The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: The Art of the Narrative with Kate Hilton ‘99

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Read a student's account of our most recent session in our Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information, about MLDP, click here.

This winter’s Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) continued to challenge and expand participants’ notions of leadership during its third session on Tuesday, January 22nd. The session, entitled “The Art of the Public Narrative,” was led by Kate Hilton ’99. Hilton received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School where she studied public leadership. She is currently the Director of ReThink Health, and a Principal in Practice for the Leading Change Project at Harvard University.

Hilton began Tuesday’s MLDP session by delivering a personal narrative. She described herself while drawing on the connections she has with Dartmouth students, and then asked participants to agree to fully engage in the forthcoming session. After sharing her own public narrative, Hilton explained how public narratives allow leaders to recruit others to join them in action. They consist of a story of self (one’s personal call to leadership), a story of us (drawing on shared values and shared experiences), and finally, a story of now (a strategy of action). After explaining the theory behind the public narrative, Hilton asked participants to explore our individual calls to public leadership. She emphasized that a public narrative is “not story for the sake of story. It’s story for the sake of motivating people to action.”

With that in mind, participants divided into small groups to develop, share, and critique our own public narratives. In doing so, we learned how powerful emotions can be in highlighting one’s values and in calling people to action based on our shared values. One MDLP participant, Sophia Vazquez ’14, summed up the takeaway point nicely: “Believe in the story that you’re telling. It’s your story; so you’ve got to own it and tell it like it is.” 

-Celeste Winston ’14, Winter 2013 MLDP Student Participant

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