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October 6-8, 2024 • San Diego, CA


Super Secret

Connecting Across Difference and Distance

Tuesday May 23 – 2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

Personal and professional happiness are both fueled by meaningful connection with other people. In our increasingly isolated and polarized world Make Believe Works is committed to designing new ways to connect people in a purposeful way. This joyful and engaging workshop cultivates a culture of empathy and community by building meaningful bridges between people in a fun, unexpected way. The heart of our workshop is “Super Secret,” a playful yet powerful twist on the pen-pal relationship, designed to sidestep some of the subtle biases we all bring to our workplaces and communities, and build a new relationship founded on character rather than characteristics. The activity is anchored in psychological research and human-centered design and we will share some of the nuances that make all the difference between exchanging information and building connection.

Typically, when we interact with people, our brains are wired to take in the whole picture and make assumptions from it. Sometimes that’s incredibly useful, sometimes it’s incredibly…not. This applies whether you already know each other or are meeting for the first time. Those mental shortcuts can very much inform the way we show up with new people, while over-familiarity can blind us to aspects of people we already know well. Super Secret is designed to short circuit those assumptions, stereotypes, and projections, and help us accelerate meaningful connections by building relationships from the inside out.

Participants will walk away with the refueled emotional skills to see the world through a more inclusive lens. On a personal level, this workshop will deliver a quick dose of meaningful connection and guidelines on how to help people get vulnerable without feeling threatened. In a professional setting, this can help HR, managers, team leads, senior leaders, and culture and DEI professionals build the sort of trust, collaboration, and psychological safety that makes for strong, innovative teams.

Sponsored by:

Make Believe Works is a team building company dedicated to cultivating emotional wellness in the workplace through creativity, community, and play. Individually, the sessions are designed to inspire introspection, build bonds between colleagues, and refuel creative confidence. But taken as a whole, Make Believe Works has an even deeper resonance. It helps build the emotional muscles to deal with uncertainty, push back on uniformity, and navigate unexpected change.

Ben Swire
Co-Founder, Make Believe Works

Ben Swire is an award-winning designer and writer, former Design Lead at IDEO, and co-founder of Make Believe Works. He draws on a diverse background in design thinking, philosophy, marketing, psychology, and literature to explore the subtle and unexpected factors that influence people’s choices and perceptions. As a facilitator Ben prioritizes inclusivity, psychological safety, and ensuring that every voice is treated with respect. He has worked with Google, Salesforce, Netflix, and Donors Choose, among others, using creativity, empathy, and play to help people unlock insight, build meaningful connections, and have impact in their communities. His forthcoming book from Hachette Book Group focuses on identifying and practicing small creative risks that can unlock our authentic and unique voices and share them with the world.

Lara Storm
Co-Founder, Make Believe Works

Lara Storm is an international non-profit leader, transformational coach and co-founder of Make Believe Works. Through her work to empower women entrepreneurs in the developing world, a common theme began to resonate with her – beyond money and business skills, they yearned for a sense of belonging. It is this sense of safety and community that allows an individual to push the boundaries of convention, take risks, and soar to new heights. Inspired to build the connections that support individuals and teams to reach new levels of creativity and growth, Lara co-founded Make Believe Works and became a transformational coach. In her coaching and facilitation, Lara seeks to contribute to a world where individuals, teams, and leaders deepen their self awareness; where empathy facilitates understanding across cultural, racial, and socioeconomic divides; and where creative, inclusive, and joyful communities support each other to realize their dreams.