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Dr. Rebecca  Heiss

Dr. Rebecca Heiss

Biologist & Stress Expert, Author


“Rebecca’s keynote was dynamic, thought-provoking and action inspiring. It resonated with me and our team in such positive ways, causing us to really look at the blind spots and specific ways to create behavior change in both our lives and businesses. We received more positive feedback from her talk and requests for a copy of her talk than any of the other speakers.”-Director of Business Affairs, Consolidated Assurance

Called “transformative” by the National Science Foundation, evolutionary biologist Dr. Rebecca Heiss’s breakthrough research examines the prehistoric fears and primitive instincts that our human brains have subconsciously carried forward into our complex, modern world. Sharing science-backed explanations and thought-provoking storytelling, she shows us how to overcome the reflexes that served us well 20,000 years ago but sabotage us today. Whether you are a corporate leader looking to build and lead stronger teams, an organization seeking to understand the ingrained instincts behind unconscious bias, or simply wishing to manage stress and anxiety and adopt a more successful, positive mindset, Dr. Heiss’s highly interactive talks will rock your perceptions about how people universally think, behave, and interact. Read More >

Dr. Heiss is the author of the highly anticipated new book, Instinct: Rewire Your Brain with Science-Backed Solutions to Increase Productivity and Achieve Success, which has been described as “a revolutionary approach to unlocking your innate ability to achieve success in business and in life.” She is also the founder and CEO of icueity, a continuous 360 review app that provides users with ongoing “fearless feedback” and challenges them to grow in self-awareness. She taught at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and later was recruited to be among the founding faculty members to develop a startup school to nurture entrepreneurial minds and approach learning through impact. Dr. Heiss holds a BS and MS in Biology from Binghamton University and a PhD in stress physiology from University of Memphis.

Her talks have inspired audiences around the world, including organizations such as Charles Schwab, ADP, SHRM, and Case Western Reserve University. Believing that “the scariest thing is living a life governed by fear,” Dr. Heiss challenges us to BECOME FEAR(LESS)™ while providing the tools to achieve it. Audiences leave with actionable takeaways on how to overcome their own biology, take control of stress and anxiety, be more effective and productive, break through the barriers to optimal performance—and live happier, fear(less) lives. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos


Fearless Diversity

Blind Spots to Breakthrough

Fearless Mindset: What’s Your Story?

Fearless Leadership

Fearless Mindset

Speech Topics

Become FEAR(LESS)™

Dr. Heiss’s FEAR(LESS)™ series of keynotes can be customized to the specific needs and goals of any organization. Viewing modern challenges through the lens of evolutionary biology, Dr. Heiss can examine a wide range of topics—and provide invaluable insights for audiences to act upon. Universal takeaways from her FEAR(LESS)™ talks on leadership, teamwork, mindset and other focuses include how to: Read More >

  • Recognize the fear-based shortcuts that hold you back from optimal performance.
  • Train your brain to differentiate legitimate fears and fears that only serve to limit you.
  • Override the discomfort=death shortcut by wiring more productive brain pathways.
  • Establish powerful responses to challenging perspectives.
  • Strengthen affiliations by working with your biology rather than against it.

Dr. Heiss’s expertise extends to a myriad of subjects, including: Read Less ^

  • The Biology Behind Bullying
  • What Brain Science Teaches Us About Gender Differences in Leadership
  • Never Enough: Social Media, Comparison and Mental Health
  • The Overlooked Science of #MeToo and Sexual Harassment

FEAR(LESS)™ Mindset: Stress Less, Achieve More through the Power of Positivity

We are living in stressful modern times that can seem overwhelming, even on our best days. And our brains aren’t actually helping! Our modern brains are still wired to respond to the ancient fears of our ancestors. While technology has increased exponentially, biology operates on a much slower time frame. As such, we are living in a modern world, stuck with stone aged brains that experience fears like rejection and failure as stressful matters of life and death. To decrease stress, we must train our brains to differentiate between an ancient reaction to saber tooth tigers with what simply FEELS like one (50 more emails last hour!) In this high-energy, interactive talk, Dr. Rebecca Heiss tells us how we can actually retrain our brains to decrease stress and optimize positivity. Read More >

You’ll learn: Read Less ^

  • Why positive people far outperform their peers at work with increased sales, promotions and engagement.
  • How to increase and enable productivity, innovation, positive communication and creative collaboration.
  • The benefits of positivity: better relationships, a higher quality of life, and improved health and longevity.
  • How to reduce ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) that drive stress and conflict.

FEAR(LESS)™ Leadership: Breaking Through the Barriers to Optimal Performance

Everyone understands why it is imperative for leaders to be self-aware. And yet research finds that nearly 90% aren’t. To be effective leaders, we must not only face our fears, we must understand that they are rooted in deep-seated instincts from our prehistoric past. These primitive instincts, born in a time of scarcity and survival, are still ingrained in our modern brains, affecting how we live, work and lead. In this eye-opening keynote, Dr. Rebecca Heiss unpacks how to prevent ancient, subconscious reactions from sabotaging our path to effective leadership. Read More >

Audiences learn how to: Read Less ^

  • Embrace your strengths and understand your fears and shortcomings.
  • Train your brain for optimal performance as a leader.
  • Understand and break through the barriers to optimal performance.
  • Prevent self-sabotaging behaviors.
  • Build self-awareness and a FEAR(LESS)™ culture.
  • Drive your organization to be more productive and profitable.

FEAR(LESS)™ Teams: Transform Any Team into Superheroes

The Avengers. The Justice League. The X-Men. The most effective teams in the world are brought together by more than just luck. In this team-transforming keynote, Dr. Rebecca Heiss brings science-backed solutions that can  turn any group of talented, powerful individuals into the unstoppable force of a superhero team. The key? Uncovering, owning and, and ultimately, flaunting, the source of our greatest fear and source of vulnerability. Call it individual “kryptonite.” In this self-awareness-elevating talk, Dr. Heiss brings each team member through their own superhero’s journey. The end result: A collective recognition that teamwork allows each of us to leap tall buildings in a single bound and stay fear(less), even in the face of kryptonite. Read More >

You’ll learn to: Read Less ^

  • Recognize that having, knowing and flaunting individual strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities create the most powerful teams.
  • Develop an external “enemy” to fight against together.
  • Engage in vulnerable communication that empowers internal cooperation and collaboration and crushes external competition.