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An Exploration of Women’s Power in Storytelling

How can women learn to trust their instincts, share collaborative stories, and benefit the common good?

Thaler Pekar & Partners had the honor of hosting Annette Simmons, M.Ed., the CEO of Group Process Consulting and author of the brand-new book Drinking from a Different Well: How Women’s Stories Change What Power Means in Action. Simmons generously offered to meet with select clients and friends of Thaler Pekar & Partners for a virtual talk and discussion about how women can learn to trust their instincts, share collaborative stories, and benefit the common good.

Simmons has been featured on CNBC’s Power Lunch, NPR’s Market Watch, and numerous talk radio programs and quoted in Fortune, Working Woman, Harvard Business Review, The Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Post. She is the author of four additional books besides her latest release, including the seminal The Story Factor, hailed as one of “The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.”

During her time with Thaler Pekar & Partners, Simmons shared stories and powerful advice on how women can non-confrontationally push back against systematic gaslighting and denial.

 

According to Simmons, women’s wisdom and ability to see the bigger picture is a powerful force. Women often see things in a moral context — a vital balance to the competitive systems that tend to drive too many decisions. Women deserve to be listened to and need ways to resist being shut down.

Simmons’ own experiences of workplace intimidation gave her insights into women’s ability to successfully balance multiple narratives and navigate paradoxes of power.

“I silenced myself, and then I signed on to silence myself on behalf of someone else, because I was made out to be the troublemaker,” said Simmons. “And if we take that on, what happens is that we end up being sucked into a competitive narrative. We end up fighting back instead of redefining the problem.”

Simmons’ Drinking from a Different Well encourages older women to aid younger women in reversing the damage competitive narratives pose to our collective survival. She stresses the importance of perceptual agility, gender awareness, empathy, and self-validation in making space for women’s narratives in decision-making. She maps out a cohesive way to blend male and female power in the workplace, as well as redefine success to protect people, profits, and the planet.

“We are so appreciative of Annette sharing her wisdom — and her heart — with Thaler Pekar & Partners. That was serious fun! Serious, and fun. I now evaluate people’s actions through the lens of whether they are exhibiting ‘power with’ or ‘power over.’ And given our work, we especially appreciate Annette’s advice about improving the optimization of systems by increasing the diversity of narratives.”

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Thaler Pekar & Partners is internationally-recognized for its deep expertise in narrative, story, and communication. Both the BBC and the Smithsonian Institution have hailed the founder, Thaler Pekar, as one of the world’s leading experts on institutional storytelling.

For 14 years, the team at Thaler Pekar & Partners has advised visionaries on being understood and influential. Our trademarked communication processes — Heart, Head, & Hand®, Engagement Equation® and Invitational Incline® — provide leaders with the confidence to speak, listen, and be heard, and sustain them in offering effective motivation. As a result, teams are more productive, audiences are more receptive, and visibility increases.

Our award-winning work ranges from gathering 178 oral histories across four continents and six countries for Chuck Feeney’s The Atlantic Philanthropies; to finding and refining stories about integrity for Novartis senior leadership; to coaching a mainstage TED Talker; and to developing a communication and story skills academy for L’Oreál International Educators and Customer Representatives.