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A story about storytellers

Being an entrepreneur in the Silicon Valley for over 30 years takes a lot of risks, grit and laughing at yourself.

1988

Mark Duarte buys his first Mac

Already a fine artist, Mark Duarte reads all the manuals (like he still does today!) and becomes a technical illustrator for local Silicon Valley companies. Nancy starts cold-calling and the business takes off! This scrappy duo starts to make a dent in how presentations are built.

1991

Staffing up

With two little kids underfoot and a booming business, we hire our first employee. On day one, we hand him a thick manila envelope full of materials and say “Hi, here’s your onboarding packet. Read quick because you’ve got a client meeting at 2pm!” (Lucky for us, he stayed.) BTW, we’re a lot better at onboarding these days!

1993

An apple seeds the valley

Our biggest account has a big layoff, which scatters our beloved customers to companies all over Silicon Valley. It’s a tipping point for us. Instead of losing business, we actually gain new accounts across the valley. To celebrate, we move into a real office. Now we’re legit!

2001

Focus on your passion

The dot-com bubble bursts. Nancy reads Jim Collin’s Good to Great and his hedgehog concept inspires her to bet big—with passion and laser focus—on presentations. Our goal becomes transforming how presentations are made and delivered everywhere.

2006

An award-worthy slideshow

By now we’ve been working with Al Gore for a few years as he builds a climate change groundswell. A movie about his presentation goes on to win an Academy Award. (No, we didn’t get a statue, but we’re mentioned in the credits). Our work catches the attention of TED, as they start moving their content online. We start helping to shape how TED Speakers deliver their talks.

2008

A book in the nick of time

Nancy publishes her first book Slide:ology the same month the housing crisis hits. Flat becomes the new grow, and the book puts Duarte on the map outside Silicon Valley. The phone starts ringing for training courses, and we start teaching the world how to give better presentations.

2011

G-force growth

Nancy delivers her own TED talk, based on her book Resonate, and it goes viral. Her resulting speaking schedule creates an unwieldy season of growth (like a crazy 10G ride in a fighter jet).

2016

Leading through change

Curious about how to navigate change (because we’ve been in the throes of it ourselves), we embark on new research. After studying story patterns in movements, Patti Sanchez and Nancy publish Illuminate to help leaders spark and sustain change. We launch a communication consulting practice, and our training begins expanding globally.

2019

Data is the new oil

Organizations are now collecting and visualizing data on almost everything. Nancy’s book, DataStory, provides insight into how orgs can turn their findings into actionable recommendations.

2020

Embarking on a moonshot goal

To kick off the year, we commit to a moonshot goal: to transform millions of people by helping them communicate their best. Within weeks, the pandemic changes everything. We already have a work-from-anywhere culture, so we use this expertise to pivot our clients’ events and our own training into immersive, transformative online experiences. Our virtual courses score 4.9/5 (probably because Patti literally wrote the book on Presenting Virtually).

2022

Not our first rodeo

Economic headwinds? We got this. This will be our sixth economic crisis, so our leaders are seasoned. Customer events are mostly back to IRL. The smart and witty duo of Maegan Stephens and Nicole Lowenbraun create a powerful course on Adaptive Listening that’s already changing lives, including Nancy’s!

Culture

We practice what we teach. That’s why we’re passionate about working and communicating in a way where everyone feels like they belong.

Careers

We’re always looking for smart, creative, interesting people. Want to join us? Heck, maybe you’re already a Duartian and you just don’t know it yet.

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