no longer & not yet
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
September 18, 2019
September 19-20, 2019
Individual Tickets - $599*
VIP Tickets - $899
Group rates available
* - until Sept 19th
STORY is an event where you’ll be stretched by innovative talks and unique performances in an immersive, transformational atmosphere. Bring your team to regroup and redefine your process as you set out to push past your organizational goals. Come discover a supportive community of forward-thinkers and visionaries who will champion you as you set out on creative endeavors. If you're innovating in an organization or part of a team, come regroup & redefine your process as you set out to push past your organizational goals, together.
Join 1,200+ Storytellers from Organizations Like:
Global Leadership Summit
Charles Koch Foundation
"A fresh breath of air for anyone of any profession."Molly Tindall
STORY 2018 Attendee
"You and your team have done for conferences what Walt Disney did for theme parks."Isa Adney
STORY 2018 Attendee
"A slap to my conference cynicism."Michael Margolis
STORY 2018 Attendee
Our theme for STORY 2019 is "Between no longer and not yet." We'll be having a conversation about the concept of liminal space and how to discover all of the magic, perspective, and creativity that can only be gained in the space between.
Come learn from creative voices who have worked with companies like Nike and Disney, leading non-profits like Charity Water and the Koch Institute, and even entertainment power houses ranging from Kanye West to the hit Broadway show Hamilton. Each of these voices only achieved their level of success as storytellers through seasons of liminal space and leaning into the tension between the "no longer and not yet."
When you combine this level of expertise shared from the stage in an innovative atmosphere alongside immersive experiences with more than 1000 of your peers, the result is - transformation in your life and work.
How to Convince Your Boss That You Should Attend STORY
STORY 2019 is just a few months away, and we’ve been hearing from many of you that you want to attend, but you’re struggling to make it happen with work. We want to make sure that you can attend, so we’ve written a letter to present to your boss. All that you have to do is copy, paste, fill in the blanks, and press send.
We can’t wait to meet you in September!
Dear [supervisor’s name],
I’d like to request approval to attend STORY 2019 in Nashville, TN, on September 19th-20th, 2019.
Let me give you a little background on why STORY:
STORY is an uncommon creative community that believes that everything is a story, and everyone is a storyteller. The flagship event in Nashville is an immersive, two-day, conference-style gathering designed to inspire, challenge and equip artists, creators and storytellers who work in a variety of industries. You can see for yourself at: story2019.com
In between sessions, I’ll have the chance to network and share ideas with more than 1,000 storytellers and creative minds from around the world. They come from companies like Disney, Apple, Google, Capital One, IBM, StubHub, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Hasbro, Inc. We’re always exploring opportunities to improve our marketing and storytelling abilities – and this conference will help us do just that.
Here’s what I am confident I’ll learn:
More than 20 creative industry leaders will be taking the stage over the course of two days to bestow their wisdom and experience onto the attendees. Here are just a few things that I will learn:
- Learn how industry giants from Disney to National Geographic use out-of-the-box creative techniques to drive their stories and create cutting edge content both on screen and in print.
- Discover how we can push past boundaries and make a name for ourselves from legendary writers and business leaders hailing from Fortune 500 companies.
- Engage in creative collaboration with fellow attendees and industry leaders that will help cultivate fresh perspective, tolerance, and out-of-the-box thinking.
- Learn how to adopt a mindset that will help us break through roadblocks and allow us and our team to dream bigger and be more productive than we ever have before.
- Walk away with a refreshed perspective on why our creative work matters and with daily action steps to keep our creative work on track.
Because of everything I’ll learn, I am confident I will be able to apply my knowledge to the projects I am currently working on, such as:
- [Enter project here]
- [Enter project here]
- [Enter project here]
Here’s the breakdown on costs:
- Tickets: $499 (or cheaper per person if we take our team!)
- Travel & hotel: [enter travel cost here]
Total: [enter total cost here]
This conference rate is only available until July 1st and the discounted hotel rate is first come, first served, so we’ll get a better deal the sooner I can register.
Thanks for considering my request!
Become a better storyteller by learning how to:
- Define and identify the current space you’re in and create the launch pad for what’s next
- Define hindrances and name the fear that is keeping you from what is next
- Better understand your level of emotional intelligence and be more engaged with yourself and the world around you
- Take your collaboration to another level, leading to better end products and more powerful stories
- Go from mediocrity to mastery by learning ways to move the needle in your craft
- Realize the potential for the growth we carry and tell stories that paint the future
- And so much more...
Is it possible to actually shift a mass narrative previously adopted by a culture by telling different stories? We believe it’s not only possible, but that it’s what great storytellers do. That’s why we’re thrilled that Linda Woolverton is sharing at STORY 2019. She went from wondering, “What if there were a different kind of princess, who was educated, empowered, and wasn’t a damsel in distress waiting for a prince to rescue her?” to writing the script for the animated motion picture Beauty and the Beast, which went on to be the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Linda also adapted the script of Beauty and the Beast for the stage, which opened to critical acclaim on Broadway, and was later nominated for a Tony Award for Best Book in a Musical. But Belle wasn’t her only character to find her way into the hearts of millions. From The Lion King, to Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, to her adapted screenplay of Alice in Wonderland that caught the eye of Tim Burton, Linda has had a long, successful career telling some of the most revered stories of our time.
Linda originally began in theater, graduating from California State University, Long Beach, with a BFA in Theater Arts in 1973. She worked full-time for a year in the entertainment division at Disneyland, and began working toward her Master Degree in Theater for Children at California State Fullerton, all while also working as a substitute teacher.
Upon completion of her Master Degree in 1976, she formed her own children’s theater company, where she wrote, directed and performed all over California in churches, malls, schools and local theaters. She also began working as a coach to children acting in commercials, eventually working as a development executive for CBS, concentrating on both children’s and late-night programming.
We could go on and on about her writing credits, from TV series, to Broadway shows, to legendary screenplays. She wasn’t just the first woman to have written an animated feature for Disney, she is the first and only female screenwriter with a sole writing credit on a billion-dollar film. If her ability to tell stories has led to that level of box office success, we think we have much to learn from her this year at STORY.
At STORY 2018, our team crossed paths with one of our attendees, who we heard had “dropped in from Portland to hang at our gathering” and that he had “done some stuff for Nike.” He was a nice guy, who oozed both humility and encouragement. His name is Ken Black, and come to find out, yes, he has “done some stuff for Nike.” Nike, and a whole lot more.
In 1994, Ken and three others started the Team Sports Division, and were the first at Nike to work with NCAA basketball and football, the NFL and the NBA. They were the first to create uniforms and design new identities for teams at all levels. By the year 2000, Ken became Nike’s first Olympic Creative Director, long before anyone knew it needed to happen. A year later, he had helped start the very first Advanced Concepts Innovation Team, launching products and concepts like Nike Free, Nike 6.0, Presto 2, and ultimately the first proposal for Nike+.
After leaving his mark as a Senior Creative Director at one of the most iconic brands of our time, he left to help tell new stories by igniting a start-up called SPARQ, going on to build the brand and business from 2 people to 20. Through his work bringing stories to life through events, magazine, and marketing campaigns, Ken led SPARQ to an acquisition 5 short years later. The company who acquired them? Nike. That meant his second stint at Nike was spent serving as the VP of Digital Design Future. His body of work as a Nike VP consists of a long list of Nike design success stories. He has since moved on again, stepping out of his role at Nike, and stepping into the in-between of no longer and not yet.
The long and diverse list of Ken’s accomplishments with both Nike and the Olympics is rooted in his understanding of story. He sees things from a different perspective, and his unique skillset as a Designer, Creative Director, Brand Strategist, and Entrepreneur gives him more perspective than he could ever share during a single appearance on the STORY stage. But he’ll be there, and we promise that whatever he shares will be worth writing down and putting into practice and has the potential to change everything.
How many people can say that a feature film was made about them, based on the true story of their life and work? Erin Gruwell can. The 2007 film, Freedom Writers, is based on her story. And yet she’s exactly the type of person who wouldn’t tell that story, because she’s too busy changing the future through the story she’s living. Put simply, she is, in the words of STORY 2018 speaker Don Hahn, “an incredible force.”
Erin is a teacher, an education activist, and the founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation. She created the Freedom Writer Methods, a progressive teaching philosophy and curricula designed to achieve excellence from all students.
By fostering an educational philosophy that values and promotes diversity, she transformed her students’ lives. She encouraged them to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves and others, reconsider daily decisions, and ultimately re-chart their futures. With Erin’s support, they chose to forego teenage pregnancy, drugs, and violence to become aspiring college students, published writers, and catalysts for change. They dubbed themselves the “Freedom Writers” –in homage to civil rights activists The Freedom Riders—and published a book.
Inspired by Anne Frank, Erin and her students captured their collective journey in The Freedom Writers Diary. Through poignant student entries and Erin’s narrative text, the book records their “eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding.” In early 2007, Teach With Your Heart, Erin’s powerful memoir and call to arms, was published.
While Erin has been credited with giving her students a “second chance,” it was perhaps she who changed the most during her tenure at Wilson High School. She decided to channel her classroom experiences toward a broader cause, and today her impact as a teacher extends well beyond Room 203. Erin founded the Freedom Writers Foundation where she currently teaches teachers around the country how to implement her innovative lesson plans into their own classrooms. Recently, Erin’s teaching methods from her time in Room 203 have been published in the Freedom Writers Diary Teacher’s Guide. Proceeds from the sale of all books directly fund the Freedom Writers Foundation.
Erin and the Freedom Writers have earned them dozens of awards including the prestigious Spirit of Anne Frank Award. She and her students have appeared on numerous television shows, including Oprah, Prime Time Live with Connie Chung, Barbara Walters’ The View, and Good Morning America, to name a few. And now it’s an honor that she’ll be appearing on the STORY 2019 stage.
Floyd Norman is an animator, writer and comic book artist who worked under Walt Disney’s personal supervision. He was born in 1935 in Santa Barbara, California, and began producing animated films while he was still in high school. Early in his career, Norman worked with Bill Woggon on the animated comic book series, Archie.
In the 1960s, Norman attended the Art Center School in Pasadena, California, majoring in illustration. After only two years of study, Norman was hired at Walt Disney Studios. He started working as an animator on the film, Sleeping Beauty and was promoted to the story department, working directly for Walt himself on the story sequence for scenes in the animated film, The Jungle Book. Norman met fellow African American animation artist Leo Sullivan right after Sullivan graduated from college and began searching for employment. The two animators realized that they had similar interests and started working with each other on various animated films. In the mid-1960s, Norman left Walt Disney Studios, and alongside Sullivan, founded Vignette Films, Inc. where they produced six animated films on the subject of black history.
In the 1970s, Norman wrote and produced animated segments for Sesame Street, Villa Alegre and dozens of other educational films. In addition, Norman supervised the animation layout at Hanna-Barbera Productions and storyboarded several shows, including The Flintstones, The Smurfs and Scooby Doo. In the 1980s, Norman returned to Disney and wrote the syndicated Mickey Mouse comic strip.
Norman went on to work on feature length animated films such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Toy Story 2, and more. Quite simply, he is a legend in his craft, and we can’t wait to sit at his feet and soak up his wisdom this year at STORY.
Chris Bobotis grew up in Montréal, eventually falling in love with tellings stories as a creative director, art director, illustrator and production manager. Now as the Former Director of Immersive at Adobe, he oversees the company’s Immersive Media efforts.
Chris is the software architect for the SkyBox suite of 360˚ video and cinematic VR tools, which Adobe recently acquired from his company, Mettle. Chris co-founded Mettle in 1992 and was Partner & Creative Director. Mettle transformed the nascent 360˚ VR video industry with their SkyBox software plugins for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, providing a dedicated toolset for editing and manipulating 360˚ video and introducing core features and functionality that had previously been missing from the market. Today, Mettle customers include Facebook, Google, Apple, Samsung, CNN, HBO, New York Times, NASA, and virtually all other professional 360˚ content producers.
If that all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. At the heart of Chris’s extensive career is immersing others in transformative storytelling, and we have much to learn from his innovative work, regardless of the medium we tell stories through. As an advocate for immersive storytelling, he is a regular presenter at SIGGRAPH, NAB and IBC conferences, and now at STORY 2019.
Thaniya Keereepart is a seasoned product executive with over 17 years experience in the media technology space. She’s built three teams from the ground up and helped grow recognizable media brands from start-up mode to structured, scalable companies. Her work has been recognized by numerous awards, including Emmy, Peabody, Adobe MAX, Debby, and the prestigious National Design Award.
Thaniya’s connection to storytelling is through an understanding of human-computer interaction, design, and behavioral economics. Her transformative work has shaped the future through tenures at Major League Baseball, TED, and now as Head of Product and Creator Experience at Patreon. Thaniya is perfectly positioned to champion and support creators and storytellers, and is teaching all of us how to connect with our biggest fans. We can’t wait to learn from her this year at STORY.
Jon Acuff is the New York Times Best-selling author of six books. His most recent book is a Wall Street Journal #1 Bestseller titled, Finish: Give yourself the gift of done.
No matter what level of success we achieve, pushing a project across the finish line is a battle all storytellers fight. What do we do when we find ourselves in liminal space, between the no longer and the not yet? Jon has some ideas, and we can’t wait for you to hear them.
For over 20 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and more. Featured regularly on national media, Jon has been seen on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA, and several other key outlets.
His blogs have been read by 4 million people. In 2010, he leveraged his influence with his almost 300,000 twitter followers to build two kindergartens in Vietnam. And in 2019, he’ll be stepping onto the STORY main stage to share some powerful ideas with you and 1,200 of your creative peers that will shape and forever change the important work you do as a storyteller. Don’t miss it.
Meera Lee Patel is a self-taught writer, artist and best-selling author living and working in Nashville, TN. She is the author of My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown; Made Out of Stars: A Journal for Self-Realization, and Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration.
She has worked with companies like Anthropologie, Amnesty International, Spirituality & Health Magazine, Target, Vogue India, Wix and more to help tell stories through campaigns that help us better understand who we are. We’ve been following Meera’s work for a while now, and we’re so excited that she’ll be joining us for a main stage talk at STORY 2019.
Seth Worley is a writer and director of online shorts and branded content for clients like JJ Abram’s Brad Robot Productions, Sandwich Video, Red Giant, Film Riot and more. Known for his ability to balance character-driven comedy with high-concept spectacle, his award-winning shorts include the genre-bending/Webby-winning Plot Device, Session fable Old/New: Narrated by Patton Oswald, dark comedy Real Gone (winner of the Music Bed Film Festival judge’s choice award), and the sci-fi action set piece Tempo (one of Slate’s “Six Best Sci-Fi Shorts of 2012).
Seth has been prolific as a filmmaker in an impressively short period of time, which leaves us even more impressed that he and his team have done such an incredible job of serving other storytellers, all while telling his own. In 2017, he co-founded the company Plot Devices to manufacture story-related tools and resources for writers and directors. The company’s flagship product, the Storyclock Notebook, was originally brought to life by 5,354 Kickstarter backers, raising over $120,000 in 30 days. It was one of a small handful of products made available at STORY later that year, and completely sold out during the gathering.
Seth’s work has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, Fast Company, Slate, io9, SlashFilm, HULU, The Tonight Show, and more. And now, he’ll be making an appearance on the main stage at STORY 2019 with some fresh new insights and tools, relevant not only to filmmakers, but anyone who tells stories. Get ready for what we believe will be one of the most practical and useful talks of the entire gathering.
Named amongst Complex Magazine’s 50 Designers to Watch, Chris Petescia is the Founder & former Chief Experience Officer of Carrot Creative, VICE’s digital agency. During his time at Carrot, Chris oversaw the Design and UX departments, ensuring the quality of final digital experiences produced for leading brands.
Throughout that season, Chris was personally responsible for select clients including Rolex, Disney, and The New York Yankees. Chris’s knack for bringing stories to life through all aspects of marketing and design led to him continuing to lead creative work for those same iconic brands, even after his departure from the agency he helped start. But that strong relationship with clients isn’t the result of great work alone, it speaks to who he is as a leader, and his extraordinary ability to be the at the heart of strong cultures, where the purpose is the people, and becomes a special neverland-like place of growth and wonder where anything is possible.
Now, in the seemingly “in-between,” Chris continues to remain prolific as a creator. With a current freelance client list consisting of iconic brands, a patent for a TIME “Invention of Year,” and a long list of start-ups that he serves as an advisor, an investor, or both, he still carves out time to ask important questions about what the next chapter holds for his work as a storyteller. While figuring out what that next chapter is, Chris is certainly learning to honor the space between no longer and not yet, and has some insightful wisdom to pass along to us about what he's continued to learn along the way. We can’t wait to learn from him as he takes the STORY stage.
Jinahie (“my wings” in Arabic) is an Egyptian-American performance artist, educator, and social justice activist. Now in the fifth year of her national tour performing at colleges and universities across the country, we’re thrilled that she’ll be joining us by making a stop at STORY. Throughout her touring journeys she has collected hundreds of Potluck Poems, a collaboration among strangers in which a poem is completed during live performances by the contribution of a line from each audience member.
With her incredible presence on stage, combined with her extraordinary storytelling abilities, it’s no wonder she has performed at Sundance Film Festival, the U.S. Department of Education, United Nations, Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and for Michelle Obama.
Prepare to laugh, be amazed, charmed, and likely shed a few tears as you experience one of the most impressive and fresh voices we’ve discovered in years.
Brad Montague is no stranger to the STORY community. Back for a FOURTH repeat appearance on the STORY main stage due to never-ending demand, he’s practically part of our family, and at this point, it’s hard to imagine a STORY gathering without him. Brad is a writer and director on a mission to create things for kids and former kids.
He is the creator of Kid President, the popular web series featured on Rainn Wilson’s Soulpancake Youtube channel that has been viewed more than 16 million times. He’s also the New York Times Bestselling Author of the book, Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome, and is a popular online storyteller whose stories of birds, balloons and floating people have become friends of classrooms all over the world.
Will Brad be making his way on stage in a spacesuit again, after time-traveling from the future? Will he be back to passing out hand-drawn maps for all 1000+ STORY attendees to guide them on their creative journeys? We never really know until he shows up in Nashville, but we can’t wait to see what he has up his magical storytelling sleeves yet again at STORY 2019.
What might you be able to accomplish if you better understood how you’re wired to create? That’s what Meta Wagner wondered as she set out to author her new book, What’s Your Creative Type?: Harness the Power of Your Artistic Personality.
Meta is passionate about helping storytellers of all kinds reach their creative potential. After creating her original model of The 5 Creative Types, Meta became a sought-after speaker on how the power of creativity, and a deepened understanding of creative motivations, can transform organizations, teams, and individuals. She is also a contributor to Boston Globe Globe opinion pages, was a columnist for PopMatters, and has written on pop culture and creativity for Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Salon, and Wall Street Journal custom studios.
When she's not giving talks or writing, Meta is molding young minds as an adjunct professor at Emerson College and Boston University. She developed and teaches a “cult favorite” seminar called “Creativity in Context” (the springboard for her book) along with classes in creative non-fiction and communications writing. She also taught at Grub Street and Wheelock College.
Meta was previously in executive positions in the marketing and public relations fields and received multiple awards from professional organizations. She received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, where she was chosen as the student commencement speaker.
She lives in the Boston area with her husband (and her son whenever he drops by). We’re thrilled she’s making the trip from Boston to Nashville to join us this year at STORY, and help us fulfill our creative potential.
Miles Adcox is an entrepreneur, speaker, host, and coach. He is the Owner and CEO of Onsite, an internationally-known emotional wellness lifestyle brand that delivers life-changing personal growth workshops, inspiring content, leadership retreats, and emotional treatment. His work at Onsite has been featured on 20/20, Good Morning America, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Dr. Phil Show, and The Doctors. Miles has devoted his life to living into three concepts: Empathy over action, love over agenda, and grace over advice. Publicly and privately, he is known as one of the most plugged-in people on human condition that there is today.
What does all of this have to do with your work as a storyteller? It turns out, everything. His talk will not only be insightful to the work of storytellers, but has the potential to be transformative for storytellers themselves. Come learn from the vast experience and wisdom gained by Miles after creating and managing multiple mental health programs, personal growth workshops, and speaking nationally on emotional wellness, including being a featured speaker and facilitator at various international events like Oprah Magazine’s Rising Strong Day with Dr. Brene Brown. All of this, combined with his consulting work with major brands on organizational health and emotional wellness makes him a STORY 2019 presenter that is not to be missed.
Gillian grew up immersed in creativity. Her mother is the innovative industrial designer Lydia Sharman PhD, who was on the design team of several iconic Montreal projects in the 60’s and 70’s, including Expo ’67, Place Ville Marie and the first Dorval International Airport. Ms. Sharman was also one of the co-founders of the arts-based alternative school (F.A.C.E), where Gillian was one of the first students.
Gillian began her professional career at 21 as a professional dancer and actor. She toured Europe and North America on stage for 20 years, as well as performing in TV series, movies and hundreds of commercials.
In 2004, she joined the Cirque du Soleil’s casting team. She traveled the globe scouting exceptional talent and trends in performance design for 8 years and was the artistic casting director on the renowned show The Beatles’ LOVE at the Mirage Theatre in Las Vegas. In 2012, she was promoted to Director of The Creative Lab of Cirque du Soleil Media. There she lead a team in developing and co-produced projects for the international film, TV and new media (VR/AR) markets. Highlights include the video game Child of Light with Ubisoft, the preschool animated series Luna Petunia for Netflix in partnership with Saban Brands and the Emmy-award winning VR short Inside The Box: Kurios with Felix & Paul Studios for Samsung.
In 2018, Gillian founded Kite Parade, bringing together her years of experiences in storytelling, creative direction and large-scale production, with her knowledge of marketing and transformational leadership. Kite Parade provides consulting, custom participative workshops and content development in interactive and immersive storytelling within the worlds of consumer goods, art, education, culture and science. Their mission is to craft exquisite experiences that allow stories to be discovered and shared collectively and collaboratively.
Gillian is a certified coach of the Hendricks Institute, and a graduate of their 2-year Transformational Leadership program. She has been coaching designers and creative visionary entrepreneurs since 2014; her clients include Suzy Batiz, Sarah Selecky, Jeff McErlain, Emilie Baltz, Harris III and Melissa Mongiat.
Benjamin Von Wong's work lies at the intersection of fantasy and photography and combines everyday objects with shocking statistics. It has attracted the attention of corporations, like Starbucks, Dell, and Nike and has generated over 100 million views for causes like ocean plastics, electronic waste, and fashion pollution. Most recently, he was named one of Adweek's 11 content branded masterminds.
The CEO and founder of Storied, a strategic messaging firm specializing in the story of innovation and disruption. As a trusted advisor, Michael helps executives to demystify the complex and deliver on the promise of transformation. Michael operates anywhere there is a story worth telling, especially in Silicon Valley, Fortune 500s, and global change. Michael is a frequent keynote speaker at top conferences around the world. He’s trained tens of thousands on narrative intelligence and how to build storytelling as an organizational capability. Michael partners with c-suite executives, along with heads of product, design, marketing, community, and human resources. Since 2002, he’s advised clients across 34 industries and 15 countries —including Facebook, Google, Hulu, Greenpeace, and NASA.
Michael is a two-time TEDx speaker, #1 Amazon bestselling author, and has more than 200,000 followers on Twitter. His work has been prominently featured in Fast Company, TIME, and Inc. magazines. Armed with a degree in cultural anthropology, Michael began his career as a social entrepreneur, funded by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations by the age of 22. And became a startup-failure by the age of 24. The son of an inventor and artist, Michael grew up in Switzerland and Los Angeles. As a passion project, Michael recently co-founded Choco Libre, a secret society devoted to rare and exotic craft chocolate. Michael is left-handed, color blind, and eats more chocolate than the average human. Michael’s next book, Story 10x: Turn the Impossible Into the Inevitable, is available in bookstores on October 8.
Okorie “OkCello” Johnson’s is a Washington DC, born, Atlanta-based musician who began playing cello at age six. His music integrates cello, live-sound-looping and improvisation on original compositions which collide classical with jazz, EDM, reggae and funk.
OkCello has balanced musical pursuits – which include performing and recording with major label artists such as De La Soul, India.Arie and Big Boi - with a career as an educator. In 2015, he launched “Epi.phony,” a multi-city, 12-show, concert series which produced the track list for Liminal. “After years of putting my cello down and picking it back up, after years of deciding that the cello wasn’t financially practical, after years of thinking that my other voices were my native ones, I realized that the cello was the oldest, the most central and the most sacred part of me,” says OkCello. “I resolved never, ever, to deny it again.” He is a recipient of the Alliance Theatre’s 2018 Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab grant.
Apollo Robbins is an expert on misdirection. Often referred to as “The Gentleman Thief,” Robbins first made national news when he pick-pocketed the Secret Service while entertaining a former U.S. President. Forbes calls him “an artful manipulator of awareness,” and Wired Magazine has written that “he could steal the wallet of a man who knew he was going to have his pocket picked.” Today, Robbins is a popular thought leader on human behavior. He has expanded the role of misdirection and magic beyond entertainment, pulling back the curtain to show how the principles behind these illusions apply to everyday awareness.
Jeff Hall has been a performing stage artists, dancer, actor, choreographer and circus director known for blending his spectacular athleticism with his artistic eclecticism, inventively blending humor, dialogue and physical performance together for the past 30 years.
His eclectic style gained him a reputation as a theatre director and choreographer stimulated by the essence of context while inspired by scenic design and architectural structure. Never shying away he is instinctively drawn to the unique attributes of each and every performance and performer be it in dance, theatre, film, the circus arts or even sports.
His most recent large-scale choreography's were for the world’s renowned Cirque du Soleil, ZAiA and TOTEM, of which TOTEM is presently touring the world. Jeff was the recipient of the Canadian Choreographic Award Jacqueline Lemieux along with Pierre-Paul Savoie in 1996.
Never has our country been more divided than on the issue of immigration. The debate over construction of a wall to secure the border with Mexico tops the headlines. The border passes through mountains, hills, desert, plains, rivers, canals, sand dunes, cities, and oceans. Every day, US Border Patrol agents risk their lives to serve us, spending their days in isolation, treacherous terrain, and extreme weather. Ekansh’s photography project chronicles the fence, the culture, and the people as he encountered them while on an eleven-day journey with his family along most of the 1,900 miles of the US-Mexican land border. Agents were kind to share their views on border security and the everyday challenges they face. Residents of both countries provided insight into their daily routines and their perspective on the border. As they shared inspiring and heartbreaking stories, Ekansh got a sense of the drug situation firsthand, hearing it from the people whose lives have been affected the most. As he listened, the impact the border has on citizens, residents, immigrants, and federal agents began to unfold.
And get this: Ekansh is a freshman in high school.
Ekansh’s journey continued in December of 2017, when he explored the border between North and South Korea, and again the following summer as he and his younger sister, Ashna, travelled Israel's borders with the West Bank (Palestine), Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Gaza. Amazing stories were told and photographs were taken, and Ekansh is coming to STORY as one of the youngest presenters we’ve ever hosted. We can’t wait to hear him speak of his love for photography, hear his stories, and share from his collection of over ten thousand photos shot along the various borders he and his family have visited.
A life-long history buff, Blake discovered wet plate collodion photography in 2010—a perfect combination of science, history and art. The meticulous process of creating civil war-era photographs presented a new challenge and medium for his photography and presents an incredible opportunity for us to gain insight into the concept and value of liminal space. This year, as we’re exploring the development process alongside Blake at STORY, turning the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall into what might possibly be, for a moment, the largest darkroom in the world, we’ll discover the value of the in-between—"between no longer and not yet."
Blake is actually no stranger to some of the members of the STORY community. For the last two years in a row, his work has been one of the most talked-about and adored parts of the STORY experience for our VIP ticketed attendees. Setting up shop in STORY VIP lounge, attendees have repeatedly raved about the opportunity to sit down in front of his tin-type camera and experience his meticulous process of developing their tin as a souvenir of their time in Nashville. But don’t worry, while Blake his making his STORY main stage debut, he’ll still be performing his craft as usual in our STORY VIP lounge. Don’t miss it.
David is a technology entrepreneur who uses data to craft business narratives. He founded the tech company Dialsmith. Their tech is used to capture real-time opinions—moment by moment. What they quickly learned is that they can also use that data to understand people’s motivations and actually predict how they will behave.
From this, David founded Engagious—a unique messaging consultancy that leverages science for effective storytelling. David and his team at Engagious use qualitative research—and a healthy dose of behavioral science—to help companies craft stories that elicit action. His Engagious team has worked for clients such as Coca-Cola, Comcast, TED, and many others.
David showcased his expertise last year at STORY, when he used the audience as guinea pigs in his social experiment. He is thrilled to be back this year talking about his new findings on creative barriers.
David grew up in the ‘burbs of Philadelphia, but has lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last 25 years with his wife and 2 teenage kids. In the (very narrow) margins, David spends time on photography (drone included), video production, and as much family time as he can get.
David might be a ‘left-coaster’ these days, but he’ll NEVER trade a cheesesteak for a veggie burger!
In the spirit of continuing to offer you opportunities to learn and be inspired on a deeper level, we are excited to offer additional breakouts from main stage presenters, as well as these amazing individuals.
Pei Ketron is a photographer and educator based in San Francisco who spent a decade teaching special education in the public school system before becoming a freelance travel and commercial photographer. She recently joined the Lightroom team at Adobe, focusing on Lightroom community.
Pei regularly teaches photography and social media classes privately and through companies and events such as Creative Live, The Image Flow, the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, and Adobe MAX. In addition to her experience with DSLR and medium-format film photography, Pei is also an accomplished mobile photographer.
She can be found on Instagram and Twitter at @pketron.
Chrislyn Choo is a proud student of story. A video producer, photographer, and speaker, she documents global migration journeys, from artists addressing displacement in Colombia, to tracing her family's roots in Malaysia and China. Chrislyn builds bridges across cultures and sparks curiosity in the stories that connect us by creating honest, inclusive space to embrace our mosaic identities.
In early 2018, she moved to Beijing to dig into her family history, a path that soon led to My China Roots, a team of modern-day Sherlocks who help the Chinese diaspora trace their ancestry across oceans and generations. With their guidance, she returned to her ancestral villages and documented the healing experience of reuniting with living relatives and discovering how the stories of China and Malaysia are intertwined.
Now, as Multimedia Content Officer at My China Roots, Chrislyn is equal parts anthropological sleuth, UX designer, and wordsmith. She dreams up multimedia campaigns to connect Chinese Overseas; designs interactive digital platforms (e.g. family websites) to bring their ancestral history to life; and partners with films shining a light on untold history, such as The Six (the story of the six Chinese survivors of the Titanic!).
Need inspiration? You found it. With a passion for helping others discover “why” and “what for,” Jackie Dryden leads individuals and organizations to uncover and align with their purpose. But don’t be fooled. Her presentations pack a punch that shakes people to their foundation. As a speaker, writer and coach, Jackie spends her days provoking others to uncover their most magnificent magic. Her business book, Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line and Build Your Brand on Purpose, challenges people to reconnect with their true strengths through the power of purpose.
Jackie has spent the bulk of her career at advertising agencies as a creative director. She believes we all need to ignore logic in pursuit of ideas that scare us. Her work has been recognized with hundreds of awards for creativity and she was recently inducted into the Southwest American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame.
Jesse is the founder and Creative Director of OX Creative (@oxcreates) outside Chicago. Ox Creative is the official partner for all of the art direction and design for our conference hero art, booklet and souvenir program and more. When not partnering with STORY, Jesse loves cloud-spotting and talking about the Tour de France. His work has been referenced in a speech by President Obama, included interesting people like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg or the son of Ugandan military dictator Idi Amin. If you’re still reading this, you might be interested to also know he has been awarded for cinematography at Cannes. We love working with Jesse and his team, and are so excited to learn from him this year at STORY.
Jenifer Westphal founded Wavelength Productions to develop, fund and produce films that tell great f**king stories. Wavelength Productions works tirelessly to find and support talented and exciting film-makers in all stages of production on projects that resonate with broad audiences.
Sundance 2019 films include In Association and Executive Producer on Matt Tyrnauer’s Where’s My Roy Cohn?, Executive Producer on Tayarisha Poe’s Selah and the Spades, and Co-Executive Producer on Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera’s The Infiltrators and Rachel Lear’s Knock Down the House. Past projects include Executive Producer on Morgan Neville’s film Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, In Association and Executive Producer on Matt Tyrnauer’s Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, Executive Producer on Sarah Menzies’ Afghan Cycles, Executive Producer on Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman’s Sembene!, Associate Producer on Ben Hickernell’s A Rising Tide, as well as Associate Producer on Sundance 2018 favorites This is Home, directed by Alexandra Shiva, Associate Producer on Night Comes On, directed by Jordana Spiro and Co-Executive Producer on Laura Nix’s Inventing Tomorrow.
Jenifer is a benefactor of Chicago Media Project, where she sits on the board. She recently served as a panelist on the Sundance Catalyst Round Table. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Jenifer this year at STORY.
Joe Plummer started his career producing Shakespeare for the award winning company Poor Tom Productions and The Williamstown Theater Festival. In 2005, he transitioned to network television where he produced and directed shows for TRUTV, Court TV, The Food Network, HGTV.
In 2012, Joe started a digital ad agency and production company -- Gotta Kid To Feed Productions and made a splash with his Webby nominated viral series Real Actors Read Yelp. At GKTF, Joe created and directed original digital content for ESPN, Nickelodeon, The Food Network, Cooking Channel, HGTV, Travel Channel and more, all the while producing viral content for brands across the country.
In 2015, he released his first short film Love Life; a comedy about online dating gone awry. As the Supervising Producer for Wavelength Productions, Joe oversees all in-house productions, development, investment and co-productions.
He is currently producing a slate of documentary films for Wavelength; Unschooled, Cured?, The Foursome and Maybe Next Year. Additional credits include Executive Producer on Matt Tyrnauer’s Where’s My Roy Cohn? and Co-Executive Producer on The Infiltrators. With such a wide array of experience, it’s no wonder he has so much wisdom to pass along to the STORY community.
Erik is a wise and wonderful facilitator of the practice of presence and embodied leadership. He is an internationally renowned teacher of 5Rhythms Movement meditation practice. He completed his training in 5R with the founder Gabrielle Roth at the first training in 1988 which he co-founded. On the faculty of the 5R teacher trainings, he has also taught people of all ages and from all walks of life from senior executives and doctors, to teens in a juvenile detention center to 4th graders. Trained as a Hellerwork Structural Integration bodyworker he has treated literally thousands of clients one-on-one over his 30-year practice.
Recently he graduated from the Hendrick’s Institute’s two-year Transformational Leadership program and is now offering trainings that integrate his knowledge of the body and movement with key practices in leadership.
Bringing this experience into one powerful commitment: to create experiences for individuals to fully inhabit their bodies, rejoice in their authentic movement playfully, and thus contribute to a more lively, empowered community of wild souls in Montreal and in the world. Erik himself is a gifted dancer and athlete and brings his warmth and his playful spirit to his teaching. He is a genius at creating a safe and fun space for discovery and learning with ease.
The space between life and death uniting one lifetime and the next.
Waiting for energy and body intelligence to catch up to the new spirit inhabiting me. Those spaces provided Erik with a template to measure other transitional moments. Don’t miss his unique breakout experience this year at STORY.
Jason Jaggard is the founder of Novus Global, a tribe of elite executive coaches who work with Fortune 500 Companies, Professional Athletes, World Renowned Artists and Multimillionaire Business Leaders to create lives, teams and companies that go beyond high performance.
He is also the cofounder of The Meta Performance Institute for Coaching, a 12-month executive coaching certification that trains individuals to develop coaching practices that serve high performing leaders. His first book, “Spark: Transform Your World One Small Risk at a Time” is available wherever books are sold. Jason lives in Los Angeles, CA, and this will be his 4th consecutive year playing an integral role in the STORY experience.
More than the main stage...
At STORY, everybody is a somebody and sometimes your most meaningful insights may come from the discussions you have with those around you.
In fact, each year over half of our speaker line up comes from within the STORY community. Many of today's a-list speakers were sitting in the audience last year. You never know who you're going to meet.
Guys, I still can’t find all the words… but I imagine that what you sit in meetings hoping to create, what you hope happens inside of an attendee, is exactly what happened in me. I feel full on bonkers. You wouldn’t believe me how much so many moments connected directly with my life. And because I have helped create thousands of meetings, services, performances, and events, I get it. I get the admin, the production team, the decor team, the arranging speakers, the time, the details, the heart, the passion, and the hope you carry in your hearts to see people grow from the experience you’re creating.
What happens in this place is uncommon and awe-inspiring. Thank you, thank you, thank you for showing up in the unique way that each member of your staff does — STORY has assembled a team of badass humans.
Pre-Conference Workshops Throughout the Day.
Multiple Sessions available at 9am.
8:30am Session 1: Between no longer and not yet
10:45am Session 2: Between fearful and courageous
1:00pm Breakout Experience 1
2:00pm Breakout Experience 2
3:30pm Session 3: Between awake and aware
8:30am Session 4: Between alone and together
10:45am Session 5: Between mediocrity and mastery
1:00pm Breakout Experience 3
2:30pm Session 6: Between ________ and ________
4:30pm Dismissal / After Party
Join us in Nashville on Wednesday, September 18th, for a pre-conference workshop. In these smaller workshop-style classes, you’ll be challenged and inspired by a leading practitioner on a specific topic or craft. This is a great opportunity to advance your skillset as a storyteller, connect with others with similar interests, and gain more exclusive access to a leading creative influencer before the conference officially begins.
To get the most access to everything that STORY has to offer, consider our VIP Experience! You will have continual access to the speakers and artists that share from our stage in our VIP Lounge, as well as access to other elite teams and individuals in the lounge area where you can meet, chat, and collaborate.
We know your time is valuable, so don’t spend your conference time searching for a seat, waiting in line, or hunting down coffee and snacks. The VIP Experience makes all of this a breeze with pre-conference seat selection and our lounge where you can get caffeinated and grab snacks. We take the extra step to make sure you are in-the-know and can get to any conference extras with our hosting team that is just for you. Don’t miss out on anything that STORY 2019 has in store, and secure your VIP Experience tickets today!
Want to partner with STORY?
STORY is imagined and produced by Istoria......part consultancy, part creative agency, Istoria is a Collective of artists, dreamers, strategists and storytellers who overcome challenges and solve big problems by establishing new narratives with the vision of being the most positive and disruptive force for transforming the future through the power of story. Want to partner with us? Email [email protected] to begin a conversation about partnership today!
No, unfortunately STORY tickets are non-refundable.
In order to continue the magic at STORY, we do not share a schedule of when each speaker is on stage. We’ve found most attendees leave most inspired by a talk from a speaker who wasn’t even on their radar!
The high-level schedule is on our site and can be found here.
Sure thing! Once you know the names of the people that will be joining you, you can will be able to update them through our ticketing software, Universe.
Pre-conference tickets are not included in the price.
Unfortunately all of these workshops last all day, so you will not be able to attend more than one workshop.
We love surprising our attendees with free snacks and drinks throughout the event when we are able, however we will not be supplying meals. We will have food trucks on-site during lunch for you to choose from and there are plenty of great restaurants within walking distance of the venue if you choose to venture off-site.
There is free parking available at Nissan Stadium. This is a ten minute walk from the venue just across the beautiful pedestrian bridge. There are also plenty of paid lots around the venue.
STORY wouldn’t exist without the support of our incredible partners! Please email [email protected] so we can begin a conversation about what it might look like to partner together!