Story Lab

Story Lab


Story Lab develops executive-level presence and communication skills through storytelling workshops and events. To be an effective leader — at work, in the community, or in your personal life — you must be able to communicate with impact. Often this means telling stories that are meaningful to you and others, and doing so in the rich language and expressive style of a seasoned storyteller. If you can craft and deliver an effective story, you will be better able to convey your value to recruiters, inspire and motivate classmates and colleagues, and influence your audience. At Story Lab, you’ll find an immersive experience and an opportunity to hone your skills in a safe and supportive environment.

reason why students choose Ross

coaching sessions

Michigan community members reached


Skills You’ll Learn


Learn how to communicate with impact, enhance your influence, and inspire dialogue and action. The workshop will help you discover your voice and adopt proven storycraft techniques while developing the verbal communication skills effective leaders use to engage and activate people in today’s complex world.

Leading Authentically

Get beneath the surface with your peers and build a more connected Ross community. Through your storytelling, you’ll have the opportunity to go deep, share your authentic self, and connect meaningfully with others. In so doing, you’ll model courageous leadership and learn to foster empathy and trust in others.

Developing Executive Presence

You will build your unique communication style, while practicing a proven combination of verbal skills, vocal tones, and body language that enhance executive presence. Your work at Story Lab will not only increase your confidence, charisma, and credibility; it will help you forge an impactful personal brand.

Learning from Experience & Feedback

You’ll reflect on your life experiences, recall failures, and celebrate moments of resilience and grit. Along the way, you’ll be encouraged to step outside your comfort zone, receive rich feedback from coaches and peers, and gain fresh insights about yourself and the power of your voice.



Winter 2024 Key Dates

  • Winter Retreats: Feb 15 | 4:30-9 PM virtually OR Feb 16 | 10 AM–2:30 PM @ the Michigan Union
    Develop your storytelling abilities
  • Winter Showcase: Mar 28 | 5-6:30 PM @ Robertson Auditorium
    Share your story, or come to support your peers

Time Commitment
Story Lab retreats are 4.5 hours, Story Lab Showcase events are 1.5 hours

Participant Requirements

  • Deep interest in storytelling, personal growth, and lifelong learning
  • Retreats are open to all U-M students
  • Showcase events are open to the public
Story Lab presenter on stage


The Program Structure

Retreats: Two identical skill-building retreats are offered in the fall and winter semesters focusing on the art and architecture of storytelling.

Coaching: Interested retreat participants can sign-up to receive additional 1:1 coaching with professional storytelling coaches.

Showcases & Podcast: Each semester, retreat participants can apply to either take the stage at a public Showcase event to share their story or be featured in a podcast episode.

RSVP for the Winter Showcase below!



Andrew Johnston, MBA ’22

Andrew Johnston, MBA ’22


"Story Lab was the perfect place to learn the framework of how to craft a great story and practice delivering it in a psychologically safe setting."

Sonal Thawani, MBA ’21

Sonal Thawani, MBA ’21


"Story Lab is a critical experience for any leader to understand their most influential experiences and refine their stage presence. This is helpful for presenting yourself on stage, to an employer, or even to new friends. Just do it!"

Erin Olander, MBA ’21

Erin Olander, MBA ’21


"The art of storytelling is not just for writers, actors, or other creatives. It is a powerful leadership skill needed to navigate an ever increasingly complex business landscape."

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Videos & Podcasts

Break Away: Leadership for a sound mind and body

How can storytelling humanize and personalize workplace cultures?

In this episode, Sanger Program Coordinator Nick Viviano speaks with Story Lab participants Noelle Powers (BBA ‘26) and Jackson Irwin (MBA ‘24) about their stories of perseverance and connection.

What is the impact and importance of reframing relationships?

In this episode, Sanger Program specialist Nick Viviano speaks with Story Lab participants John Regan and Josh T. Ferguson, who share stories about loss, connection, and the power of reconnecting with parents in new and unexpected ways.


Scenes from the Program


Related News

Story Lab Fall Retreats Attract Nearly 150 Participants

Story Lab Fall Retreats Attract Nearly 150 Participants

Sanger wrapped up October by hosting our Story Lab Fall Retreats. Between these two workshops, a total of 148 students across U-M degree programs came together to learn how to communicate with impact. Sanger appreciates the support of our sponsors, M-LEAD and the Ford...