What is Story Lab?

This self-authoring, story crafting, and storytelling initiative brings Michigan Ross’s brand of leadership to life on stage. It begins with a launch event featuring stories by students and model storytellers. From there, a select group of students will attend a retreat where they'll hone their skills in voice, craft, and delivery. Story Lab wraps up with an exciting community celebration, Ross Diaries, featuring an evening of storytelling with students, faculty, and alumni.

Story Lab is co-created with the Ross Design + Business Club.


Listen to the Story Lab on the Ross Business Beyond Usual podcast. Storytellers featured include: 

  • Sneha Bhattacharyya recapping her nightmarish first job after undergrad, which taught her a valuable lesson about speaking up in the face of injustice; and,
  • Claudia Ludlow Trejo discussing how she was forced into the strange and dangerous world of childhood kickboxing.


Leadership Skills You’ll Practice

Building Culture

You will gain firsthand experience leveraging the power of story to embody shared ideals. The story you tell will distill Ross's brand of leadership, personifying empathy, drive, integrity, courage, and a determination to make a positive difference in the world.

Celebrating Achievements

You will join an effort to celebrate extraordinary displays of leadership on stages large and small. The story you tell may recognize a leader of positional authority, uncover an unsung hero, or honor a small act that resulted in outsized impact.

Communicating with Impact

You will find your voice, craft a narrative using proven techniques, and learn to communicate in a way that engages and activates your listeners. You will hone the storytelling skills essential to leaders in today's complex world.

Exuding Presence

You will build on your unique communication style and practice language skills, vocal tones, and body language that convey executive presence. Your work at Story Lab will increase your confidence, charisma, and credibility.

How to Participate


Story Lab runs over the course of the academic year. The program kicks off in the Fall with an event open to the public. Then, each semester, a select group of participants engage in a skill-building retreat. The retreat leads up to Ross Diaries, a concluding storytelling event open to the public that features retreat participants.

At the end of the academic year, the Ross Diaries concluding event will give select participants the opportunity to tell their stories on stage during a community-wide celebration. 

2017-2018 DATES

Fall 2017 Winter 2018

October 10: Kickoff
November 17: Fall Retreat
December 5: Fall Ross Diaries

To be announced


  • University of Michigan students
  • Students with a deep interest in storytelling, personal growth, and lifelong learning

'17-'18 Interest Form