A Year of Yes: My SXSW proposal, The Dramatic Structure of Change, is now available for voting

I submitted a proposal to speak at SXSW in March. The session is called The Dramatic Structure of Change, and is now available for your vote at

The dramatic structure of literature is well-laid track that has proven time and time again to be a valuable way to think of about storytelling in a wide variety of mediums. It’s also a priceless and underutilized tool in the workplace, particularly when we think about leadership from every chair and change management from every vantage point and every level of an organization. As an author, business leader, journalist, and storyteller, I’ll walk the audience members through this valuable paradigm so that you finish this session ready to immediately use it in your work life and with your teams.

Questions that will be answered by this session:
  1. What is dramatic structure and why is it so intuitive to our understanding of how a story unfolds in every medium?
  2. How does dramatic structure provide a blueprint for successful change management in an organization?
  3. How does anyone in any organization at any level use dramatic structure in a company to become successful and make their teams successful?



Beginning: The End of Whining

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” – Madeline Albright

I went to two sessions at SXSW yesterday that offered lessons from whining. One session was predicated on bias against women in comedy. The moderator of that session did a lot of whining while her panelists offered more empowering messages. The second session was a conversation with Felicia Day on her web series The Guild, which centers around gaming. She offered a message of authenticity as a way to quit whining and get something done.

As women, it’s an easy out to blame the boys club for our road blocks, and some times it’s true. They get in the way. The boys club is like a bad penny that we can’t get rid of. The hopeful message is that new media outlets give us a way to have a voice and by-pass the establishment. An authentic, articulate message is a powerful potion. And no one can take that away anymore.

Have an idea for a book? Write it and self-publish, blog, or collaborate with existing online resources. Have an idea for a show you’d like to produce? Put it together and get it out online. Same goes for music, comedy, art, business, and a myriad of other fields. The tools to create now belong to the people, not the elite, and certainly not to the boys club establishment. They missed the boat, big time, and in whining all we’re doing is delaying our own development by lamenting the upcoming demise of an establishment that deserves to crumble.

Get over it and create. The only roadblock to our own personal fulfillment is us.


Beginning: The Freedom & Creativity Found When You Travel On Your Own Dime

My friend, Amanda, and I were talking about the value of going to SXSW on our own dime. She and her husband, Jordan, are full time freelancers and have been traveling to SXSW on their own for a number of years. While of course it’s wonderful to have a company expense account as well as travel paid for by a company, there is then the responsibility to go to the sessions most relevant to that company. By being here independently, I just follow my heart to the sessions and activities that bring me the most personal value. And the rewards of that freedom on my creativity are immense.

One incredible benefit I didn’t expect is the increase in my visual thinking skills. Mostly, I think in words and learn through hearing ideas more than seeing them depicted visually. Because so many people at SXSW are visual artists and designers, I’m getting a lesson in how their minds work differently from mine. And that is mind expanding for me.

There’s a lot of serendipity here at SX. People told me that prior to my arrival but I didn’t believe them until yesterday. I wasn’t able to get to the sessions I planned on so I spent the day over at the film sessions. I happened upon a set of incredible sessions on transmedia storytelling and got to hear Paul Reubens speak (future posts are brewing!) It was transformative to hear about the power and accessibility of film making on every size screen.

Today I am teaching the 9:30 yoga session, learning about the female funny, and getting some insights into user interface design from speakers I greatly respect and admire. Another exciting day in the SX neighborhood.