The Program

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.

Get Involved

The Program Structure

Kickoff: In the early fall, attend the kickoff event to hear stories from previous participants and learn more about how to get involved.

Retreats: From there, 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.

Registration is now closed. Ross students will be notified via email when registration opens for the 2023-2024 school year. Non-Ross students are invited to fill out the interest form below to receive the same communication.


“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.”

Erin Olander, MBA ’21

Program Type

Action-Based Learning

Fall 2024 Key Dates

  • Fall Retreats: 10/26/2023 & 10/27/2023
    • Develop your storytelling abilities
  • Fall Showcase: 12/5/2023
    • 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
  • Kickoff and Showcase events are open to the public

By the Numbers

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.



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.




April 12, 2022 in Story Lab, Self-Leadership, Sanger Programs

Jessica Liang, MBA ‘23, Shares How She Grew Her Skill of Influential Storytelling in M-LEAD’s Break Away Podcast

How can students grow the skill of influential storytelling? To be an effective leader — at work, in the community, or in your personal life — you must be able…
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December 20, 2021 in Story Lab, Sanger Programs

Students Share What They Learn from Story Lab

Designed to spotlight diverse voices while also teaching participants about courage and leadership, Story Lab brings University of Michigan students and other Michigan Ross community members together to listen to…
Read More