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Yes, And is Zappos Approved

Zappos, the legendary online retailer, has a recommended book list for both its employees and customers. Our book, “Yes, And,” is listed alongside a bunch of terrific books about business, culture and innovation. So that’s pretty cool.

Improvised Conversations: Using Humor to Talk about Difficult Subjects

Kelly talks to Anne Libera, who runs Second City's Comedy Studies Program with Columbia College, about how humor can be a vehicle to address tricky subject matter and strengthen bonds between people, communities and organizations.

Lennox and Second City Works Collaborating to Make a Difference

Second City Works recently collaborated with client partners Lennox International, GE, and others to produce the newly released Real Biz Shorts Anti-Harassment video content.

All Content Is Local

Regardless of the size of your company, you’ve probably attended a big conference or corporate tour.

How Being Others Focused Can Support A Harassment-Free Workplace

Becca Barish speaks about how concepts core to improvisation can make people feel valued and validated.

Improvisation is ‘yoga for your social skills’

It turns out improv isn’t just about comedy — in fact, it didn’t even start out that way.

M&M'S® Empowers Chicago Teens To Step Up To The Mic In Support Of Fourth Annual Red Nose Day

For the fourth year in a row, M&M'S is partnering with Red Nose Day to help America come together to raise money for children in need.

This Comedy Group and Brand Consultancy are Bringing an Improv Event to Atlanta

When it comes to getting ideas and creativity flowing, sometimes laughter is the best option—at least, that’s what leaders at Kantar and The Second City have found with their new collaborative improv-based event coming to Atlanta.

What The Comedian Learned From B2B Content Marketers

At Second City, we sweat the details in customizing our message to our audience.

Why Every Business Leader Should Study Improv

I have been doing improv since I was in high school and now at the age of 34, I've been teaching improv (to high schools, middle schools and adults alike) for over ten years.

Heartland Dental Introduces Dental Leadership Summit

Effingham-based Heartland Dental, the largest dental support organization in the country, unveiled its newest supported initiative, Launch.

IAHSS 50th Annual Conference and Exhibition Recap and Photos

April 15-18, 2018, marked the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety’s 50th Annual Conference and Exhibition. The event returned to Chicago where the IAHSS was founded in 1968.

Can an INTJ do Improv?

Hopefully I have very few things in common with Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs. But, apparently, we are both INTJs as characterized by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Improv Comedy Helps People With Parkinson's

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. About one million Americans are affected by the neurodegenerative disease, and now, there’s an improv comedy troupe in Naples dedicated to people diagnosed with Parkinson’s and their partners.

Thinking Improv? Do It. My First 18 Magical Hours

Let’s set the stage, so to speak. I recently turned 50, delightfully married for nearly half of those years (yes, same wonderful woman, DeDe, just to be clear) and am a mid-level executive with a large healthcare system.

The Unlikely Skill That Can Make Anyone a Better Leader

Methods used by Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade can increase creativity and deepen bonds with employees.

Kantar And Second City Works Form Joint Venture, Brandstage™

Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP, and one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups, announced today it has formed a joint venture with Second City Works...

Ethics And Compliance: A Method For Insight And Action

Fordham law professor, Alison Taylor, has a great piece in the Harvard Business Review that was just published called 5 Signs Your Organization Might Be Headed for an Ethics Scandal.

Getting Old White Guys To Come To Your Diversity Training

“Where are all the old white guys,” I blurted out, accidentally voicing what I was thinking. Everybody in the room looked at each other and grew quiet. It was a terrible question.

Here’s Why Your Team Building Events Are Falling Flat

‘Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice Everything, and companies large and small are gearing up for the last quarter of the year.

The Path To Creativity

The irony is not lost on me that I am sitting here with writer’s block while I try to write an essay on creativity – and yet, it is this exact problem that has plagued the creative mind from its inception.

Creatively Risk It All

As an artist, you long for the day that you finally find your voice; that unique perspective that lends to your experience, observations and opinions.

The Role Of Laughter & Humor In The Workplace

Because I work for The Second City, a lot of people assume all I do at my job is laugh.

Relinquishing Power: The Hidden Strength Of “I Don’t Know”

So…I went to Harvard. But honestly, I’m not being modest when I say, I’m not that smart.

Judgement-Less Creativity

Remember make believe? As kids, the world is a game.

Cultivating Success

Before I came to the big city, I lived in a small town.

Learn To Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

When I was starting out in Chicago theater I was fortunate to work with some of the city’s more renowned and well respected actors.

Forging Fearlessness

April is Stress Awareness Month, and while stress can loom on the horizon like a rain-cloud or just show up like an uninvited house guest, it’s our awareness of how we handle stress that can be beneficial.

How Funny Makes Money

Many people know that The Second City in Chicago is a factory of funny, turning out some of the kings and queens of comedy since it opened in 1959. But did you know that funny makes money, too?

Improvisation In A Crisis? The Science Says Yes (And)

A colleague sent me the blog first thing this morning. I’m guessing it was sent to inspire or incite – it’s not clear which just yet.

Solving Backwards In A 1000 Words. Can You Picture It?

There’s not a great way to write about success without seeming self-aggrandizing or falsely humble. So, I’ll attempt to relay a recent success by first explaining a project that was so necessarily a group effort, it defies outright ownership.

Lead Change

Unless you’ve been smart enough to live under a rock for the past year, you know we’ve had sweeping changes in our political leadership.

New Partnership With Second City Works And Booth School Of Business

Second City Works, the business-to-business arm of the iconic comedy theater The Second City, announced an academic partnership with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to explore how evidence-based insights and practices of improvisation can enhance...

Black-Ish History Month

It’s been almost 25 years since I started writing sketch comedy and performing improvisation

How To Have More Fun At Work

Some days, work feels like, well, work.

New Year’s Resolution: “Know Your Audience, Know Your Talent”

The turn of a new year is always a wonderful time to take stock of lessons learned from the previous year and to celebrate accomplishments.

5 Ways To Be The Hero Of Meeting Planning

I spent the last six years in sales at one of Chicago’s major convention hotels.

Kelly Leonard | Learning Lessons Through Improv | TEDx Zumbro River

Kelly Leonard is the Executive Vice President of The Second City and the President of Second City Theatricals.

Four Improv Techniques That Can Help You Communicate Better

Have you heard the one about the man who took off his pants in the middle of a corporate training exercise?

An Improviser’s Guide To Finding Insight Or, Five Ways To Get From Data To Insight

There is a moment in the creation of every Second City sketch revue where a scene is in precarious shape: The director and the cast know they have something there, but it’s not there yet.

Improvisation As Habit And Productivity Enabler

We’re taping a podcast this Friday with Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habitand his newest book Smarter Faster Better.

I Went Back To School And Learned How To Open A Door

It’s true – I went back to school and learned to open a door. I promise this is not a metaphor.

Improvisation Is People Centered Rapid Prototyping

Why are millions of dollars spent on advertising campaigns that are not effective?

Ethics And Improvisation

I was prepping for a podcast interview with Erica Salmon Byrne of Ethisphere and Jen Ellison who, in addition to her work directing and teaching at Second City, leads an Ethics in Gaming class at DePaul University.

How Can Comedy Help Biglaw With Issues Related To Gender, Diversity, And Inclusion?

It’s no secret that America’s largest law firms are lacking in diversity.

Teaching That Sticks

My friend sent me an article from the Economist under the banner of “Education Reform.”

Take The F****Ing Note: Performance Feedback

One of the first things you learn as a student at Second City is a simple but terrifically important thing: you need to take the note. We often say, “take the f****ing note,” but the sentiment is the same.

Training Creativity: The Scientists Say Improvise

There are many skeptics out there who scoff at the idea of “training” creativity.

Comedy Is Authenticity Or Astro Teller’s Rollerblades

There is a great piece in Business Insider that my colleague, Steve Kakos, shared with me last week.

America, Tronc And Alexander Camelton Or Really Stupid Brand Marketing Ideas

Last month, Budweiser announced that they would rename their signature beer “America” for the summer of 2016.

Creativity Is Not Magic

I was recently subjected to a “funny” video that was made by a group of creative directors from a Chicago advertising agency. The quotation marks are clearly a give away that the video wasn’t funny at all.

What Deadpool Can Teach Us About Consumer Insights (No, Really)

Sometimes we draw inspiration from unlikely sources and the superficial, the light, and the playful can smack more sense into us than the weighty, the intellectual, and the studied.

Tales From TEDx: Show Don’t Tell

We have a fairly common expression at Second City, “Yeah, we’re like Doctors who smoke.”

Corporate Hecklers And Deafening Silence: How I Totally Misread The Audience

There’s always “that guy”. You know, the person who needs to be the center of attention and often detracts and derails the conversation.

Communication Issues? Meet People Where They Are

Could the key to effectively communicate with diverse audiences lay in the muck of our bad decisions?

I Was Replaced 3 Months Into My New Job

I came to The Second City with a plan. I followed every best practice in the book. And I was totally wrong. I was so wrong in my approach, that I was replaced 3 months into the job.

Just Listen

We had a client call this week for an event Second City Works is doing in New York City in a couple of months.

The Desperate Need For Authenticity

I had the privilege of representing Second City Works (SCW) at the Training 2016 conference this week, and a single 3-minute conversation will stay with me for quite some time.

Jean Paul Sartre And Ringo Or How We Learned To Stop Worrying And Trust The Audience

My favorite Second City show title is Jean Paul Sartre and Ringo from a Chicago Mainstage show in 1987.

The Buggy Whip. VHS Rentals. The Focus Group.

I’m sitting in the back of the Annoyance Theatre on Chicago’s North Side with a plate of hummus and veggies and a bottle of water.

How Improv Can Transform Your Creativity

I picked up the microphone and looked out at the crowd of business people, gathered in neat rows on the top floor of a Chicago skyscraper. They were here for a talk about IDEO and design thinking.

Leading Creative Minds Requires Creative Leadership

End the fun? Nah. But leading creative minds requires creative leadership.

Improv Training Is Making Management Throw Away The Script

The next consultant to visit your office may not be from McKinsey.

How Improv Can Make You A Better Leader

Second City, Chicago’s renowned comedy school and theater, shows that the funny business translates to your own business far more than you’d expect.

Yes, And… 5 More Lessons In Improv-Ing Collaboration And Creativity With Second City

Second City execs Tom Yorton and Kelly Leonard do not claim their new book Yes, And will teach you how to become a world-class comedian.

What Improv Can Teach You About Holding Onto New Hires

Your onboarding program sucks. Here are tips on keeping your new recruits on their toes, from the masters of improv.

Yes, And is Zappos Approved

Zappos, the legendary online retailer, has a recommended book list for both its employees and customers. Our book, “Yes, And,” is listed alongside a bunch of terrific books about business, culture and innovation. So that’s pretty cool.

Improvised Conversations: Using Humor to Talk about Difficult Subjects

Kelly talks to Anne Libera, who runs Second City's Comedy Studies Program with Columbia College, about how humor can be a vehicle to address tricky subject matter and strengthen bonds between people, communities and organizations.

Lennox and Second City Works Collaborating to Make a Difference

Second City Works recently collaborated with client partners Lennox International, GE, and others to produce the newly released Real Biz Shorts Anti-Harassment video content.

All Content Is Local

Regardless of the size of your company, you’ve probably attended a big conference or corporate tour.

How Being Others Focused Can Support A Harassment-Free Workplace

Becca Barish speaks about how concepts core to improvisation can make people feel valued and validated.

What The Comedian Learned From B2B Content Marketers

At Second City, we sweat the details in customizing our message to our audience.

Ethics And Compliance: A Method For Insight And Action

Fordham law professor, Alison Taylor, has a great piece in the Harvard Business Review that was just published called 5 Signs Your Organization Might Be Headed for an Ethics Scandal.

Getting Old White Guys To Come To Your Diversity Training

“Where are all the old white guys,” I blurted out, accidentally voicing what I was thinking. Everybody in the room looked at each other and grew quiet. It was a terrible question.

Here’s Why Your Team Building Events Are Falling Flat

‘Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice Everything, and companies large and small are gearing up for the last quarter of the year.

The Path To Creativity

The irony is not lost on me that I am sitting here with writer’s block while I try to write an essay on creativity – and yet, it is this exact problem that has plagued the creative mind from its inception.

Creatively Risk It All

As an artist, you long for the day that you finally find your voice; that unique perspective that lends to your experience, observations and opinions.

The Role Of Laughter & Humor In The Workplace

Because I work for The Second City, a lot of people assume all I do at my job is laugh.

Relinquishing Power: The Hidden Strength Of “I Don’t Know”

So…I went to Harvard. But honestly, I’m not being modest when I say, I’m not that smart.

Judgement-Less Creativity

Remember make believe? As kids, the world is a game.

Cultivating Success

Before I came to the big city, I lived in a small town.

Learn To Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

When I was starting out in Chicago theater I was fortunate to work with some of the city’s more renowned and well respected actors.

Forging Fearlessness

April is Stress Awareness Month, and while stress can loom on the horizon like a rain-cloud or just show up like an uninvited house guest, it’s our awareness of how we handle stress that can be beneficial.

Improvisation In A Crisis? The Science Says Yes (And)

A colleague sent me the blog first thing this morning. I’m guessing it was sent to inspire or incite – it’s not clear which just yet.

Solving Backwards In A 1000 Words. Can You Picture It?

There’s not a great way to write about success without seeming self-aggrandizing or falsely humble. So, I’ll attempt to relay a recent success by first explaining a project that was so necessarily a group effort, it defies outright ownership.

Lead Change

Unless you’ve been smart enough to live under a rock for the past year, you know we’ve had sweeping changes in our political leadership.

Black-Ish History Month

It’s been almost 25 years since I started writing sketch comedy and performing improvisation

How To Have More Fun At Work

Some days, work feels like, well, work.

New Year’s Resolution: “Know Your Audience, Know Your Talent”

The turn of a new year is always a wonderful time to take stock of lessons learned from the previous year and to celebrate accomplishments.

5 Ways To Be The Hero Of Meeting Planning

I spent the last six years in sales at one of Chicago’s major convention hotels.

An Improviser’s Guide To Finding Insight Or, Five Ways To Get From Data To Insight

There is a moment in the creation of every Second City sketch revue where a scene is in precarious shape: The director and the cast know they have something there, but it’s not there yet.

Improvisation As Habit And Productivity Enabler

We’re taping a podcast this Friday with Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habitand his newest book Smarter Faster Better.

I Went Back To School And Learned How To Open A Door

It’s true – I went back to school and learned to open a door. I promise this is not a metaphor.

Improvisation Is People Centered Rapid Prototyping

Why are millions of dollars spent on advertising campaigns that are not effective?

Ethics And Improvisation

I was prepping for a podcast interview with Erica Salmon Byrne of Ethisphere and Jen Ellison who, in addition to her work directing and teaching at Second City, leads an Ethics in Gaming class at DePaul University.

Teaching That Sticks

My friend sent me an article from the Economist under the banner of “Education Reform.”

Take The F****Ing Note: Performance Feedback

One of the first things you learn as a student at Second City is a simple but terrifically important thing: you need to take the note. We often say, “take the f****ing note,” but the sentiment is the same.

Training Creativity: The Scientists Say Improvise

There are many skeptics out there who scoff at the idea of “training” creativity.

Comedy Is Authenticity Or Astro Teller’s Rollerblades

There is a great piece in Business Insider that my colleague, Steve Kakos, shared with me last week.

Creativity Is Not Magic

I was recently subjected to a “funny” video that was made by a group of creative directors from a Chicago advertising agency. The quotation marks are clearly a give away that the video wasn’t funny at all.

What Deadpool Can Teach Us About Consumer Insights (No, Really)

Sometimes we draw inspiration from unlikely sources and the superficial, the light, and the playful can smack more sense into us than the weighty, the intellectual, and the studied.

Tales From TEDx: Show Don’t Tell

We have a fairly common expression at Second City, “Yeah, we’re like Doctors who smoke.”

Corporate Hecklers And Deafening Silence: How I Totally Misread The Audience

There’s always “that guy”. You know, the person who needs to be the center of attention and often detracts and derails the conversation.

Communication Issues? Meet People Where They Are

Could the key to effectively communicate with diverse audiences lay in the muck of our bad decisions?

I Was Replaced 3 Months Into My New Job

I came to The Second City with a plan. I followed every best practice in the book. And I was totally wrong. I was so wrong in my approach, that I was replaced 3 months into the job.

Just Listen

We had a client call this week for an event Second City Works is doing in New York City in a couple of months.

The Desperate Need For Authenticity

I had the privilege of representing Second City Works (SCW) at the Training 2016 conference this week, and a single 3-minute conversation will stay with me for quite some time.

Jean Paul Sartre And Ringo Or How We Learned To Stop Worrying And Trust The Audience

My favorite Second City show title is Jean Paul Sartre and Ringo from a Chicago Mainstage show in 1987.

The Buggy Whip. VHS Rentals. The Focus Group.

I’m sitting in the back of the Annoyance Theatre on Chicago’s North Side with a plate of hummus and veggies and a bottle of water.

Improvisation is ‘yoga for your social skills’

It turns out improv isn’t just about comedy — in fact, it didn’t even start out that way.

M&M'S® Empowers Chicago Teens To Step Up To The Mic In Support Of Fourth Annual Red Nose Day

For the fourth year in a row, M&M'S is partnering with Red Nose Day to help America come together to raise money for children in need.

This Comedy Group and Brand Consultancy are Bringing an Improv Event to Atlanta

When it comes to getting ideas and creativity flowing, sometimes laughter is the best option—at least, that’s what leaders at Kantar and The Second City have found with their new collaborative improv-based event coming to Atlanta.

Why Every Business Leader Should Study Improv

I have been doing improv since I was in high school and now at the age of 34, I've been teaching improv (to high schools, middle schools and adults alike) for over ten years.

Heartland Dental Introduces Dental Leadership Summit

Effingham-based Heartland Dental, the largest dental support organization in the country, unveiled its newest supported initiative, Launch.

IAHSS 50th Annual Conference and Exhibition Recap and Photos

April 15-18, 2018, marked the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety’s 50th Annual Conference and Exhibition. The event returned to Chicago where the IAHSS was founded in 1968.

Can an INTJ do Improv?

Hopefully I have very few things in common with Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs. But, apparently, we are both INTJs as characterized by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Improv Comedy Helps People With Parkinson's

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. About one million Americans are affected by the neurodegenerative disease, and now, there’s an improv comedy troupe in Naples dedicated to people diagnosed with Parkinson’s and their partners.

Thinking Improv? Do It. My First 18 Magical Hours

Let’s set the stage, so to speak. I recently turned 50, delightfully married for nearly half of those years (yes, same wonderful woman, DeDe, just to be clear) and am a mid-level executive with a large healthcare system.

The Unlikely Skill That Can Make Anyone a Better Leader

Methods used by Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade can increase creativity and deepen bonds with employees.

Kantar And Second City Works Form Joint Venture, Brandstage™

Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP, and one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups, announced today it has formed a joint venture with Second City Works...

How Funny Makes Money

Many people know that The Second City in Chicago is a factory of funny, turning out some of the kings and queens of comedy since it opened in 1959. But did you know that funny makes money, too?

New Partnership With Second City Works And Booth School Of Business

Second City Works, the business-to-business arm of the iconic comedy theater The Second City, announced an academic partnership with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to explore how evidence-based insights and practices of improvisation can enhance...

Kelly Leonard | Learning Lessons Through Improv | TEDx Zumbro River

Kelly Leonard is the Executive Vice President of The Second City and the President of Second City Theatricals.

Four Improv Techniques That Can Help You Communicate Better

Have you heard the one about the man who took off his pants in the middle of a corporate training exercise?

How Can Comedy Help Biglaw With Issues Related To Gender, Diversity, And Inclusion?

It’s no secret that America’s largest law firms are lacking in diversity.

How Improv Can Transform Your Creativity

I picked up the microphone and looked out at the crowd of business people, gathered in neat rows on the top floor of a Chicago skyscraper. They were here for a talk about IDEO and design thinking.

Leading Creative Minds Requires Creative Leadership

End the fun? Nah. But leading creative minds requires creative leadership.

Improv Training Is Making Management Throw Away The Script

The next consultant to visit your office may not be from McKinsey.

How Improv Can Make You A Better Leader

Second City, Chicago’s renowned comedy school and theater, shows that the funny business translates to your own business far more than you’d expect.

Yes, And… 5 More Lessons In Improv-Ing Collaboration And Creativity With Second City

Second City execs Tom Yorton and Kelly Leonard do not claim their new book Yes, And will teach you how to become a world-class comedian.

What Improv Can Teach You About Holding Onto New Hires

Your onboarding program sucks. Here are tips on keeping your new recruits on their toes, from the masters of improv.

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