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 any audience you find yourself addressing. At Story Lab, you’ll find a fun and immersive experience and an opportunity to hone your skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Story Lab is co-created with the Ross Design + Business Club and generously sponsored by General Motors.

Get Involved

Story Lab runs throughout the academic year, from October through April. The program begins in the fall with a kickoff event that is open to the entire university. Then, each semester, a competitively selected group of students participates in a half-day skill-building retreat. Six or seven of these students receive additional coaching and become featured storytellers at the Story Lab Showcase, our live “The Moth-style” storytelling event. We conclude the academic year with a final event featuring storytellers from throughout the year at a community-wide, year-end celebration.

“Storytelling is incredibly important to my family, but I always felt like I fell behind them in telling good stories. Story Lab really helped me gain more confidence in this, and they showed me how to craft even better, more engaging stories. But perhaps the most important thing I learned is that everyone has a story to tell, and when you tell it, you’ll never know whose heart you might touch. So, tell all your stories, as much as you can, whenever you can.”

Riya Gupta, BBA ’21
Retreat Application

Program Type

Action-Based Learning

Key Dates

Story Lab Fall Showcase
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
5-6:30 PM
Robertson Auditorium
All are welcome

Skill-Building Retreats

Fall Retreat #1
Thursday, November 7, 2019
4:30-9 PM
Innovatrium, 302 S. State St.

Fall Retreat #2
Friday, November 8, 2019
10:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Innovatrium, 302 S. State St.

Participants have the opportunity to apply to tell their story at a live event after a retreat, but are not obligated. We encourage students to sign up for the sole purpose of learning as well.

Time Commitment

Story Lab Showcase events are 1.5 hours; Story Lab retreats are 4.5 hours

Participant Requirements

  • Deep interest in storytelling, personal growth, and lifelong learning
  • The Kickoff, Closing, and Showcase events are open to the public
  • Ross students only for the retreats (by application)

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.

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.

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.

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.




May 21, 2019 in Story Lab, Strategies and Tips

Six Actionable Tips for Telling Your Story

Sanger's managing director, Brian Flanagan, recently shared six tips to help distill complex messages into a simple story as part of an exclusive article for SmartBrief. Why does storytelling matter…
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April 17, 2019 in Story Lab

Story Lab 2019: The Year in Review

This year's Story Lab program gave Rossers the opportunity to learn how to tell their story, to listen with empathy to others, and to celebrate our unique campus cultureOur Story…
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