Interview with Yamini Naidu, economist turned business storyteller

I think we’re living in a time where there’s such a shift in consciousness, people are very mindful about mindful leadership, about doing the right thing, about the environment, building a business with purpose.
– Yamini Naidu, economist turned business storyteller

For over ten years, Yamini Naidu has been teaching her clients about the power of storytelling in business – counting among them some of the largest multinational corporations, as well as independent small business people seeking to make a bigger impact. “I’m frustrated with how hard it is to influence using just data,” Yamini explained in a recent interview with Slow School intern Georgia Gibson, “So I work with leaders and entrepreneurs, helping them shift from spreadsheets to stories.”

To many of us, business storytelling is a novel concept. Yet once discovered, we begin to understand how critical a role it plays in building conscious businesses. In Yamini’s words, “We tend to drown everybody in information and I think there’s an inspiration famine. Storytelling helps us address that famine.”

In her interview with Georgia around Slow School’s 5 guiding principles, Yamini gave the following insights.


Making a drastic career change is challenging for anyone – it takes courage. “It’s a funny thing,” Yamini mused, “When you make those leaps you don’t realise you’re being brave or courageous. But when you look back you think, ‘Boy that was a big leap to make.’ ” Yamini believes that courage always manifests an action – courage is about what that first action is, what that small step will be, and then taking it. “It’s about personal accountability, responsibility and doing something, even if you’re not sure.”


Co-creation has existed throughout the Slow School community from its earliest days and continues across all of our Slow Dinners, Lunch’n’Learns, Coaching Circles, courses, programs, special events, and co-working days at Slow School HQ. Yamini believes co-creation is essential to yielding better results. “Collaboration can often be limited to a project, or to a finite outcome, but co-creation is much bigger than that. Co-creation respects the wisdom that people bring to the table. It doesn’t view any one person as the expert, but acknowledges that together we can create something that’s bigger than all of us.”


Business is often seen as a dog-eat-dog world, where competition rules and compassion is pushed to the side. Yamini commented, “Competition is a very difficult space. I think compassion is the complete opposite end of that.” She added, “I personally believe nice people and compassionate people do finish first, and it’s the only way to be in the world.”


Connections are easy to make but difficult to maintain, and Yamini struggled to find an answer herself about how to approach this issue. “That’s a difficult question. I think growing your connections has to be around the purpose. That’s why Slow School works: we’re bringing people together but it’s based around a community and around a purpose.” She elaborated, “I know now with social media, there’s all this pressure to buy likes and to trend on Twitter. But there’s a huge and growing need for more face-to-face connection, and more real interaction.”


When asked about the apparent consciousness gap between large and small businesses, Yamini responded, “I think it’s going to become non-negotiable. People are not going to want to engage with businesses that are not able to prove they practise consciousness.” For Yamini, this includes doing right by the planet and each other. She also believes that consciousness is increasingly becoming a driver of consumer decision-making. “I think we’re becoming so aware of our supply chain, because we’re such a connected world. That can bring great power with it, and forces great responsibility on companies.”


Up next for Yamini is helping to facilitate Slow School’s Talk on Purpose program (formerly Is there a TED-style talk in you?). “What I love about this program is how it transforms people,” Yamini explained. “Talk on Purpose will help people get clarity on what their idea is, and give them a compelling way of communicating that idea. I think clarity is often really hard because people have lots of ideas, or they’re very passionate or imaginative.” Talk on Purpose aims to help people from every industry find their purpose and deliver their story in a supportive, creative environment. “It’s such a rich and powerful program,” Yamini continued, “and it’s very unique. It will give people lasting tools they can use in their day-to-day leadership business challenges.”

Information about Slow School’s Talk on Purpose program can be found at:

To learn more about Yamini Naidu and her work visit:


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