We live within stories, some personal, some cultural.

Some we choose and some we inherit.

Some narratives empower; some don’t.

Our culture is full of narratives about government, many of which don’t do justice to the institution.  Doug Nathan is on a mission to change that, and a first step is the symposium he is organizing, “Expanding the Narrative,”  a conference which will happen May 24th in Seattle.

Sponsored by the King County Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution, the conference will highlight personal stories of government and public service.

Some gems from the interview:

We as government workers and people who care about government, need to start sharing the stories about what works in government….

“It’s going to take a lot of stories to expand the narrative into a more complete picture of what government can and is doing for us.”

 Listen to these reflections on the show:

What is the common narrative about government and why it needs to change.

Using personal stories about government as a way to support systems change.

Why focusing on the positive stories that happen at the individual level can reinforce and support what can happen at the systems level.

How government could improve operations and build partnerships by sharing more stories that inform and explain about its work.

Why exploring our stories is such a powerful tool in conflict management.

How Doug, who began his career as a poet and writer, has been able to bring these skills to his more recent work in leadership development and conflict management.


And the full episode:



Or listen to episode 49 in iTunes (and please leave a rating and review!)

 About my guest

Doug Nathan

Doug works with the King County Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution as a mediator, facilitator, trainer, coach and story catcher. His collaborative approach helps people learn from their differences so that they can face their challenges together, discover new options and move into the future with confidence.

He also uses the power of poetry and storytelling to teach leadership.

The Show Notes

Find about more about the “Expanding the Narrative: Personal Stories of Government and Public Service” Symposium here.  It’s open to friends of government as well as government employees.

You can contact Doug at or 206.263-2434.

Or, visit his website:


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