Denise Manning Keyes, is a writer, speaker and facilitator in the field of social justice, diversity and inclusion and dismantling racism. In 1997 she founded DreamCatchers, a Training and Consulting Firm and with her nationally recognized team, provided workplace training for corporate, nonprofit, academic, civic, community, healthcare, judicial and law enforcement environments. She and her staff are heralded for skillfully orchestrating a safe, non-judgmental space for the deep work. A comfortable, safe space is maintained to support work that can be uncomfortable Companies and individuals have the hard conversations, challenge recognized norms, and move to changed behavior.
More than a decade ago Ms. Keyes took a course at Southern Connecticut State University with Donald Davis, Master Storyteller and Circle of Excellence Awardee. Yet she only began telling stories publicly in 2019. In that time she has performed at Storyteller New Haven, “Tellabration” at the Institute Library, The Clinton Arts Council, Genealogy Story Slam at Cos Cob Library, Saul Fussiner’s “Songs and Stories” and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Immediately, she saw the fit between storytelling and her method of leading workshops. As cries for social justice, racial equity and examination of traditionally held practices grew louder, Denise was moved to blend her long -time commitment to social justice with her new found passion for storytelling. Her years of expertise a guiding results driven workshops combined with he natural talent for storytelling lead participants from heart to head to hand.
A Connecticut native, many of her stories stem from her experience of being a multi -generational African American New Englander. Denise believes that sharing and listening to the stories of others has the capacity to normalize the inevitable challenges of life and deepen understanding of others. Currently she serves as a Director on the Board for Connecticut Storytelling Center.
She believes as she paraphrases here . . . “In order to serve the people, you have to respect the people; in order to respect the people, you have to know the people; in order to know the people, you have to be open to the discomfort of learning their stories, ” and she adds “as well as your own.”