Keynote Speaker & Storyteller

Speaker

In my three decades of life, I have been privileged to travel to 40 countries and have spoken on four continents, working with people from vastly different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds; from top universities and elite Swiss boarding schools to slums and a correctional facility in LA.

As an author, I have spoken at such eminent literary occasions as the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs, Switzerland’s Solothurner Literaturtage, India’s Kitabfest, and the C. S. Lewis Summer Institute in Oxford and Cambridge.

frame your conference

Just another conference? Yet another speech?

Sometimes, you want to break out from business as usual. Everybody loves an entertaining story, especially if it’s relevant and enlightening. Frame your conference with a creative keynote, or get me to facilitate an energising story exchange that will lead to new insights. Your guests will thank you!

Storify your event

Keynote Storyteller

Why have a speaker who specialises in Storytelling? It’s something different, for a start! 

Most events aim to take participants on a journey. That’s exactly what stories do.

Authors have learned to create page-turners with the use of hooks, conflict and stakes and especially by chronicling the ups and downs of character relationships.

A similar effect can be created with the „plot“ and the „players“ in your industry – its current peril and promise.

As your keynote storyteller, I typically:

  • Set the stage by highlighting the theme of the conference, helping to orient your guests
  • Give a bird’s eye view of the history, development and trends of your industry by digging up the „forgotten stories“ that often surprise the specialists
  • Write original flash fiction to provide a creative interlude specially for your event

    The big picture often surprises the specialists.

    Speaking Topics

    The exciting thing about storytelling is that it is applicable to any industry. I especially enjoy getting to grips with new material – like when I was the only speaker without a PhD in quantum mechanics, at a quantum computing event… where a lot of things sounded more like science fiction than anything I’d written!

    The advantage to you is that I come to your arena as an inquisitive outsider, with new and valuable perspectives. Creativity happens when different disciplines collide. I’d love to help you achieve that for your training session or conference.

    Favourite session topics include:

    • From Information to Inspiration: Storytelling as an essential business skill
    • Lead with a Story
    • Teach with Stories
    • Change the Story, Change the (Organisational) Culture
    • Team building: Creativity and Collaboration

    Creativity happens when different disciplines collide.

    I'd love to help.

    diplomacy

    While a Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy as their first Novelist-in-Residence, it became clear to me there is huge potential to apply storytelling principles to the challenges surrounding statecraft.  This is largely unexplored territory, which gets to the root of some of the central issues of our times.

    Has diplomacy failed?“ was a serious question diplomats were asking at the GCSP.  There is a growing awareness for the need to approach conflict resolution from new angles.  Enter „Creative Diplomacy“.  Beyond representatives, there are personal and national narratives that determine whether a climate is conducive to war or peace – and whether agreements are actually followed through.

    development

    What do Nepal and Switzerland have in common? Both are landlocked, mountainous countries. Nepal may even have some natural advantages over Switzerland: more water, fewer people to feed per square kilometer and twice the arable land. And yet the two countries are at opposite spectrums of development and progress.

    What makes an area „progress-prone“ or „progress-resistant“? Turns out it has little to do with external factors, and everything to do with internal factors — i.e. story! 

    A nation’s narratives are more important than its resources

    Human resources trump natural resources.

    scholastic storytelling

    Education is only half of empowerment. Knowledge exists to solve problems, right? So why aren’t the increasingly „educated“ globe’s problems on the decline? Why do youth feel ill-equipped for life, with increasing disillusionment and even suicide?

    I have spent two decades speaking and working with youth in different countries and contexts, from slums in India and a correctional facility in Los Angeles to European entrepreneurs. As an author, I have visited hundreds of schools and partnered with teacher training colleges to help equip teachers. For this work, the County of Los Angeles awarded me a Scroll of Honour for Special Services to the County for enriching lives through philanthropy, literary achievement, and inspiring other young people.

    In a robot-dominated future, we must rediscover what it means to be human.

    book readings

    I have yet to give a book reading that was not a success! 

    Along with book shops and libraries, school readings are among my favourite events, as I love investing into young people.

    Readings are typically one hour long and often set the stage for a half-day creative writing or storytelling workshop.

    Notable Past Appearances

    • Opening and closing speaker at The Future of Quantum Businesses, a Hello Tomorrow conference hosted by IBM Research and EPFL (Switzerland)
    • Several speeches at 7 week innovation camp by Deutsche Telekom in Berlin, Germany and follow-up article commissioned on ‚The Future of Work‘
    • Business Storytelling for Master’s students at HSG, University of St. Gallen
    • On effort and achievement at correctional facilities, private, public and charter schools in Los Angeles, California, USA
    • Storytelling and creative writing workshops for teachers and students at various Colleges of Education
    • On Inspiration at Kitabfest media festival, Mumbai, India
    • On Questions at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University
    • On ‚Reforming Education and Economics‘, for ERFA Weinfelden’s group of managers
    • Literaturhaus readings in Zurich, Rostock, Hamburg and Köln
    • Executive Education events with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy
    • The inaugural Youth Summit of Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum on issues of sustainability, reality and escapism
    • Media and Arts for Peace, online course by the U.S. Institute of Peace
    • “Building Human Capital and Intellectual Capacity” at United Nations GAID (Global Alliance for ICT for Development), Geneva, Switzerland