Standing in Your Authentic Voice…Where Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Begins

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training: It’s everywhere, thank God. What took so long? Nothing’s more important than for each person to be seen, known, and valued for their authentic self. But how do we get there? Sure, we can define the terms, we can discuss the how-to’s of deep listening, and unpack the research on empathy. And we should. But there’s a first step I fear we’re missing, and it’s a simple, open-ended question that invites each person to step forth with their authentic voice: What’s your story?

Don’t miss this intriguing
webinar from HRDQ-U

Don’t miss this intriguing webinar from HRDQ-U

Discovering and Standing in Your Authentic Voice

The power of story: it’s everywhere. From marketing and branding initiatives to every leadership webinar, we’re told to know our stories. But that’s not enough: we need a guide. Most of us don’t know how to uncover our authentic voices. The result? We spew facts and figures when meeting someone new or trying to sell a product even though we know story is 22 times more effective in forming connections. Tell me about the hurdles you’ve faced, the times you’ve turned back and forged ahead, the times you’ve persevered, and the times you have not. Now we’re getting somewhere.

But I’ve gotten ahead of myself: you cannot convey those stories until you know them yourself. And this is where the Authentic Voice method comes in: I teach people how to meet themselves on the page, how to record those stories from emotion, not from intellect. I guide people to reveal not what happened to them, but how they felt about it and the effect of the journey. If we choose to share these stories, we can take understanding and empathy to unparalleled levels.

So the next time you’re asked to attend a DE&I training, I hope you’ll reply, “Yes. Absolutely. I’d love to.” But can we each begin by answering the simple question, “What’s your story?” A note of caution: just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. But there’s no more valuable question. After all, if I don’t know the forces that have shaped me, what foundation do I have to step into your shoes?


Headshot of Jennifer Dohr
Jennifer Dohr

Jennifer Dohr is an award-winning educator who left the classroom in 2022 to found Authentic Voice. Drawing on twenty-five years as a high school English teacher, she now guides adults on the journey of acknowledging their unique life experiences so that they can forge authentic relationships with the self and others. She is unconditionally committed to individual growth – personally and professionally – as each of us answers the question, “What’s my story?”

Jennifer facilitates an extraordinary experience and incorporates poetry into her work as the best way to access deeper levels of discourse and self-awareness. Jennifer has worked closely with students, faculty, and administrators at Harvard-Westlake Schoolwhere she was awarded the David Justin Rascoff Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching, and The Archer School for Girls, where she curated her scaffolded journaling approach to supporting students through the process of writing about their lives. Some of Jennifer’s most touching stories from the classroom are featured in Time to Teach, Time to Reach: Expert Teachers Give Voice to the Power of Relational Teaching, by Nat DamonShe earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English and creative writing from Allegheny College and a Master’s Degree in Education from Lesley College.

Connect with Jennifer on LinkedInFacebookInstagram and at

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