Longer bio (478 words):
Laura Packer has been performing, coaching, writing, consulting, giving keynotes, and leading the storytelling field for more than 25 years. She knows the best way to the truth is through a good story and that this universally accessible artform creates empathy, builds bridges, and has the power to change the world. As the author of From Audience to Zeal: The ABCs of Finding, Crafting, and Telling a Great Story she is committed to helping others find their voice.
She is the recipient of many awards, including the 2018 Minnesota GrandSlam; best in Fringe in Kansas City in 2016 and 2018; the J. J. Reneaux Mentoring Grant from the National Storytelling Network in 2016; finalist on the 2009 and 2010 Boston Story Slam series; winner of the 2010 National Storytelling Network Oracle Award and 2012 League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling Brother Blue Award. Laura has told in venues as wide ranging as festivals, theaters, government agiences, corporate stages, in the streets, in prisons, schools, assisted living facilities, libraries, hospices and more. She is a past Chair of Sharing the Fire, the oldest, largest regional storytelling conference in the US, past board member of both the League for Advancement of New England Storytelling and the National Storytelling Network, and current board member of StoryArtsMN. Laura has also hosted several Boston, Kansas City and Minneapolis area storytelling venues.
Laura has taught storytelling, writing and public speaking across the United States and in selected European venues. Students have ranged from corporate executives to librarians to elders to mental health professionals to artists to IT leaders and more.
The 2014 death of her husband from pancreatic cancer has led Laura to write and speak about grief and the stories we tell about our lives.
Laura’s keynotes and talks are interactive and engaging. She strives to leave her audiences with new skills and new stories. Her coaching is supportive and full of curiosity.
Laura helps both for- and non-profit organizations communicate more effectively through coaching and storytelling techniques. Through listening and speaking exercises as well as story gathering and telling experiences, organizations come to a clearer understanding of their vision, needs and possibilities. Her one-day storytelling workshop, Stand Up and Speak Out: Tools for Effective Self Promotion, presented at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center was endorsed as “more useful than you could possibly imagine.” You can learn more about her organizational storytelling work at thinkstory.com and think-story.blogspot.com. Her previous work at iRobot, the nation’s leading mobile robotics firm, was seminal in shaping the company’s view of its own history and future mission. She also helps individual artists improve their work through one-on-one coaching.
Laura holds a degree in Folklore and Mythology from Boston University. She can be reached at email@example.com or through www.laurapacker.comand www.thinkstory.com. She blogs at www.truestorieshonestlies.blogspot.comand at patreon.com/laurapacker.
Short bio (145 words):
Laura Packer has been telling stories her whole life – her mother reports she was born talking. The daughter of a children’s librarian and a writer, it seems inevitable that she become a storyteller and writer herself, since her childhood was steeped in narrative. By second grade, Laura was telling stories to her classmates, creating her own magazines and writing letters to the editor of her hometown newspaper; her deep love of fairytales and mythology eventually led her to obtain a degree in Folklore and Mythology from Boston University. Imagine her surprise when she discovered, upon graduating, that there isn’t a crying need for folklorists!
Undaunted by the lack of job openings for folklorists, Laura has built a career helping people and organizations find their own story, performing original and traditional tales around the world, and creating written narrative that draws the reader into new possibilities.