Sam Conniff Allende
Sam Conniff is a speaker and expert in uncertainty and dedicated to helping people navigate change and turn fear into opportunity. In our rapidly changing and uncertain world, Sam uses a unique hybrid of online learning, interactive documentary and psychological intervention to drive curiosity, inspire innovation and build emotional resilience in teams and leaders alike.
Sam’s mission is to equip people with the tools needed to not just thrive in an uncertain society, but to drive innovation, seize opportunities and lead others to become Uncertainty Experts themselves.
In 2023, Sam Conniff co-created the world’s first Entertainment Based Therapy experience, Uncertainty Experts. Sam is the author of the international best-seller and “modern life-bible” Be More Pirate. He was Co-Founder of Livity, the multi-award-winning social enterprise and youth-led creative Network, Co-founder of Digify Africa, providing transformational digital skills to thousands of young Africans and Co-Founder of Don’t panic, the original activist and Bafta-winning content studio. Sam has won Entrepreneur of the year, Agency of the Year, The Queens Award and many others. Sam turned down an MBE in 2020 in an open letter to the Queen suggesting an update to the honours system to move it away from it’s ‘colonial past’.
Sam speaks at conferences and events, and leads bespoke masterclasses for leadership teams and companies looking to build emotional resilience, make better decisions, take decisive action and turn uncertainty into opportunity.
Awards & Mentions
2007 — Appointed as one of 25 Social Enterprise Ambassadors for the UK Government
2008 — Sam has a chapter dedicated to him in the once-name-drop-worthy Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s book, Everyday Heroes
2009 — Named as one of the UK’s 50 new Radicals in The Observer
2010 — Awarded UK Social Entrepreneur in the EY Entrepreneur of The Year Awards
2011 — Livity receives The Queens Award for Enterprise and Innovation and Sam is awarded a Big Society Award, nominated by that other once-name-drop-worthy Prime Minister, David Cameron.
2012 — Livity wins best Marketing Agency, and Campaign of the Year at Marketing Agencies Association Awards
2013 — Don’t Panic wins a Bafta for the Revolution Will Be Televised
2014 — Named on the Happy List, the people making the UK happier, and the Maserati 100, the people helping the UK’s entrepreneurs
2015 — Livity wins Social Enterprise Of The Year at the National Business Awards
2016 — Don’t Panic is third most awarded agency at Cannes
2017 — Livity becomes the first agency to win Grand Prix at BIMA Awards (for redefining the agency model)
2018 — Awarded CSR Leader of the Year at Global CSR Awards
2019 — Becomes an international best selling author with Be More Pirate
2020 — Awarded an MBE for services to young people, but declined, in an open letter in support of Black Lives Matter
Talks and Workshops
Turing Uncertainty into Opportunity
In these uncertain and rapidly changing times, open mindedness, comfort with ambiguity and divergent thinking are essential skills for high-performing teams and the leaders of the future. Backed with research by Neuroscientists and Psychologists from UCL, my mission is to galvanise teams to make better decisions, confidently solve complex problems and take inspired action. I can turn your people into experts in uncertainty with the skills and capacity to not only navigate uncertainty, but to use it as a tool that drives innovation, growth and opportunity.
Inspiring Innovative Leadership
It’s never been more difficult to make meaningful, strategic and creative plans, decisions and bold moves. Yet at the same time, brave creativity is more important than ever. I work with leaders and teams to shift mindsets and behaviours, learning to lead more creative and confident crews, as well as overcome our internal barriers. I will leave your team with a fresh sense of courage, determination and energy, along with a commitment to take responsibility to push for a better way of doing things.
Navigating Change; Making & Breaking Rules
Change has always been hard, and right now it’s harder than ever. In a world where ‘normal’ is often part of the problem, rule-breaking is no longer always a risky thing to do, but sometimes the responsible course of action. I work with teams to help them emerge with a new mindset and set of behaviours, so that they become catalysts for change across the business. The aim is for them to infuse each of their departments with the attitude and ability for thinking and doing differently, and raise the roof on creativity.
Uncertainty Experts is the world’s first Entertainment Based Therapy immersive experience. Scientifically-backed, it is proven to increase your teams’ uncertainty tolerance, empowering people to move from fear to excitement, inertia to action and anxiety to emotional resilience.
In a fast-paced, rapidly-changing world, the only thing that’s guaranteed is more uncertainty. A first-of-its-kind programme, Uncertainty Experts will equip your teams with the tools needed to not just survive, but thrive in uncertainty and be ready to embrace an uncertain future. Drawing from what is now the world’s most extensive research study on the human impact, Uncertainty Experts is guaranteed to reduce anxiety, increase creativity, unlock innovation and will teach your teams how to turn uncertainty into opportunity
Be More Pirate
Being more pirate is a shift in your mindset; a willingness to think differently, to challenge and be challenged, and to stop asking for permission to do what you know is right. It’s never been more difficult to create meaningful change and at the same time, bold creativity is more important than ever. Be More Pirate will help you and your teams to shift mindsets and behaviours, leading to more creative and confident crews as catalysts for change.
From the first sessions immersion in the true, hair-raising inspirational story of pirates, the crew inherit a new level of excitement, agency and self-belief.
Be More Gangster
It’s been said that it would be easier to colonise Mars than it would be to fix work. The problem is that reinvention is hard when the only insights on offer are coming from the bucket of ‘business as usual.’ Be More Gangster cuts through the stale jargon of most keynotes on success in business to offer inspiration and strategies from an unexpected source: the outer edges of the informal economy. It asks what we could learn from one of the most enduring, successful, innovative and profitable icons of enterprise that has ever existed: the gangster.
Be More Gangster offers a shot in the arm for anyone trying to engineer more meaningful, innovative or effective businesses. If you’ve ever dreamt of cutting through the crap in your office, organisation or just your own head so you can focus on the activities that make a difference, now you can.
“I’m still in awe at how Sam managed to energise and enthuse a large crowd of four hundred GMs and senior marketers from across the globe to feel liberated enough to emphatically stand up and talk about the ‘be more pirate’ difference they wanted to see. The decisions we made at KFC that very moment are significant in their own right, but feel like just the start. Thank you Sam for being such a force for change.”
— CATHERINE TAN-GILLESPIE KFC GLOBAL CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
“Sam gave us an entertaining and edgy talk that caught everyone’s attention — his message to challenge really resonated.”
— MARK WAGSTAFF HEAD OF THE PROGRAM MANAGEMENT COMMUNITY, UBS
"We left Sam’s workshop with fresh courage, determination, and energy secure in that we had one another’s backs.”
— POLLY COCHRANE, CMO, WARNER BROS