When Thaler looked through the 2-way glass into a focus group room during 10th grade Career Day, she thought, “Wow, you can actually learn why people do what they do!” That excitement led her to leave high school early and enroll in the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University at the age of 16.
Today, Thaler is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of organizational narrative, leadership storytelling, and persuasive communication. She has been recognized by the BBC and the Smithsonian Institution as an expert on business storytelling, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has institutionalized the use of her Telly Award-winning video on LGBTI refugees in South Africa.
As the CEO of Thaler Pekar & Partners, Thaler guides organizations in finding, developing, and amplifying stories that break through an increasingly complex marketplace and rally critical support. The firm’s Heart, Head & Hand® process for persuasive communication is ensuring that smart leaders throughout the world engage audiences, increase sales, and heighten visibility and influence. The team has worked in 18 countries on five continents.
Thaler facilitated the opening plenary of the most recent Smithsonian Institution Conference on Organizational Storytelling. She has been a visiting professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School Executive Masters in Communications Management, and a frequent guest lecturer at the Columbia University Graduate Program in Strategic Communications and the Newhouse Executive Education Programs.Thaler is featured in the books • Working with Stories in Your Community or Organization: Participatory Narrative Inquiry • Circle of the 9 Muses: A Storytelling Field Guide for Innovators and Meaning Makers • Storied Careers: 40+ Story Practitioners Talk About Applied Storytelling • Parenting with a Story: Real-Life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share.
She is a Founding Member of the American College of Women’s Health Physicians, and has studied at the Columbia University Medical Center Program in Narrative Medicine. Thaler is also a frequent contributor to the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Her career began by combining her academic interest in communication with her passion for social change. Her determination to help clients achieve superior results has led her progression from political organizing to values-based communication, to finding and sharing stories, to building narrative organizations, and to collecting and curating oral histories.
Along the way, Thaler has served as the public affairs director for a large Federally Qualified Community Health Center; as the communications director for The Children’s Health Fund; and as a founding producer of State of Belief on Air America Radio. Her media placements include the cover of Time Magazine and several front pages of the New York Times, and features in O: The Oprah Magazine, People, 48 Hours, Oprah, and the Today Show.
Thaler is a long-time resident of Hoboken, NJ, and a more recent resident of Unadilla, NY. Thaler always crosses the street to walk on the sunny side. And she has a cat named Truthiness.