Storytelling for Change

Greta Cowan, Acumen

The Course


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You’ll Love This Course If:

  • You make lots of presentations, or you want to get better at making presentations
  • You are a teacher, facilitator or instructor
  • You think you don’t have any stories (we’ll bring them out of you!)
  • You want a new way of connecting with people (great for networking!)
  • You’re interviewing for jobs and want a strong way of presenting yourself
  • You want to change your communication style
  • You just want to have fun!

Course Description:

Acumen and The Ariel Group have created a hands-on course to help you develop your practical skills as a storyteller. Whether you work in an office making presentations in the boardroom, as a teacher with 30 to 300 students, interacting with customers, or one-on-one with individuals, using the elements of story bring you closer to your audience.

Using stories makes your messages memorable, gives your audience something to relate to, and above all captures their attention, motivating and inspiring them in new ways. A story taps into more than one element of communicating. Great storytellers are great communicators and effective leaders.

Acumen believes that storytelling is an essential tool for changing the way the world tackles poverty because it starts with changing conversations around what we see, hear, feel and know to be true. Change leaders see the world’s potential, and tell powerful stories that inspire action.

Key Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, participants will:

  • Be confident in using stories, especially personal stories, as part of their communication toolkit.
  • Know how to tell stories and use a specific set of storytelling skills so that they connect with the hearts and minds of their audiences (an audience of one or many).
  • Have developed, rehearsed, and received feedback on one personal story as a replicable model so that they can build a personal “library” or “back pocket” of stories that can be used in different situations.
  • Be able to use a 5-step process to integrate story into presentations for change, work, or many other situations.

Course Logistics:

You will be expected to form a Story Team as part of this course. Join the course with a team in mind, or find a team through the platform after the course starts (we will provide more instructions on how to do this in Week 1). All of your team members must be registered to this course through this platform to receive materials. We highly recommend forming a team with people you can meet with in person. If you have a strong internet connection, you could “meet” online as well. Story Team meetings are an important and fun part of the course. This is where you will discuss the material, practice with a friendly audience, and learn from each other.

This course will consist of a mix of team and individual assignments.

The course materials are all provided online and Google Hangout ‘office hours’ will be scheduled twice throughout the course.

Check out course highlights »

More Information


  • 1hr/week individually

  • 2hr/week for your Story Team meetings (may vary depending on the size your team)

Technical Requirements:

You will need a computer that allows you to watch the video lectures and provides the ability to upload all 5 of your assignments.

Statement of Accomplishment:

Subject to course completion (completion of all assignments), you will receive a statement of accomplishment signed jointly by +Acumen and The Ariel Group.

The Instructor

Greta Cowan

Facilitator & Executive Coach, The Ariel Group

Greta Cowan, PCC is a senior facilitator and leadership coach. She has facilitated leadership development workshops for companies such as American Express, Revlon, General Electric, Capital One, and JPMorgan Chase. Since 1999 she has been coaching leaders to connect with and congruently communicate their passion, lead with their principles, find clarity of purpose, and leverage their full, authentic leadership presence. She brings a dynamic blend of humor, compassion, honesty, and rigor to her work -- helping leaders become more inspirational. Greta has taught and lectured at Columbia Business School under the auspices of the Executive Education and Executive MBA Departments and the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. She has worked nationwide and abroad with a wide variety of executives from both the corporate and non-profit sectors.

Greta was a member of the Boston-based Guilty Children Improv Company for five years and toured with Guilty Children to theaters, clubs, and colleges nationwide. She has taught improvisation to professional actors, non-professional adults, and children. In 1986 she performed in Robert Wilson’s Alcestes at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. and at the Festival d’Automne in Paris, France. Greta’s film credits include the female lead in the independent feature The Imported Bridegroom, directed by Pamela Berger. She holds a BFA in acting from Emerson College and is a graduate of the Georgetown University Leadership Coaching Program. She is designated as a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation.


About +Acumen Online Leadership Academy

Acumen is a global non-profit that invests in companies, leaders, and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty. We launched +Acumen Online Leadership Academy in 2013 to share our leadership training and insights from the field, so that more people could develop their own toolkit for change. More information can be found at

  • 14 January 2014
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  • Language: English Gb


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