I am an accomplished nutrition professional who has a passion for using the power of storytelling to advance the RD brand.I have over a decade’s experience in education and academia, having served a nutrition and health informatics faculty and administrator. I began crafting my storytelling expertise in as a teenager, when I attended an arts high school, majoring in creative writing and minoring in film studies. I have utilized storytelling techniques as an educator; in numerous public speaking engagements; as a media spokesperson and in written work. An entrepreneur since 2007,I have studied the art and science of using storytelling to attract and retain clients. I want to help women learn how to use storytelling to grow their side hustles into profitable businesses. Connect with me on LinkedIn!
My love for storytelling began at the age of 11.
I was a nerdy girl, and my family was moving across the country from Phoenix, Arizona to Jacksonville, Florida. Hello, culture shock, and, right smack dab in the middle of the awkward 6th grade year, too. Need I say more? While it was true that we were still living in the U.S., I literally felt like I was in a different world, and didn't fit in anywhere.
So, I created my own world. I took my love of reading and got lost for hours in the worlds that authors dreamed up in their books. I also started to write my own stories.
As life would have it, I found an opportunity to attend high school at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. I, of course, majored in creative writing and minored in film studies. Arts high schools are a godsend for nerdy, quirky Black girls who don’t fit in anywhere. It was during high school that I honed my craft of storytelling and found my voice.
**In high school in all my quirkiness with my creating writing classmates.**
I was now a young wife and mother, and, though my time was limited, I was again finding time to read for pleasure. While pregnant with my second daughter I had been promoted to establish an undergraduate health informatics program- to build the program from the ground up. What was once my escape from reality became that again for me: I had rediscovered reading for pleasure. During 3 am feedings I would balance a book just beyond my nursing daughter’s curly head. My baby girl would peer up at me, as babies do when they’re nursing, her big dark brown eyes watching me curiously as I would laugh and cry at beautifully written novels. Stories of mothers now had so much more meaning to me.
This story is getting long, so let’s do a written version of a video montage, shall we?
(Any montage worth its salt has a well-chosen music track, so feel free to play whatever song you think would fit well here).
Along with my faculty, we grew the undergrad health informatics program from 20 students to over 200 students. I went back to grad school, this time to Duke University, to study health informatics. Back at GSU, I started a graduate informatics program. I became a media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics so that I could keep one foot in the nutrition world. I eventually made the hardest career decision of my life: to leave academia and become Morrision’s Healthcare’s first Director of Health Informatics. It wasn’t long before I missed students so much it was killing me, so I co-founded a nonprofit called Diversify Dietetics. Soon, I was working with students all over the country. In early 2019, I left Morrisons and joined Chartwells K12. Did that for a bit, COVID-19 came along, and in August 2020 I was laid off.
Whew! That, my friend, was 5 years of my life boiled down to one big paragraph. (And now I’m really curious what song you chose… So can you DM me on Instagram and let me know, if you were the director of this story of my life, what song you felt captured the emotions of that period of my life? As we say on the gram, TIA.)
The days after my layoff allowed me to, for the first time in honestly forever, sit back and really decide what I wanted to do for work. I knew I loved public speaking, and I had had success starting both for-profits and non-profit businesses, and I loved all things entrepreneurs. In fact, I love entrepreneurs so much, I married one back in 2008. And, above all else, I loved to teach.
After investing in a business coach, I discovered the common thread to my career successes:
My ability to use storytelling as a strategy to teach, sell, persuade, and market.
Storytelling had been the tool that helped me land clients like The Home Depot. Storytelling helped me become a health informatics program director at age 28, with no terminal degree. It was the tool I used to get hired as the first Director of Health Informatics for the world’s largest foodservice company. It was the strategy I used to sell what I was once told was a “crazy idea”, that is now the flourishing nonprofit Diversify Dietetics, and to convince donors that we were worth funding.
What was once a vehicle to transport me to another world was now the very strategy I used to start and grow businesses of all sorts. And, ever the educator, I decided I wanted to teach other women how to use storytelling to grow their startups and side hustles.
So, my friend, here we are. I have seen the absolute power of storytelling in my own career, and I want to help you see it in your business.