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Leadership Lab

Leadership Lab

Preparing students to be 21st century leaders

Featured Program: Stories For Life

August 9 – 13

1 – 3pm ET

What do Elon Musk, Taylor Swift, Walt Disney and Oprah have in common? They are A-level storytellers.

Stories can entertain, teach and inspire. Your story might even get you into your choice college.

You have an amazing story. Now, let’s learn to tell it better.

In this program, students will learn the skills to:

  • Build trust with listeners
  • Tap into emotion and connect with audiences
  • Steal the show during interviews
  • Surprise and delight others
  • Be remembered
  • Inspire action

By the end of the week, you will have polished one 3–5-minute story and all the tools to craft countless more.

How It Works

This workshop is led by Matthew Dicks, best-selling author, full-time teacher, and award-winning storyteller. Students will connect as one large group, use smaller breakout groups to practice new skills, meet guest storytellers, and hone storytelling craft with expert teachers.

Tuition: $500

Enroll Now

Limited Space Available

Leadership Lab Instructors

Matthew Dicks

Teacher, Storyteller, Author

Matthew Dicks is an internationally bestselling author, columnist, blogger, podcaster, playwright, and teacher. He is the author of best-selling novels and Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling. He is the founder and Creative Director of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization.

Alice Siu

Associate Director, Center for Deliberative Democracy | Stanford University

Her research interests in deliberative democracy include what happens inside deliberation, such as examining the effects of socio-economic class in deliberation, the quality of deliberation, and the quality of arguments in deliberation.

What is Leadership Lab?

Rustic Pathways partners with organizations and professionals with a deep level of knowledge on a featured subject. Our first program – The Global Youth Climate Summit – was led by Stanford University Professor Dr. Alice Siu and drew a full cohort of students from 25 countries. Students learned to bridge opinions on challenging issues and design potential solutions to problems.


Past Programs: Global Youth Climate Summit

Global Youth Climate Summit, is a collaboration between the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University, the Rustic Pathways Foundation and Rustic Pathways.

Become part of a global network of students and experts to work individually, in small teams, and as one global group. Design innovative solutions to tackle climate change around the world during this high-energy, hands-on multichannel event.

Course Details

Dates: July 12 – July 23, 2021
Times: Monday-Friday, 3:00pm (ET) lasting for two to three hours each day. There are a mix of live, small group, and independent work, so students can successfully participate and complete the course no matter their time zone.
Eligibility: 7th – 12th grade students, who plan to attend college or university.


Students will:

  • Develop skills needed to lead deliberative discussion and conversation to build consensus
  • Identify challenges, highlight opportunities and brainstorm new approaches to the biggest issues facing our world
  • Build a prototype impact project
  • Earn a 15 hour Community Impact Certificate for their work with international partners
  • Receive a Certificate of Completion

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We Face Big Issues

The world’s biggest problems are dire. Issues like climate change seem tough and abstract. But the challenge is not insurmountable. We’re going to help you listen to the other side, learn about competing viewpoints and understand these critical issues.

Gain Real Perspective

Rustic’s global network of local experts and program leaders will train and facilitate to help drive a stronger learning experiences for all participants.

We Need Big Skills

Learn innovation, problem solving, creativity, collaboration and communication: the key skills of the future. Get beyond the “paint by numbers approach” and apply learning to real challenges. Be inspired and challenged by learning that matters.

Upcoming Online Leadership Labs

Design Across Borders

Led by an expert international design leader, experience the next level of design thinking concepts

Craft Your High School Life

Understand who you are, design what you want to become, and plan how you will get there

Enroll Now

Financial Aid

Rustic Pathways and Stanford University share a commitment to providing comprehensive need-based financial aid to make it possible for a diverse cohort of students to be able to attend our Leadership Labs. We encourage you to apply for a scholarship today.