Hosting you to brilliance
My work is about this invitation: It's time to come back to the fire, find your spark, and be a beacon to the world
Some of the ways I can serve you
Uncover the story that opens the door to a larger future
Create a clear, compelling story that opens the door to your future. Discover how it can enhance and extend the impact of your vision, purpose as an individual , community or organization. A compelling story can create a more authentic culture or be a focus on issues or innovation.
Bring stories to life
Put a fresh focus on your personal or collective story of leadership, purpose, vision or impact. From this foundation, I support you to put together the practices that encourage and invigorate your team and stakeholders into engaged, sustained action. I am a highly skilled group host with 25 years experience.
Coach, mentor, thought partner
Working alongside you as coach, mentor or thought partner on a one-to-one or a one-to-many basis. Sharpen your story. Plan your important meeting. Work together as a team. I have a proven track record as a strategic counsel, design support and sounding board either in-person or virtually.
“She just lives storytelling and knows how to best apply it in all kind of contexts.”
- Finding Your Superpower With Story
- The 5 Powers: Simple practices that create leadership & community everywhere
- Leading With Story
- Lead to Succeed: There’s a story in every meeting
- The 10 Practices of Story Activism
- The Story Made Me Do It!
- Foundations for Success: The power of practice
- The 8 Breaths of Process Architecture
Talk with me about what most suits your audience.
Participatory group experiences
- Working with a group for a specific purpose using stories of lived experience as the basis for meeting task goals and building relational fields
- Working the Collective Story Harvest methodology to work with single or multiple narratives for collective sensemaking and strategic design
- Design & hosting of group processes that focus on participation and engagement
- Design & hosting for meetings with committed action as the intended outcome
Talk with me about what you want to achieve with your group.
The formal bio
Mary Alice Arthur is a Story Activist working with story in service of positive systemic shift and for focusing collective intelligence on critical issues. She guides people to find and activate the story that will take them into a larger and more authentic future. With story as an ally, people become the visionary leaders, changemakers and paradigm shifters they want to be. They know story is our lens on the world and determines our agency. They have the knowledge and tools to change it for the better.
She is an internationally recognised process host, building capacity for people to bring their stories to life, and in practice for more than 25 years. She is inspired to work with large and small systemic stories holding keys for a more generative future. She is a steward of Art of Hosting, teaching participatory practice around the world, and co-creator of Collective Story Harvest methodology.
Mary Alice is the author of 365 ALIVE! Find your voice. Claim your story. Live your brilliant life. and hosts THE STORY DOJO, an online community focused on the power and practice of story. She works with individuals, communities and organizations around the world.
What's the real story?
I grew up as the oldest daughter of two teachers. I got hooked on stories from the first moment I saw a book. I was the kid who kept reading after lights out and walked to school reading two books at once. During school holidays the family piled into the car and took to the roads, and that gave me an itchy foot. Before long I was 17 and being an exchange student gave me my first taste of the wider world. The stage was set for a love of wondering coupled with a delight in wandering — the ideal attributes for a Story Activist and a self-professed citizen of the world.
Working with an international student organization taught me the power of working across diversity. I learned about the compelling nature of purpose, the importance of a spark of vision and the power of cohesive practice. I began to think -- and work -- around the world.
Finding the elements of Story Activism
I caught the story bug in earnest in the early ’90s while living in New Zealand. It happened at a storytelling festival. That was the moment when I saw the power of storytelling for the first time and I started hanging out in the library gathering as many stories as I could. I performed as as storyteller, but I soon realized I wanted to hear other's voices more than just my own. There seemed to be something important in sharing stories and working with them. That's why I was part of the first gatherings of organizational storytelling practitioners a decade later.
At the same time I was honing my craft as a facilitator, working with everyone from the Treasury and government departments to volunteer organizations. I worked to connect teams, support groups to get strategic, I even facilitated a successful telecomunications merger. In 2007 I found out about the Art of Hosting and fell in love with participatory practice. Then one day I met a futurist at a conference who told me one of the top upcoming trends would be "leader as storyteller" and I began to dream of the day my process work and my love of stories would unite.
Now I join StoryWork with a leading edge skill in using participatory practice to help groups become high performing communities, able to step up, co-create a compelling story, and from it, wise sustained action. These days I work around the world on a variety of projects. I value creating spaces that lead to great collaboration, learning, curiosity for emergence. and capacity to stay together in great relationship for long enough to get good work done.
I love working with people and for something that really matters to them. I can be incredibly serious and profoundly light at the same time. If we can laugh together, we can ride the challenges together too. Sharing our stories is a good place to start.
My favourite place in the world is a circle where people are leaning in.
Want to know more about Story Activism?
Have a listen to my interview Our Storytelling Superpower on the Pod of Gold podcast :
If the entire history of the planet Earth were a novel, readers of the book who got to our current chapter might start worrying about the possibility of an unhappy ending. Luckily for us, that story's not finished yet, which means we have a say in how it goes.
In this episode, we’re speaking with Mary Alice Arthur, a Story Activist who empowers people and organizations through storytelling to create positive systemic shifts. We talk with her about how stories can activate our collective intelligence toward a healthier and happier future for people and planet.