If you want a better future, you need a better story.
“Leading change has never been tougher,” Denise Withers says. “Fear, apathy, and uncertainty have paralyzed most of the world, making it almost impossible to engage people in even the most straightforward initiative.
“But it doesn’t have to be like that. Story Design can help. It’s a practical way for leaders to take the risk out of change and create a better future.”
Denise Withers is an award-winning storyteller and ICF certified leadership coach who helps clients reduce the risk of change and design better futures – with stories.
Denise spent the first two decades of her career making whitewater films, corporate videos, and TV documentaries – primarily for Discovery Channel. Early in her career, she discovered the power of stories to drive change while directing a film about Indigenous youth for CBC and quickly found her niche creating docs about environmental and social issues for change-makers across the globe.
Five continents, eight awards, and a hundred stories later, Denise left the media to study narrative, engagement, and design, ultimately becoming one of Canada’s top design educators. In 2013, she discovered how to combine storytelling and design thinking into a robust framework for change and pioneered the Story Design concept – a practical way to imagine a better future and make it happen.
Since then, Denise has worked with hundreds of clients across sectors, including CEOs, scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs, academics, and creatives. Together, they’ve used Story Design to do things like advance clean energy, protect ecosystems, transform higher ed, and slow disease. Most recently, she helped two National Geographic photographers double the revenue, reach and impact of their ocean non-profit in less than a year.
Millions of people have seen Denise’s stories on Discovery, CBC, NatGeo, SSIR, the UN, and National Post. Her first book, Story Design: The Creative Way to Innovate, is a favorite with purpose-driven leaders. And her podcast, Foreward: How stories drive change, ranks in the top 100 of management shows.
In the last 35 years, Denise’s clients have used Story Design for impact projects such as clean energy, wilderness protection, reducing chronic disease, advancing food security, and improving financial literacy.
Denise helps clients through custom coaching, training, storytelling, and retreats. As a certified leadership coach and storyteller, she shows you how to combine design thinking and storytelling. Her initiatives build trust, fuel innovation, engage supporters, and inspire action.
“The world desperately needs a new story, says Denise. “Let’s see what we can create together.”