Author Archives: Barbara McAfee

About Barbara McAfee

Barbara is a voice coach, singer/songwriter, keynote speaker, and author who merges lessons from 12 years in organization development with the transformational power of sound. Her book, Full Voice: The Art & Practice of Vocal Presence (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) was a #1 Amazon bestseller in Business Communication. The book is based on her 25 years as a voice coach, supporting people from many professions in learning how to access the full power and expression of the voice in service to their work and relationships. Barbara’s musical keynotes blend practical content, sophisticated humor, and thought-provoking questions on topics including voice, leadership, and engagement. She was “the band” for Margaret Wheatley’s Women’s Leadership Revival Tour, which visited 15 North American cities. She also appears with authors Parker Palmer and Peter Block. Barbara has produced seven CD's of mostly original music and is founder of the Morning Star Singers, a volunteer hospice choir in the Twin Cities. She lives across the street from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

A Tale of Three Gifts

Gift #1 July 4th would have been Karly Wahlin’s 33rdbirthday. She died at 27, weary from struggling with her challenging body and ready to leap into the new place she had glimpsed for years. Her mother, Lois Swope, and I … Continue reading

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Singing Through Grief

Your grief for what you’ve lost holds up a mirror to where you are so bravely working.                                               … Continue reading

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Ministry

I was thirteen years old…all bony knees, bad glasses and scathing self-consciousness. One ordinary Sunday morning at the First Presbyterian Church in my Minnesota hometown, I witnessed something earth-shaking, life-changing: a woman stepped into the pulpit. A woman! Just as … Continue reading

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Your Voice Matters

I’m in my car driving home from an evening of Scrabble with my 94-year-old mom. I’m listening to a podcast to keep me company on the familiar thirty-minute drive: “Making Obama” from WBEZ, the public radio station in Chicago. In … Continue reading

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On Naming Kip

A handful of us are standing around our cars, preparing to leave after singing for a woman in hospice. We are all members of the Morning Star Singers, a volunteer comfort choir I founded in 2007 to bring singing and … Continue reading

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Laughing and Crying

Like many other young women of my generation, I knew every word of Joni Mitchell’s iconic record, Court and Sparkby heart. I had some recent experiences that illuminated one particular line of her song “People’s Parties.” Photo Beauty gets attention … Continue reading

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Improvising Kindness

I am in a small city in the Upper Midwest to deliver several keynotes for health care professionals. The morning after my arrival, I am taking an early morning walk along the banks of the Missouri River. The geese are … Continue reading

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