Storytelling Institute

The Storytelling Institute of South Mountain Community College


Liz Warren

Liz Warren

Liz is a fourth-generation Arizonan and the director and co-founder of the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. The Institute received the Maricopa Community Colleges 2016 Diversity Award and the 2014 New Times Best of Phoenix award for “Best Place to Learn to Tell Tales.” Her textbook, The Oral Tradition Today: An Introduction to the Art of Storytelling, is used at colleges nationwide. Her recorded version of The Story of the Grail received a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award and a Storytelling World Award. She serves as a storytelling coach for Gannett’s nationwide Storytellers Project, and in July 2014, she received the Oracle Award for Service and Leadership from the National Storytelling Network. In September 2014, she was named in the New Times list of 100 Creatives in Phoenix. The Arizona Humanities Council awarded her the Dan Schilling Award as the 2018 Humanities Public Scholar, and in 2019, the American Association of Community Colleges awarded her the Dale Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award. She is the author of two publications from the Vitalyst Health Foundation: a policy brief, Storytelling as a Catalyst for Systems Change, and a workbook, Storytelling for Resident Leaders.  


Travis May

Travis May

Travis has been with South Mountain Community College for over 19 years and is currently a faculty member in the Storytelling Institute, with a specific focus on storytelling for workforce development. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Arizona State University, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Development from Grand Canyon University. 

Travis enjoys incorporating storytelling as a means for engaging learners in cultural and community awareness and has led the Institute’s connection with ASU’s Changemaker initiative. He has also worked to create faculty development coursework in storytelling for Maricopa Community Colleges and designed online teaching models for various external organizations. He is currently curating the “I’m Telling” podcast for the Institute as well. Travis enjoys being a storytelling professor and feels storytelling is more than just sharing stories: it is a way to express ideas, develop passions, and connect with others.

Posts, papers, and news

    Corporate Training Blog

    Three Things You Need to Know About Storytelling

    Storytelling is a great way to connect with others. It can help your organization identify its mission and values, hear directly from employees, and give your customers a personal connection to your company. With storytelling, we’re getting away from the idea of relying on transaction-centered relationships with customers and, instead, focusing on building human relationships through human stories.