Allison Myers

Allison Myers

Are you listening?

Listening is an overlooked leadership skill, and empathy is a superpower. Together, they foster an authentic connection between one human and another.

The staff at StoryCenter creates spaces for transforming lives and communities through the acts of listening to and sharing stories.

But whose stories and whose voices are heard?

How do we invite more voices—including the typically unheard voices of immigrants, elderly, youth, and members of other marginalized communities—into our workplaces, public health, education, and the policy arena?

Social action begins with individual action as people make connections between their lives and the lives of others. Story (the acts of listening and telling) affords great opportunity to look at experiences and issues across chasms of differences—be it cultural, linguistic, political, racial, gendered, or age related. As people allow themselves to be vulnerable in sharing their stories and listening to the stories of others, they make connections between both personal and collective histories and gain insight into perspectives and emotions they may not previously have considered or felt.

Myers will share digital stories from StoryCenter projects and talk about how sharing and listening—really listening—to the stories of others can make a real difference in people’s lives.

ALLISON MYERS travels the world helping people share their stories in meaningful ways that bring about healing, community, advocacy, justice, and understanding.

She’s a midwife of stories—more or less.

A graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Colorado, Myers is a program director and principle facilitator for the nonprofit organization StoryCenter, which is widely recognized as the innovator in this space. She works with small groups of people to help them tell their stories in a way that makes a big difference. Participants have included foster youth, refugees, professors, transgender individuals, international students, cancer survivors, tribal leaders in northern Kenya, Partnership for Appalachian Girls’ Education (PAGE), and reproductive health peer educators in Papua New Guinea.

Her work has been featured on National Public Radio and funded by a range of partners, including the U.S. Department of State. Her facilitation takes people through a process of identifying, sharing, writing, and recording a short story with powerful photos, videos, and narrative. She equips her participants with digital tools to produce their own stories and find effective ways to advocate for improved laws, a better environment, and a deeper understanding of how disease impacts vulnerable communities, as well as address stigmas and encourage volunteerism and community leadership.

Myers is deeply grateful to have a job she loves. She believes the shortest distance between two people is a story.