# 42 – Life Transitions in the Workplace with Dr Sarah Cotton

Dr. Sarah Cotton is a registered and endorsed Organisational Psychologist who specialises in best-practice strategies to help individuals and organisations navigate the challenges of modern work. In light of demographic shifts and committed to supporting work-life change, Sarah co-founded Transitioning Well™ in 2011, which specialises in supporting management and employees to navigate Parental-Leave, Work-Life and Mature-Age transitions.  This was particularly important for Sarah following her personal challenges after the birth of her first child.

Drawing upon over 15 years of coaching, training and consulting, Sarah brings a comprehensive background across the university, corporate and not for profit sectors in addition to private practice. Providing the space to get out of ‘automatic pilot’, Sarah’s facilitation provides the opportunity to unpack both the practical and emotional elements of transition.

Sarah’s academic background includes a PhD in the area of work-stress, and specific training in political and policy related psychology.

Early in her career Sarah worked at Psychology Beyond Borders, and as a project Manager at World Vision.  She was also an Associate at Issues Deliberation Australia/America – (IDA) a not-for-profit, non-partisan political psychology and public policy think tank, for 10 years, established to facilitate the conduct and dissemination of high quality research, public consultation, education and public debate on topical social and public policy issues impacting Australia, America and the world.

Committed to harnessing the pipeline of female talent, Sarah has also been involved in the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Board Women program as well as a facilitator for the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and Superfriend Mentally Healthy Retirement Program.

Finally, having both published and presented widely, Sarah’s research experience strengthens her profile and motivates her to get research to where it is needed most – real life!

Sarah's Self-Care Tip

Sarah says “Knowing what my lighthouse is.  What my values are so I can navigate these on a daily basis.  Living my priorities each day in line with that!”

Another fabulous piece of career advice – “Momentum not perfection!”


Please leave Sarah or myself a comment or some feedback, we’d love to hear from you and I’ll respond to everyone!

Amy Felman


  1. Michelle on May 11, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Hi Amy and Sarah!

    I really loved this episode, so thank you both for making it happen.

    In particular I found hearing about how Sarah has been able to combine psychology with social change and humanitarian work very exciting as this is the direction I want to take my career as well (and it’s not a career narrative you hear that often!). I have worked in eNGOs for a number of years but I am now working towards becoming a clinical psychologist and looking for ways to merge these two career interests/aspirations.

    Currently I’m completing my bachelor of psychology, but I would like to start getting some practical experience and contributing to my community – and the world! I was wondering if Sarah had any advice on organisations to reach out to for this kind of experience? IDA and Psychology Beyond Borders would be a dream to work for, but they seem to be based in America.

    Thanks again!

    • Amy Felman on May 16, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for your comment. Wasn’t it a fabulous episode! Sarah has done some incredible work – and I’m with you, I didn’t know IDA existed, and hadn’t considered psychology’s role in public policy on that level. I believe IDA were Australian/American but are now only in the US. However Sarah was saying they will be returning to Australia at some stage with potential projects. I am keeping in the loop with this and will make sure you are too!

      As always, glad you enjoyed the episode and good luck with your studies! I will pass it on to Sarah and see what she says!


      • Amy Felman on May 19, 2017 at 10:05 am

        Hi Michelle,

        Here is Sarah’s reply:

        Hi Michelle,

        Thank you for your generous comment. I am so glad you found the episode of interest and am excited to hear about your career direction!

        Regarding organisations to reach out to, I would suggest the following: 1) Firstly, while IDA and PBB are based in the USA, it would still be worth reaching out and registering your interest in case there is ever any opportunities in Australia; 2) a second option worth exploring would be The Mandala Foundation that works to strengthen humanitarian emergency, disaster relieve and development action through the psychosocial support of aid workers, managers and organsiations in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond; and 3) organisations such as World Vision Australia also have great volunteering opportunities.

        I hope that this gives you some options to explore… wishing you all the very best as you complete your Bachelor of Psychology.



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