Purpose-Driven Storytelling for your Business


The story of your business will be told—whether you tell it or not. In order to avoid customer misunderstanding and market confusion, responsible businesses must learn what makes a story “stick” for an audience. Over the course of this class, Michael and Dave will use a “cooking model” to break storytelling down in a way that leaves business owners and marketers equipped to build their stories one ingredient at a time. Storytelling is the way we create meaning in all aspects of our lives, and this course will help you determine how to use that innate framework to bring life to your organization.


Clarifying your business’ story will help you….

  • How to educate potential clients about what differentiates your organization
  • Recruit staff with the knowledge of what kind of employees your culture needs
  • Establish buy-in from internal stakeholders and develop essential story tools for key personnel
  • Make clear decisions about potential new avenues for your business
  • Develop dynamic marketing materials that speak to your audience’s needs
  • Focus your energy by knowing when to say no to partnerships or projects that are not a good fit for your goals


Probably the best professional development course I have taken at UW.” – Director of Marketing, Mirus Bio

Very engaging presentation filled with so much fascinating and useful information.” –Betsy Francoeur, Marketing Content Specialist with Information Technology Professionals

So much information – loved the neurobiology connection!” Jo Temte, Wishing Tree Studio

Loved the concept of brand therapy to help start implementing storytelling for branding our company. Loved this “outside the box” class offering! Very thought-provoking and helpful for me to improve our business branding and marketing” – Brenda Fritz, Mobius Holdings, Inc.


Location: Grainger Hall, UW-Madison

Schedule: 8:30 am- 11:00 am

Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Click to Register
or call 608-262-3909 to register

Fees: $120


Registration policy: Payment will be required at time of registration. You must have either a credit card or valid UW-Madison funding string to be able to register.

Cancellation policy: If you cancel before the program begins, there is a $25 cancellation fee. If you cancel after the program begins you will be charged for the full program fee. To cancel, call registration at 608-262-3909. If there is inclement weather, please call 608-263-2221 for a recorded message after 6:30 am for day classes or after 3:30 pm for night classes.

Disability Statement: Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at sbdc@bus.wisc.edu to request accommodations.


Dave Neelsen

Dave Neelsen, Executive Producer
Dave Neelsen, co-founder of StoryFirst Media, has had a career filled with helping clients, from small business to fortune 500 markets connecting with their audiences. An innovative approach to brand storytelling offered new power in a world with a new consumer mindset. Along with his filmmaker son, they launched StoryFirst Media as a brand storytelling and video agency.


Mike Neelsen

Mike Neelsen, Director
A learned storyteller and filmmaker, Michael Neelsen has been writing and directing cinematic content for over a decade. He is the co-founder of StoryFirst Media. Michael directed the company’s first feature documentary, Last Day at Lambeau, which enjoyed wide acclaim on the film festival circuit. He is also the moderator of the film discussion podcast Reel Fanatics.