Episode 1: Michelle Auerbach

The Life Saving Skill of Story

hosted by: Jessica Pfeiffer & Steve Graner

About our guest:

Michelle Auerbach is a consultant and writer who works on innovation, organizational change, creativity, and leadership development, and diversity and inclusion through the technology of story. Michelle graduated cum laude with honors from Columbia University with a B.A. in writing and literature. Her MFA in writing and poetics focused on translation of ancient world languages and literature and the use of ancient wisdom traditions as a tool for emotional development, change, and moral and ethical training. Her PhD dissertation is centered on story as a trauma sensitive change technology for individuals, organizations, and communities. She has trained in Creative Problem Solving with Buffalo State University, and Design Thinking with the Austin Center for Change. Michelle is also a writer and journalist. She has published two novels, Alice Modern (2015) and The Third Kind of Horse (3013), with two more in the process, Midwest of Eden (2021) and IV.19.31 (TBD). Her most recent book, Resilience: The Life Saving Skill of Story was published in May by Changemakers Press. Michelle’s journalism can be found in the New York Times, the London Guardian, Sunset Magazine, and other outlets. Michelle is an editor at Ordinary Time, a journal of popular culture and theology, and is a contributing writer to several food and culture journals. Michelle was trained in facilitation and change management as well as individual and group coaching at the Columbia University School of Public Health, Kaiser Permanente, and the New York City Department of Health. She is a trained chaplain and specialized in trauma aware crisis response. Michelle was a professor of Ancient World Languages and Humanities for a decade, and chair of the Arts and Humanities discipline for the State of Colorado Department of Higher Education. Currently she teaches trauma aware communication and story for changemakers and designers in the Environmental Studies Master’s Program at the University of Colorado and at the Center for Media, Communications, and Information’s Design Leadership program. Michelle is a trainer for professors in story as a teaching technology for Community Colleges in the Netherlands. She also consults with companies including Mars, Inc, Johnson & Johnson, and non-profits including The Freedom Story (anti-human trafficking) the Institute of HeartMath, and The Nature Conservancy. She has done workshops on trauma aware story and change for the National Institutes of Health, Kaiser Permanente, Children’s Hospital, and the Chambers of Commerce of Boulder, CO and Milwaukee, WI as well as for Leadership Cleveland. Michelle also teaches trauma informed creativity and story internationally and presents at conferences in Italy, Chile, Toronto, Paris, Basel, and Belgium. She also works with Start Up Week to teach trauma informed story and creativity to innovators. With religious organizations such as the Episcopal Church, Kehilat Ha Nahar, Episcopal Relief and Development, and diverse clergy groups Michelle trains in story as a chaplaincy tool in crisis and disaster settings.