Values Realization (see Sid Simon), Parent Effectiveness and Reality Therapy. I am on the faculty of the William Glasser Institute as a trainer and practicum supervisor. I have also attended the School for The Work of Byron Katie and I find it to be of immeasurable assistance in personal transformation.

I am a Certified Volunteer Administrator, the highest level of professional certification in the field.

I have served as Board member and president of the Values Realization Institute, and a board member of Cincinnati Area Senior Services and the YWCA.

My business is as a consultant and trainer in Volunteer Effectiveness, Board Roles and Responsibilities, Strategic Planning and Dealing With Difficult People. I create in-service trainings, facilitate organizational retreats and train volunteers and paid staff.  

After 9 years, I recently resigned as the part -time coordinator of volunteers at a faith based organization, the New Thought Unity Center in Cincinnati. It gave me a whole new approach to working with volunteers and was a joy filled experience. 

I have recently published a book, available at, entitled:

Lessons From a Difficult Person; Howto live with People Like us.    

I have published articles with E- Volunteerism, Charity Channel and the Cincinnati Association for Volunteer Administrator’s Newsletter. I have presented at the International Conference on Volunteer Administration, the Conference for National and Community Service and regional and state conferences in Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa, New York, Michigan and Illinois.

I welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service in the industry.

On the personal side, I was married for 23 years and I have a daughter, a son and two granddaughters. My son lives with his wife and daughter, in Brooklyn, NY where he is the manager of education at the Prospect Park Zoo. His sister works as a marketing expert and grant writer in Missoula, Montana and her daughter is a graduate of Cornell University, currently working in Missoula.