Tag Archives: artists

Innovation (and great storytelling) happens at the intersections

When I took Barkada Circle® through a rebranding process in 2017, my biggest challenge was being able to create a clear pitch with a simple narrative behind it. Yup! There I was, storytelling consultant to nonprofits, trying to write my own story, and not knowing where to begin. The problem was not a lack of vantage points. It was quite the opposite; I had too many. Eventually, I was able to buckle down and figure out my story about storytelling.

My challenge stemmed from multiple interests I’ve accumulated through the years.
In my 20s, I was an undergrad with academic pursuits in art, engineering and design.
In my 30s, I was a full time graphic artist for a global manufacturer of dental products
and building a freelance business with clients from various industries. When I turned 40,
I launched Barkada as a birthday gift to myself (What normal person does that?).
Storyteller, designer, illustrator, writer, industrial engineer, public speaker, workshop
sherpa⏤you get the picture.

According to Emilie Wapnick, author of How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who
(Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up
, folks like me are called
“multipotentialites⏤those of us with many interests, many jobs over a lifetime, and many interlocking potentials.” A multipotentialite herself, Wapnick has been a musician/songwriter, a web designer, filmmaker, writer, law student and entrepreneur. As a career and life coach, she helps other people with wide and varied interests understand and appreciate who they are in a society that asks us to pick a lane and stay in it.

In her TED talk, Wapnick points out three multipotentialite super powers. I’ve realized
that these qualities enhance my abilities as a storyteller, or they’re probably the reason
I am one:

Idea Synthesis⏤Combine two or more fields and create something new at the intersection. Innovation happens when seemingly unrelated concepts converge. It’s where we can spark new ideasjust like in the movieswhere two opposing characters meet to spark tension, intrigue and an interesting journey that changes them forever.

Rapid Learning⏤We’re less afraid of trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zone. Helping clients to become better storytellers requires me to approach them with
curiosity. Listening to their stories while keeping an open mind means that I have to be willing to move aside my preconceptions, absorb new information like a sponge and,
in some cases, even relearn what I thought I knew.

Adaptability⏤In today’s world, change is fierce and it comes fast. Shared stories can hold members of an organization in a common personal bond. A culture rich with storytelling helps to anchor them to the mission so together they can weather the storm and thrive.

We have a stack of complex, layered problems in the world, and we need creative,
unconventional thinkers to tackle them. Multipotentialites make great connectors and
collaborators. Armed with their breadth of skills, knowledge and vocabulary, they can speak multiple languages across various fields. They can translate information into stories that can be understood and acted upon by others to get the work done.

Wapnick closes with this message of encouragement: “Embrace your many passions.
Follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes. Explore your intersections. Embracing our inner wiring leads to a happier, more authentic life. And perhaps more importantly
⏤multipotentialites, the world needs us.”

This multipotentialite storyteller is ready to help you find the intersection where a new
story can spark your next innovation. Fill out our contact form or call 773.852.3522 today.

Night of Convergent Voices

pic_jam2013OCTPeople never cease to impress upon me how storytelling is, not only an artistic form of self-expression, but also an intrinsic part of our humanity. Once again, it happened at our recent storytelling Jam Session: What’s Your Read.

Filmmaker John Grod and Frank Tumino, Director of Little City Foundation’s Center for the Arts, kicked off the jam by giving us an inside look at what sparked the creation of their compelling documentary Share My Kingdom. It’s a story rich in visual textures and layered truths about our visceral need for art as human beings.

From the author of a children’s e-book to a motivational speaker’s journey, the evening was, in the words of a participant, “more than expected.” Diana Durkes wrote Henry’s Chair, a story of her family’s house cat, the first of an upcoming series. Diana revealed her whimsical illustrations and her vision for engaging both child and parent in a love for reading. Mary Nerburn, Certified DreamBuilder Coach, shared her inspiration for helping people see their potential for personal transformation.


Through vocal variety, Dawn Marie Galtieri, Executive Director of Voice of the City, embodied the characters in her story who emerged from their inter-disciplinary arts programs. CJE SeniorLife grant writer Magdalyn Guzzo suspended a moment in time by painting a day-in-the-life portrait of the people at the center. Maribeth Joy, Executive Director of CircEsteem, informed and entertained while seamlessly weaving organizational and personal stories together.

The creativity of the evening was amplified by the energy that radiated from the surroundings. Thank you to Lillstreet Loft on Ravenswood for hosting us in their amazing space.

View and share the photos. Hope you can make the next jam in Spring 2014!