Presence and Influence

Whether you are speaking to one or to hundreds, knowing how to create and deliver a message that resonates and moves your audience to action is key. Effective speakers engage and connect with their audience, articulate the current challenges and opportunities, and convey future initiatives that will inspire others to follow. Drawing on my training as a psychologist and background as a storyteller, I have worked extensively with individuals, teams and organizations using story as a tool and storytelling as a process to lead participants towards communicating with authentic connection and clear message with a goal of insight and sustainable change.

Pitching Science: Bringing data alive through the story it tells

When the goal of a presentation is to inspire others towards commitment of time, resources or money, scientists need to ensure that their message has the intended impact. The data is not the message. It takes translating the data into a story that leads others to connection, insight and ultimately action. The progression from “what” to “so what” is at the heart of the pitch, and the vision story of the potential of the data to impact the longevity or quality of life is at the heart of the story. Through integrating story techniques, I work with individuals or groups to transform their data into a story that not only engages audiences of all levels but inspires while it informs.

Particular focus is on:

  • Applying story structure
  • Translating data into story format
  • Developing the most important message
  • Matching message to audience
  • Creating an elevator speech
  • Delivering the story for maximum influence and inspiration


Leading with Story

Working with organizations from Fortune 500 companies to biotechs, hospitals, universities and nonprofits, I strive to bring leaders, teams and their organizations to a profound understanding of what story is, why it is important and how to use it skillfully. Integrating my training as a story expert and psychologist, I have used story to:

  • Engage the top 100 leaders of a major medical center to revise their mission towards a new vision
  • Support the creative team of a top architectural firm pitch their high stakes proposal to a new client
  • Guide the top researchers of a leading teaching hospital to impact patient compliance
  • Facilitate the transition of an innovative educational startup to a national presence while maintaining their core mission, values and culture.


Story for Healing

Healing storytelling work is the telling, listening or creating of story with the intention of supporting an individual, family and/or community to rise or return to physical, emotional, mental and/or spiritual wholeness and wellbeing.

Whether a storyteller, story listener, or individual in a health profession, story can be intentionally utilized as a healing art. Enjoy the video below of a panel including a psychologist, psychiatrist, medical doctor, chiropractor, and consultant/coach all discussing the ways that they have integrated healing story into their professions.

Story for Change

When unheard voices share their stories, there is greater insight, understanding, and motivation towards social action for both tellers and their community of listeners.

Through storytelling for change workshops, participants find and share the stories which break down barriers and build understanding across groups, cultures and communities. In telling and listening to each other’s personal stories, participants are encouraged to discover new insights and meaning within the stories they carry about themselves and each other. As they challenge their current meaning and expand their perspectives, participants are empowered to craft new and future stories that can better sustain them in their growing vision of who they choose to be.

Listen to this same story that was shared in lecture format above, transformed into a healing story that takes the listener through six changing perspectives to expand a long ago painful experience into an empowering and sustaining guiding story.

Examples of Story Change Work

  • Director of City Mission Boston’s Public Voice Project, providing story training workshops for returning citizens and women facing homelessness.
    • Created 12 session story exploration curriculum “Getting Beyond the Wall” for citizens returning from incarceration.
  • Facilitated a Cancer Survivor Day for 100 patients at Roswell Park Cancer Center
  • Supported a Public Health equity initiative at U Mass Medical Center
  • Delivered Transformative Listening Workshops for faculty and students at Georgia Tech
  • Created Stand Up to Racism Workshop for employees at Mass General Hospital
  • Created ongoing Story Advocacy Training programs for homeless guests at Rosie’s Place and Women’s Lunch Place
  • Teach Healing through our Stories within Expressive Therapy Master’s Program at Lesley University

Sandy and her group from City Mission Boston’s Lift Up Program participated in a 6 week long Public Voice storytelling workshop. You can enjoy listening to her graduation speech here. Many thanks to William Minter Productions for offering to capture our storytelling celebration on video.