about me

Communication has always been my thing. I taught college writing and literature for more than twenty years and worked in publishing before that.

When I taught public speaking at Stanford, I discovered the incomparable power of the spoken word, and my life took a major turn. I left academia, moved back to Boise, Idaho and opened a communications coaching practice in 2011.

I love working with people on cool, worthwhile projects. I’ve worked closely with TEDxBoise since its first show in 2015, coaching speakers as they shape their ideas and get ready to grace the red famous dot. I get to meet musicians and activists across the nation in my work with Music to Life. And I bare heart and soul, so to speak, as lead singer in The Soulmates.

But it hasn’t always been easy. I was super-shy for much of my life—from sixth grade to the end of my PhD coursework I never said a word in class. Not a word. One grad professor asked me (yes, in class) whether I’d taken a “vow of silence.”

It was a long road from fear and silence into joy and freedom of expression. This is what makes my work meaningful to me: I vividly remember what it’s like to be shut down. But I also know the exhilaration and power of facing your fears, finding your words, and expressing your true self.

a short resume


PhD, University of Arizona, American Literature, 1998
MA, University of Arizona, American Literature, 1992
BA, Idaho State University, English, 1986 (magna cum laude)
Boise High School, 1982


Boise State University, English Department 2010-2012
Stanford University, Program in Writing and Rhetoric 2004-2010
University of Delaware, English Department 1999-2004
Youngstown State University, English Department 1996-1998


Owner, Nancy Buffington LLC 2011+
Board of Directors, TEDxBoise 2016+
Board of Directors, Music to Life 2020+
Assistant Director, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Stanford 2007-09
Resident Fellow, Stanford 2006-10
Coordinator, Community Writing Project, Stanford 2007-09
Coordinator, Honors Service Learning, U Delaware 2000-02

some things I've written

I’ve worked with wonderful folks on five continents. Some are self-employed. Some work in smaller local businesses and non-profits, others in the world’s largest companies. Here are some of them: