In yesterday’s day 22 post, I talked about cheerleaders (supporters) vs activators (take action and share a message) and the role they play in spreading a movement. The three people I am about to introduce in today’s post will attest to the importance of activators in each of their initiatives.
First, let me start by introducing Noah Rosenberg, the founder of Narratively, whohad an idea to slow down storytelling and go against the grain to focus on the untold human stories and not the next big headline. I met Noah in January 2013, during a weekend retreat where we both were invited to help Rutgers’ students develop their Ignite talks (a 5 minute speech with auto advancing slides) for an upcoming leadership conference. Noah had a passion and skill set for finding stories and was a huge asset to help these eight students craft their message they would then deliver in front of 200 of their peers.
When Noah and I connected to discuss both of our initiatives, I remember the first impression I had of him (and Narratively) was sleek and simple. His business card stood out because it was well designed, clean, and printed on a matte card that was thicker than usual. Come to find out, that design carried over to Narratively’s approach to storytelling as well as their website (it was selected as one of the Top 50 Websites in TIME magazine.) His calm, but passionate demeanor about storytelling was magnetic. Everything about him made me realize he had found his niche. I knew his skills and journey to finding his niche could impact young adults so I followed up to invite him to be our first “Tell Us Your Story” (now #NicheStory) guest.
With no questions asked, Noah agreed and we hosted our first 30 minute google hangout interview where he shared his ‘post-collegiate’ journey. Noah had a love for journalism, but after working for several large news outlets like CBS and the New York Times, it was time for him to follow his dreams and start Narratively. The best advice he shared during our interview is that “you can network from behind your computer, but it doesn’t compare to being out in the real world meeting people.”
Now that I had one #NicheStory interview down, I had to follow it up with someone who was just as dynamic and had a compelling story in their “post-graduate” life. Luckily, in February 2013, I was introduced to Michael DuDell when I attended a conference at Rutgers. Since college, Michael has built quite a name for himself. He has worked with Seth Godin on the Domino Project, is a TEDx speaker, entrepreneur, and author of the official Shark Tank book that was released in November 2013.
When I interviewed him for The Niche Movement, Michael’s message to Gen Y is that they need to find a career that moves them and that the number one skill employers are looking for is a good “attitude.” Since our interview, Michael has befriended both Courtney and I, and has been an invaluable link in moving our careers forward. He has graciously done everything from introducing us to several other colleagues in his network to hosting my student media team last August in his office at WeWork in New York City. In the last 18 months, having the pleasure of knowing Michael, I have realized he is a connector who wants to see people that are making a name for themselves succeed - especially Gen Y.
Last, I need to introduce one of the most engaging speakers I have heard speak in a long time: Dawn Fraser. Dawn, is a speaker, humorist, and like Noah and Michael, a storyteller. She is also the host and creator of BarberShop stories. Dawn and I met after I heard her speak at a leadership conference that Courtney organized in the winter of 2013 at Rutgers.
Dawn believes every college student has a story to tell, but it’s how you tell it that matters. Whether it is a storytelling 101 workshop or learning how to sell your message, I have seen Dawn deliver high impact presentations.
When I launched my six week cohort in the spring of 2013, one of the sessions was about ‘telling your story’. After meeting Dawn at Rutgers, I reached out to her a few weeks later and mentioned that one of my students in the cohort wanted to improve her storytelling and interview her. Without hesitation, Dawn agreed and ran a 45 minute online workshop for my cohort - this was an amazing add-on benefit she added to my program. In the last year, Dawn has grown her brand, delivered several presentations nationwide, and I was lucky to connect with her again when we both spoke at the first WOW Talks event held in New Jersey in November 2013.
What They Taught Me:
Noah, Michael, and Dawn have taught me that if you have a vision and a platform, you can spread your story with the world. All three of these amazing individuals have taken a unique path to get to where they are today, but they have capitalized on their past experiences - something I have been reflecting on during this entire 30 day journey. They also taught me, that the majority people out there are caring people, especially those that have found their niche. I took a chance to follow up and reach out to all of them, and they more than willingly all said yes to be activators for the Niche Movement’s launch.
How They Inspired Me:
Like I have alluded to, they all have been more than generous with their time, but they share the same vision: to see twenty-somethings lead a happy life after college. At a young age, they have certainly made a name for themselves, but I know it is just the beginning for Noah, Dawn, and Michael. They all share very similar personality and values that align with who I am and I know that with hard work and following my passion, I can accomplish great things like they have so far.
Noah, thank you being our first guest, for sharing your passion for genuine storytelling, and excellent advice to twenty-somethings.
Michael, thank you for your advice, for your brilliant personality, and for always willing to help Courtney and I out in our journey.
Dawn, you have been an very gracious with your time and have been a true inspiration as I grow The Niche Movement. Thank you for being an amazing speaker and for truly caring about young adults telling their story.
Whether you are just starting college or just graduated and making it in the real world, find time to reflect on your stories. Somewhere down the road, they will be invaluable stories that you will share on interviews, with your friends, and family. With today’s technology and noise, it is especially important to find creative ways to spread your story. Michael, Noah, and Dawn are a perfect example, I suggest you connect with them.