Sandy McDonald

Storytelling Trainer

Sandy went to art school and did graphic design for 30 years, before she realised it wasn’t making her happy. So, she did what every good storyteller does. She reinvented herself..

What work do you do?

Storytelling training.

When you were at school did you know what you wanted to do?

I thought I wanted to be a graphic designer.

How did you get started?

I went to art school and practiced graphic design for 30 years, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do in the end.

What makes you feel powerful at work?

I love helping people discover their stories.

What was your biggest fail along the way?

I’ve had so many failures it’s difficult to chart them all. Perhaps my biggest failure was sticking with something (graphic design) that made me so unhappy for so long. I wish I hadn’t been so scared to let it go much earlier. I didn’t realise that it was possible to completely reinvent yourself back then. It is, and it is exciting to do it.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

I think doing a TEDx talk. If you had said to me when I was younger that I could stand on a stage and tell a thousand people my story, I would have said you were hallucinating. But the reality is I was on that stage because I had a great story to tell and that is actually the biggest accomplishment.

Who helped you get to where you are today?

My family. My husband and children have been my greatest supporters. But also business mentors. I have never been afraid to ask people for help.

How has technology changed your industry in the last 5-10 years?

Oh wow! Cannot count the ways. What I’ve been doing over the last decade has been entirely reliant on learning from the internet. Everything I do today is because I’ve scoured the Internet for the right stories then formulated them into my training, along with my personal stories to help others learn how to tell contextualised, purpose-driven stories, that will engage, inspire and motivate others to do good.

Do you have any advice for girls thinking about pursuing a career in your industry?

Storytelling belongs in all careers. To be a great storyteller, you need first to have complete clarity as to why you are telling stories, what is the purpose for them? Then you need to be curious to find out what the people you are telling the stories to need and want. How can you help them? Each story should have a clear intention, what do you want people to think, feel or do when they hear it? Then start charting your individual value. You have loads of it. How can you use it to serve others? Everything we do and experience is a story. Start collecting your stories before you forget them, as you never know when one day your story could help someone else.

In your wildest dreams, what would you love to do every single day and get paid for it?

I would love to have a room full of people, young and old, every day and help them uncover their stories, see how they could use them to fuel the energy to do great work in the world.

More about Sandy’s business –

Industry: Publishing
Job: Author