#MBAServicing2020: mPower–Owning Your Own Story

ORLANDO—Valerie Gordon understands the power of communication and its impact on the personal narrative.

Speaking here at the mPower lunch at the MBA Servicing Solutions Conference & Expo, Gordon, Founder of Commander-in-She LLC, Canton Center, Conn., talked about personal stories; how those stories affect others perceive them; the opportunities those stories create; and how people can take command of their personal narrative through their communication skills.

Valerie Gordon.

“Stories are a very powerful things—not just the story itself, but the meaning behind them,” Gordon said.

Gordon is a 10-time Emmy Award winning television producer with more than two decades in media, creating stories for ESPN, HBO Sports and CBS News. She has also earned three Edward J. Murrow awards. As founder of Commander-in-She, she consults high-achieving women with storytelling skills necessary to grow their careers and ascend the leadership ladder.

And she says storytelling is “huge” in business for its ability to close the sale. “There’s a science behind the story,” she said. “Storytelling is a form of communication that enables actions in a way that other communication methods cannot.”

For example, she said, “You’re more likely to want to hear my story than see a slide. When we process stories, it becomes a visceral experience—even if they didn’t directly experience the event itself. When you hear a story and you relate to it, you process it in your brain. It’s the best connection to relate to each other in an authentic way.”

Everyone has a personal narrative, Gordon noted, and she said it is easy to cast oneself in a negative light. “It matters how you cast yourself in your story,” she said. “You’re the heroine, not the victim. Lead with your most dynamic qualities.”

Gordon also urged attendees to think ahead. “If our past stories helped create our present, then our present stories will help create our future,” she said. “But we are more influenced about the stories of our past, because they stick with us and we carry it years later. ‘We are what we believe we are,’ said C.S. Lewis. Think of today as the day you can empty your cart, so that you only retain what’s useful for the future.”