Jennifer Rudolph Walsh was a little girl who could get lost in a good story, no matter how it was told.

鈥淕rowing up, I was drawn to stories because they were a way to feel less alone in the world,鈥 she says. 鈥淲hether I was watching a soap opera or devouring a book, I lived inside the stories I was consuming, and afterwards, wanted to talk about them with as many people as I could.鈥

Walsh鈥檚 passion for stories led her to a career representing some of the biggest names at the intersection of women power and publishing 鈥 including Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg, and Arianna Huffington 鈥 as a book agent. In this capacity, she had the opportunity to get a rare peek into what happens behind the closed doors of our society鈥檚 most brilliant, influential meeting rooms (talk about Hamilton鈥檚 鈥渢he room where it happens!鈥) 鈥 experiences that were the first spark of inspiration for Together Live, an annual speaking tour set for its second year this coming fall.

鈥淔rom Fortune鈥榮 Most Powerful Women鈥檚 Conference to the Oval Office itself, I have had the great honor of being close to transformational thought leaders throughout my career,鈥 Walsh says. 鈥淎nd from the wisdom of these elite rooms, I confirmed what I intuitively believed to be true. We are more alike than different. We all want the same things. People want to be seen and connect.鈥

Having also had what she calls the 鈥渙nce in a lifetime experience鈥 of co-creating Oprah鈥檚 鈥淟ife You Want鈥 Tour, Walsh was well-versed in the power of live events to bring people together and to amplify the magic of the 鈥渟mall rooms鈥 she鈥檇 visited to much larger groups of women. Later, she met author Glennon Doyle Melton (you may recognize her book Love Warrior from bestseller lists and Oprah鈥檚 Book Club), who had a similar vision for a storytelling conference for women. Together, Walsh and Melton founded Together Live.

鈥淕lennon and I committed early on that the only flavor we want is delicious, that we would always give everyone the most respectful interpretation, and that we wouldn鈥檛 move forward unless [the plans] felt right for everyone,鈥 Walsh says. 鈥淲e designed our DNA to represent who we are 鈥 ignited, curious, intersectional.鈥

That DNA grew into the beautifully energetic organism that is Together Live, which debuted last year. The tour hit six cities in 2016 and featured speakers including Gina Rodriguez, Ciara, Sophia Bush, and Alicia Keys. Fifteen thousand women from across generations experienced Together鈥檚 first year, and Walsh and her team hope to see growth in 2017. The tour has expanded to 10 cities, and like last year, each event is planned for after-work hours and priced at just $25 in order to maximize accessibility for hardworking women everywhere.

鈥淸It鈥檚] one night where you will hear the most badass women telling stories, finding purpose, taking action, and self-reflecting,鈥 Walsh says. 鈥淵ou鈥檒l experience a transformational night in one of the country鈥檚 most beautiful theaters, all for the price of a movie and a slice of pizza. What鈥檚 better than that?鈥

This year鈥檚 national speaker lineup includes Melton, author Luvvie Ajayi (I鈥檓 Judging You), Connie Britton, and Abby Wambach, US women鈥檚 soccer star and author of Forward. Other major names will appear on shorter legs of the tour, and local heroes will also appear regionally to share their stories.

鈥淪torytelling is the greatest way that we can connect, elevate, and heal ourselves and each other,鈥 Walsh says. 鈥淥ur philosophy is that fear cannot survive proximity. You want to understand someone? Listen to the stories that break down the barriers that divide us. It鈥檚 more important now than ever.鈥

While experiencing Together Live鈥檚 stop in her hometown of New York was a highlight of the event鈥檚 debut year, Walsh calls last year鈥檚 entire tour 鈥渃ompletely transformational from start to finish.鈥

鈥淟aughter through tears is the perfect embodiment of the emotion felt during the tour, which I look forward to every single night,鈥 she says. 鈥淎nd, of course, the late-night French fry party after each event, which has become our Together family dinner tradition.鈥

Good stories and good French fries? Sounds like a winning night to us. Together Live will kick off on September 18 in Portland, with dates scheduled throughout the country until late October. Check out what other cities are on the schedule here. Tickets are on sale (for just $25!) now.

What is the value of storytelling in your life? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via of Together Live)