WRITER | SPEAKER | FACILITATOR | COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT
I grew up in the 1980s, when the "hero's journey" formula really took off in Hollywood. Looking back, I can see how much those movies influenced me.
But I can also see how flawed a guide to life they really are. Not just because I have not yet saved the galaxy by trusting my feelings, but because in so many subtle ways they told me that being white and male made me "destined" to victory over my enemies and possession of whatever and whoever I wanted.
In my quest for glory and/or Jedi Knighthood, I earned a degree in graphic design from Harvard, and then pursued acting in New York City. On stages across the country, I learned how to view the world from others’ eyes. I learned how we are all shaped by how we’re treated. I learned how language reveals people’s unconscious blind spots, and how it can shine a light on hidden truths.
Above all, I learned how a well-told story can soothe an audience into complacency—or inspire them to transform their understanding of the world.
When I started a family, I went into organizational communications, focused on the non-profit world. And I shared my thinking about those formative movies' influence on me and my young children in three talks at TEDxBeaconStreet. They have been viewed more than 9 million times, so I guess I'm not the only one trying to think critically about the stories we love.
My story now is centered on restoration and reconciliation across all the artificial hierarchies that underlie the story of our country and our world. It begins at home, where I try to be an equal partner to my accomplished spouse in caring for our two children and participating in our community in the Boston area.
I speak at schools, non-profits, and corporations about parenting, privilege, and movies. I also recruit and coach speakers for Ideas in Action events. And I continue to work with non-profit and for-profit organizations, supporting their missions with marketing, design, employee engagement, and organizational learning about racism and inclusion.
But I'm no authority; I learn from others every single day. What can I learn from you?
P.S. I am a fan of Colin Stokes the comedic writer and Colin Stokes the cellist and Colin Stokes the builder of an elaborate Hobbit house for his sheep. You should be too! But they aren't me.
If your dream is
only about you,
it’s too small.
There's the story.
Then there's the real story.
Then there's the story of how
the story came to be told.
Then there's what you leave out
of the story, which is part
of the story too.