Best-Selling Author & “Terrible Thanks for Asking” Podcast Host
Nora McInerny specializes in difficult conversations: death, loss, illness, mental health, trauma, change, and how to move forward with grief with resilience, joy, love and humor. From having the 4th most popular TED Talk of 2019 to her work as the creator and host of the podcast Terrible Thanks for Asking, she regularly dives into the topics most people avoid with refreshing candor, heart and humor. In doing so, she draws upon her own story of profound loss: During six hellish weeks in 2014, Nora miscarried her second baby, lost her Dad to cancer and became a widow at age 31 when her husband died from brain cancer. In the ensuing years, Nora became a "reluctant grief specialist," bestselling memoirist, and founder dedicated to shining the light on the dark things in life with wit, humor and heart. Speaking to audiences ranging from business schools and corporations to community and healthcare organizations, Nora uses her personal story about living through loss, grief, change and new beginnings to engage with audiences on a deeply personal and universally human level. Read More >
TED: We Don’t “Move On” From Grief. We Move Forward with It.
Walk In My Shoes
What's the Worst that Could Happen
On Surviving Grief | Tam Talk
Timing is Nothing at All
It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too)
Expanding on her viral TED Talk (one of the top five for 2019), Nora shares a highly nuanced understanding of what it means to live with grief (hint: it’s more than *just* crying!). In a talk that is deftly humorous, Nora will guide audiences through the impact of grief on the brain, body and interpersonal relationships, and how the language we use around death and loss can help grievers move forward with their grief into a life truly lived.
There’s nothing funny about brain cancer. But Nora and her late husband laughed all the time during his treatment. No one wants to be just another sad story, and even the most tragic moments in life have an element of humor. In her talks around humor, grief and loss, Nora walks caretakers and healthcare providers through a more complex version of the patient experience, inviting audiences to laugh and cry alongside her, and reminds us of the humanity within the human body.
Why do we ask “how are you?” when we don’t want to know the real answer? And why do we always say “fine” even when the truth is that things are anything but fine? In her work as the host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Nora shares the universal truths that make loss and suffering less lonely. Utilizing stories from her award-winning show, she invites audiences to consider a less isolating, more honest answer to the question “how are you?” An answer that builds empathy and connection within the most human of experiences: suffering.
Before it became a popular buzzword, resilience was an adjective used to describe goldfish or tires, something that didn’t need much taking care of. Even the dictionary says that resilience is about the “ability to return to the original shape.” Isn’t that a little ridiculous? How can we possibly be expected to return to our original shape when our life falls apart? Don’t we want to allow ourselves to be altered by disruption, setbacks change? Isn’t adaptation — a true change — something to celebrate in a rapidly changing world and workplace? In this talk, Nora uses stories from her own life and her podcast to introduce a new definition for resilience, one that celebrates the fact that change is the result of growth. Growth hurts, but not as much as it hurts to stay the same.
We spend more than half our waking lives at work, so why is work such a hard place to be when life is hard? Presenteeism — employees who are at work physically but not mentally — costs the US economy 150 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. And as an employee? It’s not much fun, either. In this talk, Nora will walk audiences through common employee experiences, and how creating a more empathetic work environment can help improve outcomes for businesses and their employees.
Nora was our afternoon keynote speaker at our annual CSO Professional Day event. She was natural! Warm, engaging, exciting and fun in her presence, and her messaging was on-point. Our theme was Grit & Grace; Nora spoke about her life experiences and gave the attendees key takeaways. She brought humor and pain, to which the attendees could relate and take to heart.
“Not only was she engaging, funny, relevant, articulate and authentic, but she went above-and-beyond to connect her message to the mission of our hospital. On top of which, she was suffering from a concussion and still managed to make the entire room laugh repeatedly at 8 in the morning! Nora and her team were great to work with leading up to and during the event. We are grateful for all Nora did to make our event a success, and we highly recommend her. I still hear from participants about how great Nora was, and I'd be happy to recommend her anytime.”
"Nora was the keynote speaker at the one hundred, an annual fundraiser for the Mass General Cancer Center honoring 100 individuals and groups making a difference in the fight against cancer. She shared her story with more than 800 advocates, volunteers, caregivers, researchers, philanthropists, and other guests – many of whom have been personally affected by cancer. She captivatingly laid out her experiences as our attendees laughed and cried. Months later, we still talk about Nora’s keynote and how it left all of us with such a profound sense of how important it is to value each and every moment. In addition to her remarkable ability to connect and engage with each and every person in a room, Nora is extremely professional to work with and was intent on delivering an appropriate speech for our audience. I can’t recommend her enough!"
"Thank you for the perfect blend of nostalgia-drenched humor, wit, and heartbreak, Nora."
“This story will compel you to both laugh and cry, just as the title promises. May we all bring Nora’s honesty, passion and hope to our lives.”
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