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