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Meet Kevin

The fact that you clicked on this page tells me you’re curious to know a little more about me.
I’m honored! Here are some of the most common questions people ask me.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL with Kevin Kitrell Ross

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

People.  I love people!  I enjoy connecting with everyday people in diverse audiences all around the world.  There is nothing more exhilarating than stepping on the stage, looking into the faces of people, and inspiring  them with my story and success principles that empowers them to design and live the lives of their dreams.  By the way, the standing ovations don't hurt either.

Another very enjoyable aspect of my work is earning the right to share my client’s success stories for being the Life Coach  on their winning team.  I love bringing out the shine in people and being there as their coach to see them through both the “before” and “after” stage.  No matter who they are, I live for that moment when they smile with relief and great joy and say to me, “I did it!”

What exciting places has your work taken you?

It’s a long way from the south side of Chicago, where I first started.  My career as a motivational keynote speaker and author has taken me throughout the United States including Hawaii , Puerto Rico and  Alaska.  I have also been invited to address audiences in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, Mexico,  and South America.  I have found in my travels that there is a common thread in people everywhere – we all hurt, we all love, and we all yearn to be all that we were created to be.

What types of groups have hired you to speak?

That's another rewarding aspect of my work, the adventure of reaching new audiences.  It's always exciting to receive invitations to speak from corporations, colleges and universities, conferences and conventions, not for profits and government agencies and of course, churches.  I have even spoken on cruise ships. 

My speaking itinerary is diverse and filled with variety.  One day  I'm delivering a commencement  address for the  University of California at Davis, the next, I'm keynoting for the McDonald’s Owner’s Association in Philadelphia.  There are times, I'm called on to facilitate a workshop on diversity and inclusion for both Johnson &  Johnson or the California Department of Social Services.  Or motivate student excellence on a six city tour for the National Student Leadership Network.  I've shared the stage with cultural icons like Jack Canfield, Les Brown and the late great Stephen Covey at Super Seminar, giving talks on leadership and success.  And  my work has taken me into the classroom to inspire future educators as a seminar faculty member for Teach for America’s Summer Leadership Institute.  There are even times when my work is more like a vacation, and I'm booked to speak onboard cruise ships like Holland and Norwegian  with my own Design Your Life at Sea seminars or travel internationally to speak in Mexico City, keynoting a four hour seminar for all Spanish-speaking Life and Business Coaches at the annual International Conference for Integrative  Coaching (of course with simultaneous translation.)  Perhaps, one of the most interesting events was when I got the opportunity to speak in Caracas, Venezuela to a group of Citibank employees, inspiring them to use their lives to be of service to the greater community.  And the most unusual booking I received was as a keynote for the Miss Black Deaf America pageant, where I was charged with inspiring the contestants to push past the obstacle of their disability to achieve unprecedented levels of success.  It was the first time, I received a silent sign language standing ovation and I will always remember it.

And as an ordained Unity minister, I am called on to address congregations, participate in community panel discussions, serve as master or ceremonies for black tie events,  officiate weddings or even serve as guest chaplain for the State Senate by opening the day’s proceedings with prayer.

No matter where I am in the world, I always aspire to not only empower audiences with success principles that gets them from where they are to where they want to be, but I make sure that meeting  planners always receive rave reviews from their clients after they have experienced  one of my customized messages.

How did you get started?

According to my parents, I got started when I was three years old.  Church played a big role in my life growing up.  As a child, I would stand on a crate in my backyard to speak to my playmates.  I guess I was destined to help people this way.  As a teenager, while being mentored by Les Brown and Johnnie Colemon, I teamed up with my life-long friend, David E. Montgomery to form “The Brothers of Thunder”—a tag-team youth motivational speaking duo. We toured the United States and Canada speaking at colleges, universities, conferences, churches, and conventions empowering young people to stay positive, make wise choices and to dream big.  We soon followed our own big dream and attended Morehouse College.  That's why I'm 1000 per cent clear that it's never too soon to have a big dream.  As long are willing to show up and do the work, the sky is the limit.

Have there been any memorable highlights of your career thus far?

Meeting President Nelson Mandela and being among the delegation to present him the World Season for Nonviolence Award in South Africa and at the same event having a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama was without a doubt the all-time greatest experiences of my career.  Check out the full story

Second to that was, being flown in as an invited guest to pay tribute to my shero. Oprah Winfrey on Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular.  Check out the full story

Tell us about the empowerment resources you've created?

Over time, I've appreciated being stretched to salt down my ideas in books and recordings that leave something for my audiences to use to keep themselves inspired and empowered. I've authored the book, The Designer Life:  Five Distinctions for Living Life by Design and Not by Default, and Living the Designer Life:  Distinctions for Designing and Living the Life of Your Dreams. I also am the creator and facilitator of the Designer Life Experience Retreat: An Experiential Hands-on Retreat for Professionals Committed to Discovering, Developing and Demonstrating the Life of Their Dreams.  Other books I authored are T.O.U.G.H. Talk for Living the Designer Life: Five Powerful Principles for Building Mental Muscle and Spiritual Strength. I also developed the Designer Life Workshop™ and a four-volume audio program entitled, The Prosperitudes:  Attitudes for Attaining, Obtaining and Maintaining Abundance in Every Form.  I am also the creator and executive producer of the hit DVD, Liberate Your Spirit featuring Michael Beckwith, James Trapp and Chris Michaels released nationally by Beyond Words/Atria Publishing.

I have also enjoyed the privilege of serving as the host of my own radio program, Design Your Life for over five years.  I have interviewed some of our nation’s bestselling authors, thought leaders and experts on success, transformation, and spiritual empowerment.  Check out the archives over over 100 hours of shows for free on iTunes

Do you see people privately who want to their lives to the next level?

Coaching and mentoring are my great loves, because I have (and continue to be) coached and mentored so well, it's something I remain passionate about. Consequently, I have coached Emmy award winning television producers, real estate moguls, pageant queens, International Toastmasters Champions, top finalists on “American Idol” and “The Voice”, attorneys, doctors, and entrepreneurs. My goal as a coach is to enable people to move beyond procrastination and stagnation to vision-driven breakthrough results. When I am doing my job well, other people shine.

Admittedly, because of the demands of my pretty full life, I can only see a handful of highly motivated clients exclusively each year.  The good news is, I  offer group coaching programs. Additionally, I have a team of certified Designer Life coaches who work with me to reach have the maximum reach and make the greatest impact with our Designer Life Coaching Distinctions.

Description: Ross Family.jpgTell us about your family.

In a word, my family is “noisy” and it's music to my ears.   I love being a husband and a Papa to my three children.  It’s clearly my highest calling to be entrusted to provide for and guide these young lives.

I am happily married to author, trainer, life coach and workshop facilitator Anita Ross(

Not only have we come together to make the world better, but we also serve together to help other couples with our Spiritual Power Couples Retreat.

What have you done to impact youth?

My wife Anita and I co-founded Teen Dream Camp—a  501(c)3 tax exempt organization that identifies, develops, and awakens the dreams in the next generation of global leaders.   Teen Dream Camp is committed to ending teen sabotage and suicide, preventing teen pregnancy, and keeping teens drug-free, violence-free and disease-free, by awakening, affirming, nurturing, developing, and celebrating the dream in the heart of every teen. The Teen Dream Camp has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to ensure that every teen dreamer has a mentor dedicated to seeing those dreams become a reality.

In what ways have you been recognized for your work?

Description: Kevin Ross in actionMy work has garnered acknowledgements in various magazines and publications: Ebony, Black Enterprise, the Chicago Sun Times, the Chicago Defender, the Miami Herald, the Miami Times, the Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento Observer, Upscale Magazine, Today's Black Woman, the American River Messenger, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and several others. I have also appeared on NBC, CBS, and ABC news stations. I’ve have been honored at Tufts University and the Smithsonian Institute with two humanitarian awards for my advocacy on behalf of our nation’s youth. I was also selected to be among a delegation to present former South African President, Nelson Mandela with the World Season for Nonviolence Award.  I am an inductee into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall of Fame at Morehouse College, and have received proclamations from Mayor Kevin Johnson  the Sacramento City Council and the California State Senate.

Description: Kevin and OprahWho has been your inspiration?

Without a doubt, the three greatest  inspirations of my life are my Grandpapa, the late John Houston Tayborn  Sr., my Spiritual Mother, the late Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon), and my ‘Shero’, Oprah Winfrey.

What do you do for fun?

I have a few guilty pleasures.  I am an amateur singer and lately I've been trying my chops in the studio with the amazing musical genius Charlie Cooper. I love, love, love to dance salsa and meringue, until they kick me off of the dance floor.  Also, I am an admitted Netflix binge serial viewer.  My wife and I love to watch all of the latest series from start to finish – often in two nights.

When you’re not on the road and touching lives over the airwaves, where can people find you on a more regular basis?

I can be found at the most loving place on earth, Unity of Sacramento, in Sacramento, California where I serve as the spiritual leader and CEO.  I give the weekly lessons most Sundays and I am actively involved with ensuring our that Unity of Sacramento is leading the way addressing issues that are revels to our vision of co-creating a world that works for all. Check us out at