Episode 01: How can storytelling humanize and personalize workplace cultures?

March 2023

Storytelling can connect, inform and inspire. Storytelling can increase confidence in recruiting, presenting, and motivating teams and organizations. Storytelling can humanize and personalize workplace cultures. At Story Lab, students develop executive-level presence and communication skills through storytelling workshops and events. Powered by the Sanger Leadership Center, Story Lab focuses on teaching participants the art and architecture of story development and delivery as a means toward positive influence and impact. 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. Sanger Leadership Center Located at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, the Sanger Leadership Center serves as an important bridge between student learners and thought leaders in both research and practice. Our students and alumni regularly engage with one another at Sanger programs and learning communities to help each other continue to develop as leaders at U-M and beyond. More information about the center’s programs and learning communities can be found at https://sanger.umich.edu.

Episode Transcript


Episode Competencies

Empathy, Resilience, Facilitation


Episode Resources

Reflection Questions:

  • Who is an influential storyteller who has inspired action, innovation and/or connection? What makes their story powerful?
  • Based on Noelle and Jackson’s story, what are some of the techniques you can identify and use in your own influential storytelling? What story could you tell to people in your spheres of influence that could build trust, empathy and understanding?


Speaker Bio

Noelle Powers

Noelle Powers

BBA' 26

Growing up in Jackson, New Jersey, Noelle is a first year BBA at Michigan Ross. Concentrating in finance, Noelle is looking to pursue a career in real estate investment upon graduation.

Jackson Irwin

Jackson Irwin

MBA ‘24

After graduating from U-M with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, Jackson returned to Ann Arbor as a Ross MBA candidate with 4 years of experience in managing medical record technology installation projects for regional and national healthcare systems. Jackson is a Product & Innovation Fellow at the Zell Lurie Institute.

Nick Viviano

Nick Viviano

Nick is a program coordinator at the Sanger Leadership Center at Michigan Ross. He oversees a variety of leadership development programs offered to Ross students and the wider U-M community, including the Leadership Crisis Challenge.  His experience working in international settings informs his inclusive and human-centered approach to working with U-M students.


1024 Hill Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Follow Us on Social Media!

Michigan Web Design by Boxcar Studio

Copyright © 2024 University of Michigan Board of Regents