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Maria Ross

Speaker, Author, Facilitator, Empathy AdvocateRed Slice, LLC

San Francisco Bay Area

Member Since November 2020


Public Speaking
Team Leadership


Maria Ross is a speaker, facilitator, author, and empathy advocate who believes cash flow, creativity, and compassion are not mutually exclusive. She’s spent decades helping forward-thinking leaders and teams connect and engage through empathy to accelerate growth and impact. Maria has authored multiple books, including her most recent title, The Empathy Edge: Harnessing the Value of Compassion as an Engine for Success and also hosts The Empathy Edge podcast. Maria understands the power of empathy on the brand and personal levels: In 2008, shortly after launching her business, she suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm that almost killed her and inspired her memoir, Rebooting My Brain. In it, she explores the critical importance of empathy in healing and overcoming adversity. Maria has appeared in many prominent media outlets, including MSNBC, NPR, Wisdom from the Top with Guy Raz (NPR),, ABC News, Entrepreneur and Thrive Global. She has spoken to audiences ranging from TEDx to The New York Times to Salesforce to The 3% Conference and delivered keynotes and workshops for companies such as Box, Digital Ocean, CHRISTUS Health, and New York Life. Her thought leadership writing has appeared in multiple publications including, Newsweek, and Huffington Post. Maria lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, young son, and rescue mutt and serves clients worldwide and loves red wine, working out (those two go hand in hand), British crime dramas and trivia shows.

Published content

16 Decisive Ways to Humanize Your Business's Brand

expert panel

To attract and keep customers coming back for years to come, businesses have to maintain their human essence. As the old adage goes, "People buy from people." In today’s technologically-driven business landscape, entrepreneurs now have a multitude of ways to engage with current and potential customers across the world.  While changes like automation can increase employee productivity, streamline operations and boost the number of interactions that lead to sales, many businesses focus so much on the efficiency aspect that they don’t recognize the potential of losing the human touch, which is what initially entices customers to purchase and keeps them coming back. As experts, the members of Newsweek Expert Forum have experience making their brand more appealing to customers. Below, 16 of them share concrete ways any business can humanize its product or service offerings and why these actions are essential to building long-term relationships with customers.

15 Effective Ways to Encourage And Foster Innovation in Your Business

expert panel

While failure does come with significant downsides, actively encouraging employees to take risks can be worthwhile. “Failure” has a complex meaning in business. On one hand, failure can mean unimaginable loss ranging from the waste of limited resources to the loss of one’s livelihood completely. On the other hand, failure can also be a harbinger for great personal and professional growth.  No matter how one feels about failure, the truth of the matter is that business is all about leveraging the lessons that come out of failure to innovate. Taking risks, building on failure and encouraging your employees to do the same is the key to becoming a major player in your market.  As experts, the members of Newsweek Expert Forum have directly experienced the benefits of cultivating a workplace environment that supports experimentation. Below, 15 of them share how leaders can encourage and foster a culture of innovation within their organization.

Competitive Advantage: 17 Expert Tips for Enhancing the Customer Experience

expert panel

Devising simple ways to make the customer journey more seamless can keep customers coming back long term. In today’s competitive business landscape, the devil is in the details. With so many businesses competing for customers in both online and brick-and-mortar spaces, setting a business apart boils down to the customer experience strategy. If done incorrectly, businesses risk inadvertently driving away current and potential customers and ruining their reputation for good.  However, if done with care and regard for the needs of customers, businesses can rise above their competitors, even if they are offering similar products or services. To help leaders create a competitive advantage, 17 Newsweek Expert Forum members discuss how leaders can improve their company’s customer experience.

The Empathy Renaissance: Passing Fad or Here to Stay?


If you don't want high attrition or the best recruits turning you down to work for your competitor, you need to go beyond optics or a one-time hit and create a sustainable empathetic culture.

12 Illuminating Questions To Ask Potential Business Partners

expert panel

Taking the time to carefully vet business partners decreases the chances of something going wrong down the line.  A partnership with another person or company can increase your chances of successfully bringing your ideas alive. After all, a partner will be able to offer additional information and resources, and the combined effort means more work will get accomplished.  However, one must carefully vet every collaboration before signing on the dotted line. Though a business partnership may look good on paper, asking key questions beforehand can help ensure your prospective partner actually ticks all of the right boxes. Below, a panel of Newsweek Expert Forum members each share one question to ask a potential business partner before officially joining forces.

How to Become a Leader People Want to Follow

expert panel

Actively meeting the needs of employees can inspire respect for leaders while also having a direct impact on the business's bottom line. Being a great leader requires more than delegating tasks to employees and meeting business goals. Each individual employee within an organization has different needs, and the role leadership plays in meeting those needs and empowering employees to contribute their expertise can have a direct impact on a business’s bottom line.  Though all leaders aspire to be someone worthy of guiding others, the challenge is ensuring each action taken signifies interest in and commitment to the well-being of employees. To help, the members of Newsweek Expert Forum offer recommendations for how those in power can earn the loyalty of those around them and become leaders people will want to follow.

Company details

Red Slice, LLC

Company bio

RED SLICE is… …a digital elixir of stories, advice & strategies to ignite your brand & delight your mind. …a marketing & branding consultancy, where unforgettable stories become irresistible brands. …a provocative sandbox for entrepreneurs who crave real business-building juice, with an inspiration chaser. I'm Maria Ross and I advise solopreneurs, startups, and small to mid-sized growth businesses on strategies to tell the right story to the right people at the right time. For business, I offer branding, messaging, positioning and design services, and workshops that help you attract rabid fans, stand out from the crowd, and grow your business. For life, I offer inspiration, tough-love, and insight to get you rockstars, change-makers, and passion players where you need to go.



Area of focus


Company size

Myself only