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Ira Koretsky, CEO of The Chief Storyteller®, has been in the world of public speaking and business storytelling since 1981, when he was a New York State high school debate champion. His debate coach, Mr. Height, helped his teammates and him understand the power of effective communication and understand the power of effective delivery–they went hand-in-hand.

Some 30 years later, NOTHING has fundamentally changed.
To be successful, we will always need effective communication… between people.

Ira has been coaching, mentoring, training, teaching, and consulting on communication, public speaking, and storytelling in more than a dozen countries (testimonials, customers, success stories, video clips). He performed improvisational comedy with ComedySportz San Jose and ComedySportz DC for over 10 years. Also, he teaches public speaking, storytelling, data storytelling, and communication at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business to about 70 eager honors students each year. Their final is a five-minute TED-style Talk on a topic of the student’s choosing.

Ira customizes your keynote. He customizes your content, exercises, action items, tools, etc. to match your culture and learning objectives. To learn more about his style and approach to delivering engaging and actionable keynote sessions, please visit the Meeting Planner page as well as view his video clips from past keynote and workshop presentations.

people inspired
programs delivered
countries with customers
improv comedy performances


  1.   You to the Power of Story™:  Awaken the Storytelling Giant in You
  2.  It’s ALWAYS About the Story:  5 Powerful Strategies Learned from the World’s Greatest Brands
  3.  The Most Important Story in Your Life, is the One You Tell Yourself
  4.  Speak Like TED:  5 Strategies to Become as Inspiring and Memorable as the World’s Top Speakers
  5.  Brand to the Power of Story™:  Why Stories are Your Best Brand Assets
  6.  Treat Everyone Like a CEO™:  Inspiring Your Teams to Be the Best
  7.  Data to the Power of Story™:  Paint by Numbers to Craft Compelling Data Stories

I was in Ira’s session at VETS2015 and could not leave the room! Everyone hung on to every word. I said to myself, “I need to get Ira to speak at my other conferences!” We did. Ira was fantastic, again! Attendees hung on every word (again). He delivered his messages on better communications and storytelling while challenging them in a good way. Ira ended his keynote with his “Treat Everyone Like A CEO” exercise — a BIG hit. To see 950 people laughing, smiling, and communicating created a very positive atmosphere and set the tone for the rest of the conference. Ira hit “a home run.”

Earl MorganDepartment of Energy, Conference Manager

When I was the executive director at IWPA, Ira rocked the house at our annual conference. When I transitioned to NWPCA, Ira was my first and only choice for our sales-themed annual leadership conference. Ira’s keynote on blending storytelling and selling inspired our members. He challenged them to think deliberately (his catch phrase) about how they message and communicate their brand stories. I knew he would deliver another fantastic program, and he did.

Brent McClendonPresident/CEO, National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA)

I love to start out a conference with a strong keynote speaker – and you certainly filled that bill well. I also love it when my friends make me look good – so thank you for that as well. You left our conference attendees with some great takeaway information and I kept hearing about it throughout the rest of the conference. Truly what you had to say struck a nerve.

Penny PompeiNational Executive Director, Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE)

In all the years as executive director, I cannot remember watching a keynote from start to finish. I’m typically handling any number of conference-related questions or issues. For Ira’s keynote, I stayed the entire time. His warmth, humor, and passion engaged the audience members from the first few words. Ira energized the audience with a variety of insightful approaches to being stronger communicators and better business storytellers. Six months later, our members are still talking about him.

Torryn Brazell, CAE, CMPExecutive Director, National Grants Management Association (NGMA)

Thanks so much for your keynote at the annual meeting. You created a huge buzz. And without buzz, no one can do good business.

John BachnerExecutive Director, Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA)

It was more than a keynote, it was a kickoff. Ira excited our group with new ways of looking at our industry. I loved that he engaged our members quickly and fully. It's rare for us to have the entire audience participating. Ira had us out of our seats with relevant and fun exercises. Our members were talking about Ira's keynote throughout the conference and have continued to do so. It was a great start to our event.

Brent McClendonExecutive Vice President, International Wood Products Association (IWPA)

This is the first time in my 20-plus year career that a keynote speaker has ever called me to learn about what I do.

Tim L.United States Federal Government