Hi, I’m Michael.
I partner with organizations, groups, and individuals to deliver successful, powerful programs and guide narrative strategy.
I help people find, develop, and tell their most meaningful stories—the ones that can make all the difference.
Read my full bio here or visit the social media links.
Shaping storytelling leaders.
In partnership with bestselling author David Hutchens, I lead highly experiential professional development workshops for leaders around the world in finding, developing, and telling their most impactful stories in order to create engagement and belief in their work. Learn more at StorytellingLeader.com.
Crafting public narratives to drive engagement and action.
Since 2013, I have helped over 800 people tell personal stories publicly. In 2020, I took my on-the-ground experience to the classroom, achieving an executive certification from the Harvard Kennedy School in Public Narrative: Leadership, Storytelling, and Action. Now I am ready to work with you to explore the role of story in aligning people to your vision, inspiring them to take action, and engaging leadership challenges.
Coaching through conflict.
With a master’s in conflict resolution and professional training in conflict coaching, I support leaders dealing with conflict in their teams by offering tips and tools for transforming the conflict into an opportunity rather than an obstacle. I work alongside these leaders to diagnose the problems and patterns, excavate for root causes, consider solutions, and hone messaging.
Practicing the principles of building peace.
My deepest passion is working at the intersection of peacebuilding and narrative. Drawing on my experiences in conflict zones, prisons, graduate degree in conflict resolution, and teaching in peacebuilding, I will help you strategically integrate principles of peace into your work. I design and facilitate dialogue-based programs, lead conflict resolution workshops, and offer mediation services.
Harnessing the power of story circles.
Drawing on my extensive experience in storytelling and group facilitation, I design and lead story circles for groups wanting to discern values, share knowledge, create connection, build empathy, or make meaning.
Training top-notch facilitators.
Mining wisdom from my years facilitating over 200 groups and training top-level practitioners, I will lead workshops for your teams to teach the best practices of group facilitation—from time management to deescalating tense situations to learning the language of emotions.
Curating successful story events.
In September 2013, I launched Tenx9 Storytelling in Nashville. Over the next seven years, I curated and hosted this public storytelling event every month, drawing over 7,500 people and a dedicated core following. I now package what I’ve learned organizing and hosting over 100 monthly events and guide groups in planning and executing successful events.
Gathering stories. Writing stories. Teaching both.
In 2020, I published an award-winning book called I Am Not Your Enemy. This book was my third created by gathering and writing stories. Now, I offer these services to you: gathering and writing the stories you need told, and teaching others to do the same.
Some of the organizations I have worked with:
Five diverse examples from my work:
- Training and coaching story-exchange facilitators and Master Practitioners for Narrative 4
- Leading a virtual retreat for the Alliance for Health Policy to discern and articulate the organization’s core values
- Facilitating a story program for the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation to harness and develop the most impactful stories from their volunteers in the field
- Curating a night of live true storytelling for the Frist Art Museum, recruiting and coaching a diverse array of local talent to tell stories that interacted with a featured museum exhibition
- Story coaching and project management for the development of a manifesto on a national Palestinian nonviolent movement for Taghyeer Change Palestine
What People Say
see my writing endorsements on home page
“Not just a gifted storyteller and author, Michael McRay understands how to facilitate emotional spaces that demand attention to detail—to the nuance of the human condition. Michael has helped train Narrative 4 Master Practitioners (and is one himself), and helps grow N4’s programs by collaborating on best-in-class educational content and resources.”– Lee Keylock, Director of Global Programs and Training, Narrative 4
Michael’s enthusiasm and encouragement helped us to learn the value of our experiences and the importance of sharing stories to touch the heartstrings of listeners and make them want to join our work. Michael did an outstanding job leading our participants.”– Linda Kirkpatrick, Program Director, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation
Michael was extremely knowledgeable and effective.– Anonymous workshop participant
Michael is a rare gift of a facilitator.– Julie, story-retreat participant
I can’t fathom anyone not hiring Michael. He’s probably the most gifted speaker, facilitator, and human I know.– My mom