NKG CREATIVE INSIGHTS

meet Natalie

Natalie K. Gunn is a voice coach and business consultant who brings her uniquely creative perspective to each engagement. She believes fiercely in creating a better future and in prioritizing the triple bottom line: people-planet-profit. Before earning an MBA at San Francisco State University, she spent more than twenty years immersed in storytelling through music and theater. She has shared stages with world-class artists and analysts and has been fortunate to build her craft through performing, teaching, designing and directing. She has facilitated purposeful change with entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, e-commerce, startup, and Fortune 100 companies, and has served on the faculties of Willamette University and Linfield College.

A native of the Pacific NW, Natalie holds a Master of Music degree from Portland State University. Her early career as a soubrette-coloratura soprano included performances with companies such as Portland Opera, Carmel Bach Festival, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart. She has been honored by several major artist competitions, like the National Opera Association, Metropolitan Opera National Council, NATS Artist Award, and the Gerda Lissner Foundation in New York City. Nowadays, she can sometimes be found at a house music party, singing her own queer cabaret, or belting 80s power ballads at karaoke in San Francisco.


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What’s MY Pivot Story?

“My career change was the result of an unexpected health crisis...

I spent the summer of 2011 directing Sondheim’s Into the Woods at Gallery Theaterfor me, an enormously rewarding challenge and creative high. Just before the show opened, during the most difficult tech week, I experienced a crushing pain in my foot. I learned suddenly (and too late) that:

high arches + high heels + high impact sports = joint failure

The damage brought on by playing soccer and piano, and a lifetime of dancing and acting in heels required surgical fusion and reconstruction. I spent more than a year in rehab, re-learning how to walk and move. During this time of transition it became clear that my body was demanding a priority care position—I had to reorganize my life around my new physical realities. I questioned everything—my joy, my network, my future, carefully examining the changing world and my experience to discover where my unique skills and interests held sustainable value in new arenas.  

To me, going to business school meant…

…learning the language of money, the flow of power, and better ways to organize around it—believing that to understand global economic drivers and the philosophies of ethics is to understand the recipe for designing change. I want to work with clients who are making dynamic movements in this world.

I’ve supported hundreds of people as they learn to play, plan and deliver through deep practice and presence. I am a trailblazing MBA and student of life, an Artist-Innovator on a mission to influence the ways we work, organize for impact, and drive for structural and cultural progress. After many years of creating characters on stage, today my heart is bursting with my own stories and I love helping others tell theirs.   

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My goals are to:

  • Empower people with resonant messages and voices ready to be amplified

  • Share my creative insights for accelerating the success of people, products, projects, and programs I believe in

  • Design resilient organizations ready for the future   

  • Represent my lived experience at strategic leadership tables that are designing better systems and new paradigms