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Nora  McInerny

Nora McInerny

Best-Selling Author & “Terrible Thanks for Asking” Podcast Host


"Nora was AMAZING! We had such good feedback from the attendees about her. She had folks laughing, some crying, and all left with positive feelings about her presentation. She had several folks come up to her afterwards to convey how excited they were to hear her speak since they had listened to her podcast. She connected well with the nurses! I am so pleased that she was our keynote this year! I hope she had a positive reception from the event as well. She is just a lovely human overall.”

"Her relatable and funny style is honest and real and hit the most important points about grief & resilience."

A writer, whose pieces have appeared in the New York Times, TIME Magazine and the Washington Post, 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 >

Nora connects with millions through her authentic and honest portrayal of shared human experiences in her work. She is author of the critically acclaimed memoirs It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too), The Hot Young Widows Club: Lessons on Survival from the Front Lines of Grief and No Happy Endings: A Memoir. In her latest book Bad Vibes Only: (and Other Things I Bring to the Table), Nora introduces us to her mind and her world while inviting us to more closely observe our own. Her award-winning podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking has been praised for its ability to "continuously, unapologetically, ferociously plows into subjects most people are too uncomfortable to touch" (The Atlantic). Nora’s essays have been published in Elle, Cosmopolitan, Time, Slate and Vox. She also founded the non-profit organization Still Kickin, which provides grants to help others in need of medical financial support and the Hot Young Widows Club, which comforts and supports those who have lost significant others.

Though Nora addresses challenging and uncomfortable topics, she does so with a light touch. Her disarming humor and wit break down the barriers that often isolate people who are going through adversity and change. Her unforgettable talks inspire audiences to face and conquer any obstacle — with the strength that comes from knowing that we are not alone. As one client said, "Months later, we are still talking 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." Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TED: We Don’t “Move On” From Grief. We Move Forward with It.

Virtual Keynote: It’s Going To Be Okay (Eventually)

Walk In My Shoes

What's the Worst that Could Happen

Recovering Perfectionist

On Surviving Grief | Tam Talk

Timing is Nothing at All

It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too)

Speech Topics

Thanks For Asking, Better than Fine: The Impact of Trauma on Mental Health

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 not always fine? What are the three words to avoid if you want to connect with someone, or more importantly, with yourself? There’s an ongoing mental health crisis- and the invisibility of grief makes it that much harder to acknowledge. 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, and how to express what you really need from others in your time of grief. Utilizing stories from her award-winning show, Nora 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: our mental well being.

Moving Forward: A New Take on Living with Grief

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.

Not (Just) a Sad Story: A Patient’s Experience with Cancer, Life & Death

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.

Redefining Resilience

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.

Here But Not Here: The Value of Creating a Supportive Work Environment for Employees in Crisis

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.