With over 40 years of experience, Sue has helped clients avoid problems and meet diversity, inclusion and communications challenges of all kinds. But don’t take our word for it: listen to what her clients have to say and see the wide variety of solutions she offers.
Seminars, Keynotes & Story Performances
We all have blind spots when living or working with other people. It’s not our fault. No matter whether the Dimension of Diversity is race, gender, religion, age or income misunderstandings are inevitable. There will always be days we don’t know what to say or do. Times when we feel we just don’t know enough.
Many times practices that appear harmless are actually toxic to your employees or the community you serve. Policies can be innocently made that appear insensitive to some groups. The truth is your employees and clients are often thinking about disparities in your organization long before they become openly discussed issues.
If you ask people who are like you about your organization, chances are they see things similarly. Unfortunately, that perspective is limited. What’s more, your organization could be at risk for a lawsuit if effective training isn’t in place.
But how do you avoid spending time and money only to find yourself left with more frustration? Simple. Talk to me.
I have been actively studying the issues of diversity for over 30 years. I also bring my background as a writer, performing artist, TV personality and motivational speaker to the table to deliver an unforgettable seminar.
Don’t worry about raising tensions or awkwardness. I’ll take on the “difficult” issues with humor, clarity and compassion. With a track record of thousands of workshops, you can trust O’Halloran Diversity Productions to deliver this issue with impact, sensitivity and heart.
In my Diversity Seminars and Keynotes, your participants will discover how we are all Insiders or Outsiders some of the time.
Insiders have insecurities too!
Sometimes we’re part of the Insider group. Insiders tend to be good people who don’t want an unfair advantage and, yet, society is setup to give us privilege – wanted or not. It leaves us feeling guilty and scared – unsure of what our responsibilities really are. We’re tired of being blamed for being Insiders, but we’re unsure of what we should do. We can’t imagine working harder yet somehow we’re given the message we’re not doing enough. Something is expected of us, but what? Somehow the inequities of the past are still playing out today, but how? And, most of all, what are we supposed to do about them? We’re already burdened by so many pressures and stresses of our own.
Outsiders question their place in the world
Sometimes, we’re part of the Outsider group. When we’re Outsiders, we’re tired and angry. But we don’t want to feel that way. Are we bumping up against the biases of others and real structural inequities? Or are we sabotaging ourselves? And, by the way, just because we feel like Outsiders doesn’t mean we know how to relate to other Outsiders. We’d like to build bridges to Insiders and other Outsider groups for survival, skill building and relationships. But doesn’t that take time and attention away from building our own group’s pride and identity?
Whether your people identify as Insiders or Outsiders or haven’t even considered the question, I have supported people in their journey of discovery in all walks of life:
- Faith-based Communities
- Other non-profit organizations
You and your group will leave my seminars ready to act upon:
- An understanding of Inside and Outsider thinking and behavior
- Unintentional, often unconscious personal biases
- Practical tools to suspend judgment that stops the divisions between departments and groups
- Hidden policies, inherited historical inequities and institutional bias that sabotage best efforts
- Inclusive behaviors that create a culture where teamwork works
- Political will to motivate active, productive citizens
- Conflict resolution and win/win scenarios
- Strategic alliances, Guiding principles, Benefits for all and much more!
My seminars and keynotes are custom-designed for each client and can run one to six hours long or be booked as a multiple day event.
Examples of Diversity and Inclusion Seminars and Keynotes
BREAKTHROUGHS IN CULTURAL AWARENESS and SKILLS – FROM MULTICULTURAL TO MULTI-MARVELOUS
You might think you know a thing or two about biases in general or yours in particular but this workshop can really open your eyes to the unconscious assumptions and behaviors all of us make without even meaning to! Plus, it’s really fun to learn new things about people you’ve studied or worked with for years. You’ll practice ways to communicate better with people from different groups and you’ll discover skills to help you right in your own homes with your loved ones. You’ll leave with a plan to make your organization even more inclusive.
PC: POLITICALLY CORRECT OR PERSONALLY CARING? HOW NOT TO WALK ON EGGSHELLS AROUND EACH OTHER
Ever feel as though you don’t know what to say or not say anymore? Do you find yourself wishing that people could just relax around each other no matter how similar or different they are? I will give practical, common sense guidelines for treating each other with respect. You’ll leave the workshop finally understanding not just what are some group’s most common sore spots but why these words or actions have the “ouch factor.” Not just an intellectual exercise – you’ll be given practical, inclusive skills you can apply right away.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF UNINTENDED EXCLUSION
When an organization fosters feelings of insiders and outsiders – consciously or unconsciously – there are predictable results: lower morale, less teamwork, confused communications and harmful publicity (not to mention the effect on the bottom line). On the other hand, diversity and inclusion done right becomes an integral part of an organization’s identity and can be the missing ingredient to lasting success.
JUST WHAT IS RACE?
Race is one of the most volatile subjects and yet few of us know exactly what it means. Even fewer of us know the explanation of how the idea of race has changed throughout history or how what happened in the past still affects us in almost every aspect of our lives today. I give down-to-earth, you-can-do-it-tomorrow ways to break free of the legacy of racism that all institutions have inherited. And though it isn’t always easy to face, we think everyone wonders from time to time, “What might I be unconsciously doing around race that could paint me as a fool or worse?” Stop feeling guilty, scared or hopeless – bring this workshop to your school or workplace.
BUILDING A CONFERENCE COMMUNITY
Often by the last day of a conference things start to gel. But why wait till then? Why not warm up the atmosphere before the first speaker or workshop? By sharing quick, fun stories, newcomers feel immediately welcomed and old-timers meet and mentor new people. Have your attendees walk away feeling seen, heard and even having some meal buddies if they so desire. Everyone leaves the session with energizing intentions for the conference and excited to get started.
BEING A LEADER IN A GLOBAL, MULTICULTURAL WORLD
Leadership is not about telling people what to do, but inspiring people to come together to create amazing results! Learn how the global leaders of tomorrow create diverse teams that work together for common goals. Realize a much larger definition and appreciation of culture. We are all multi-cultural and the leader who is culturally fluent knows how to bring out the best in everyone.
At your next event – Entertain…Increase understanding…
Raise audience satisfaction and enjoyment…Create community
Festivals and community groups who want to give their audience entertainment, depth and artistic excellence, call on Sue to perform for their groups from children to adult audiences. As a festival and concert producer herself, Sue tailors her original performances to your audience so they’re glad they came to your festival or program.
Sue can give a straight out amusing presentation or deliver her trademark social justice performances. So often when performers try to wrap issue-oriented messages into their presentations they come off as too pushy, opinionated or downright boring. Sue’s stories combine education and entertainment into stories that respect, enlighten and emotionally move your audience members to take action. Stories well told move away from preachy “you should” lecture into the experience of being inside people’s lives. The drama and humorous moments of Sue’s present day and historical stories is what makes them so compelling.
See examples of storytelling performances here.
BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITIES
Businesses and communities are only as successful as the people who work there. Conscious, well-planned, guilt-free diversity and inclusion training can:
- Improve communication
- Increase productivity
- Minimize resistance
- Lessen turnover
- Increase morale
- Help an organization live its values
- Raise an organization’s reputation
There was a time we thought if we could just open the doors to our schools, end the segregation and separation, we’d be on the path to truly offering equal opportunity. But now we know that no matter how integrated our schools are contact is not the same as connection. Creating a more inclusive school can:
- Increase cooperation
- Enhance learning
- Close the “achievement gap”
- Boost teacher and staff job satisfaction
- Create a culture of respect
- Increase student success
Story Power for Nonprofits
Often, Nonprofits are doing such good work that it just seems a no-brainer that people would understand the benefits they bring to the community. But the public suffers from compassion fatigue. There are just too many problems to care about. Using stories effectively can:
Spread the word about an organization’s cause
- Appeal to and keep donors
- Gain the attention of the press
- Use social media effectively
- Inspire new leadership
- Attract quality volunteers
- Be the centerpiece of a strategic communications plan
Stories that Sell
People don’t want to be sold, but they do want to hear about quality products and services that solve their problems or fulfill their desires. When you include stories in your sales force’s toolbox, your customers are able to wrap your product or service benefits into compelling images that:
- Appeal to the buyer’s emotions
- Improve brand loyalty
- Increase closing rates
- Increase sales
- Maximize customer retention
At your next event – Entertain…Deliver your message…
Give away autographed books…Reduce resistance to change…
Increase audience approval and satisfaction.
BREAKING THROUGH STAFF APATHY
A community college had concerns about engaging a potentially resistant audience of maintenance and tech staff. Would they consider diversity training irrelevant since they had less contact with the students than other staff? Was it even possible to break through the ill feelings about a mandatory training session? This potential ‘problem’ audience responded so enthusiastically to Sue’s talk with comments such as “Now I see how I contribute to a positive school climate” and “I feel tied in now to the college’s mission to create a culture of respect” that Sue was brought back to speak to the entire college staff at the President’s Opening Address that fall.
FOCUSING A RAMBUNCTIOUS TEEN AUDIENCE
A youth leadership conference wanted a speaker who could prepare the students for a global marketplace and inspire them to consider the ways they could make the world a better place. The overly enthusiastic group of teens had interacted a bit too much with two previous speakers to the point of bordering on rudeness. The speakers left the stage with that deer in the headlights look. But when Sue got on stage to speak she was able to draw the audience in with personally and socially relevant stories. The teens were hushed and attentive. Afterwards, they leapt to their feet with a standing ovation and rushed the stage to speak with Sue. Curfew was extended to give the students more time to ask Sue questions and share stories from their own lives.
DIFFUSING FEARS OF NEEDING TO BE AN ‘EXPERT’ IN EVERY CULTURE
Teachers couldn’t figure out how to be the classroom ‘expert’ on cultures with which they had little to no experience – sometimes twenty to thirty new cultures represented in one classroom – Iranian, Saudi, Cambodian, Czech, Afghani, Brazilian, Somalian and more. How could they be respectful and accurate with almost no time to learn anything about those cultures let alone teach about them?
Sue taught the teachers to include the children’s own voices in the curriculum through encouraging the students to share family and community stories. The teachers were able to build community, empathy and scholarship in their classrooms as the students felt their cultural backgrounds included in the classroom instruction. Students didn’t have to be one person at home and another at school. One teacher said, “I learned more in 90 minutes with Sue than I did in years of diversity training.”
INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS BY REDUCING UNCONSCIOUS STEREOTYPING
An association of legal professionals knew that their members did pro bono work in poor communities and communities of color, yet didn’t always have the cultural knowledge or sensitivity to appreciate their client’s circumstances. To many who have been traditionally on the outside of our society’s institutions, the legal establishment represents one of the main ways they have faced obstacles and discrimination. Imagine being frightened, confused and in trouble with the law, then reaching out for help only to be met (once again) with misunderstanding, unintentional yet demeaning comments and daunting barriers? The association asked Sue to give a crash course in unconscious stereotypes that might be affecting their members’ effectiveness. The lawyers and legal aids left feeling they had been “honored while developing greater cultural competency.”
BATTLING BURNOUT AND REIGNITING PASSION
A hospice group felt its Directors were suffering from “compassion fatigue” and so at their national meeting, instead of the usual agenda of professional development, they called on Sue to deliver a program that would re-ignite people’s passion for the service they provide and make them feel deeply appreciated and valued. Using the framework provided by her Woman Who books, Sue delivered a program that brought the Directors back to the heart of why they chose hospice work and helped them give voice to the richness of their experiences. The participants left feeling “refreshed”, “appreciating each other” and “reinvigorated and grateful to do work that makes such a positive difference in people’s lives.”
At your next event – Entertain…Deliver your message…
Give away autographed books…Reduce resistance to change…
Increase audience approval and satisfaction.
NEW LIFE FOR AN IMPORTANT CORPORATE OFFERING
One of Sue’s corporate clients, a large pharmaceutical company was already doing diversity training but it just didn’t have the “Wow! Factor” they were looking for. Sue designed a new course that is fun, interactive, challenging and practical. Now 8000 employees are going through her course with an average rating of 4.5 out of a perfect score of 5.
NONPROFITS TURN GOOD WORKS INTO RIVETING STORIES
Community Media Workshop (CMW) was training nonprofits to give better TV, radio and press interviews, but what the organizations were saying just wasn’t forceful enough. Often, because they were doing such good work, nonprofits and foundations thought their purpose and impact was obvious. CMW called in Sue to create a story seminar so that nonprofits would create more compelling, newsworthy stories. That partnership started over 10 years ago. In Sue’s Story Power seminar, nonprofits and foundations learn to turn their data into stories that appeal to donors, attract new leadership, appeal to media outlets and inspire quality volunteers while spreading their organization’s message and goodwill throughout the communities they serve. Thousands of nonprofit communicators have been through Sue’s seminar with an average of 4.7 out of 5 on CMW’s online evaluations.
FROM BULLYING TO CULTURES OF RESPECT
Teachers were witnessing their students treating each other with disrespect. Rather than a feeling of one organization, the school was divided into clear insider and outsider groups. The teachers who had taken Sue’s seminars asked her to create lessons plans to teach their students what they had learned in their staff seminar. The result was a two-year curriculum, Kaleidoscope: Valuing Differences and Creating Inclusion, with a self-paced teacher’s guide and a dedicated website, called InspireAClassroom. Teachers who felt they “didn’t have a clue of how to deal with the students’ racism and other bullying behaviors” reported three years later that the school climate had changed so much that inclusive behaviors were ingrained in every aspect of the school and that bullying was “rarely an issue anymore.”
BEING PRODUCTIVE IN A NEW COLLEGE ENVIRONMENT
Students from rural areas were suddenly rooming with students from big cities. Students with radically different learning styles were being asked to study together. A predominantly white school was seeing its demographics change – new faces, religions and cultural backgrounds were on campus. The college’s orientation program and the student activity groups knew their fellow students weren’t interested in being lectured to. They called in Sue to design and offer presentations that would entertain while they spoke directly to the students’ concerns of cross cultural comfort and understanding.
Faith-based organizations were concerned that their white members were unaware when it came to diversity and inclusion while their members of color were getting frustrated and losing hope. They knew that all their members genuinely cared about uncovering barriers to inclusion and their own unconscious exclusive behaviors. They asked Sue to design and deliver training that would bring their communities together to develop common language and empower them to work toward common goals. The communities have rated Sue’s seminars “excellent” and “beyond expectation”. So that these communities could continue to develop their awareness and skills, Sue created Walking the Talk a self-paced train the trainer diversity and inclusion seminar for nonprofit groups.
- The Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
- The United Nations Peacekeeping Forum, NY
- Vulcan Construction, IL
- Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, PA
- U.S. Department of Commodities Future – IL, NY, MO, Washington DC
- Illinois Coalition Against Violence, IL
- The Bodhi Spiritual Center, IL
- Hanover College, IN
- Mt. St. Mary’s College, WI
- Kishwaukee College, IL
- Maplewood College, MO
- Highland Community College, IL
- The Leadership Council on Metropolitan Open Communities, IL
- The National Storytelling Network Conference, TN
- The Chicago Muslim-Catholic Conference, IL
- Evanston Township High School, IL
- Glenbrook North High School, IL
- The Peacebuilders High School Initiative, IL
- Catholics United for Racial Justice, IL
- The Unitarian National Youth Conference
- The United States Catholic Mission Association
- United Nations Peacekeeping Forum. NY
- Illinois Storytelling Festival, IL
- Lincoln Trail Library Systems
- John G. Shedd Aquarium
- The Art Institute of Chicago, IL
- The Adult Learning Resource Center, IL
- Illinois Theater Association, IL
- Timpanogos Winter Conference, UT
- The National Storytelling Festival, TN
- Washington DC Storytelling Theater
- The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
- Solvang Festival, CA
- Prairie Center for the Arts, IL
- Tcha Tee Man Wi Storytelling Festival, OR
- The Peacebuilders High School Program, IL
- Archdiocese of Chicago – over 30 high schools
- Chicago area libraries such as Chicago Ridge Public Library, Urbana Library, Northbrook Library, Palos Heights Library, Deerfield Library
A sample of Sue’s corporate clients include:
- Emmis Communications
- Starcom MediaVest Group
- CNA Insurance
- The Northern Trust Bank
- Caterpillar, Inc
- Novartis Pharmaceutical Company
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield (HCSC)
- Advocate Hospitals
- Erie Insurance
- Key Banks
- Control Data
- Sperry Univac
- Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics
- Arctic Cat
- Equity Residential
- John Deere
- Coca Cola
Sue has worked with hundreds of Nonprofit Communicators from organizations such as:
- Jewish Child and Family Services, IL
- Evanston Community Foundation, IL
- Alliance of Resident Theaters, NY
- Center for Book Arts, NY
- Northshore Senior Center, IL
- Detroit Parents Network, MI
- Arizona Community Foundation, AZ
- Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis, TN
- Coles County Interagency, IL
- Lumpkin Family Foundation, IL
- Shen Wei Dance Arts, NY
- Southwest Organizing Project, IL
- Acts of Kindness Cabaret, IL
- Michigan Citizen Newspaper, MI
- Pathways Awareness Foundation, IL
- Conservation Resource Alliance, MI
- Hip Hop Theater Festival, NY
- Boston Women’s Fund, MA
- American Symphony Orchestra, NY
- Rose Community Foundation, CO
- Latino Community Foundation, CO
- Tech Soup, CA
- Decision Information Resources, TX
- Kellogg Foundation, MI
- Goodwill Industries, MI
- Native Americans in Philanthropy, MN
- University of Southern Indiana, IN
- Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, IL
- Jane Addams Senior Caucus, IL
- American Brain Tumor Association, IL
- Campaign for Better Health Care, IL
- Land Information Access Association, MI
- Great Lakes Nonprofit Institute, MI
- Northwestern Michigan College-Interlochen Public Radio
- MARO, MI
A sample of Sue’s school clients include:
- The Wharton School of Business, PA
- Columbia School of Business, NY
- University of Chicago School of Business, IL
- Kellogg Graduate School of Business, IL
- The Berkely Divinity School at Yale, CT
- Elgin Community College, IL
- Missouri Maplewood College, MO
- Hanover College, IN
- Kaskaskia College, IL
- McHenry Community College, IL
- Richland Community College Diversity Conference, IL
- Mount St. Mary College, WI
- Catholic Theological Union, IL
- Western Illinois University, IL
- Southern Illinois Professional Development Center – Adult Education
- Plainfield School District, IL
- DesPlaines School District, IL
- Addison School District 88, IL
- Walter Payton College Prep, IL
- Oak Lawn High School, IL
- Rolling Meadows High School, IL
- Homewood-Flossmore High School, IL
- The Peacebuilders High School Program
- The Illinois High School Theater Festival
- Over 200 Archdiocese of Chicago schools including: Loyola Academy, Queen of Peace High School, Brother Rice High School, Mother McAuley High School, Mt. Carmel High School, Regina High School, Nazareth Academy, St. Cyril and Methodius, St. William School, St. Nicholas, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Holy Cross. St. Thomas Becket, St. Phillips, Christ the King
Sue has led seminars for faith-based organizations such as:
- Berkely Divinity School at Yale, CT
- The Society of the Divine Word
- The United States Catholic Mission Association
- Interfaith Housing Center, IL
- Am Shalom, IL
- The Islamic Cultural Center, IL
- Catholic Charities, IL
- Over 200 Archdiocese of Chicago parishes including St. Francis Xavier Parish, St. Mary’s Parish, St. Francis of Rome, Holy Spirit Catholic Community, St. Nick’s, St. Bruno, Mary Seat of Wisdom
I will admit that, prior to your performance I was questioned by several people about whether a storyteller could hold the attention of 1800 rambunctious teenagers. You not only held their attention, you developed a personal connection with that large audience. They played along when you invited them to. They listened intently when you challenged them to. And they laughed or cried out loud when the stories moved them. I thank you for sharing your special talent as an artist with us!
Mark A. Kaetzer
Executive Director, Illinois High School Theatre Festival
Sue O’Halloran designed a leadership training workshop for high school students in Catholic Schools Opposing Racism. It had very useful material—both basic and advanced—presented very effectively. The students loved it!
Administrator, Seton Academy for Girls, IL
We had done a lot on diversity and we needed something different. Storytelling gave us a way to look diversity straight in the eye and have a powerful and inclusive conversation. Susan O’Halloran is a master storyteller and the speaker you want to hire to get real world results!
Katy Lowe Schneider
Associate Dean of Students, Hanover College
We had Susan O’Halloran speak at our Fall 2011 Orientation Program prior to the start of classes. Her audience included full and part-time faculty, support staff and administrators. Her comfortable style and obvious wealth of knowledge was very well received by this diverse audience. Without placing blame or making people uncomfortable, Susan was able to identify how our own experiences and perceptions lead us to act in less than productive ways. A week later, people are still talking about the session and applying what they learned to their own behaviors and thoughts.
Dr. Jean Kartje
Vice President of Instruction, Kishwaukee College
Sue O’Halloran has brought a dynamic piece to Elgin Community College’s Cultural Competency workshops as a facilitator/educator. Her unique storytelling capabilities bring an aspect of real life to our programs and she creates an atmosphere where participants can become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Sue’s vibrant personality shines through her presentation style and her knowledge/experience in the field of diversity, respect and inclusion is evident in the material she presents. This combination of talent is representative of what it takes to be an educator in this field.
Human Resources Director and Co-chair Equity Action Team
Elgin Community College
Elementary and High Schools
My teachers raved about Susan after hearing her speak. They felt respected and understood and learned useful strategies for their classroom.
Diep Nguyen, Ph. D.
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction
School District 62 Des Plaines, Illinois
Susan’s presentation and workshop nurtured my own belief about taking a stance on racism and I was able to share that with my faculty in a way I don’t think I could have.
The presentation helped us to look at ourselves more honestly. It provided an opportunity for teachers and principals to examine their own prejudice and racism in a non-threatening way. Plus, it gives principals a starting point to build from.
“Your workshop provided a springboard for classroom discussions.”
My students were enraptured by your story of widening understanding (from the big domain of despair to the very small moments of life and love). They were impressed with the transformation of the magic theme from a simple magic trick to an image that captured the power of human connection. They asked me to thank you for the workshop and for the story. I’d love to keep in contact. Your visit was a highlight of the year for me.
Teacher Francis W. Parker School, IL
Thank you for your work at Youth Conference 2011! Your presentation was a perfect beginning to our day and the breakout sessions on religion were just the right balance of information and discussion. Some evaluations from the students: “I expected something less cool.” And “The keynote was AWESOME!” There you have it – you passed the teen test! Thanks again for your hard work and energy.
Teacher, Trinity High School, IL
I’m deaf as a post but I heard every word of that presentation… because I wanted to. That was really, really good! I said to myself, ‘Now, there’s a woman who understands story!’
Studs Terkel in 2002
What you do is so important and needed.
Former Vice President of the United States
If you want your audience to live a life full of joy and happiness, then bring my friend, Susan O’Halloran, to speak for your group today! You’ll be so glad you did!
Co-Author, Chicken Soup for the College Soul and
two-time College Speaker of the Year,
featured on ABC-TV’s Secret Millionaire
Your message to us was helpful and fit perfectly into the theme of our conference. Many participants asked me to express their appreciation for your inspiring words. We thank you for your valuable contribution to our organization. You made our conference a success!
Samuel W. Milkes
Executive Director Pennsylvania Legal Aid
Our keynote committee for the National Storytelling Conference invited Sue to keynote. Why? Because of her work record on social justice and diversity and because she is one of the finest storytellers we know. Her speech was wonderful. It was warm. It was encouraging. A standing ovation was received and the audience cheered, “Brilliant. Sue’s just brilliant!”
Baker Demonstration School, National Storytelling Network
Your general session was absolutely one of the things I heard most positive ‘buzz’ about and really made a difference in first time attendees feeling comfortable and at home!
Executive Director National Storytelling Network
Your presentation of Dividing Lines certainly left a long-lasting impression on those who attended, especially those who had not been exposed to the information previously.
Angela West Blank
Director of Development Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Sue provided an amazing workshop for our hospice Volunteer Coordinators. She taught them team building and motivational techniques and also filled their cups with nourishment that greatly enhanced their morale and enthusiasm for the wonderful work they do.
Russell Hilliard, PhD, LCSW, LCAT, MT-BC,
National Director of Supportive Care
Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care
I’ve attached the rave reviews from Thursday’s delightful conference. I loved how you infused your presentation with humor and details from your own experiences. I found it awe-inspiring and overwhelming at the same time. I had so many ideas my head hurt! Please keep me on your mailing list. I want to attend every future performance and presentation I can.
Zion Banks, Conference Organizer
I just wanted to tell you that your ice breaker opener at the conference was brilliant. What a great start to a fabulous conference. You made us all feel instantly welcomed. I wish more conferences took the time to start this way. You set us up to make the most of our time together. Thank you.
Leslie Vasquez, Story Artist
Wonderful job at the LA conference. I could see the progression of taking people from their inward thoughts, past the point of nervousness and into a mindset where they were ready to share thoughts they did not even know they had… well done! You truly created a conference community!
If you want your audience to walk in someone else’s shoes – Sue takes you there. Sue’s presentations explain the systematic reasons for discrimination so that we can come to terms with our history and create a much better future. She does all this with humor, clarity and immeasurable depth.
Author of A White Teacher Talks About Race and Growing Up White:
A Veteran Teacher Talks About Race
I didn’t want to go to the presentation when I heard the topic was race but you had things to say in new and helpful ways. This exceeded our expectations! Your analogies and metaphors were amazing. I learned a lot. I thank you from the bottom of my heart because I felt acknowledged today. You gave us useful information in a very short time.
Catholic Charities Development
& Outreach Services, IL
The stories were a subject of discussion for quite a few weeks. I know they will stay in our minds as we continue our social justice reflections.
Marianna Jennings, Principal
Sue far exceeded our expectations. Even though we were there to talk about Cultural Diversity, the exercises and group work not only addressed cultural inclusion, but it also felt like a strategic planning and team building session wrapped into one retreat.
Executive Director Abbey Delray
South Life Care Community, FL
Your presentation energized us to continue our efforts and deepen our own commitment to eradicate racism plus helped us identify possible actions specific to our local area.
Sister Mary Crimmin, Principal
Story Power Seminars & Workshops
Incredible! Amazing! Insightful! Sue’s personal warmth and caring passion brought out the stories within us. She gave us the creative tools, inspiration and encouragement we needed.
Lynn B. Sanders
Park Avenue Productions, IL
Susan listens to others and when she hears the seed of a story that has the potential to have a positive impact and expand the awareness of listeners, she nourishes that seed.
Michael D. McCarty, CA
Sue is so dedicated to the power of storytelling that she makes it possible for others to stretch their horizons to make their own powerful stories that address charged issues. Thanks to Sue, I was able to complete a decades long desire to do a story about the life of my mother.
Nancy Wang, CA
It made me proud to be Asian American. By telling my story, I felt less invisible. This is such important work you are doing.
Hoang Paul, SVD
Participant in Sue’s Vietnamese
American Storytelling Project, IL
Sue led us in writing exercises and encouraged us to share our work. She provides an environment where we can all help each other to find the greater truths in our work. There is no question in my mind that we are all better storytellers because of our time with Sue. She helped make our stories tighter, more meaningful, more heartfelt, more sincere.
Jim Pfitzer, TN
Your story of the two porches is one of the best stories I have heard about race. I’d love the whole country to hear that story. What an artist!
Jay O’Callahan, MA
There is no way to overstate the impact that Susan O’Halloran has on these students. I have been watching, learning from, and performing with Sue for over 10 years, mostly in front of high school and university students as part of a program called “Tribes and Bridges.” I have seen her teach, move, and inspire, all while keeping the students glued to their seats with her impeccable storytelling ability. Many times, students are moved to tears by her stories, and I have seen them gather around her to share their own stories with her. Susan has a magical ability to tell some of our society’s most difficult stories of institutional racism, yet to do so in such a way that raises awareness and encourages students to find their own solutions.
Antonio Sacre, CA
Through story, Sue continues to gather her colleague-tellers to tell the untold stories and bear witness to resilience, tenacity and hope.
Father Derek Simons S.V.D.,
Director, Angels Studio and
Co-Founder of JustStories.
I am humbled by your compassion and strength of heart. I learned so much with the JustStories Storytelling Festival. It put wind beneath my wings.
Brenda Wong Aoki, CA
Sue O’Halloran’s dedication to using storytelling to promote diversity is unparalleled. No one else I know of is doing this kind of important work.
Linda Gorham, IL
Susan O’Halloran is an exhilarating master storyteller. Her refreshing and engaging style touched a central common core and facilitated dialogue and a deeper understanding of diversity at our parish gathering.
St. Viator Parish, Chicago,
and President of Creativity, Inc, IL
Sue is a fervent champion of storytellers who offer voices not often heard — storytellers of different faith traditions, cultural backgrounds, and walks of life.Without Susan O’Halloran, I wouldn’t have a storytelling career.
Filmmaker, Comedian, Storyteller, IL
Sometimes storytelling is criticized for not paying enough attention to the real world and dealing with tough issues. Sue O’Halloran is a storyteller whose stories are real, thoughtful, and very moving. I recommend that she receive the NSN Circle of Excellence Award.
Syd Lieberman, IL
Sue O’Halloran demonstrates passion, excellence, and a boundless personal commitment to reach out and help others through her innovative and creative work.
Former National Storytelling Network Board Member, MO
In every story that I hear from Susan O’Halloran, I find myself riveted, grateful to be hearing something that expands me as a human being.
NSN Asian American Panel Member,
retired school librarian, storyteller, IL
In every instance, Sue finds the universal within her stories to draw people together rather than draw lines. She takes stories of the highest excellence to people and places that otherwise would not be exposed to stories.
Storyteller and former librarian, IL
Elegantly crafted and passionately told, Susan O’Halloran’s stories constantly remind us of our own humanity, strength, and yearning for justice.
Countless storytellers, in the core of their being, hope and pray that our work will bring more justice and peace to our world. Susan O’Halloran is an artist who has done monumental work in these areas, accomplishing far more than most of us have even attempted.
Jim May, Co-Founder and Artistic Director
of the Illinois Storytelling Festival
- 2011 Oracle Award Circle of Excellence
- 2006 Service and Leadership Award
- Office for Racial Justice St. Katherine Drexel Racial Justice Award
- CINDY Educational Film Award
- Los Angeles National Education Film Award
- Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence