Case Studies




Service: Transforming Talks

Event: Masterminds

Client: The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University Masterminds
Bigfoot and Buckeyes
When Sherry McNary arrived at The Ohio State University as Stewardship Manager in 2016, her charge was to write stewardship guidelines to recognize and celebrate donors who had given gifts of named, endowed faculty positions.
McNary’s inspiration for a new program derived from an unlikely source: Bigfoot. A colleague who’d produced a film about Sasquatch chasers gave a short talk at the Columbus Idea Foundry. That evening sparked the idea to produce talks as part of a new stewardship program.
Through her peer network at Ohio State, McNary discovered a TED-style event facilitated by The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, called WEXMED Live. It was an ideal model for what McNary aspired to create. So she connected with Danna Grant, who oversees WEXMED Live. That event had been in place several years, and was highly respected by university officials, speakers and attendees. Grant divulged the secret to its success. Articulation.
McNary contacted Ruth Milligan. And “Masterminds. Short talks. Big Ideas.” was born.
The Difference Between an A and an A+
“Masterminds would not be what it is without Ruth, Meagan Buren and Articulation,” McNary said.
All speakers are required to work with the Articulation coaches. Why? Because McNary says “it’s the difference between an A and an A+.”
Articulation’s work with Masterminds falls under its Transforming Talks service– a proven platform and development tool for showcasing any organization’s breakthrough ideas and talent by leveraging the TED-style approach. The benefits go far beyond the immediate gratification of a great presentation or hosting a single event. Clients witness transformational behaviors in the way presenters and leaders talk about their mission-critical work and how the experience sparks curiosity, encourages collaboration and strengthens culture.
Such is the case with Masterminds.
“Articulation has the unique ability to transform, for example, a world-renowned surgeon back into a student, and then into a superstar speaker. In essence, they coach people to distill their life’s work into a powerful, heartfelt 10-minute talk with mass appeal, inspiring audiences of thousands. Working with Articulation becomes a transformative and life-changing experience for each speaker, their audiences that day, whom they practice with, and certainly for me and my team,” McNary said.
Simply put, Articulation teaches people how to speak so that others will listen and care.
A Strong Collaboration
The fourth Masterminds will take place in 2019. Through the years, the event has enjoyed continual growth, expanding from 75 guests to more than 200. And the event is now a series on WOSU-TV.
Survey results clearly demonstrate the success. Program ratings consistently receive top marks. In fact, one Masterminds talk garnered the highest audience survey rating ever at an Ohio State event– a 96. Anecdotal feedback from donors also is also overwhelmingly positive. A multiple time Masteminds’ attendee said, “This event is one of the best things OSU has ever done. I felt engaged, connected and inspired. To have that collection of talks in one place was remarkable.”
What’s next? McNary envisions an even broader event, possibly taking Masterminds to the Oval, with crowds of students and faculty. When it happens, Articulation will likely be there.
“Ruth and her team at Articulation are fantastic partners for Masterminds. Their speaker coaching services and strong collaboration were essential to the success of this engaging academic event, which showcases Ohio State’s best and brightest faculty. Our speakers are completely prepared, and they deliver diverse, interesting and relevant talks. It is rare to see such professionalism and expertise. I highly recommend working with Ruth and look forward to continued success and partnership with Articulation on future Masterminds events!”