Thaler Pekar

Thaler Pekar 2018When 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 • Multimedia Storytelling for Digital Communicators in a Multiplatform World • 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. Her extensive studies include the Columbia University Medical Center Program in Narrative Medicine and the Columbia University Oral History Masters Program.

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; as the communications lead for a large Ford Foundation project on religious pluralism; 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, where she serves on the Hoboken Historical Preservation Commission, 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.

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Upcoming Events & Appearances

February 4-7, 2020
Frank Conference, Gainesville, FL

December 5, 2019
Dual Office Philanthropic Client, DC & NYC

December 4, 2019
Social Sector client, Mississauga, Ontario

November 18-22, 2019
Funders' Collaborative Strategy & Narrative, Copenhagen

November 14, 2019
Corporate Retail Client, NYC

November 7, 2019
Nationswell Summit, NYC

October 13-18, 2019
"Build Trust & Inspire Action ~ A 3-Part Method for Motivating Others", Opportunity Collaboration, Cancun, Mexico

October 4 & 5, 2019
Beyond Understanding: Listening for Emergence, Communications Network, Austin

October 3, 2019
Breakthrough & Story Your Future!, pre-conference workshop, Montana Nonprofit Association

September 24, 2019
Why Story Matters to Your Leadership, Guide Dogs for the Blind

September 23, 2019
The Ethics of Working with Story, Northern California Grantmakers

September 17-19, 2019
"Building Big Narratives by Sharing Small Stories", Waggl Harvest: Voices at Work Leader Retreat, St. Helena, CA

Early September, 2019Documentary filming, Utah

August 19, 2019
Private Client, Princeton, NJ

June 25-27, 2019
WBENC National Conference, Houston

May 7, 2019
CTAM Communications Strategies Course

April 11, 2019
Storytelling and Social Change, Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers the State University of NJ

April 9, 2019
Presence & Engagement program, Anomaly, NYC

March 20, 2019
Starion Bank, North Dakota

March 19, 2019
North Dakota Council on the Arts

February 21, 2019
Public Engagement for Academics: The Use and Abuse of Story, Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers the State University of NJ

December 7, 2018
United Nations Population Fund, NYC

October 30, 2018
Listen Better, Hear More, free Waggl webinar

October 24 & 25, 2018
Behavioral Summit, NYC

October 18-21, 2018
National Harm Reduction Conference panelist, New Orleans

September 25-27, 2018
Participatory Narrative Program, San Diego

September 12 & 13, 2018
Building Narrative Power for Racial & Health Equity convening, NYC

June 21 & 22, 2018
Inspirefest keynote, Dublin

June 11, 2018
Biodiversity Funders Group, Kona, HI

Testimonials

Testimonials
  • "WOW is the first thing that comes to mind. WOW, what a session that was. It was thought-provoking, it was imminently applicable and it was fun, great job." – James Heffernan, The Jedi Group Consultoria, Brazil

  • "Thanks for helping me become a vivid story sharer. Before I worked with you, I'm afraid I was a rambling geek with a Powerpoint presentation. Now, each time I deliver a keynote, I generate two or three more engagements from audience members. Big, big change thanks to you." – Dave Maney, Founder & Publisher, Economaney

  • “When I was calling around to check Thaler's references, one of her clients told me that she was thinking about asking Thaler to be her child's Godmother. After working with Thaler I realized that the client wasn't joking. It is rare to find a consultant like Thaler, with the right mix of expertise, intuition, centeredness, ethics and passion. As a client, I found Thaler innovative and delivering above and beyond expectations. As a participant, I discovered my storysharing abilities exceeding what I thought was evolutionarily possible.” – Damon Azali-Rojas, Director of Field Programs, Jemmott Rollins Group

  • "As a result of the group training and individual coaching that we receive from Thaler and Jay, Wellspring staff are presenting their work in ways that show more confidence and organization, while letting the passion for our work shine through." – John and Myles Taylor, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

  • "I've seen another well-known presenter on story, and he made me curious. But what I walked away from your program with was immediately implementable ways to capture and use story in my work, and to benefit my organization." – Dawn Harbatkin, MD, Executive Director, Lyon-Martin Health Services

  • "I want to thank you again for the excellent workshop. My colleague and I learned a lot, felt some assumptions challenged, and we’ve already started to implement changes in how we show up when gathering stories.” — Andrew Kolbenschlag, Blue Shield of California Foundation

  • "Thanks a million for stretching my thoughts and how I approach today and tomorrow." – Gary Cassard, Vice President & General Manager, Bright House Networks

  • "I'm a storyteller by trade, in a company that lives by story, with a truly amazing story to tell. So, in some ways, we're already there. That said, I was inspired by Thaler's deconstruction of narrative, and pointers for listening and engaging." – Steve Cooper, Director of Product Marketing, Lytro

  • "Jay is the coolest. I love the way he presents. Thaler is smart as a whip. I can't wait to hear what comes out of her mouth next. Together, they are able to break down the components of engagement in a way that we were previously unable to diagnose, let alone approach.” – Vice President, Global Education & Customer Experience, major cosmetics brand

  • "I found several things from your workshop directly applicable to my recent presentation to my board, and all grants were approved, so it was a big success. Our board chair even applauded after my presentation – a first! Thank you so much for your wisdom and guidance." – Denise Joines, Program Officer, Wilburforce Foundation

  • “We couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Thaler Pekar & Partners really 'get it' when it comes to helping move organizations forward in creative and positive directions. They possess a rare combination of flexibility and professionalism." -- John Seager, President, Population Connection

  • "Thaler is a communications genius with an insanely great ability to see 'through' a problem or challenge and create a story-based communications strategy to tackle the issue. She is fun to work with and obviously bright but not ego driven. It has been a privilege to work with her each time we have hired her. What I love most about her is that much of what she does is value-driven." – George Heindrichs, Former President and CEO, Intrado