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    Executive Certificate: This program is a core program in the Nonprofit Leadership and Public Leadership concentrations. This program can also be used as a third program for any concentration in the Executive Certificate series.
    Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs): This program aligns with one or more Executive Core Qualifications.

Program Overview

Stories enable us to communicate our values as lived experiences rather than abstract principles. They have the power to move people and inspire change by evoking shared values that motivate others to action. You may think that your personal story does not matter or that people are not interested. However, if you are engaged in public work or are leading an organization, you have the responsibility, to offer an account of who you are, why you do what you do, and where you hope to lead. If you do not author your own story, others likely will, and it may not be as you wish.

Public Narrative: Leadership, Storytelling, and Action is a transformative online program through which you can strengthen your capacity to lead. You learn how to tell a story of self that enables others to "get you"; a story of us that enables your community to "get each other"; and a story of now that turns the present moment into one of challenge, hope, and action. It is a groundbreaking practice that for years has proven an invaluable tool for senior public leaders, community organizers, students, and leaders across a range of organizations.

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Public Narrative is comprised of live lectures by Harvard Professor Marshall Ganz, peer-learning sessions led by skilled facilitators, and one-on-one coaching sessions with public narrative experts.

In the first seven sessions of the program, you will learn to craft your own public narrative and coach others to help craft theirs. You will then learn how to use public narrative to create an empathetic bridge that enables others to respond to urgent challenges of loss, difference, power and change in your organization, your community, or among your constituency.


During Public Narrative you will gain skills that include:

  • How to craft your public narrative
  • How to connect your story to that of your community to motivate commitment to a shared purpose and call to action
  • How to analyze the role of narrative in moments of critical change and use tools to enable others’ agency
  • How to increase your capacity to lead others using the public narrative framework

Application Information

Take part in an invigorating and interactive live online program that still allows you time to balance day-to-day responsibilities. View a sample program schedule from a previous session. Note that module titles, speakers, and sequence may change.


“Public Narrative is essential learning for anyone seeking to make a difference in this world. The program offering is very rich, and Professor Ganz is an inspirational, wise, and expert teacher. This program changed my life.”

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Hear from Professor Marshall Ganz

Professor Marshall Ganz discusses his online program, Public Narrative: Leadership, Storytelling, and Action

Faculty & Research

Marshall Ganz Photo

Marshall Ganz

Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society

“Many insights have emerged from my personal experiences of learning, utilizing, and teaching others Public Narrative as part of my research. Great questions and insights surfaced - especially on the value Public Narrative can add as a ‘leadership practice for leading change through action’ within communities such as mine (African) that have a very deep and rich tradition of storytelling.

If you are passionate about leading change by inspiring others to cultivate the courage to enable change through action, this course is for you.”

- Kerubo Abuya, PhD
Activist & Change Leadership Scholar-Practitioner

Story of Self Across Cultures

Professor Marshall Ganz explores the power and perception of the "story of self" across cultures.

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