The inaugural What’s Your Story? Academy


The inaugural What’s Your Story? Academy workshop was held over three days from 17 to 19 October in Johannesburg, at the UCT Business School in Sandton.

The first cohort of 25 delegates hold a range of different leadership positions in a variety of organisations, including academic institutions, corporate companies, non-profit organisations, and faith-based organisations, as well as independent consultants. While the majority of the delegates were South African, there were also people from the USA, the Netherlands, Peru and the Bahamas.

“The intent with the Master Trainer’s Workshop was to equip facilitators and practitioners in the country, and beyond, to take the What’s Your Story? methodology further than we as Heartlines can reach,” said academy director, Pamela Kgare.

The three-day programme introduced the methodology behind What’s Your Story? – which is centred on personal storytelling – and provided an immersive experience of the programme for the delegates. It also gave the participants an opportunity to learn how to facilitate What’s Your Story? sessions with seasoned What’s Your Story? facilitators Nevelia Moloi and Quinton Pretorius guiding them through the process in a very practical way.

“I was hoping people would feel comfortable and that as many barriers could be removed [as possible] so they could experience what it feels like to share their stories but also hear somebody else’s story in a way that’s authentic and real,” said Pretorius.

Programme outline

The focus on the first day was to establish an understanding of the methodology of What's Your Story? This involved a thorough examination of its inception and evolution, with input from various speakers. The Heartlines research team also presented their insights and discoveries related to the practical implementation of What’s Your Story? in diverse contexts. The day ended with a private screening of the Heartlines film, Beyond the River, for the academy delegates.

The second day of the programme brought with it the opportunity to delve into the three key pillars of What’s Your Story?: Ask. Listen. Tell, and how they can be entrenched into organisational culture. Practical activities included mapping out personal stories and sharing aspects of them within a safe, contained group setting. The day ended with a group dinner that allowed delegates the opportunity to continue conversations that had begun during the day.

The third and final day focused on reflection and application, and included more on the practical aspects of implementing the methodology, with breakaway groups from specific sectors workshopping how they could use What’s Your Story? in their space.

One of the delegates said that the experience had been beneficial for them and was “very relevant to create a climate of trust and understanding”. Another said that “What’s Your Story? is an incredible way to be able to bridge … gaps [and] break down misconceptions about one another and to build authentic relationships.”

A delegate also commented that What’s Your Story? “is a tool that needs to be rolled out in every onboarding process, any team and organisation”.

Click here to see photos from the inaugural event.

Email wys@heartlines.org.za for more information, or to be kept informed about future What’s Your Story? Academy events.

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At Heartlines, the Centre for Values Promotion, we believe in the power of story and positive values to touch hearts and transform behaviour.


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03 May 2022|Dr Garth Japhet

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