Dr. Michelle Janning

Author, Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Trainer

LOCATION - Walla Walla, Washington

Dr. Michelle Janning is an internationally acclaimed sociologist and award-winning speaker, author, educator, researcher, and consultant whose work centers on helping teams harness the power of empathy, metaphor, and play to enhance workplace culture and productivity. She accomplishes this as a certified LEGO® Serious Play® facilitator, where storytelling and helpful observation reveal insights about collaboration, communication, wellness, and alignment of values and actions for teams of any size, industry, and level of familiarity with brick play. Dr. Janning has published six books, more than 50 articles, essays, and reports, and has been featured in media stories about design, relationships, and social processes in the New York TimesCosmopolitanNBC News, the AtlanticReal Simple, and the BBC, among others. An engaging and humorous communicator and innovative thinker, Janning’s extensive experience teaching and speaking to a diverse array of organizations and groups across the country, as well as her ability to effortlessly combine rigorous methods with playful engagement, gives her the ability to connect with any audience. If you’re wondering whether your team, industry, or goal is right for this method, the answer is yes!

Popular Programs

  • Build a Culture of Collaboration
  • Connect People in an AI World
  • Uncover your Team’s Future Story

Professional Summary

Michelle Janning, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, is uniquely positioned to inspire audiences to think in new ways about how metaphor, storytelling, and play may reveal deep insights about team dynamics, values, and communication processes. A tenured full professor who holds an endowed chair in the social sciences at Whitman College, Dr. Janning has taught thousands of students and held prestigious academic positions in three countries. Outside of the classroom, she has shepherded multiple organizations through successful strategic planning and system redesign and has inspired audiences in 50+ keynote presentations to rethink how roles and relationships connect to design and the built environment, including how we relate to material objects such as toys and furniture. As an expert in design thinking, qualitative and quantitative “people research” methods, and social patterns that shape consumer style and lifestyle preferences, Dr. Janning is equipped to work with any organization wishing to leverage observations about teams in order to create inclusive and collaborative work cultures and community well-being. As a certified LEGO® Serious Play® facilitator, Dr. Janning not only has a backpack full of toy bricks, but she also has a full repertoire of the latest and most compelling research findings about social groups and effective workplace cultures. And she always brings boundless energy, compassionate empathy, and ample doses of humor!

“Dr. Michelle Janning is a fabulous speaker with a strong ability to engage audiences! ...she wove her research into real life stories that captivated the audience.”

Ellie Cross | Museum of Northwest Art

Areas of Expertise

  • Author
  • Business Consultant
  • Customer Experience
  • Diversity Equity and Inclusion
  • Female Speakers
  • Interior Design
  • Keynote Speaker
  • Project Management
  • Relationships
Lynne Jensen Award Winning Speaker

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