Working Mom on the Road

When my daughter was born last year, I knew I would struggle with the whole ‘balance’ thing. I was looking for a way to be both the kind of mother I had growing up AND the thriving entrepreneur running her own business. My first challenge came when she was 5 months old and I was invited to Yukon to work with a client, Ranj Pillai.

Ranj was running for a seat with the Liberal Party of Yukon and he wanted my help to create a compelling, and authentic, narrative to build his campaign. He also wanted me to connect with Champagne Aishihik First Nation as he knew they could use some support in telling their story to a wider audience.

IMG_1930I asked my own mom to fly up to Whitehorse with me so that she could look after my daughter while I met with my clients. For the most part, it was all relatively easy to set everything up. Hanna was great on the airplane, and we rented an apartment to have the same comforts of home. Where it proved difficult was the 2.5 hour back country drive to the CAFN General Assembly. The drive itself was hard because of all the twists and turns, not to mention the gravel road, yet the trickiest part was my attention span. I would be listening to an elder share her story and I would see my daughter fussing in the background. I would sit in on a panel discussion and my mind would wander to my daughter, wondering if she was hungry or needed me.

The hardest part was letting go of who I was before and accepting my new reality. I’m a working mom, and with that comes highs and lows. I get to go out into the world and help people understand their impact in a whole new way. I also get to show my daughter that I turned my passion into a career. I also have to accept that my memory isn’t what it used to be, and I can get easily distracted. I will never be fully one or the other; I can’t compartmentalize my two worlds.

Coming home from that trip, I sat down with my husband and we laid out a plan for how we were both going to run our own businesses and be the kind of parents we wanted to be at the same time. We have since introduced a schedule that works for both of us, and while we do change it from time to time, we can now plan accordingly. We can set up meetings on certain days knowing our daughter is being taken care of. We also set up safety nets; when Hanna gets sick, we need to be able to shift things around. We have enlisted the support of our village – friends, family, neighhours – to help us raise our child.

And when it comes to travel and being on the road, I’ve decided not to focus on that right now and instead work with local businesses so that I support my own community! As for Ranj, well he won his seat and went on to become Deputy Premier! I hope to work with CAFN later this year, since I got to see first hand the power of their story and I want to help them share that far and wide.

Story + Ritual

It’s been a while since I updated my blog, and with good reason! We had a baby girl in January and life has been full on ever since. It has been such a transformational journey to get here, and one thing I’ve learned is the importance of ritual in my daily life.

IMG_1251My friend and colleague, Paulina Cameron and I have been working on a blog series (and hopefully a book one day soon!) surrounding ritual in our rites of passage, and it opened us up to the conversation surrounding ritual and story in our work. We chatted with the wonderful organizers of Social Venture Institute about creating a workshop for their conference in Vancouver, and last week we presented Story + Ritual, How to create a story-making culture. In our workshop, we explored the way we talk about our work and the elements that make up our values. We then discussed how we can form and commit to rituals that turn our stories-into-action.

Being an entrepreneur, I’m not taking an official maternity leave. Instead, I’m finding ways to integrate my work into my new life (it helps to have an entrepreneurial husband who can commit to being the primary parent a few days a week). One way to do that is to introduce new rituals that allow me to juggle all of the balls up in the air while still being grounded and mindful. I’ve been developing new daily rituals (including lighting a candle when I’m in ‘work mode’) as well as holding onto yearly rituals (such as crafting a vision board for my year).

Both Paulina and I have new babies (her son was born 6 days earlier!), and so we decided to bring our little ones to the conference one day. While it was amazing to be out and reconnecting with my work community, it was harder than I thought to be present and focused. I had to leave several workshops if she fussed or when I realized I was no longer paying attention (how did 15min just pass?!). Navigating this new world will take some time, but I’m amazed at how it can all come together if my values are aligned and I have support along the way.

When Paulina and I presented our workshop, we left the babes at home with our husbands. It allowed us to engage with the room at a deeper level, and also to get a bit of a break. My business is such a huge part of my world, and it felt so good to give it my undivided attention. I’m now back to work part-time, working when time presents itself and being open and honest with my clients and collaborators. As a female business owner, I feel compelled to change the conversation surrounding work + parenting; work might not look the same as it did before, and yet we need to move toward a more integrated way of working and living. My husband is from Sweden so he is used to this type of work/life integration. I’m hoping we can encourage and create a more shared parenting environment so that both parents feel they can stay connected to their work and their family without compromising either.

In the mean time, I will continue to explore how our stories and our actions shape the work that we do and the communities in which we live.

Here are some notes from our workshop :)

Story + Ritual: How to create a story-making culture

about: story

Your story defines your culture and if you don’t know what stories are being told surrounding your business, you don’t have access to your culture. The culture of an organization is the story-in-action. If your culture does not reflect your values, mission or vision, your brand has no power. In order to access your story, start by asking questions:

The Art of Asking Questions:

  • Establish trust and a safe space
  • Ask big and wide – don’t be too specific
  • Share and be open – storytelling is a two way street
  • Encourage visualization – focus in on sensory details
  • Listen and then ask questions based on what you heard

about: ritual

Rituals are actions undertaken with intention, filled with meaning beyond their appearance. They remind us what is important, and return us to what matters. Our rituals lead us to create habits that enable us to live out our values daily. Culture is created by collective actions, or rituals, taken by a group of people. They can be agreed upon or invisible, and yet they are the glue that bonds the team together. 

Components of rituals:

  • A value or purpose needs to be defined
  • An action, or series of behaviours, that is practiced with meaningful intention
  • A dedicated time and frequency
  • A commitment – in writing!

Home with Jana Lynne White

IMG_0051I had the privilege of speaking with Jana Lynne White on her new program HOME on Roundhouse Radio the other day. Roundhouse Radio is setting a new standard for radio in Vancouver – they are sharing real stories from people of all walks of life and celebrating those stories publicly. This is such an important aspect of storytelling – we need story listeners. We need to hear the stories that are happening all around us; we need to acknowledge them so we can grow from them. We become witnesses.

I am so excited for the future stories Roundhouse Radio will share; it’s definitely giving me a new perspective on my city and the stories that surround me at any given time.

Listen to my interview as Jana and I chat myth, story and archetype. Enjoy!




Why Stories Matter

I was asked by a friend and artisan Meredith Nicole of Oden Gallery to share my thoughts on storytelling and craft. Here is the article I wrote for The Province’s blog as part of Meredith’s 5 part series.


As we walk through our home, my husband and I are often struck by the amount of stories that fill up our space. We love to support local artisans, especially when we have a personal connection to their work.

I started Narrative Communications six years ago so that I could tell stories for a living. I’ve learned that the best stories are those that have rich, emotional qualities, stories that reflect who we were, who we are and who we want to be. In my line of work, I come across more stories than you can imagine and every single time I am struck by the raw emotion we, as humans, feel when we tell a story.

Storytelling doesn’t need to follow a linear timeline; we can jump between the past, present and future as we dance between our dreams and our reality. The one thing that all stories have in common is a catalyst; something that pushes us into, or out of, the narrative. For artists, that catalyst is often something deep inside them, something that needs to emerge or be expressed.

As a Brand Mythologist, I get to meet creatives all the time who are passionate about their craft, their material and their clients. In my experience, there are three types of stories that my artistic clients tell:

megan-1The Artist’s Story: The first type explores the artist’s personal story, their reason for being, and it is often something they have been asking themselves for a very long time. A few years ago, I worked with renowned artist and painter Tiko Kerr and it struck me how much of his own story, and his view of the world, showed up in his work. We spent countless hours digging into his narrative to understand the trajectory his life has been on through his art. It was a magical experience for me because I got to step into the mind of one of Vancouver’s most beloved artist and allow that story thread to weave it’s way through his pieces, both old and new.

The Client’s Story: The second type is usually based on commission – art that is made specifically for someone based on who they are or what they like. This is one of the reasons my husband and I love walking through our home with guests; we get to tell them how each piece of art contributes to our story. When Johan and I moved into our new home last year, we wanted as many locally-sourced, artisan pieces as we could afford. It was serendipitous that I met Meredith Nicole just before we moved when I was facilitating a brand storytelling workshop. Johan and I asked Meredith if she would build us a custom bed that reflected our story and she was immediately brimming with ideas. In the end, Meredith crafted us a bed made from a fallen cherry tree from the Okanagan; we loved the warmth of the wood and the fact that she built in shelves for maximum storage. The pièce de resistance was when she engraved words from our wedding ceremony into the headboard, As we stand beside the ocean tide, words that epitomized our rainy Tofino beach wedding just months before.

side-bed    screen-shot-2015-09-11-at-9-08-03-am

screen-shot-2015-09-11-at-9-08-18-amThe Material’s Story: Finally, the third type of story many artists tell is that of the material. This is the most esoteric of them all, and often requires suspending reason and falling into our imagination. There are many reasons artists choose to work with certain material; cost, durability, ease. Yet for some, like Brent Comber, the material chose them. Brent is fourth generation North Vancouverite, and his ancestors worked with wood. Brent believes that when he works with wood, he connects with and reveals the stories that exist within the material. One afternoon, my client, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, called Brent Comber to see if he wanted a rotting tree that had to come down in their park. They told him the tree was likely 1,600 years old, and Brent knew at that moment that he had a story to tell. He decided to carve the tree into giant spheres to highlight the tree rings and give equal importance to every part of the tree. I had the privilege of helping him tell the story not only of the sphere, but of the tree itself.


Branding MBA schools

IMG_8953Last month, I presented a workshop at the EFMD Conference, a gathering of MBA schools from around the world. I opened the three day conference by speaking about the power of storytelling and the need for story making environments.

Over the course of an hour, I shared with the heads of some of the world’s top business schools the idea that in branding what we feel is often more important than what we think.

Storytelling has a direct connection with our emotions – our stories focus on our memories, our dreams and our sensory experiences. I wanted to paint a picture for the room that allowed them to feel my story first before I asked them to feel theirs. The remarkable thing that happened was that I actually felt the energy in the room as I did this. By being vulnerable and sharing parts of my story that are personal, I could feel the eyes in the room connecting with what I was sharing. I knew there were likely others who had experienced what I was sharing, and this was connecting them to me in a way that I could not have done with facts and figures.

After I shared my story, I was able to guide them through my Brand Narrative process with the understanding that being open and sharing something meaningful does in fact create a connection. I had people coming up to me over the three days reflecting back what I shared. It mattered to them. They developed an emotional connection to my story, therefore they developed an emotional connection to my brand.

Storytelling isn’t a science – it’s an emotional outpouring.

It’s a chance to be seen and heard, a chance to share something that matters and to hear something equally important back. To tell stories is to live and breath, and yet somehow we have lost that when it comes to talking about our work. When we first meet someone, we have a short amount of time to capture their imagination. We want them to connect with the story we are sharing, especially when it’s a story about something as intangible as a business school.

When branding a business school, like branding a business itself, you need to gather as many stories as you can and look for patterns and themes, similarities and differences. Being able to capture those stories and create a ‘meta-narrative’ is what I do with brand mythology.

Mythology transcends time and place. It holds the stories we all relate to, because at some point in time, we created that myth. A business can tap into that power – they can create their own mythology, a collection of stories that people have in and around what they do and why they matter.

Branding a business school needs to be about more than just academics. It’s about possibility and it’s about change, it’s about overcoming a challenge and the desire to make your life better. That is the ultimate mythology = The Hero’s Journey. It exists in all of us, and it definitely needs to exist in the brand of a business school.

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Story Workshops

IMG_8566Spring is in the air – and for entrepreneurs that can often mean change.

A brand is a living, breathing ecosystem. You need to continually feed it so that it can grow, adapt and transform. I’ve been feeding my business lately by sitting down with some of my amazing fellow entrepreneurs and seeing what kind of magic we can create together. Spring feels like the perfect time to announce a new collaboration!

I first met Lizzy Karp in Palm Springs last year during the Loaded Bow retreat for female entrepreneurs – but we had both been told many times before that we needed to meet. When we did, sparks literally flew! We shared our own stories about how storytelling has influenced us in our lives and our professions. We talked about our mutual love of books and of building community. Needless to say, we knew that one day we would work together and do great things.

Photo 2015-01-20, 9 31 11 AMLizzy and I are proud to announce that we are now offering immersive storytelling workshops and mythology sessions for boards of directors, steering committees and small groups that work within larger companies. We recently worked with Aphrodite’s Organic Café, creating a custom staff training workshop that engaged their entire team by tapping into personal stories as well as the larger Aphrodite’s brand story. We convened 40 employees and connected them with the stories that were, the stories that are, and the stories that can be.

We hosted an Irish Wake to honour the stories of the past. We guided everyone in a group meditation to picture a meal that changed their life. We imagined new possibilities through some future storytelling. Most importantly, we brought people together.

Both Lizzy and I are conveners. We bring people together to share stories and to feel. Emotions are one of the most important aspects as to how we operate, and we want to honour those emotions by creating space to story-tell and to story-listen.

We will be unveiling more details soon. In the mean time, if you are interested in having us create a story-infused workshop for your team, drop us a line!

Megan & Lizzy


Power Sources


I first met Robin Bancroft-Wilson of Aatma Crystals through the SVI community in Vancouver and was struck by her genuine spirit. She radiates positive energy, and that must be why she was drawn to crystals. From what I understand, each crystal holds a specific energy, and we are often drawn to a crystal because of it’s energy source. My crystals have become power sources, reminders of the intention I first envisioned when I held each of them. They are wonderful guides in my daily meditations.

When I learned that Robin offered energy cleanses for new homes and business environments, I was instantly intrigued. My husband and I had just bought a house and I wanted us to feel like the space was ours and not the previous owners. Robin helped us create an intention for how we wanted to feel in our home, and it made us look at each room differently. I imagined conversation in the dining room, abundance in the office, creativity in the kitchen – and suddenly the house started to feel like our home. I was creating the future stories that would soon be present in these walls.

Robyn helped us bring our individual energy into each nook and cranny, and our love into the whole space. She helped us become fully present and aware of our surroundings through ritual and ceremony – the salt, the sage, the singing bowl – all of these were powerful tools that she used to weave our stories into the story of this house.

Every day I am reminded of the power of intention – rather than setting tangible goals, we can set intentions that are based on a feeling or an emotion. Ultimately, you let go of how things will unfold and you trust that everything will fall into place according to your intention. After living in our home for 6 months, I can honestly say that the intentions we set forth for our new home have already come to fruition. Whether it was the salt in each corner of every room, the vibrations from the Indian singing bowl, or the smudging effect from the sage – there was power in the simple act of walking through our home with fresh eyes and love in our heart.

It was the ritual that engaged us and the ceremony that allowed us to celebrate our new home for what it truly is – a place where our intention lives.


Power & Beauty

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 2.44.47 PMI am honoured to be interviewed for EcoDiva’s Embracing Power & Beauty campaign. I first met Garcy, the co-founder of EcoDiva, in Palm Springs on a Loaded Bow retreat. What has struck me ever since is how much beauty there can be in power when it comes from the heart. Thank you Garcy for epitomizing the beauty of power.

EcoDiva: When do you feel most powerful?

Megan: I love this question! Mostly because I’ve just realized that I feel most powerful when I lead with my heart. When I first started doing this work, I didn’t always trust my emotions – I thought they were a sign of weakness. I thought that power was associated with someone who does not waver, does not quiver, does not cry. Now I know better. When my cheeks flush or my eyes water, it’s because I care so deeply about this work, about the people connected to this work. My ability to feel is one of my greatest gifts, and there is power in that.

EcoDiva: Being recognized as a “powerful woman” these days doesn’t always have a positive vibe that comes along with it. What does being a powerful woman mean to you?

Megan: A powerful woman lifts others up whenever she can. She doesn’t look for path of least resistance – she walks toward the fire. I believe the road ahead of us involves a massive re-structuring of business culture – we need to create work environments where people don’t have to choose between work and family, between stress and boredom. For me, a powerful woman sees beauty in vulnerability and strength in failure. She fights the good fight and knows when to listen.

EcoDiva: Do you have a personal mantra, or a quote that has been helping you lately?

Megan: I love the quote from Albert Einstein “Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my awareness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has prevented me from feelings of isolation.” Working on my own, I need to believe in that invisible community. Technology has actually helped me with that – with Twitter I connect with likeminded people around the world, through texting I stay in constant contact with my female entrepreneur breakfast club, and thanks to Skype, I can see my clients even when they are across the country. Although, there is nothing like meeting a friend for coffee, a client for lunch or going on a retreat with values-driven companies like Eco Diva Beauty.

Read my entire interview here!

What’s Your Tradecraft?

Take Courage Drop ShadowYou know those people who talk a big game? They have lots of ideas, many of which hold potential, and yet very few of them actualize. Well, that’s definitely not Katie Jeanes and Aaron Vidas.

Katie and Aaron are ‘those’ people – you know, the ones who make things happen. They get an idea, they talk it out, and then they commit to it. They have both started several businesses, and they have learned a lot along the way. When Katie first told me about their inspiration for Tradecraft, I thought it sounded really cool and hoped it would land somewhere tangible in the future. Less than a month later, they not only had a brand, they had built an entire community.

Tradecraft seeks to understand what motivates people, specifically entrepreneurs. We all have our own little ‘sayings’ – perhaps it’s a quote from a famous person, or a nugget of wisdom passed down from generation to generation. Those sayings get us through the tough times and remind us to savour the good times. Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about working for yourself; it’s about building something you believe in, something that the world needs. It’s about tapping into an experience we can all connect with. And that’s what Tradecraft is doing – they shine a light on the words that motivate us to keep going, despite the odds.

ElixirI often talk about The Hero’s Journey in my story sessions, and I truly believe that Katie and Aaron have made their way through the journey cycle and are standing at the top of the circle, holding onto the elixir. The elixir represents the wisdom they have gathered on their respective entrepreneurial journeys, and they are now completing this journey by sharing that elixir with the world.

The goal shouldn’t be to gain as much wisdom and knowledge as one can; the goal needs to be how we can then share that knowledge with the world, releasing it out into the open so that it can spawn new ideas, new inspirations. So thank you Katie and Aaron for planting new seeds of inspiration and for shining a light on the power of words.

My saying is It’s the stuff of life and I invite you to read my Tradecraft interview here, A Modern Day Mythologist.

Creating a Storytelling Culture

Hollyhock HeartA week on Cortes Island with 150 social entrepreneurs out to change the world can only lead to one thing…deep, deep gratitude.

I returned to Hollyhock’s Social Venture Institute last week and was greeted with a flood of friendly faces. This ‘business conference’ is often referred to as summer camp for entrepreneurs, and this year did little to disprove that reputation. For me, it offers sanctuary from the daily buzz of running my own business, a retreat to reset and recharge, and a place to connect and set new intentions. Last year’s post The Prism Effect gives you a sense of what to expect.

This year, I had the honour of co-facilitating a workshop with Amy Hartzler, a story maven who runs Do Good Better in Washington, D.C. Amy and I spent hours chatting about the rituals we bring into our work and how we celebrate the changing nature of our story. We then convened 50 entrepreneurs in the beautiful Kiakum room for our workshop How Passion, Ceremony and Narrative Create Brands We Remember. We were inspired to share the rituals that inspire our work, and invite everyone in the room to share how they mark and celebrate the stories that surround them.

One of the hardest things to do as a business owner is create a brand that people feel on an ongoing basis. In branding, it’s essential to have an inspiring narrative, a strong logo and powerful imagery. Yet it shouldn’t stop there. We need to move beyond storytelling and focus on story creation. How can we inspire our team, our clients, even ourselves to share the stories that matter to us daily? I believe it is by recognizing the patterns and rituals we have that make us feel safe and free to explore our story sphere – that place where our emotions reside – so that we can feel things without having to explain them.

It is up to every business owner to lead with the heart.

In order to create a story-making culture, here are some things that you can do:

  • Invite your team to gather around the same spot each day, or once a week, for a story sharing circle.
  • Host a retreat and invite your team to create the content depending on their interests.
  • Develop brand rituals, things that you do every single time you meet with a client or do an employee review.
  • Simple things, like lighting a candle, can be a great reminder to ponder your own story throughout the day.
  • Find fun ways to engage your clients so they feel comfortable sharing their story with you.
  • Listen. Ask an open-ended question and then listen. Don’t wait for your turn, just listen.
  • And once a year, travel to Hollyhock if you can. It’s a place where stories are born.

Stories are meant to be honoured. If you are trying to create a story making culture, be sure to create the safest space possible and thank those who share. Find ways to celebrate and bring ceremony back into the workplace, and above all – have fun! Our stories are our lifeblood, they keep us rooted and inspired all at the same time. They connect us to each other and help us form beautiful communities like this one, my beautiful, empowering Loaded Bow girls at SVI:

Loaded Bow at SVI

Loaded Bow at SVI