S4E12: The Last Stories Part 1 (#55)

If you could only tell one last story, what story would that be?

Each episode, I ask my guest this question. The premise is that we’re all storytellers at our core, and that “last story” would probably be a big deal. Over 54 interviews, I’ve heard a different answer each and every time.

Each answer is not only different, but feels different in its nature. It’s been a lot of fun hearing from each storyteller what their “last story” might be, or might look like.

In part 1, we hear from seasons 1 and 2 of The Storytellers Network. Enjoy.

S4E11: Shawn Callahan, @shawncallahan @anecdote (#54)

Putting Stories to Work: Mastering Business Storytelling

Shawn Callahan, a sought-after keynote speaker, international business consultant and executive coach, works with global organizations such as Mars, Danone, Allianz, SAP, Tesco and Shell. He is the founder of Anecdote, the world's largest business storytelling company, where they help leaders and sellers around the world to find and tell oral stories with impact.

He's also the award-winning author of Putting Stories to Work: Mastering Business Storytelling.

Interesting trivia: this guy holds a bachelor's degree in geography and archaeology from the Australian National University. 

And Shawn loves giving away “the secret” to storytelling so much, that he even gets pulled aside at presentations to be scolded!

“He came up to me, grabbed me by the arm, pulled me in close and says ‘I resent what you’re doing here.’ Then he pulled me in closer and said, ‘Because you’re giving away my secrets.’” - Shawn Callahan on the power of story

S4E10: Park Howell, The Business of Story @ParkHowell (#53)

Storytelling with Business Storyteller Park Howell

Get any Point Across With the Applied Science and Bewitchery of Story

Podcaster, brand story strategist, keynote speaker… and STORYTELLER Park Howell joins the show on Season 4, Episode 10.

Park is the president of Park & Co, a Phoenix-based brand consultancy that has ignited the growth of purpose-driven clients for 20 years. Park & Co uses its proprietary Story Cycle process to create abundance for the greater good. Park created and teaches his Story Cycle curriculum in the Executive Masters for Sustainability Leadership program at Arizona State University. His podcast, Business of Story, connects business leaders and communicators with top story artists, authors, screenwriters, and others ranks among the top business podcasts on iTunes.​

From great businesses to classic music, Park sees story inspiration everywhere.

“You find, especially when you’re pulling apart great pieces like Beethoven and Mozart wrote… you couldn’t help, even like a math ditz like me, seeing how math plays into… the rhythm of the piece… that really helped me as a writer.” - Park Howell on the rhythm of writing

S4E9: Mike Adams, Sales Storyteller @MikeAdamsSales (#52)

Engineer turned salesperson, Mike Adams taught himself storytelling 'on the job' while selling and managing sales teams in the United Kingdom, Russia, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia for international corporations Schlumberger, Siemens, Nokia and Halliburton. Since 2014, Mike has been helping companies find and develop their own stories through his storytelling consulting practice. 

His book Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell helps those who sell, tell. The book takes readers on a high-stakes sales journey, using stories to establish rapport and trust, deliver insight, inspire action and close the deal, and in doing so win new friends and collaborators. Sharing more than 50 stories from around the world, Mike draws on his diverse international sales career to teach and demonstrate the power of storytelling -- from first hello to signed contract.

Mike is married with three sons and lives in Melbourne, Australia… and today Mike Adams shares with The Storytellers Network his storytelling craft, successes and stumbles… in other words, his story.

“[Sales people] are in a category, that if you make up a story, you blow your credibility. You don’t have the credibility to tell a mythical story or fable.” - Mike Adams on honesty in sales storytelling

S4E8: Stephanie Baiocchi, @stephbaiocchi (#51)

She’s a natural storyteller who’s changing the world of marketing.

“To say I'm passionate about inbound would be an understatement. Whether it's creating inbound marketing content, enabling my inbound sales team, delighting customers or merging account based everything with the inbound methodology, I use HubSpot and bleed orange.“

Stephanie Baiocchi is the Director of Audience Engagement & Community at IMPACT and absolutely loves connecting with people and building relationships. She has been using HubSpot for 6 years across a variety of industries on the client and agency side.

Stephanie is also a co-leader of the Chicago HubSpot User Group. She is a Carthage College graduate with a B.A. in Public Relations and German. She also owns a highly coveted HubSpot bicycle! You can catch Stephanie co-hosting IMPACT's weekly Facebook live show or engaging with the community in Elite.

”I think you have to tell a story in order to connect with people. And so much of my job is connecting with people.” Stephanie Baiocchi on community/audience engagement

S4E7: Alicia Smith, News Anchor @WXYZAlicia (#50)

Get ready to hear from a major metropolitan news desk. Alicia Smith is the weekday co-anchor of “7 Action News This Morning” on Detroit’s ABC affiliate WXYZ from 4:30 until 7:00 every morning. She joined WXYZ in January 2007 as an anchor/reporter/multi-media journalist and is a cheerleader of Channel 7's #earlyrisers on Twitter and Facebook.

I’ve admired Alicia’s social media usage over the years. Her authenticity and willingness to share the behind the scenes stories helps make news real. She’s also an award-winning storyteller. Alicia is a three-time Emmy winner who has been recognized for both her anchoring and her reporting. Today, you get to hear Alicia’s story, and her passion for a free (and local) press.

“When people look at us like we are the enemy, it breaks my heart. We are one of you. We live in your community. There’s this vitriol in our country where everything becomes politicized. I would just like to remind people that the [local] media - not the national media who’s paid to have an opinion - you need those people on the front lines fighting for you, holding people accountable.” Alicia Smith on the idea of a free press

S4E6: Scott Monty, @ScottMonty (#49)

He’s a keynote speaker, advisor and strategy consultant; husband, dad, voice over artist, golfer and man about town. He’s a natural storyteller, as well as one professionally. Scott Monty is a corporate executive steeped in digital.

Scott was ranked by The Economist as number one atop the list 25 Social Business Leaders and by Forbes as one of the top 10 influencers in social media. Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford Motor Company, called him "a visionary."

Scott ran Ford’s social media and digital communications from 2008 until 2014. During his leadership, Ford was the first company to reveal a vehicle on Facebook, and the first brand to join the now defunct Google+.

He also has another decade and a half of experience in communications and marketing agencies. Scott's clients have included Walmart, IBM, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Google.

“We’ve taken this promise of a two-way communications network, and we’ve turned it into yet another advertising platform. So now you’re going to interrupt people and pay to have your crappy stories in front of them, instead of just telling better stories.” - Scott Monty on what we get wrong in social media

S4E5: Jeshua Lauka, a Social Attorney, @JeshuaTLauka (#48)

When I think of lawyers doing any kind of marketing or advertising, I think of the big, ugly billboards along the highway that scream at you to call am 800-number the next time you’re in a crash. Or I think of terrible jingles on the radio reminding you that the next time you’re caught driving drunk, you don’t have to pay the price.

Now, I have friends who are attorneys and I don’t think they’re all bad. I was still impressed with Jeshua Lauka, who uses social media to share stories and inspiration in order to develop relationships, which just might lead to new business. Imagine, using social media… to be social!

Jeshua Lauka from Grand Rapids, Michigan is incredibly talented at using social well, and not just spamming his connections with junk. According to his LinkedIn profile, Jeshua is “an attorney at a boutique business law firm located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan” where he “practices Business, Real Estate, Estate and Trust work, and related litigation.”

He loves what he does and has a special passion for non-profit, board governance, and social enterprise. He also writes about legal issues on his own blog, and isn’t afraid to be authentic and even vulnerable.

“We all want to show the best of ourselves. Nobody likes to share our weaknesses… I think those are things that make us human and things that allow us to connect. Do those things you might be uncomfortable with [sharing]. Be your authentic self.” - Jeshua Lauka on vulnerability and authenticity in storytelling

S4E4: James Breakwell, @XplodingUnicorn (#47)

In this episode, we hear from: a comedy writer, social media powerhouse (100k on Instagram, 1Million on Twitter, nearly 300k on Facebook), podcaster, author, webcomic creator, amateur father of four daughters all under 10 years old… so you KNOW he’s a storyteller. James Breakwell is the man behind “Exploding Unicorn.”

He’s also writer of two books, Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent’s Guide for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and the upcoming (November 2018 release) Bare Minimum Parenting: The Ultimate Guide to Not Quite Ruining Your Child.

Since becoming internet famous, James has been profiled by USA TodayUS WeeklyThe Daily MailMetroThe TelegraphCosmopolitanBetter Homes and GardensBuzzfeedHuffington PostUpworthyThe ChiveBored Panda9gagCollege Humor, various ABC and Fox TV news affiliates, and countless other TV, radio, and internet outlets. Pictures of his smiling girls have been displayed in newspapers as far away as India. His articles have appeared in Reader’s DigestThe Federalist, and AskMen. He writes a bi-monthly newspaper column for the IndyStar and has been a guest multiple times on HLN’s The Daily Share.

Social media is the platform James has used to build an audience for his writing. His insight is inspirational.

“I’m really lucky that my hobby and my passion actually help people. I’m not necessarily a good person, it just happens that my hobby does help people. It’s just a fortunate side effect. I’m lucky the side effect isn’t smog or pollution.” - James Breakwell

S4E3: Michael Stelzner, Social Media Examiner, @Mike_Stelzner (#46)

As we explore storytelling in social media, we get to hear from the founder of Social Media Examiner, author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers, and the man behind Social Media Marketing World–the industry’s largest conference. He’s also host of the Social Media Marketing podcast, founder of the Social Media Marketing Society, and the central character in The Journey, an episodic documentary. 

Michael Stelzner lives and breathes storytelling and social media. While we explore his story, we dig some interesting nuggets about social media and how it affects storytellers today.

“If you think about this industry of social media and how young it is, it’s just 10 years old… so what you have is a lot of people who, around 2008 when it really started blowing up, were out of work. They started realizing they could make a career out of interacting with people on the internet. That was shocking to them!” - Michael Stelzner on the career jumpstarts in social media

S4E2: Sam Mallikarjunan, @mallikarjunan (#45)

In this episode, we hear from the CMO of BirdEye, former marketing genius at HubSpot and cigar & scotch aficionado… this guy has quite a story. Lucky for me, I’ve been a part of his story for about 7 years now. Today, Sam Mallikarjunan shares with The Storytellers Network his storytelling craft, his passion for story and more… in other words, HIS story.

Sam’s story include world travel as a professional speaker, traveling the United States in a van with his bride, and experimental marketing at sales giant HubSpot. The power of Sam’s story is the impact of the stories he’s had the privilege of hearing. Sometimes the pwoer of story is all in the perspective.

“I was in Pakistan at a conference, talking to an entrepreneur. He told me ‘I used to leave the house everyday not knowing if I would make it home to my wife. I think I can handle the stress of pitching to investors.’ That’s a short story… but wow.” - Sam Mallikarjunan on the power of perspective

S4E1: Geraldine DeRuiter, @everywhereist (#44)

Geraldine DeRuiter, acclaimed author, world-renowned public speaker, and the voice behind the award-winning Everywhereist blog, joins The Storytellers Network to launch Season 4, Social Media Storytellers.

Besides travel, Geraldine also writes about dessert, feminism, and Jeff Goldblum’s entire filmography. TIME Magazine described her work as “consistently clever” and The New York Times said her writing was “dark and hilarious”. Her blog has received accolades from The Independent, Forbes Magazine, and The Huffington Post, because as she says, sometimes features editors get drunk.

When not on the road with her long-suffering and infinitely patient husband, Rand Fishkin (my guest from season 3), Geraldine can be found in Seattle, usually fighting with people on the internet.

Besides her blog, Geraldine uses social media for some amazing storytelling. I love her passion on anything from equal rights to food replacement soylent… which we talk about in our conversation. For Gerladine, social media has proven to be a great, diverse story platform to expand our knowledge and networks.

“When my knee-jerk reaction is ‘I don’t want to read that,’ [Rand] tells me I need to evaluate why. Once that wall comes down, it becomes very, very easy.” - Geraldine DeRuiter on the power of contrarian stories/perspectives

S3E14: Ed Kengerski, Video Storyteller for the University of Michigan (#43 BONUS EPISODE)

He tells the stories of some of the country’s greatest college athletes. But it’s so much more than scores and stats. The stories behind these athletes can inspire and change lives. We’re diving into the life and craft of a storyteller for the University of Michigan, who made the jump from TV news in Kalamazoo.

Ed Kengerski was the Sports Director at WWMT, a CBS affiliate, where I got to know him as a guy who was passionate about telling great sports stories. Now Ed has taken his talents to the national stage in Ann Arbor. The best part of his storytelling career, according to Ed, has been telling the stories that affect a community.

“You start off in a career in broadcasting thinking that you’re going to be doing the big, big stuff. When you start working, you start realizing everybody has a story. When you’re working at a local TV station, doing a story on something or somebody local, now you’re actually touching someone’s life.“ - Ed Kengerski on telling the impactful stories

S3E13: Mike Compton, Three Chairs Productions (#42 BONUS EPISODE)

Mike Compton, co-founder of the video production company Three Chairs Productions, tells stories professionally and personally. His journey starts in the Mitten State.

Before co-founding Three Chairs Productions with his partner George, Mike was a communications/media production graduate from Michigan State University – a fellow Michigander! As a senior at MSU Mike was able to get his first producing experience with Red Bull Energy Drink, producing their “Lawn Shorts” student film festival. He produced the festival and along with 5 other students, winning the chance to produce a film within the festival. For Mike, that was “all she wrote.” He knew what his calling was.

Mike left his Michigan home base in 2001 to start a multimedia career in Tampa, Florida. Now he and George help Tampa-based businesses, marketing agencies and others, transform their business communications through creative video storytelling.

S3E12: Luke Rafferty, Visual Storyteller (#41)

Storytelling with Video/Film Creator Luke Rafferty

Visual Storyteller and Branded-Content Documentarian Luke Rafferty loves to tell a story. On his website, Luke Rafferty says “If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the impact of a short film. Your organization has a story to tell. Through stunning visuals coupled with emotional narratives, we can spark a fire in the hearts of many. Together, let's tell those stories.” Sounds inspiring – and like he’s a partner in helping clients tell their stories. We talk about that, what it took to work with Make a Wish AND JetBLue – even as a small, one-person video company (there’s hope for all of us in that story) – and more.

To Luke, great stories often come from amazing experiences. Sometimes, you need to get out, see the world and experience life to its fullest.

“I was 18 at the time. The first thing that struck me was the gratitude and the love of the people. They were generous. We gave them solar panels. There was a lot of selflessness and a lot of giving... It wasn’t until the flight home that I lost it. I remember going to the bathroom on the plane and crying.” - Luke Rafferty on the power of an experience

S3E11: Dominick Domasky, Motivation Champs (#40)

Dominick Domasky is driven to inspire and motivate people and fellow authors through his books, motivational speaking and publishing. He’s the human behind Motivation Champs, and encourages others by sharing his life experiences. His motto: Let no failure define you. And I’m here to tell you – he does not disappoint. By the end of our conversation I was inspired – and I hope you are, too.

Whether Dominick is speaking from the stage, in a video or in his Facebook group, Dominick loves to tell stories. 

"I remember watching Stand By Me as a kid. That movie spoke to me so much. I remember in college that I wrote some things and they would have red marks all over them. But the teacher would say, 'He has red marks, but he something to say.' I started to write down goals, which became sentences which became my first book." - Dominick Domasky on his storytelling journey

S3E10: Sarah Hill, StoryUp Virtual Reality Storyteller (#39)

Meet Sarah Hill, founder of StoryUp. StoryUp is a tribe of storytellers, psychologists, developers, filmmakers, audio engineers and technologists.

They began in 2015, trying to find a solution for terminally-ill WWII Veterans who were not able to physically travel to see their memorials in Washington, DC. These men and women could not physically go on what’s called an Honor Flight. So, Sarah and the team started Honor Everywhere. These veterans experience an immersive event where they get to “go” to the WWII memorial in DC. It’s incredible.

Now StoryUp’s virtual reality experiences reach much further… which you’ll hear about during our conversation. Sarah believes that storytellers - even when they don't carry the official title - have power.

"A lot of people who are CEOs of their own company are storytellers... although they might not realize it or hold that title. To me, all founders and CEOs of companies are the Chief Storyteller. You're not just selling you product. You're selling your story." -Sarah Hill on storytelling in business

S3E9: Nick Nanton, Celebrity Branding Agency (#38)

From the slums of Port au Prince Haiti with special forces raiding a sex trafficking ring and freeing young girls to the Virgin Galactic Space Port in Mojave with Sir Richard Branson, 5-Time Emmy Award Winning Director/Producer, Nick Nanton, has become known for telling stories that connect. 

Storyteller Nick Nanton's award winning short films include Jacob's Turn, Esperanza, Mi Casa Hogar, and Visioneer. Nanton is a 13-time Telly Award winner and has co-authored several best-selling books. He is the founder and CEO of The Dicks and Nanton Celebrity Branding Agency.

This storyteller uses video to tell amazing stories and make a difference in the world.

You brand is just your story. Branding is storytelling. Your story is the one thing other people can't copy. Your job as a person or a brand is to tell your story in a unique way that aligns... to help your prospect in the world. - Nick Nanton on branding

S3E8: Rand Fishkin, Whiteboard Friday Creator (#37)

My guest in this episode, Rand Fishkin, is the founder of SparkToro and was previously cofounder of Moz and Inbound.org. He’s dedicated his professional life to helping people do better marketing through the Whiteboard Friday video series (which is why I asked Rand to join us), his blog, and his book, Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World. When Rand’s not working, he’s most likely to be in the company of his partner in marriage and (mostly petty) crime, author Geraldine DeRuiter. If you feed him great pasta or great whisky, he’ll give you the cheat code to rank #1 on Google.

Rand is full of insights for storytellers and start-up founders. One great tip: Be purposeful where you put your story.

"We always strove to put the content first on our own website where we could own and control the user experience. then we would stagger the distribution to social media. Own your home. Don't build your house on rented land, which is really what you're doing on YouTube or Facebook." - Rand Fishkin on content placement

S3E7: Rick Cesari, Video Marketing Expert (#36)

In this episode, we hear from video marketing expert Rick Cesari. Rick has actually helped major brands like GoPro and George Foreman build billion dollar brands through Brand Response advertising and strategic video marketing. His book Building Billion Dollar Brands aims to put valuable knowledge of the big brands into the hands of inventors, small business owners, entrepreneurs, Amazon sellers and others to help create innovative, successful marketing campaigns. A bestselling author – Buy Now and now Building Billion Dollar Brands, speaker, consultant, and marketing & brand strategy guru, Rick is bringing his expertise to us today to talk branding, marketing and storytelling with video.

Before his current focus on internet based video, Rick mastered direct to consumer marketing, including traditional television talk shows. He booked his partner on a show in New York, where they promoted a juicer, offering recipes if you sent in a self-addressed envelope with a dollar in it. About a week later, a mail truck pulled up to their office. 

"... a mailman gets out. He has a 3-foot high canvas sack over his shoulder like Santa Claus. He drops it off, goes back to his truck and gets another. In all he brought 4 sacks in. We had 18,000 responses." - Rick Cesari