Haberman to talk about the power of storytelling in SJMC’s Taylor lecture

For thousands of years, storytelling has endured as a form of sharing experiences and shaping lives, in real time and across generations.

Fred Haberman

Fred Haberman

It prevails because it’s still a powerful way to inspire movements and drive social change, even when the old stories are replaced by new ones, says Fred Haberman, co-founder and chief executive of the Minneapolis-based agency Haberman | Modern Storytellers for Pioneers. An old story was that the earth was flat, but the new story is that we live on a round planet spinning through a vast universe, he explains.

“A great story can influence millions, inspire scientific innovations, topple governments and ultimately change the course of history,” Haberman says. “The most powerful of them can rock our world, causing us to question our foundational beliefs, our purpose in life and how we fit into the universe.”

In a talk at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this month, Haberman, who is described as a social entrepreneur, will share his own story and challenge listeners to think about what new stories interests them and how they can use them to shape, create and influence positive change.

Haberman’s lecture, “The New Story,” is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, in the James L. Hoyt Multimedia Classroom, 2195 Vilas Communication Hall, 821 University Ave., on the UW-Madison campus.

Haberman, a UW-Madison graduate with a degree in history, founded the agency with his wife, Sarah Bell Haberman, also a UW-Madison graduate, to help nonprofit organizations and new and growing companies bring about change. Haberman is the grandson of the late UW-Madison communication arts Professor Frederick Haberman, who created and taught the course, “Great Speakers and Speeches.”

His agency works with such clients as Volvo Cars of North America, Annie’s Homegrown, Earthbound Farms and Organic Valley to help them grow while also contributing to their communities and the world. He has also helped spark movements, such as the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships and the trend of employer-sponsored gardens. Haberman is on the verge of launching an aquaponic urban farm in a former Hamm’s brewery in East St. Paul to create a local food supply for people who live and work in the area.

Haberman’s visit to UW-Madison is supported by the Robert and Judith Taylor Journalism Fund and is sponsored by the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication invites a communications professional to UW-Madison each year to deliver a free, public lecture honoring Robert Taylor, a journalism professor and university official who passed away in 2002.

— Stacy Forster