Storytelling for Business

“Stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.”

Dr Howard Gardner

The ability to tell a compelling story is a key leadership competency.

Storytelling in a business context aims to address the 2 basic questions of:

• WHAT stories to tell from a strategic, inspirational and team building perspective and
• HOW to tell them well so that they have maximum effectiveness and reach

Two very simple questions which often involve a lot of conversation to uncover the answers and significant coaching to achieve the necessary results.

The Centre for Biographical Storytelling has the following individuals who have significent experience in this area:

In alphabetical name order:

Vijayalakshmi Chari, By the River in Bangalore, India.

Based in India, Vijji is a leadership coach, facilitator, and management researcher. With over 17 years of corporate experience, she now focuses on enabling individuals to own their stories through leadership coaching. She is also passionate about facilitating authentic leadership & inclusion through Story Mandala, a personal storytelling initiative of By the River. Her clients include Accenture, Shell, GE and Decathlon.


Ruth Penfold-Chan, Intuit Management Consulting in Cape Town, South Africa

After eight years of traditional management consulting Ruth founded Intuit in 2015 with the passionate belief that there is a better way to unlock potential within organisations, individuals and communities than just hard analytics and number crunching – a way that explores their purpose, values and stories; a way that goes under the surface to draw out what they intuitively know but can’t articulate. She combines strategic consulting with narrative leadership and coaching to transform organisational culture. Her clients range across financial services, IT, Retail and several NGO’s.


Peter Christie, Not the Bored Room, South Africa.

Since 1990 Peter aka Big Chief Talking Bull has worked primarily in the South African business sector, facilitating workshops where participants share aspects of their personal biographical stories. This is for relationship building, change and transformation, and leadership development purposes. He also coaches individuals within the business sector who desire to improve their oral communication and presentation skills using personal stories.


Sue Hollingsworth, MBA, Founder of the Centre for Biographical Storytelling, UK.

Sue co-founded the very first storytelling in organisations consultancy in Europe way back in 1996. She still works with selected clients around the world in all sectors. Her clients include: Boehringer Ingelheim, Action for Children, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Shell, BP, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs amongst others. Nowadays she focusses on the question of HOW to deliver stories and specialises in leadership coaching of teams and individuals.


Robert Holtom, UK.

I am a Narrative Coach and writer. I run workshops that cover the fundamentals of storytelling – plot, character, texture – and guide participants through the art of telling their own stories. We also explore empathy, listening and metaphor before applying these skills to public speaking, team building, leadership, strengthening community and/or change-making. Clients include the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, Wellcome Trust, The School of Life and the European Green Party. I combine all my experience from academia, campaigning, the third sector, think tanks, writing novels and plays, to offer workshops that are memorable, inspirational and practical.


Geoff Mead, PhD, Founder Narrative Leadership Associates, UK.

Geoff Mead, PhD is a consultant, storyteller and the author of two books on the power of stories and storytelling: Coming Home to Story: Storytelling Beyond Happily Ever After (Vala, 2011) and Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2014). He is the founder of Narrative Leadership Associates, a consultancy focused on the use of storytelling for sustainable leadership. As an organizational consultant, keynote speaker and workshop leader, he has taken his work on narrative leadership onto the shopfloors and into the boardrooms of blue chip companies, charities, universities and government departments, for the past two decades.


Peter Mohan, ClearMind, Ireland

A desire to work with the power of storytelling was the catalyst for Peter setting up the ClearMind business in 2009. Peter facilitates personal story work to strengthen working relationships in teams and to enable corporate clients to refine the communication and engagement initiatives across their organisations. Personal story work is also often a key part of one-to-one coaching work. Coaching sessions give clients opportunities to change their perspective and learn from their personal stories so that they can access more of the best of themselves in how they live and work.



Madhu Shukla, By the River in Bangalore, India

Madhu Shukla is a theatre based facilitator based in Bangalore, India. Over the last 12 years, she has been using applied theatre and storytelling to build innovative work cultures, collaborative thinking and agile leadership mindsets. She uses storytelling to enable teams to explore and own organizational values. Her clients include GE, Accenture, VMware and Akamai.