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Narativ Leadership Story Talks

Author: Narativ Inc

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Leadership Story Talks is a podcast hosted by Jerome Deroy, CEO of Narativ, and Julienne Ryan, business author, communication and HR specialist, and frequent Narativ training contributor.In each episode, Jerome and Jules discuss the practices that engage, motivate, develop, retain, and attract people to businesses, whether these are your customers or your employees. Their principles and tools are based on real world stories that leverage listening and storytelling to become a better leader and management professional.
67 Episodes
“We need to start inviting everyone to the table if we want to have innovation and growth, because we're losing half our talent here or more because we're hugely outnumbered as native English speakers. The fact that we have this immediate power and dominance in the world due to our eloquence in English, I see as a massive inequality.”In this fascinating episode, Jerome and Julienne talk about linguistic bias with Heather Hansen. She is on a mission to empower global voices to contribute to conversations that matter, and in her latest book, ‘Unmuted’, she outlines a framework for successful global communication in multinational companies. Her TEDx talk ‘2 Billion Voices, how to Speak Bad English Perfectly’ has had over 200K views. In this episode, she tells Jerome and Julienne about her career and how a much more holistic view of how communication works (hint: grammar mistakes are usually not the problem!) can impact the culture in an organization.Even today, the concept of accent bias is still relatively unknown. Heather tells us about the client who made her realize that accents are not the real problem and how this realization changed the course of her career. She questions why certain people speak up, and others have been muted way before that was a term we all became so familiar with, and explains how people can become ‘unmuted’. Listen to this episode to learn about accent bias, a new and often overlooked aspect of DEI, and how paying attention to this can improve company culture.Notes:Listen to Heather Hansen’s TEDx Talk ‘2 Billion Voices: How to speak bad English perfectly’Buy Heather Hansen’s book “Unmuted: Unmuted: How to Show Up, Speak Up, and Inspire Action” hereGo here for more information on the assessment, the book and moreListen to Heather Hansen on NPR’s podcast ‘Rough Translation’Find out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
Welcome to a new season of Leadership Story Talks! In this episode, Jerome and Julienne kick off the new season and introduce the theme for this month: culture. How does an organizational culture shift in the face of the increasingly uncertain world that we’re in? What are the values that drive an organization, and individual people, and what happens to them in the face of change?  Jerome and Jules have a classic back-to-school conversation as they look back at what they did during the summer and look ahead to all the learning that’s to come. They talk about the culture work they did with clients over the last few months and take a sneak peek at the episodes ahead. Stay tuned for the next episodes, which will focus on DEI through unique lenses: looking at measurements and how data can drive a storyline and support it, and looking at the language in a language and how it informs our listening. Find out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
This is a replay of a Leadership Story Talks podcast that originally posted on April 24th 2023.For this podcast series, Jerome and Julienne have been talking to many people about leadership. In this episode, they look back at the conversations they’ve had, talk about the things many of these leaders had in common, and share what they have learned so far.They talk about being anchored in your values, the ability to delegate but also go deep on something when needed, and the importance of collaboration and diversity of thought. The idea of collaboration leads them to the idea that it is essential to recognize when you need to reach out for help and have the courage to go out and do that.They conclude that the number one thing leaders, and people in general, can do now is listen. You can’t have a story without listening, and you don’t know what people value and need if you don’t listen.This episode will give you a quick overview of the leadership skills that are essential to navigate the world as it is today.NotesFor more information about upcoming workshops, and to register, please click here.Find out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
This is a replay of a Leadership Story Talks podcast that originally posted on January 23rd 2023Julienne and Jerome speak to Niall Dunne, CEO of Polymateria, a company that is working on solving the enormous, worldwide problem of plastic pollutants.You’ll go on a fascinating journey as Niall tells us about how he started as a track and field athlete, met with Julienne’s husband and fellow Irishman, Joe Ryan, who was a coach at Manhattan College in the Bronx, New York. Niall ended up representing Ireland in the 800m run.From there, Niall encountered a few angels that looked over him as he struggled with a potentially career ending injury, and then went on to work with some of the biggest companies (Accenture, BT, Saatchi & Saatchi) as a sustainability officer, moving the needle to reduce their carbon footprint.In 2018, he met the founders of Polymateria and he decided to apply his athlete’s single minded purpose to the problem of plastic pollutants.He tells us about the principles of integrity, trust and performance that have allowed his company to sustain the attacks of the behemoths of the industry his company is disrupting, and how he’s managed to steer the company to growth against all odds.This all comes to life when Niall tells us about how an employee made a decision to tell a group of investors to leave their coffee at the door when visiting a lab, and what Niall learned from that.Finally, when Niall gets personal about an experience he had in New York City, thinking he’d never be able to run again, Julienne and Jerome have to fight back tears, and take away wonderful lessons to inspire you to rise to whatever challenges come your way!This is a MUST LISTEN!Links and resources:Polymateria websiteNiall Dunne’s linkedinLifecycle which chronicles the movement to end plastic pollutionTim Brown, co-founder and CEO of Allbirds on the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Podcast SeriesFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
This is a replay of a Leadership Story Talks podcast that originally posted on March 27th 2023Julienne and Jerome speak with Amy Bach, founder and CEO of Measures for Justice, a criminal justice nonprofit that develops data tools and services that help communities, including the institutions that serve them, reshape the system.A journalism fellowship led to a book idea, the book led to an idea for an organization, and now that organization (60+ employees and growing) is reshaping the justice system. In this episode, Amy talks us through some of the most crucial turning points along this journey and the power of the stories, and the people and relationships, that helped shape them. She tells the story that helped bring the organization to life and explains how the opposition her new organization encountered made them realize that they were really onto something: what started as a research organization in startup mode became a tech/product organization with established (people) operations processes.Amy was ahead of the curve in recognizing systemic injustices within the criminal justice system and as the world changed, so did the organization and Amy as a leader. She tells us about the lessons she learned along the way, including the importance of diversity of thought, doing the work and making that consistent, and forging connections. Finally, she points out how in many ways, the process of raising children is very similar to the process of building an organization.This episode is filled with thoughtful reflections, examples of small conversations of connection, and well-told stories. It’s a must-listen for anyone interested in the process of building a disruptive organization within well-established systems- from the use of storytelling to make data come to life to the transition out of startup mode, this episode has it all.You’ll also hear about our latest online workshop offering “Leading with story”, which you can find out more about here. It’s a great opportunity to learn to tell and practice presenting your own leadership story, just like Amy did!Links and resources:Website Measures for JusticeAmy Bach’s LinkedInFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
This is a replay of a Leadership Story Talks podcast that originally posted on March 20th 2023What do Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tim Cook, Barack Obama, Richard Branson, and Larry King have in common? They are great listeners and know when to stop talking.In this episode Julienne and Jerome talk to Dan Lyons, New York Times bestselling author, screenwriter and journalist, about the power of talking less and listening more. Dan recently published ‘STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World’, a book he decided to write after realizing that his work to become a better listener was much bigger than himself.This episode dives deeper into how talking and listening shape not only our private relationships, but also leadership, business, social media and society at large. Dan talks about the science of how we relate to silence and why we often decide to talk rather than listen (and sometimes regret this). Although our world often encourages talking rather than silence and celebrates great talkers, Dan argues that listening more will really make your life better. And as organizations try to reconnect and rebuild post-covid and customer feedback is becoming increasingly important, learning how to listen is also more essential than ever.Dan leaves us with a couple of great ideas on becoming better at being silent and listening and shows us that some of the most successful people, both in business and public service, are humble and quiet listeners.If you ever think ‘wow I really shouldn’t have said that’, or if you want to find out what is going on in your company, this episode is for you.Notes:Learn more about Dan LyonsBuy ‘STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World’This is the study that shows how ‘Likes’ and ‘shares’ teach people to express more outrage onlineFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
This is a replay of a Leadership Story Talks podcast that originally posted on December 13th 2022.Julienne and Jerome discuss how storytelling has enhanced their guest’s presentation and leadership skills. Anna Vafeiadou is responsible for the legal sector of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in Greece.As she had been increasingly asked to represent the work of the WWF through public speaking, she decided to enroll into a leadership development course at the MAVA foundation.She then worked with Jerome on her story to include into her presentations for a variety of stakeholders.In this episode, Anna shares her story, which starts in her childhood and spans in less than 5 minutes, her journey to where she is today at the WWF.Julienne and Jerome then deconstruct her story, and ask Anna what she got out of telling her story, and what the process revealed to her.If you’ve always wondered about the methodology behind the company, Narativ, this is a perfect opportunity to learn, and to find out how you can become a better storyteller in business.Resources:Foundation where Anna developed her leadership skills: MAVAWWF websiteAnna’s profile on LinkedInFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
This is a replay of a Leadership Story Talks podcast that originally posted on October 25th 2022.In this episode, Jerome and Julienne reflect back on their meeting.Julienne had reached out to Jerome and members of the Narativ team, that led to a meeting in person (pre-pandemic).During that first meeting, Julienne noticed that the Narativ team members were walking their talk, meaning they were listening and giving space to Julienne to speak.A dialogue ensued that mirrored the process that Julienne had seen glimpses of on the Narativ web site, materials and a phone call she’d had with members of the team before that first meeting in person.How do you create a space for listening when interviewing candidates or even new clients? What about onboarding? What impression are you giving? Are you walking the talk? What do your surroundings look like? Are they inviting? Are they conducive to productive creativity?What tone are you setting?These are all the questions we answer and that listeners can learn practical tips from in the first half of the episode.The second half of the episode focuses on Jerome’s story and how he came to be the CEO of Narativ, and what had led to a drastic change in his career.For those of you who are at a crossroads and looking for the next step in your careers, there’s more to be learned from that part of the episode.Find out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
This is a replay of a Leadership Story Talks podcast that originally posted on April 11th 2022.In this episode Jerome and Julienne talk with Sira Abenoza, a professor at ESADE business and law schools in Barcelona, Spain.She created the Institute for Socratic Dialogue to create conversations between people who sometimes have diametrically opposing points of view.We discussed Sira’s experience working with inmates, as well as with factions from both sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The methods of Socratic Dialogue managed to create connection where there seemingly was none at all.Sira believes that every person deserves to be heard, no matter their politics or beliefs. In this increasingly polarized world, where opinions generate conflict, the methods she employs bridge divides and bring to the surface the stories that unite us all.Listeners will hear practical examples as well as tools they can use themselves to create spaces in which they can bring people together in their work place, simply by listening and encouraging dialogue.WATCH Sira’s TEDx Talk hereFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
This is a replay of a Leadership Story Talks podcast that originally posted on December 8th 2021.Jerome and Julienne talk with Matt Bahl – VP and head of workplace financial health, Financial Health Network.In this episode of Story Talks we discover:How do we make people’s lives better by improving their financial resilience?That salaries are not determinative of financial health.How can we make workplace work better for working people?Matt talks about how the catalytic moment for him was when he told the story of his father at a summit on financial wellness and how that story led him to a positive career move and how it’s been influencing the audiences he talks to.The generational differences with regards to finance and work are vast.Filling the gap between the values companies state and the actions they take: The void is vast and Matt’s work is to better align those, and deliver solutions to the real problems workers face.The difference between moral injury and burnout, and how new generations are feeling this in the workplace right now.Employers need to do a lot more than just helping employees to save for retirement, like paying down debt and solving credit issues.The three best practices that companies can implement right now to improve their employees’ financial health in their work place.Data without storytelling is as useless as storytelling is without data. You must humanize the data for it to be effective, and the story is how you engage people because it has a human component that the data lacks.We need stories of every day average working people in order to get messages through and affect change: How do we make the unremarkable feel remarkable?Learn about Matt’s favorite inspirational stories and how he uses them for impact.Our best practices and take away’s from our conversation.LINKS:Financial health network: – building an ecosystem for making financial health a reality for everyone.Lila’s cupcakes : to learn more about storytelling in businessFinancial support sites we discussed on this episode:Novacredit: – focused on helping immigrants build creditEsusu – – helping people build financial opportunitiesFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
It’s the last episode of the season! Jerome and Julienne take a moment to reflect on what they’ve learned from all the inspiring guests they had the privilege to talk to this season and how they can take that forward in their work. They discuss the novel perspectives on DEI and the importance of not only looking at issues through one lens and paying attention to how we show up.Jerome and Jules also provide a sneak peek into what is to come next season, including a thought leader in tech and someone who advocates for the inclusion of language in how we look at DEI, and a new online workshop series to help you craft your story. Sign up for the workshop series here, and see you in September!Find out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
Are you interested in many different things, and if so, have you permitted yourself to be all of who you are? How do you build a (professional) life that allows you to be many things at the same time?In this episode, Julienne and Jerome talk to Christina Wallace, a self-described human Venn diagram who has crafted a career at the intersection of business, technology, and the arts, teaches at Harvard Business School, and has recently published her book “The Portfolio Life: How to Future-Proof Your Career, Avoid Burnout, and Build a Life Bigger than Your Business Card”. Christina talks about her career path, which has been multidisciplinary and full of zigzags, and the models she has created to make that life work for her. She talks about the importance of allowing yourself to be different things, changing your path forward if something doesn’t work, and the two reasons why failure is so important. Christina also explains how applying business models to life can be tremendously helpful and can help you prevent burnout. Listen to this inspiring episode to learn more about how Christina, a serial entrepreneur,  has shaped her own life and what you can do to change yours and embrace your full potential.NotesBuy Christina Wallace’s “The Portfolio Life: How to Future-Proof Your Career, Avoid Burnout, and Build a Life Bigger than Your Business Card” here.Find “How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton M. Christensen here Find “The Anxious Achiever: Turn Your Biggest Fears into Your Leadership Superpower” by  Morra Aarons-Mele hereLearn more about the Narativ online workshop series hereFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
“People have their personalities, there’s professional culture and there’s an organizational culture. Everything plays a role, but you can say national culture runs the deepest and it’s more or less in place by the age of 10. So it really runs deep.”In this episode, Jerome and Julienne talk to Pernilla Rorso, who specializes in national and organizational culture from a performance perspective. She is the managing director of the Copenhagen office and senior business consultant at Hofstede Insights, and is a PhD fellow. She talks about how we can quantitatively measure national culture using six dimensions and how national culture in the collective programming of humans is stronger than any other programming. National culture is a strong determinant of how people will come into an organization and organizational culture, and Pernilla talks about what this means for multicultural teams and organizations. Listen to this episode to learn more about cultural values, organizational practices, and how to ensure that organizational culture supports organizational strategy, regardless of the (national) environment.NotesFind Pernilla Rorso on LinkedInMore information about Hofstede InsightsSign up for our online workshop hereFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
“Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you can lead right now. It’s not just when you open your laptop or walk in the door at work. It’s a lifestyle.”In this episode, Jerome and Julienne talk to Ash Beckham, an inclusion activist whose TEDx talk ‘Coming Out of Your Closet’ became a viral sensation and author of the book ‘Step Up: How to Live with Courage and Become an Everyday Leader’. Ash talks about a key experience that shaped who she is today and her mission to provide people with the tools they need to become a leader and to decide when to do so, rather than letting someone else or something external decide that for them. She argues that there is no leadership without empathy and that practicing empathy daily is the most important thing to do if you want to lead and be able to meet people where they are. They also talk about the bravery to be willing to have the hard conversations essential to creating truly diverse and inclusive communities, the need to show grace and keep your eyes on the prize, and the incremental steps that will get you there.Listen to this episode to learn more about how to become a better leader with everyday practices and why it is essential to realize that sometimes all someone needs is a fact and a snack.NotesAsh's TEDx TalkWEBSITELINKED INFACEBOOKINSTAGRAMTWITTERFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
Are you someone who prefers to say yes, or are you someone who likes to say no? And can you think of experiences where using the answer you usually default to might not have been productive or effective? In this podcast, Jerome and Julienne talk about the power of saying no, the importance of listening to your internal dialogue, and the courage to follow through with whatever comes up, even when it might be uncomfortable. Jerome tells Julienne a personal story of a complicated and empowering situation in which he said no, using and showcasing the power of the Narativ storytelling method. He also tells the story of a former client who worked as an executive while also setting up his own business. His client soon realized that he would have to say no to something, and although it took him a while to figure out what his most powerful emotions were, he eventually did it.  Listen to this episode to learn more about the emotions underlying our responses, the dialogues and habits that inform decisions, and what you can do to make better choices.NotesSign up for three-part online workshop series here: Find out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
The music business is notoriously fickle, but some people, such as Kevin Griffin, manage to stay for a long time. What did he do that many of his peers didn’t? How did he manage to stay inspired and nimble?In this episode, Jerome and Julienne talk with ​​Kevin Griffin, an award-winning songwriter, producer, and performer whose songs have sold over 80 million copies and have been streamed over a billion times and the author of “The Greatest Song”. He walks them through his journey from writing his own hit songs to writing for others and, most recently, becoming a speaker and author in the business world. Along the way, he realized that there were certain principles and ways to conduct himself when collaborating, that he applied not only in his career in music, but also in business and in life. The most important principle? Collaboration. But also how to work with people, how to check your ego, how to continue growing, how to listen, how to not micromanage, how to leave your comfort zone, how to dare to be stupid, and how to bring personal stories to the workplace.Listen to this fascinating episode about how the truths in collaborating with people in music and staying inspired are the same in completely non-musical endeavors in business, and pick up some of those truths along the way.NotesBuy Kevin Griffin’s book “The Greatest Song” hereListen to the five songs from the book hereFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
In this episode, we explore the line between comfort and discomfort. Tension and ease. When do we need to stretch ourselves and put ourselves in a “dis-comfort zone” in order to grow? Julienne shares a recent experience of noticing the tension that she was feeling. Rather than trying to hide it away, she decided to explore its cause, and figure out the message this tension was giving her. This led her to be more present for the people she was working with. We discuss the practice of identifying and releasing obstacles to listening that keep us from being fully present to ourselves and others. This is particularly helpful when you’re leading a group or team. Everyone is watching how you will respond to objections, and challenges from the group so you want to make sure your mind is as clear as possible so that you can be present and engage fully. We talk about the value of restraint in conversation, in order to create an atmosphere of trust, where people will be more likely to share something more meaningful. Jerome tells a story about having to let the former CEO of a major tech company know that his actions were an obstacle to listening while facilitating a team retreat. This led to a breakthrough within the team, and a lesson in leadership and engagement. All because Jerome noticed an area of tension and decided to examine it rather than wait for it to pass. This episode is for everyone who’s ever had to be in a position of leadership where people are watching what your moves are and how you respond to specific situations. You will hear insights and practical tools that will engage you and the groups you lead in a new way. Notes:If you’re inspired by this episode, check out our 3-part online workshop series “Leading with Story”, starting in September. This is an opportunity to create your own engaging leadership story to advance your career, rally your team, pitch your mission and vision.  Find out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
“All it takes is one person's recognition of the other person's suffering, humanity and value for the other person to go ‘you see me, you truly see me, you get me’, and then the magic happens. People want to be seen and heard.”In this episode, Jerome and Julienne talk with Juliana Tafur, an Emmy-nominated TV producer and the Listen Courageously movement and workshop series creator. Juliana's mission is to counteract “other-ing” by fostering understanding and connection among diverse individuals, which she does by organizing workshops designed to create a safe and open space for participants to share their stories and listen to others without judgment. The ultimate goal is to foster empathy, respect, and the willingness to engage in dialogue, creating a foundation for meaningful relationships and positive social and political change.Juliana talks about her family’s move from Colombia to the US, her journey from a TV producer to the founder of Listen Courageously, and how her film ‘Listen’, which was born after the US elections in 2016, serves as a catalyst to help people recognize their listening blocks and engage in difficult conversations. She tells Jerome and Julienne about what happens in these conversations and how the willingness to show vulnerability and go to an uncomfortable place, especially when part of a privileged group, allows people to find common experiences and true connection. Even when they fundamentally disagree about topics like abortion and gun control. Don't miss this incredible story of empathy, respect, and the transformative power of listening and let this episode inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and connect across differences.NotesFind out more about Listen Courageously at, or on social media @listen.courageously.Learn about Story Powerhouse at story-powerhouse.comFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
How do stereotypes affect leadership? How can we empower people, and men in particular, to question those stereotypes, take control of their identity and be a better version of themselves?In this episode, Jerome and Julienne talk about the growing movement trying to change the traditional idea of what it means to be a man. They talk about how stereotypes are passed along through generations and internalized by individuals and how these ideas about who we’re supposed to be impact connection and communication. Jerome and Julienne share some of their experiences with environments that empower men to help them break those cycles, showing that support systems and safe spaces allow men to be vulnerable, truly challenge these stereotypes and become the version of themselves that they want to be. Listen to this episode to learn more about how the tradition of the strong, controlling, and stoic male leader is being questioned by men themselves and how you can create an environment that will allow for healing and transformation. Find out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
“People want choice, optionality, and flexibility. They don’t want to be told what to do.” In this episode, Julienne and Jerome sit down with Alex Seiler, a global people leader with over 15 years of experience transforming people functions and putting talent first at WeWork, Blue Shield of California, NBCUniversal, and Citi. He currently serves as Chief People Officer at GHJ and under his leadership, GHJ recently won the Transform “2023 People Activator: Employee Experience of the Year Award.” They talk about the importance of accountability, psychological safety and making sure your values align with the values of your employer, the difference between facetime and in-person connectivity, how providing people with things they may need to stay physically and mentally healthy has become even more critical in today’s dispersed workforce, and many other things.In one of many highlights in this episode, Alex shares a personal story about how feedback that he first perceived as negative ended up guiding his career. Alex doesn’t shy away from conveying his own experiences with mental health issues and why employee wellbeing has become such an important value in his own work. Alex’ professional and personal stories contain a multitude of practical and tangible takeaways and whether you work in people operations or not, this episode is guaranteed to leave you with at least a couple new ideas for you to apply in your personal and professional life.NOTESFollow Alex on LinkedInFind out more about The Narativ Storytelling Method atnarativ.comEMAIL Jerome@narativ.comLINKEDIN @narativ
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