Success Through Story

Our stories define our reality

Patricia Reily of Success Through Story

Patricia Reily writes, teaches, collaborates, consults and speaks about how people and organizations can use story to make sense of the past, cope with the present and successfully navigate into the future.

Patricia conducted the first systematic study of the role that stories play in the United States Navy – uncovering the intrinsic ability of stories to train, communicate abstract ideas, motivate people and manage change. Her Navy career encompassed a wide array of jobs in operations, human resources and program management.

Subsequent to her military career, Dr. Reily managed the University of San Francisco Tutor Mentor Outreach program for low income youth. Previously she was the Deputy Campus Director of Americorps National Civilian Community Corps in San Diego, California.

Her areas of interest are: leadership and leadership development, organizational behavior, organizational creativity and adaptability, morals and ethics education, narrative theory and complexity science.

Currently, Patricia Reily is the coordinator of the Troops to Engineers SERVICE Program (Success in Engineering for Recent Veterans through Internship and Career Experience) in the College of Engineering at San Diego State University. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of San Diego School. Her book on the use of story and narrative in the Navy, "So There We Were..." Leadership lessons from the men and women who make the Navy work has recently been published by Emergent Publications.


Ed.D., University of San Francisco (emphasis: Organization and Leadership)

M.A., U.S. Naval War College (emphasis: Strategy and Planning)

M.S., Naval Postgraduate School (emphasis: Organizational Development)

B.A., University of Minnesota (emphasis: Journalism and Political Science).

Published Work:

"So there we were..." Leadership lessons from the men and women who make the Navy work.
Publisher: Emergent Publications (2011)

Dance to the Music of Story: Understanding Human Behavior through the Integration of Storytelling and Complexity Thinking, (Chapter 11). Publisher: ISCE Publishing (2010)

Master's Thesis (1980): Sexual Harassment in the Navy.
The first study of sexual harassment in the Navy, resulting in the first sexual harassment policy guidelines in the Navy and the first series of workshops to prevent sexual harassment in the Navy