Student Speakers Collaborate With Sanger to Craft Their Stories During Coaching Sessions

by | Nov 8, 2023 | Self-Leadership, Communication, Sanger News

Crafting a compelling, impactful story is no easy feat. Doing so requires intentionality, reflection, and practice. Over the course of the past few months, Sanger’s managing director, Jeff Domagala, provided storytelling coaching to several student participants of this year’s VETx event at Michigan Ross. Domagala met with the students one on one to help them craft their narratives, with the goal of being compelling, yet vulnerable and authentic at the same time. During rehearsals, Domagala leaned into his theater background to provide direction on the stage, sharing tips on how to build executive presence physically—using body language and movement, and verbally—by adjusting pitch and tone. 

Christian Brymer and Mark O’Connell are MBA candidates and two of the VETx 2023 speakers. VETx, hosted by the Ross School of Business Armed Forces Association, is a series of veteran speakers sharing the experiences that made them the leaders who they are today. This event is a part of Veterans Week, an annual week of programming that educates and celebrates the experiences and sacrifice of those who have served our country. Pavel Dounaevski, MBA candidate and VP of current student engagement for the Armed Forces Association, described VETx as “a platform where students build strong connections, share personal experiences, and embark on journeys of personal growth.”

Brymer and O’Connell felt that the coaching they received in advance of VETx elevated their stories to the next level.

“Building a powerful story usually takes more than just putting pen to paper,” said Brymer. “Jeff did an outstanding job of helping me to extract key elements from my stories into a coherent theme around leadership through genuine human connection. I liked his ability to first listen, then guide me through critical thought about what my speech meant to me. He gave me complete ownership, allowing the story to remain authentic and entirely my own, while building my understanding about what I had been through in the years prior to business school.” 

“I can’t recommend working with a coach highly enough,” said O’Connell. “Without experience or a profound background in telling stories that deliver impact, it can be really hard to determine what to cover in a speech about personal experiences. Sanger’s coaching was extremely helpful for shaping my narrative, delivering impact, understanding the emotional arc of the story, and ultimately communicating in a way that didn’t confuse the audience.”

Reflecting on his time with these students, Domagala underscored their evolution as storytellers. “It was amazing to witness the confidence levels grow after each coaching session,” he shared. “I applaud each of them for their vulnerability, courage, and authenticity. It was a great reminder that everyone has a story to tell.”

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