What propelled you into oral storytelling?
I was introduced to the world of oral storytelling through Toastmasters. I have been involved in Toastmasters since 2012. During a conversation with some other Toastmasters, I commented that the speech projects I enjoyed the most were those where I shared personal stories. My friends suggested that I attend Sounds of the Mountains Storytelling Festival, which I did in 2018. To say that I was blown away is a significant understatement. I had no idea that there were professional storytellers.
I was fortunate to meet Gayle Turner at the festival and he introduced me to VASA and invited me to attend an upcoming Elizabeth Ellis Workshop Retreat, which I did. Gayle has been a tremendous resource for me as I began my storytelling business as a storyteller and producer of storytelling events.
If you have a storytelling mentor, who is it and why?
Sheila Arnold was one of the featured storytellers at Sounds of the Mountains in 2018. My daughter had attended the festival with me, and she really liked Sheila and her stories. We were fortunate to meet Sheila during lunch and she invited us to join her. I was awestruck to be having lunch with a celebrity, but what I remember most was how Sheila engaged my daughter. For our annual vacation with my parents, we intentionally planned our vacation so that we could see Sheila at the International Storytelling Center where she was the teller in residence in October of 2018. After Sheila’s performance, I introduced my parents and once again her engagement was amazing. Over the past couple of years, Sheila has reviewed and provided feedback on some of my storytelling videos. She has also provided tremendous advice on how to start a storytelling business. We served together on the VASA Board of Directors and her mentorship has continued. I consider myself personally and professional blessed to count Sheila as a mentor.