New business in Bentonville combines professional development, improvisation

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 619 views 

A local leadership consultant wants to improve professional development for businesses, organizations and individuals through improv-based techniques.

The Improv Lab opened recently at 123 S. Main St., one block south of the square in downtown Bentonville. Stacey Mason owns the business, which offers applied improvisation techniques through a platform called Improve Thru Improv.

Improv is regularly associated with comedy, but in reality, it trains you to think faster and better. Mason said when used intentionally, participants can acquire greater self-awareness, hone business skills and techniques and experiment with perspective.

“Participants are always surprised how improv skills directly relate to the reality of the workplace,” she said. “From collaboration and innovation to emotional intelligence and dealing with rapid change, it’s all used in improvisation.”

Mason spent 18 years working for Walmart Inc. before striking out on her own a decade ago. Her consulting firm Mason On Leadership has held workshops at a number of venues throughout Northwest Arkansas and the U.S.

She is a student of The Birkman Method, an in-depth personality assessment, and has studied with The Kansas City Improv Co., Jimmy Carrane of Improv Nerd and Second City in Chicago.

Mason will host an open house at The Improv Lab from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 28.

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