Self + Us + Now: Your Public Narrative [2-Minute Takeaway] | Leadership for Educational Equity Skip to main content

Self + Us + Now: Your Public Narrative [2-Minute Takeaway]

2-Minute Takeaways is a learning series for LEE members to quickly boost their civic leadership IQ. If the topic is intriguing to you, why not explore our related course? Check out: Exploring Elected Leadership.

Successful civic leaders are able to tell their story in a way that’s compelling, concise, and clear. Think of your public narrative as an elevator speech – not for a business, but for yourself as a leader!

Whether you’re speaking to city council, potential donors, or community members, your public narrative can make or break campaign support and endorsement. A story that sticks with your audience both aligns with your vision for change and ignites collective action.

Public Narrative: Self, Us, and Now

A strong public narrative follows a specific, proven pattern with 3 key story elements:

1. Story of Self

This element communicates your background, experiences, and values. What drives you to step up as a leader? What do you want people to remember about who you are and what you bring to the table?

2. Story of Us

The “Us” element communicates your community connection. Once you know who your audience is, it’s time to define your shared values. What are the problems that you as a community face, and why do you need their support?

3. Story of Now

This element communicates your vision for change to spark action. What specific obstacles do you want to overcome? What can your audience do to support your campaign?

A well-crafted narrative will address the changes both you and your audience wish to see. Shared understanding and aligned values lead to collective action! 

Take Tom Hanks’ New York Times op-ed piece for example. In “I Owe It All to Community College,” Hanks uses the Self + Us + Now framework in support of a bill to fund community colleges. Whatever stance you take on his argument, our guess is you could retell his powerful story. This formula works!

There’s no time like now to develop your own memorable public narrative.


Exploring Elected Leadership is for you if...

  • You’re a LEE member seeking to create change in the civic sector
  • You want to organize your friends, family, and community toward equity
  • You’re looking for ways to meet this moment and don’t know where to start