Storytelling is everything
Storytellers are the engineers of cultural norms, whether we know it or not, whether we want to be or not. I spend my days thinking about the impact that narratives, storytelling, and entertainment have on society both intentionally and unintentionally.
Sitting at the intersection of entertainment and social impact, I consider everything from the architecture of the story, to who tells it, to how we catalyze it to make change.
I've spent my career working to effect systemic change. That has looked like working in film, government, non-profits, and the private sector. I have done everything from helping the government of Sierra Leone design their Ebola survivor strategy; working in corporate social responsibility at Goldman Sachs; consulting the U.S. Department of State on their leadership principles; and teaching non-profit leaders effective storytelling for fundraising.
At the end of the day, what I've found is that all systems are upheld by certain beliefs, and those beliefs are often formed and shaped by a certain set of narratives that society holds to be true - anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps; health is the responsibility of the individual; going to college is the only way to succeed, etc. Without dismantling and deconstructing those beliefs by changing the narratives around them, it will be very difficult to make systemic change. After all my experience, I've come to believe that the most effective way to have the largest positive global influence is by using media and entertainment as a vehicle to bring important issues to the top of the social consciousness.
I help lead social impact strategy at the production company Participant Media, where I've contributed to titles including Academy Award winning documentary, American Factory, Just Mercy, Totally Under Control, John Lewis: Good Trouble, Slay the Dragon, and 2021 Academy Award nominated films, Judas and the Black Messiah and Collective.
Separately, I provide storytelling and script writing consultation. This has included everything from doing coverage for production companies and agencies, such as International Screenwriters Association, judging screenwriting competitions like Diverso, working with creatives through the development process, providing both short-term 1-on-1 consulting, and long-term individual coaching.
I also host the podcast The Other Story, which looks at dominant narratives in our society and how we might be able to reconstruct them. I also write the substack Impact Notes, which takes the scripts of recently released films and gives development-like notest, but with an eye towards social impact.
In 2020, I was part of the Film Independent fellowship, Project Involve, for emerging filmmakers. As a creative exec in the program, I was EP on two shorts made during COVID, Yugen, with Christine Ko (Tigertail, Dave) and Omolara, with Aliyah Royale (The Walking Dead).
Previously, I was an Associate Producer on the international award-winning film 186 Dollars to Freedom, with John Robinson (Elephant, Lords of Dogtown) and a Production Accountant on the romcom, Coming and Going, with Rhys Darby (Yes Man, Flight of the Conchords) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS, Rizzoli and Isles) and directed by Edoardo Ponti.
I hold a Master's in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Anthropology from UCLA. I sit on the Junior Board of Young Entertainment Activists! And I am a Truman National Security Fellow.