Teaching & Residency

 Young African Leaders Initiative

Summers 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, I’ve enjoyed a return engagement as guest lecturer at Georgia State University’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative.

Over the course of 3-4 workshops each summer, I help the fellows explore personal storytelling as a professional development tool under the framework of Storytelling for Your Personal Brand.

Here’s a picture of the fellows in their final week, singing “Happy Birthday” to President Obama, as well as a great article about this outstanding program.

Reference: Shereen Bhan, Senior Research Associate/Assistant Director, International Center for Public Policy, sbhan@gsu.edu


Click here to see a slideshow of photos by Aashtha Vashi from our first YALI workshop, June 2016, Piedmont Park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Decatur Writers Studio

Fall 2017 and Winter 2019, I taught a six-week course called “Storytelling for Writers” for the Decatur Writers Studio. Here’s the description:

Learn how to step out from behind the beauty of your words and develop the skills to tell your story “IRL.” In this course, storyteller/coach Shannon M. Turner will help you get ready for live literary events like The Moth, radio appearances or even that future TED Talk. Learn what makes a good spoken personal story, how to make vulnerability a strength, the basics of public speaking, and the brain science about written vs. oral storytelling. Plus we’ll take a field trip to Carapace, Atlanta’s premiere storytelling venue. Participants will emerge having crafted and honed at least one story by the end of the course.

Reference: Suzanne Van Atten, Decatur Writers Studio Diretor, info@decaturwritersstudio.com

North Piedmont District of the United Methodist Church

In Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, I returned to my roots in the United Methodist Church to provide two week-long residencies with clergy and laity from across the North Piedmont District.

Clergy Workshops

  • Day 1 included basics of personal storytelling, vulnerability, change, professional moments where a personal story is just the right thing, deep listening, life maps, and selecting one story from the life map to practice.
  • Day 2 included connecting with the lectionary, finding stories for upcoming ministerial opportunities and practicing. We also learned & used Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process as a means for feedback and discussed other professional moments where Critical Response Process is a useful tool.
  • When I returned in Spring 2018, I did a full day of advanced workshops and coaching with the fall class, specifically focused on cultivating new stories.

Laity Engagement

  • Night 1 included basics of personal storytelling, deep listening, and spiritual moments where sharing of yourself is appropriate.
  • Night 2 was a public event where we all (ministers and members of the community) came together at a local yogurt shop and shared stories.

Reference: Maria King, Church Vitality Specialist for the Western North Carolina United Methodist Church, aking@wnccumc.org

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