Reflections from a Storyteller

New Kind Stories Workshop - Follow Up

Our community is full of powerful stories—and compelling storytellers.

We love helping organizations re-frame and clarify the stories they have to tell.

Last month we hosted The Power of Story Workshop. Business leaders and local professionals joined us to explore why storytelling is essential—no matter the industry. Then we got to work using a framework for turning facts into memorable brand stories. We imagined our clients as the heroes of our stories and mapped their journeys to a better future. And we created legendary characters to embody each of our organizations—think Paul McCartney, Huck Finn, and Maria von Trapp. At the end of our session, members of the group took turns playing storyteller. We were inspired by what they had created.

We’d like to thank the amazing people who joined us for the first of our New Kind Workshops series. We’d also like to highlight one of our scholarship winners—Elizabeth Ruf, Foundation Coordinator at The Wade Edwards Foundation & Learning Lab (WELL)—as she reflects on her experience:


As a scholarship attendee of New Kind’s Storytelling workshop with Jonathan Opp I wanted to glean as much from the storytelling process as possible. (Aside: I am a habitual note-taker. I carry Field Notes everywhere I go: if for some reason I don’t have a notebook with me something is seriously wrong…) I started the morning hand-writing notes and quickly switched to my laptop because that is how impactful this workshop is—I didn’t want to miss a thing. The result? I have three pages of single-spaced, typed notes from the two hour session, and even then I feel I missed out on some information.

Looking back I have two major takeaways:

  1. stories are powerful tools and
  2. we are all storytellers. 

We spent time crafting stories: about ourselves, our clients, and about our organization, company, or brand. This baby step approach made brand storytelling, a previously daunting task, simple and manageable. We learned tools and tricks, and witnessed powerful stories from participants. Jonathan spoke of storytelling as universal to the human experience, and said the facts explain the “what” and stories explain the “why.” I learned how to take the “what” and turn it into a “why,” focusing on the students my organization serves and using them as the hero to our story.

Takeaway #2 was something I think I knew, but hadn’t quite internalized yet: we are all natural storytellers because we are human. Each of us tells stories on a daily basis, whether discussing what we had for breakfast or recalling an evening out with friends. Jonathan put the idea of storytelling into context, and emphasized that stories make information memorable. After practicing this craft in small groups and a large group setting, I now fully believe I possess the skills necessary to tell a compelling story. Thanks to this workshop I can now paint a more complete picture of the impactful work my organization (the WELL) currently does and strives to do in this community.

I am incredibly honored to have been selected to attend this workshop; I thank New Kind for the opportunity, and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone seeking to develop their storytelling.


Interested in learning how the New Kind team builds stories? Join us for The Power of Storytelling Workshop on June 15th at CAM. Learn more and reserve your spot.

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New Kind is a branding agency for organizations that are inventing or reinventing themselves

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