Being an effective leader can often require responding to challenges and creating a new vision for the future. Storytelling, as a leadership practice, enables us to recognize the experiences which have shaped our lives, communicate our values, and create opportunity for engaging in meaningful dialogue. In this interactive presentation participants will explore the meaning and significance of their personal experiences to craft stories intended to inspire, persuade and engage in local communities and beyond.

Takeaways from this talk include:

  1. Identify leadership challenges and teachable moments from ones lived experience that effectively communicates inclusion, hope and progress.
  2. Develop in the process the crafting of personal stories as a means to engage in a more meaningful and authentic dialogue.
  3. Recognize opportunities to improve leadership potential by understanding the effect that well structured stories have on the brain and body.
  4. Practice active effective listening techniques to enhance opportunities for competency, growth and communication.

AHA! Finding & Sharing Our Truths

Everyone has a story to tell. However, many people don’t know which story tell, what they can do to improve it, or how to share it. Combining her experience as a storytelling coach and the lessons from her TED talk, Dawn explores the ways to connect the significant moments from our lives into memorable and thought provoking stories. Addressing issues including vulnerability and authenticity, Dawn shows us why telling our truths can not only be beneficial for personal development, but also as an effective tool that can be translated into various forms of communication.

Takeaways from this talk include:

  1. Recognize the elements of effective stories, including stakes and arc in a way that translates lived experiences into shared values.
  2. Understand the role of vulnerability, empathy, relevance and truth in the the development and crafting of personal narratives.
  3. Explore personal moments which may be used to demonstrate a personal characteristic or idiosyncrasies, and recognize when a story is emotionally and structurally ready to be shared.   
  4. Draft stories and develop a structure based on allocated length, intended audience and other given variables.


Communication and persuasion is a must have asset in the business world- be it to articulate the benefits of a product or service to customers, to motivate a team to get on board with a new strategy, or to convince investors to support an ambitious project. However, many entrepreneurs and business professionals get stuck in business speak, leaving their audiences unmotivated and unengaged. In this presentation, Dawn works with participants to develop stories that can serve as the foundation of break thru business communication.   

Takeaways from this talk include:  

  1. Learn how to increase awareness about your brand, services products and ideas by creating engaging narratives.
  2. Apply the principles of storytelling to effectively communicate a diverse range of business goals including vision, goals and strategy.
  3. Communicate to employees, partners, shareholders and other team member the value of products and services in addition to its practical applications.    
  4. Connect with consumers in a way that will incentivize them to engage with the business and drive to a desired call of action.


Responding to social, cultural and political challenges requires leaders to draw on sources of inspiration and empowerment in a manner that moves us to action. Storytelling has the ability to integrate complex ideas into rich narratives that can have a long lasting effect. Designed for organizers, activists and others who are interested in policy, leadership, and coalition building, this presentation shows how personal stories can be presented to live audiences and the media in a way that informs people about social/ political issues and move them to action.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Create a compelling public narrative that demonstrates a campaign goal, outlines a strategy, and inspires others to act
  2. Describe a purpose for motivating others and define the values of a community that might join you in action.
  3. Understand the elements of stories, including plot, characters, and moral in a manner that challenges hidden assumptions and creates alternative visions for the future. 
  4. Learn how public narratives can be used for effective, meaningful, and culturally competent communication.