My Loaded Bow

Armed with Community. 

Just over a year ago, I was invited to an evening called Loaded Bow. I didn’t know what to expect; all that I was told was that it was an evening for women entrepreneurs, and that I should bring a fellow female entrepreneur along. I brought my dear friend Theodora Lamb and proceeded to have one of the most memorable nights of the year, ten of us sharing our ‘Stories of Love’ and connecting on what it means to be a female business owner. It was the first of many beautiful nights with this community.

Photo by Caroline Boquist

Photo by Caroline Boquist

That first evening, I walked into a beautiful, new world. This world has introduced me to some of my closest friends, including Gen and Zoe, the founders of Loaded Bow. They started this experiment four years ago, self admittedly as a way to make new, awesome friends in Vancouver’s entrepreneurial space. Gen runs Hume Atelier, a bespoke jewellery studio with her husband Kevin, and Zoe Pawlak is a painter and collaborator, creating beautiful works of art in many different forms.

So much loves goes into and comes out of this community, so it was without hesitation that I said yes to a four day Loaded Bow retreat in Palm Springs this past weekend. 25 women gathered at the Ace Hotel (yes, it felt like a movie set!) for what can only be described as a Meeting of the Hearts. The theme of the weekend was Story, and four of us were invited to craft workshops that inspire storytelling.


#1. Tell Me a Story. Lizzy Karp, of Raincity Chronicles, led us into the psyche of story listening, teaching us how we can craft questions that ignite curiosity. She reminded us that asking a question in a certain way can trigger memories and offer responses cloaked in emotion and intrigue.

#2. Archetype & Myth. I led the group through a personal Archetype experience, landing on an archetype that each person identifies with and a challenge getting in the way of fully becoming it. Then, I took everyone through the Hero’s Journey and we positioned ourselves in the circle, at one of the 12 stages of transformation. It was reassuring, to see so many others on the same journey.

#3. The C-Spot. Thara Viyali, Naturopath to many of us there, invited us into the story of stress. She asked us to consider our own relationship to stress and taught us about the effects of Cortisol and how we can find our own ‘C-spot’ by understanding how our body reacts to stress.

#4. Remembering the Future. Finally, Chloe Gow-Jarrett of Lululemon led us 20 years into the future where we connected with our future selves who then shared wisdom and insight based on ‘our’ life experiences.

Between all of that, we were privileged to have Lauren Roegele lead us in yoga and breathing exercises, harnessing the power of our individual story and collective experience throughout the weekend. It was nothing short of perfection the way that everyone wove into the tapestry curated by Gen and Zoe. I have never experienced the beauty of female friendship quite like this – it was a lightning bolt of love and a real, honest moment in time. It also didn’t hurt that we were in ultra hip land at the vibrant Ace Hotel where the party never stops despite the 108′ desert heat.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to this beautiful community who continues to nourish every part of my world.

Photo by Jessica Karalash, Kurate Style

Photo by Jessica Karalash,


Story Visioning


Every January, I reflect on all that has passed and I set intentions for the year to come. I’ve moved away from specific goal setting as it can often be rigid and onerous, plus when you run your own business you need to be nimble and I have found that the best way to be open to success is to focus on Story Visioning. Four years ago, I started vision boarding and it has not only impacted the growth of my business, it has also impacted the way I live my life.

As a passionate social entrepreneur, I see no division between my business life and my personal life. Everything is connected and every piece impacts the whole. My professional development sheds light on my personal life, and my personal relationships foster new work collaborations. Everything feeds into the same system: me. So when I started vision boarding, it wasn’t about just one area of my life; it all intersects, and it is at that intersection that true power can be harnessed.

We all live many story lines; some stories fill us with pride and others hold us back. Each story we tell ourselves is indicative of how we live our lives. From the different roles we play, to the different people we serve, it can be overwhelming to try and set a goal or an intention when you are not exactly sure what aspect of your life you are considering. Story Visioning is meant to help you understand and embrace all of the story lines you hold and find that sweet spot where everything intersects. That is where true power and influence is born, at that spot where everything you love, everything you do, everything you want to be, is acknowledged and appreciated.



Story Visioning is a technique I am developing with a friend and colleague Theodora Lamb. Together, we are launching an event for female entrepreneurs in Vancouver focused on exploration and intention setting. This one-day event is the first step of a larger initiative to support female entrepreneurs by creating space, online and offline, to acknowledge and appreciate our many stories.

Understanding the narrative of our business is vital; understanding our own story in relation to that narrative is equally important.

Buy Local Week

Last night, we celebrated the launch of Buy Local Week in British Columbia at the LOCO Christmas party. I joined LOCOBC last year and it has opened my eyes to the power of local buying – not only from an economic standpoint, but also from a community aspect. Walking into GreenWorks last night, I recognized so many local business owners – business consultants, food producers, designers and craftspeople. It is amazing how sharing one simple value (that of supporting the local economy) can cut through all of the networking fuzz and initiate deep conversations. I truly value my LOCO membership, and I urge everyone to support their own local business community!

Oh, and check out this beautiful, informative infographic designed by the talented Lisa Hemingway of Backyard Creative – one of my business collaborators! It shows you the real impact local buying has and how it can directly affect each and every one of us.

So this week (and every week) when you buy anything, be sure to Buy Local!

The Art of Hosting

It is in the wander that new paths are formed.
It is in the wander that old habits are broken.
Yet, it is in the pause that we prepare for all that the wander will bring.

I love to wander. It is something my partner and I joke about – he likes to have a direction in mind before venturing out, whereas I like to wander and see what shows up. My career has been a bit of a wander; moving in and out of different conversations, building ideas and inspiration along the way. Never really sure of a final destination, but enjoying the journey of discovery. One of the main challenges for solopreneurs like myself is to pause and let what I have collected along the way sink in.

Enter the Art of Hosting, an approach to leadership that allows us to gather and reflect on the wisdom inside ourselves and within our community. I first heard about the Art of Hosting a few years ago when it seemed that every new person I met found a way to weave it into our conversation. Jung would call this ‘Synchronicity’ – learning about something only to have it appear in all aspects of your life. Joseph Campbell would perhaps refer to it as ‘The Call’, a beckoning of sorts, inviting you to poke your head in and see what lies on the other side. Last week, I accepted the call and attended a 4 day intensive Art of Hosting training on Bowen Island.

Arriving anywhere by ferry seems to add a layer of space to the journey. Space to sit and reflect as the vessel coasts across the water. Space to explore since there is no easy escape off an island. Space to imagine and space to be curious. Anticipation is futile, what will be, will be. Or as The Art of Hosting declares, ‘Whoever shows up are the right people to show up.”

I’ve participated in Art of Hosting activities before – World Café and Open Space Technology often make appearances in my workshops and retreats. Yet, I have never been so fully immersed in the philosophy and art of bringing people together. I first identified as a facilitator or convener last year when I realized that in bringing people together to share stories I was working in the depths of group dynamics. One of my favourite aspects of group work is the Circle Practice – placing people in a circle and giving them equal air time shifts the power away from a single leader and invites the group to redefine leadership.

When I tell people I practice storytelling, they often bring up campfires. While the work I do extends far beyond the fire pit, there is something to this reference. Sitting around a fire, we can hear each voice and see each face. We let our guards down, feeling protected under the night sky. True storytelling happens when we trust our own voice and practice the art of listening. My time on Bowen Island, albeit without campfire, reminded me to listen. Thankfully, I heard the most beautiful stories; stories of hope and stories of possibility.

And there is no greater reason to wander than that.


Thank you to Conrad for the beautiful photos that captured the essence of our time together on Bowen. 

Letting Go

I am fortunate enough to belong to many communities, including a beautiful Transformational Facilitation Group (TFG) of women in Vancouver. Our group consists of 11 women at similar points in our career who are all interested in using facilitation as a way of bringing about change. We meet once a month for a potluck dinner and talk about our practice or our business, and we share ways that we can collectively support each other. I was introduced to the group by my friend Erica who works with me at the HiVE and it has already proven to be a powerful reminder as to what happens when you bring passionate women together.

One of our members has been part of ALIA (Authentic Leadership in Action) for years and she invited us to last week’s ALIA West workshop in Vancouver. Leading up to this day, I was stressed with work, life and everything in between. I kept asking myself why I had signed up for a full day workshop in the middle of my busy season. And then I walked into the room.

Appropriately, the ALIA workshop was being held at the Centre for Peace and that is exactly what happened when I arrive – I felt at peace. It helped looking around the room and recognizing faces, either from my TFG or from my other communities of support. It also helped that I was stepping away my emails, my voicemails, my giant pile of To Do’s…and giving myself permission to plant my feet firmly and sink into the moment.

The Changing Face of Leadership: Mindfulness and Wise Action.

“It is our questions, our uncertainty, that leads us deeper. That is the one authentic truth that connects us all – we are all seeking, questioning and yearning for something else, beyond.” Wise words from our host Michael Chender, the Founder of ALIA in Nova Scotia. He went on to state that, “The obstacle is Fear – our confidence that we have the capabilities.”

The workshop was split into chapters, and we were just on the first page. Barbary Bash led us in a group meditation that bonded us on many different levels. We spoke of the challenges we face when trying to slow down our minds – the distractions in the room, in our heads, in our hearts. We opened up to each other, and we opened up to ourselves. ALIA is founded on three guiding principles: Meditation, Skill Learning and Creative Interaction. Well, this 8 hour workshop delivered all three in spades!

After settling into the day, we started exploring the 5 steps of Facilitation, and each presented a new understanding of leadership and wisdom. Barbara Bash led us in her beautiful Big Brush calligraphy as we explored each of the five stages of leadership.

1. ENTERING: This is about the way you enter a space, the way you begin a session. Entering sets the tone for all that is to come. Pause. Feel your body. Recognize your own fear and smile at it! Vulnerability is the only strong position.

2. EXPLORING: Not to be confused with proving pre-conceptions. Exploring is about inviting curiosity. It is about analyzing and understanding the systems at play, but it is also about listening to instinct and intuition, and ultimately recognizing patterns.

3. ACTING: This stage creates a profound energetic shift – clarity emerges and you commit! The path becomes clear and there is often a sense of hesitation…resist the fear and step into it.

4. COMPLETING: Acting sets off a series of consequences, and this stage involves coming back to the original intention. You have disturbed the system, but must not give in to second thoughts. Mistakes become stepping stones.

5. LETTING GO: Mark the occasion, bring ritual into the transition. Letting go does not need to fizzle out – it is about energizing toward the future. Be open and available to what comes next.

At the end of the day, we had stirred our own insecurities and hesitations as leaders, and we had found an approach that spoke to the wholeness of leadership. It was a beautiful, crisp Autumn day and my harvest feast came in the form of ALIA.


The Prism Effect

When I was first introduced to the Social Venture Institute (SVI) community, I felt like I’d uncovered a secret door that opened up to an amazing new world – a world where collaboration was queen, and the first question out of everyone’s mouth was “How can I help?” I made a wish last year that I would find my way to Hollyhock, the motherland of SVI, and last week my wish was granted.

When deciding how to make the long trek to Cortes Island, I was told The Caravan was the only way to travel. The Caravan is a group of vans full of strangers en route to SVI – people who sign up for an adventure, people who understand that the journey is as important as the destination. Several email threads later, I asked my Caravan of six how they felt about themes… and then I proposed we dress as pirates, a most unusual request for a business conference! To my delight, everyone not only agreed, they showed up ready to play. Community building starts right off the bat – it is how you show up that defines the experience. Six strangers – dressed in pirate garb, given odd looks by people on the ferry – now connected. Three ferries and seven hours later we arrived at Hollyhock, storming the castle and bringing laughter with every Arrrr.

Community can be born or it can be grown. It can grow slowly over time or it can be accelerated with the proper soil. Hollyhock is the magical fertilizer in the soil of the SVI community. It is a place with deep roots and a strong connection to the land. It is supported by people who respect and cherish what it brings to so many lives. It is also a place where reality is suspended, and that can bring challenges along with beautiful awakenings.

SVI is not really a business conference, despite it’s best intentions. It is a place where awareness is sought after, and challenges are brought to the surface. It is both personal and professional – because the majority of the people there do not see the distinction. Our work is personal. It is why we are social entrepreneurs. There is no clear division between who we are and what we do. It’s the ‘Why’ that is leading us forward.

The challenge I came with was around growth: How can a business grow while maintaining the intimacy and personal connection that defines its experience? This question around ‘Scale versus Depth’ seemed to be in the air all week. Judy Wicks, the founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), said it best when she was discussing White Dog Cafe and her strategic decision not to replicate or expand but rather to sink in deeper in support of the local economy.

The simple act of deciding what are the roots and what are the branches can lead you to your own answer around scale versus depth. The roots represent our history, knowledge and experience. The roots are where we come from and they feed what we do. To choose depth means that we want to sink our roots in deeper, drawing more knowledge, wisdom and expertise to strengthen our position in the market. The branches represent our connections, impact and reach. They are where we are going and they bring inspiration into our vision. To choose scale means that we want our branches to reach further, impacting more people in different ways so that we can expand our position in the market.

Why do you need to choose one?

Leadership was a big focus of the SVI week. I so appreciated the public acknowledgement that leadership is about recognizing ‘the whole’ – from balancing teaching with learning to dancing with both the masculine and feminine, true leadership seeks both the branches and the roots. In an unconventional exercise, we sat with a person we did not know and asked them over and over again: “What is the next step you will take toward becoming a leader?” It is amazing what you begin to reveal around the 20th time of being asked the same question, and how you realize that becoming a leader and being a leader are two sides of the same coin.

Building a community is like building the mythology of an organization – you have to take into account all of the different voices and perspectives that come into it, as well as the different ways people experience it. I often share with people an analogy that I call The Prism Effect. A brand is made up of common experiences and connections – that is the core of the prism. Yet each person experiences it in their own way, and they share that in a unique fashion, like a prism shining and refracting light out in different directions.

When I walked into the Hollyhock store, I found this prism and I decided that it would hold my SVI experience. I was told to go down to the ocean and cleanse it, removing the prints of others. I was resetting it, and allowing it to capture new experiences. I realized in that moment that the prism was the SVI community – we all came together from various places, bringing with us our own perspectives and points of view. Together, we formed the gem that was SVI for five whole days, and then we left, reflecting our individual experiences out to the world.

My SVI prism now dangles in my office, catching the light in different ways, reminding me of the power of community and the beauty of diversity.

Myth Making

Working as a solopreneur can be a lonely road. Sure, we do our best to attend networking events and social gatherings, we join co-working spaces (like the fabulous HiVE Vancouver!) and meet friends and collaborators for coffee or lunch. We might even get a dog so that we have a reason to go outside on rainy, dreary days! Yet despite all of our supporters and their good intentions, we really are our own best cheerleader.

Enter: The Business Coach

I am a goal-setting, vision boarding, kick-my-own-butt-into-gear kind of gal, so I never really thought I needed a coach. And, like any woman on a mission, I have trouble asking for help. I have worked with coaches in the past, and I have gotten a lot from the experience, but this time was different. This time, I wasn’t questioning where I wanted to go or how I was going to get there – I realized that I was doing exactly what I wanted to do and I was exactly where I wanted to be…and that scared the heck out of me!

I kept asking myself when will the other shoe drop?

I first met Lisa Princic at a LOCOBC event, an organization that connects values-based businesses to help grow the local economy. A mutual friend introduced us and told me how Lisa had helped her dig deeper into her business vision and get more out of what she was already doing. Yup, that sounded like something I could get on board with! Working with a coach can be a bit like looking into one of those magnifying mirrors – the more you look, the more you notice every line, spot or imperfection. You start to see what needs attention but you also learn to appreciate what is already there. You see things clearly.

Lisa was my New Years Resolution, or at least the experience she helped me create was. My goal was simple (or so I thought): to deepen my own practice and make my business more sustainable. In other words, figure out how to hold onto that awesome feeling you get when you are doing exactly what you love! Now came the tricky part – holding my business up to that darn mirror…

Over the course of 20 weeks, Lisa and I chatted every 2 weeks. We discussed the goals and challenges I laid out from my previous sessions and she helped me set up new ones. It was more than holding me accountable – she made me realize that in order to go deeper and become more sustainable I would I have to allow my business to transform. Transformation. That’s it, that’s what I was afraid of. I had finally arrived at a place in my career where I felt safe, valued and respected…and I wanted to hold onto that. But I soon realized that the part of my business that I loved the most was pioneering into new territory: learning new skills, meeting new people and allowing my perspectives to change.

I came into Lisa’s coaching process with a strong vision and sense of purpose. While I may not have realized it at the time, she opened my eyes to the fact that I was limiting myself by trying to hold onto things just as they were. I was blocking the road, and all along I thought I was driving free and clear.

I spent the past few months exploring my true vision for Narrative Communications and everything kept coming back to the word Story. When I first called myself a Storyteller, people looked at me with confused eyes and a crooked grin. “You mean, like sitting around a campfire kind of storyteller?” No. I meant the deeper stories that exist inside each of us. Jung calls it our Collective Unconscious, Joseph Campbell spoke in Archetypes. I have spent the past 10 years exploring the world of myth. From reading books by Robert Bringhurst, Lewis Hyde and Annette Simmons, to taking courses in narrative psychology, to learning how to facilitate and build community. I have been redefining, mostly for myself, what a storyteller is.

My passion is to harvest and gather stories, to weave and share stories. What I do is bigger than storytelling. It is bigger than any one single story or any one single person. It is about connecting personal experiences with universal themes. It is about tapping into a larger narrative that exists inside each of us and within our collective communities.

It is myth-making.

All of this brought me back to my first passion: Folklore. Fairytales. Fables. The stories we read when we are little and the stories that resonate when we are adults. The stories we feel we have heard before. The stories that are full of nostalgia and brimming with cultural memory. That was why I set off to study a Masters in Mythology at the University of Edinburgh many moons ago. That was why I moved to Ghana, West Africa to host storytelling circles. That is why I set out to start this business in the first place. So what I am?

I am a Brand Mythologist.

There. I’ve said it. It is bigger than storytelling. It is bigger than strategy. It is everything that connects us, it is everything that we are. Let the transformation begin!



Sunset at the End of the World

A story is a gift – best to open it slowly, careful not to peel away the layers too quickly, often finding something you may not have realized you needed. That is what happens when we share our story – we offer others insight into our world and we give permission to each other to find common threads and obstacles.

My dad and I have been going on a Father-Daughter Road Trip since I was 11. Every year, usually in the summer, we hop in the car and we drive. We drive North or we drive East, we drive over paved roads and gravel roads. We have flown in sea planes and small planes. We have kayaked, hiked, golfed, and white water rafted. We have travelled more kilometres than I can even count, and on every trip we offer each other the gift of story.

Growing up, people would ask me what my dad does. “Um…he’s an entrepreneur, I think. Yes, definitely an entrepreneur!” I would say. When kids would push back, asking exactly what that meant, I would stare them in the eye and with great pride say, “He gets to wear jeans every day and doesn’t have a boss!”

After our first road trip, I started to understand that what my dad did wasn’t a job title, it was a series of events that would lead him to an opportunity. Understanding what our parents do for a living can be a great challenge when we are young, especially when the job falls outside the traditional categories. We often believe we need to parcel things up in pretty little packages; a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher – we assume we know what each of those professions entails. But an entrepreneur? You don’t often see children’s books following the adventures of a Venture Capitalist! Funnily enough, now that I fall outside the traditional employment sphere, it has been amazing listening to others describe what I do for a living, often craving a title or concrete definition.

What we do for a living is not about a job title or an elevator pitch – it is about the everyday stories we collect and encounter. It’s about the people whose lives we affect, and it’s about what we hold onto when we are off the clock. When my dad and I started doing our annual road trips, it started as a way for a father and a daughter to bond. What ended up happening was so much more powerful – our stories started to weave together, and we got to see each other in a whole new light.

As far back as I can remember, my dad would tell me how he started his career with my mom – how the two of them moved around the world setting up different businesses, usually with ideas that were ahead of their time. Looking back now, every year I would gain new insight into my dad’s world, listening to his memories and the lessons he learned. His stories inspired me, and they led me onto my own entrepreneurial journey.

Last week’s trip was no exception.

This year, we decided to drive to Desolation Sound. I didn’t know much about Desolation Sound, only that it sounded far away and remote. Little did I know that it would be just far enough away that it would actually bring us closer to home. Waiting for the second ferry in Earls Cove, my dad ran into a neighbour named Garth Lawrence. Garth and my dad started chatting, and when I told Garth what I did for a living he gave me my first gift of the trip – he told me to read his son’s book. He said that his son, Grant Lawrence, wrote all about Desolation Sound after collecting dozens of stories from his own childhood as well as myths and folklore from the area.

When I got on the ferry, I re-read an email my friend Robyn Spencer sent me with recommendations on what to do in Powell River only to realize she suggested I read the same book “Adventures in Solitude” by Grant Lawrence. This was our first taste of synchronicity. When we arrived at Desolation Resort, we dropped off our bags and headed into Lund to grab a beer and some dinner. We found ourselves at The Boardwalk Restaurant, which once went by the name Sunset Restaurant at The End of the World. As the sun set in the distance it felt like we were on the cusp of something big, that point where the end becomes the beginning all over again.

As we do on our trips, we started talking with a man that sat next to us. He told us that he had recently been to his daughter’s wedding after not speaking with her much over the years. When he heard about our commitment to a road trip every year together, I think it inspired him to reconnect with his daughter. Our story now became a gift for someone else. We ended the evening at the Laughing Oyster restaurant, drinking port on the patio as the owner, Dave, serenaded us with old folk tunes beneath the moon light and meteors. His story, along with that of our waitress, warmed us on a cool summer evening.

The next day, we had a 6 hour kayak planned, and upon meeting Jordanne, our guide for the day, we told her about the Grant Lawrence connection and she just about fell over in her kayak! She knew about his book and used his stories as inspiration when she talked about the history of the region. We were invited to drop in on Garth for lunch and when we pulled our kayaks up to the giant rocks, we could feel the story deepening. As we sat at the picnic table overlooking islands that were once First Nations burial grounds and land that once housed homesteaders in the 20s and draft dodging hippies in the 70s, I felt a deep connection to this place. My story was now being woven into the fabric of the land. Garth gave us a copy of Grant’s book and that evening dad and I both started reading it, amazed at the many personal connections we now had to the people and landscape of Desolation Sound.

The trip brought more than just a vacation between father and daughter – it was a true exercise in storytelling. We shared our stories and by that very act invited new stories in. We came home full, from the people we met and the stories they shared with us. It also reminded me that sometimes we need to venture into the great wide open, unsure of what stories lurk in the distance. Grant prefaces his book with this quote, and I thought it fitting to leave you with this thought…


A Heart and Two Hands

Last night, I had the privilege of attending a LunaCircle at Lunapads. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lunapads, it is an amazing organization run by two beautiful, socially-conscious women right here in Vancouver. While their products include a collection of eco-friendly menstrual products, it is their focus on empowerment, education and environmental awareness that first inspired me when I met Madeleine and Suzanne at SVI Vancouver a few years ago.

When I heard about the monthly LunaCircles they were hosting, I knew I had found my tribe. For me, storytelling is best served in a circle, since each story is given the same amount of energy and reflection. It is a powerful thing to witness, a story circle, especially with a group of women who are meeting for the first time and discussing something very personal: birth.

This particular LunaCircle was titled We ♥ Doulas, and I knew I had to find my way to the circle. Six months ago, a dear friend of mine found out she was pregnant, and almost in the same breath that she told me, she then asked if I would be her doula. Feeling honoured to walk this journey with her, the fear then set in. What does it mean to be a doula, and am I, a-yet-to-be-a-mother, even qualified? I knew that the LunaCircle would offer me insight and advice – and yet it ended up offering me so much more; a reminder that we already hold our own wisdom.

Suzanne, our hostess for the evening, began the storytelling by passing around a Russian nesting doll. She asked us to introduce ourselves, our mother and our grandmother as a way of paying tribute to our birthing history. She reminded us that when our mother was inside our grandmother, the egg that we came from was already formed. This powerful visual, of three generations of women being inside one another, brought tears to my eyes. It also reminded me of the importance of ritual; the passing of the doll aligned our energy and gave way to a beautiful evening of authentic, vulnerable conversations.

The lovely doulas from Fig Birth Services, Danika and Andrea, guided us through the many pathways of motherhood. They held the space in such an open way, including each of us: moms, expectant moms, daughters, and soon-to-be-doulas like myself, in rich conversation and a guided meditation. They also gave me a beautiful gift – they told me that the only thing a doula needs is her heart and two hands to support a mom-to-be. Everything else helps, but at the end of the day, if you are there with a loving heart and ability to help when and where needed, that is the best thing you can offer. Beauty lies in simplicity. By the end of the evening, I felt inspired, empowered and above all, grateful for such an open, honest community of women who share stories the way they were meant to be shared – with love.

For more information about LunaCircles and our experience yesterday evening, check out the Lunapads blog or gain another perspective from our evening of doulahood at WestEndGirl blog.

Btw: I am also working with Lunapads to build a Brand Narrative for their new venture, GDay Vancouver, which focuses on celebrating, empowering and educating girls as they come of age. Stay tuned for more as the stories unfold.


Stanford’s Design Thinking Lab

Summer can be a slow time for consultants, especially when you need to engage with your clients on a regular basis the way I do. If I haven’t already started on a project by July, clients are hesitant to start the deep Narrative process when vacation and sunshine beckon. While I do have several clients on the go, I am also taking this time to go deeper into my own story. For me, that means embracing my passion for learning.

I heard via Twitter that Stanford University was offering a free, 5 week online course around Design Thinking through their Venture Lab. My interest was officially perked. I enrolled and awaited the start date. Just finishing Week One, I have been amazed at the many ways the Internet can bring people together from around the world, engaging us in ideas that are applicable to each and every one of us. My group consists of 6 members: from Peru, Mexico, Russia, Netherlands, India and myself in Canada. We work in diverse industries, and yet we were all drawn to the idea of thinking outside the box so that we can engage ourselves and others in creative processes. The first week of assignments has been a general introduction into Design Thinking. After hosting several workshops, retreats and seminars, I know that the design is the most integral part of fulfilling a vision for success.

One area that struck me in this week’s course was examining The 10 Faces of Innovation. This is similar to Narrative Communications’ Archetypal Analysis, in which I take clients through a series of questions and frameworks to understand what archetypes are driving them, and their business forward. Not surprisingly, I connected immediately with The Storyteller:

The Storyteller captures our imagination with compelling narratives of initiative, hard work, and innovation. This person goes beyond oral tradition to work in whatever medium best fits their skills and message: video, narrative, animation, even comic strips. By rooting their stories in authenticity, the Storyteller can spark emotion and action, transmit values and objectives, foster collaboration, create heroes, and lead people and organizations into the future.

And yet I was also struck by the ways that The Storyteller engages with the other Faces of Innovation – The Cross-Pollinator, The Anthropologist, The Collaborator. We all wear the 10 Faces depending on the scenario we find ourselves in. This is actually quite different than the Archetypes exercise, since Archetypes lead us at a more universal level, whereas the 10 Faces seem to float in and out of our lives depending on circumstances. Both are excellent tools and resources for understanding how we work as well as how others work.

I am looking forward to Week Two and all that will be revealed as I dive into my own strategic design thinking.