Lifting the Corporate Veil through Storytelling

Stories are big business. In 2020, theatrical and home entertainment in the U.S. totaled $32 billion in revenues. Stories forge emotional connections to information. One of the most powerful story forms is the classic Hero’s Journey, or monomyth. A protagonist with a single-minded goal faces seemingly insurmountable adversity but through transformation, finds success. As business owners, each of us has our own Hero’s Journey story to tell.

Telling our origin stories can be powerful for ourselves, our clients, our staff, and our peers. Storytelling is experiencing a Renaissance in the corporate world; every great company story is rooted in a human story. Companies make for extremely boring protagonists! The “corporate veil” is being dropped to reveal the humans behind it. An origin story that is real and vulnerable allows others to see you and to create a deep emotional connection to your business. No perfect endings needed.

Using Storytelling To Spark Change

Storytelling generates authentic connection but can also have an influential social change component. Real stories of women and minority entrepreneurs trigger conversations about leadership roles and equality. Origin stories can showcase alternative career paths and highlight creative professional options for women and people of color. These stories can shape the future of work by making us more visible in our roles as leaders and business owners.

Crafting Your Story

How do you tell a great business story? First off, people have a sensitive radar when it comes to authenticity. Approach storytelling like you’re enhancing the lives of your audience. Share, don’t sell. Uncovering your story can take time and sharing it can be scary. Imperfect stories make us feel vulnerable but they’re also great because they’re real. Be gentle with yourself and start by sharing your story with those close to you before sending it out into the world.

Sharing Your Story

I’ve had the opportunity to share my business story through several platforms, both online and in person. I started out by taking a storytelling class similar to Toastmasters. Through the guidance of a speaking coach, I crafted a story of how and why I started Rocky Mountain Living Walls.

I told my story live at a storytelling event in 2018. I’m amazed at how many women in the audience were struck by it. I was also surprised to find that telling my story changed my perspective on my career path. A story I was once embarrassed about turned into a badge of honor.

-Me (red scarf) telling my story at a Green Drinks meetup.

Live storytelling isn’t for everyone. Sharing your story via your online platforms like blogs, social media, and/or email marketing is a great way to get a lot of eyes on it. After that, explore ways for other businesses and nonprofits to share your story. This not only gains exposure for you but each backlink to your website improves your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Women Supporting Women

The eLLe Foundation of CA is an organization dedicated to sharing the stories of female entrepreneurs. Monica Lofstrom, Founder of eLLe has a special passion for showcasing women in business. She has been recording, shaping, and sharing women’s stories for two decades. The eLLe Foundation spotlights a new business owner’s story every week. With their “Friday Features”, eLLe is fostering an online community of women entrepreneurs who follow and support one another through story. Nominate yourself to be an eLLe Friday Feature (it’s free) and join the network.

Another woman-owned business committed to the empowerment of women is NC-based Those Plant Ladies. Fawn and Heather, Founders of TPL are identical twins and entrepreneurs who use their design and landscaping firm to empower women to get their hands dirty.

TPL’s all-women crew is showing the next generation of girls that careers in horticulture and turf grass are viable options, and that business ownership is possible.

Those Plant Ladies have experienced the loneliness of working in a male-dominated industry and fight against stereotypes that women can’t succeed in these jobs. TPL celebrates women who are pushing limits with their Industry Spotlight Series, a blog showcasing innovative women in horticulture. They hit the meaty plot points with each interview – passion, challenges, and growth. To nominate yourself for a free Industry Spotlight, contact Those Plant Ladies for a nomination form.

The Power of Story

Humans are drawn to storytelling. We have been crafting and telling stories since primitive cultures created the first cave paintings. Stories have the power to enchant and also to spark social change. As business owners, our story helps others connect with our message in a meaningful and lasting way. An authentic origin story is a gift that others will be grateful to receive.

Mehgan Laveck is the owner of Rocky Mountain Living Walls, a biophilic design company based in Fort Collins, CO. Mehgan started RMLW in 2016 after a long career as a project management professional in construction and IT. Green walls are an outlet for her innate creativity and her passion for biophilic design. Mehgan grew up with a strong appreciation for nature, riding horses with her family in the mountains of Asheville, NC. She moved west to pursue graduate studies in theoretical math at Colorado State University and never looked back. These days, you can find her trailblazing in her industry – sharing the benefits of living walls, preserved moss walls and other biophilic design trends

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