How to Speak About the Loss of a Child

Penny Kreitzer is a remarkable person, teacher, actor, writer, and mother. Penny is also a close friend; we teach together at UC Berkeley. Penny’s life changed four years ago when her daughter Annais was killed; Penny’s personal journey has been one of openness and grief, which she now shares in this profound TEDx Talk.

All of us face loss, and face others who experience loss. It is so hard to talk about it. Penny shows us the way. I recommend this video to everyone, because it is meaningful and helpful for us all.

– Adam Leipzig


On July 3, 2013 Penny’s life was devastated by the death of her 21 year old daughter Annais, when a huge oak branch fell on the breakfast area of a summer camp for children in Yosemite. Her journey of grief takes her to an orphanage in Africa where the children give the most profound lessons in empathy and healing. She meets bereaved mothers from other countries. In this talk she shares ideas about what to say and what not to say to a grieving parent and family. Penny is a professional actress. She teaches Voice, Presence and Storytelling Skills in Leadership Programs for Executive Education at UC Berkeley.

Penny Kreitzer was born in South Africa and studied Theatre, English and Political Science at the University of Cape Town, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and S. F. State University. She has an MA in Theatre and a Licentiate Speech Teacher’s Diploma from Trinity College, London. Her experience in High Impact Communication Skills for Leaders, covers Fortune 500 companies, training sessions in Europe, South Africa and the Middle East, as well as workshops throughout the USA. She is faculty at the UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business and has served on the faculty of The Athena Women’s Leadership Institute at Barnard College in New York as well as many others academic institutions.

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