Stories: The Common Thread of Our Humanity

Chris Mohney

Vice President of Programming at Maker Studios and Former Editor-in-Chief of Tumblr’s Storyboard 

Chris Mohney is VP of Programming at Maker Studios. He has worked in media, publishing, and technology for 15 years. Chris has written and edited for newspapers, magazines, books, and websites, has produced numerous editorial and commercial video projects, and has managed projects and teams ranging from digital creative arts to cross-platform global brands. Previous roles include managing editorial operations at Gawker, BlackBook, and Tumblr.

At Tumblr, he created and published Storyboard, Tumblr’s home for original feature journalism, to highlight and celebrate the community’s native creative talent. Storyboard has been acknowledged as a groundbreaking demonstration in how quality editorial can effectively merge with technology and social media efforts. The site was nominated for a James Beard Award in visual storytelling, named a Webby honoree, and won two New York Press Club Awards for Journalism.

Andrew Forsthoefel

Walker and Listener behind Walking to Listen

Andrew is a wonderer and wanderer from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Middlebury College in 2011 with a degree in environmental studies, and having finished school, he wanted to do something that would both affect others in a positive way and satisfy his own need to explore the worlds inside and outside of himself.

After losing a job, he decided to try walking across America from his home in Philadelphia all the way to the Pacific, and he made it — 4,000 miles, talking to people he met along the way. His story, called “Walking to Listen,” was featured on This American Life in May 2013.

Luke Christie

National Youth Chairman of Muscular Dystrophy Association

Luke is a communication studies major at Furman. Luke has served as Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)’s National Youth Chairman since 2009. As MDA National Youth Chairman, Luke spearheads the efforts of thousands of teenagers and young adults who help with MDA’s lifesaving mission. He supports MDA through appearances at sponsor and volunteer events and through media interviews. Previously, Luke served as the MDA National Goodwill Ambassador in 2006 and 2007 and as the MDA Harley-Davidson Goodwill Ambassador in 2008.

At Furman, Luke is a mentoring fellow with Furman’s Shucker Leadership Institute and is Executive Producer for Furman’s student television network, FTV-2. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of Kappa Alpha Order national fraternity, for which he serves as service chairman at Furman. Luke is also a collegiate DECA member.

Lisa Cron

Author of WIRED FOR STORY: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence

Lisa has worked in publishing at W.W. Norton, as an agent at the Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency, as a producer on shows for Showtime and CourtTV, and as a story consultant for Warner Brothers and the William Morris Agency.

Since 2006, she’s been an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

Lisa works with writers, nonprofits, educators and organizations, helping them master the unparalleled power of story so they can move people to action – whether that action is turning the pages of a compelling novel, trying a new product, or talking to the streets to change the world for the better.

David Wilcox

Folk Musician and Singer-Songwriter

Cleveland-born David Wilcox was inspired to play guitar after hearing a fellow college student playing in a stairwell. His lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice, virtuosic guitar chops, and creative open tunings, giving him a range and tenderness rare in folk music. He released an independent album in 1987, was a winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk award in 1988, and by 1989 he had signed with A&M Records. His first release on the label, ‘How Did You Find Me Here’, sold over 100,000 copies the first year largely by word of mouth. Now, 17 albums into a career marked by personal revelation and wildly loyal fans, David continues to find and deliver joy, inspiration, and invention.

Considered a ‘songwriter’s songwriter,’ his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others. In addition to his writing prowess, his skills as a performer and storyteller are unmatched.  He holds audiences rapt with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs, a fearless ability to mine the depths of human emotions of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and all tempered by a quick and wry wit.

Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, “Music still stretches out before me like the head-lights of a car into the night. It’s way beyond where I am, but it shows where I’m going.  I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I’m grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me.”

Carolyn “Jabulile” White

The Gullah Storyteller

Elder Carolyn “Jabulile” White is a grass-roots, Gullah storyteller and historian. Born and raised on the sea islands of Charleston, South Carolina, she learned the art of storytelling from her parents and grandparents. “Jabulile” thought it only natural that she should share these stories not only with the people in her community, but the world. She speaks fluent Gullah, and island dialect, when telling her stories. She tells her stories with humor, giving the audience a true insight and understanding of the customs and culture of the Gullah People.

She loves taking her stories on the road and has traveled throughout the United States and Africa. While visiting South Africa, she was given the Zulu name “Jabulile,” meaning happiness, and that’s what she hopes to pass along to others when sharing her stories.

Jonathan Gottschall

Author of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

Washington & Jefferson College Distinguished Research Fellow Jonathan Gottschall is a leading figure in a new movement to bridge the divide between the cultures of the sciences and the humanities. His most recent work, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, draws on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology and biology to explain storytelling’s evolution as a fundamental human instinct. The book was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize.

While Gottschall earned his Ph.D. in English, his main dissertation advisor was the prominent evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, and he splits his academic writing between scientific and literary journals. His work also appears with regularity in the popular press in such outlets as New Scientist, The Boston Globe, Seed Magazine, The Huffington Post, NPR and BBC Radio, and the blogs of The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” The author or editor of six books, including Literature, Science, and a New Humanities, Gottschall blogs about the mysteries of storytelling at Psychology Today.

Gil Allen

Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature at Furman University

Gilbert Allen received his B.A., M.F.A., and Ph.D. from Cornell University. He has taught classes in literature and writing at Furman since 1977. During that time, he has especially enjoyed working with young poets and fiction writers. Hundreds of his poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in both literary journals and general circulation magazines. He is the editor of the Ninety-Six Press, which has published poetry by distinguished South Carolina writers since 1991. He has received the Literary Arts Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Robert Penn Warren Prize in Poetry from The Southern review, and many other awards. In recognition of his work as a writer, editor, and teacher, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (Gamma Chapter, South Carolina) in 1998. His sixth book of poems, Catma, will be published by Measure Press in 2014.

Felicia Pride

Founder of StoriesLead

Felicia Pride is a writer and producer with more than ten years’ experience working in media. She is the head of media company pride collaborative, where she develops and collaborates on innovative film and media projects and has worked with PBS, NPR, the World Bank, Participant Media and more. Pride is also the director of storytelling institute StoriesLead, the co-organizer of StoryCode DC, a community for transmedia storytellers and the founder of The Create Daily, a startup that matches media makers with career-advancing opportunities.

Felicia is the author of several books, including the essay collection The Message, which was published by media giant NBC Universal. Her latest book, To Create, is a collection of interviews with black storytellers and media makers. She’s also the writer and producer of the short film THE END AGAIN, a prequel to OPENDENDED, a feature that she wrote about life, loss, and love.

Currently, a media fellow at the Center for Social Impact Media at American University, Pride has riffed on narrative, media, and storytelling at universities, institutions, and events around the country. She holds an M.A. in writing and publishing from Emerson College.

Michael Margolis

Founder of Get Storied

Michael Margolis is a leading voice in the world of business storytelling. As CEO and founder of Get Storied, Michael runs an advisory and training company devoted to transformational storytelling. Areas of specialty include innovation, branding, and culture change. With a background in cultural anthropology, Michael has advised on storytelling architecture for Audubon, Bloomberg, Bonnaroo, Ernst & Young, Greenpeace, NASA, SAP, and Zappos, among others.

The son of a mad scientist and artist, Michael is obsessed with culture, communications, and human behavior. His work and ideas have been featured in dozens of media including Fast Company, Brandweek, and Forbes. A frequent writer, Michael’s latest book Believe Me: a Storytelling Manifesto for Change-Makers and Innovators, has been read by over 20,000 people. Michael is left handed, color-blind, and eats more chocolate than the average human. Discover more at www.getstoried.com including the recent launch of Story University. You can also follow Michael on his popular Twitter feed @getstoried.

Justin Wheeler

Vice President of Liberty in North Korea

Justin oversees all global awareness and grassroots efforts for Liberty in North Korea. His vision is to shift public perception on North Korea away from the politics and towards the people. Through innovative campaigns and programs, he strives to engage people around the world and create direct and meaningful ways to support the North Korean people.

In early 2008, Justin went to the border of North Korea and China to document the stories of North Korean refugees in hiding. While there, he was detained by the Chinese police on suspicion of helping North Korean refugees. This inspired Justin to get more involved on a day-to-day level. In the summer of 2008, he met Hannah, the current CEO of Liberty in North Korea and together, launched a new vision and strategy for LiNK.

Brandon Doman

Founder and Director of The Strangers Project

Brandon Doman is an artist, speaker, and developer who currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. He started his current focus, The Strangers Project in Ann Arbor, Michigan, shortly after finishing his degree in Creative Writing. Throughout this time, Brandon’s work has also taken a strong focus in mental health awareness as he traveled to over 70 cities and college campuses raising awareness about suicide prevention through the program “Send Silence Packing.”

In 2014, Brandon is continuing to expand the reach and impact of his current projects while also launching new works that explore people, interaction, and the stories that connect us all.

Jimmy Neil Smith

Founder and Former President of the International Storytelling Center

In 1973, Jimmy Neil Smith founded the National Storytelling Festival in the tiny Tennessee town of Jonesborough—the first public event anywhere in the world dedicated exclusively to the celebration of the ancient tradition of storytelling. The event ignited a national, even international, revival of appreciation for collecting, crafting, and sharing stories. Two years later, Smith founded the organization that would become the International Storytelling Center. In 2002, ISC opened in Jonesborough the world’s first facility dedicated to storytelling. For over 40 years, Smith has been a prime mover in the advancement of the performance, preservation, and professional practice of storytelling. Retiring as president of ISC in 2012, Smith is now devoting his time to helping people around the world unleash the power of their stories to build a better future and achieve their dreams. His current project is working with the United States Department of State through its Embassy in Madagascar to assist the small African nation of Comoros in building a community storytelling program to enhance the country’s quality of life and enrich its infant tourism-development program. Smith lives in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Sarah Worth

Professor of Philosophy at Furman University

Sarah Worth received her undergraduate degree at Furman with a double major in Philosophy and Music. She went on to earn her MA in Philosophy from the University of Louisville and her PhD in Philosophy from the State university of New York at Buffalo. She began teaching at Furman in 1999 after teaching at Allegheny College and Miami University. Glad to return to her alma mater, she has been teaching classes in Ancient Philosophy, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Literature, Philosophy of Mind, and is teaching a Philosophy of Food class for the first time this semester. Her real joy in teaching is being able to get students to see the world from a different perspective and think in ways they have never thought about before. She sees her academic work as always stemming from core issues in aesthetics and its applications where she writes about narrative, distinctions between fiction and nonfiction, why we cry at movies, and the ways in which stories shape our lives. Her work has appeared in national and international journals, including the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, the British Journal of Aesthetics and the Journal of Aesthetic Eduction. She has also published in works about popular culture, including articles about Seinfeld, The Matrix, Dungeons and Dragons, and Dexter. She lives in Greenville with her husband and twin 7 year old boys.

Will Crooks

The Guy behind the Lens at WAC AVE Street Photography

Will Crooks is an accounting/pre-law major at Furman and is the photographer behind the fashion blog WAC AVE Street Photography that features many Furman students.

WAC AVE Street Photography is a project undertaken to capture the very essence of style and life in the streets of Greenville, SC, with simple snapshots. The purpose of his blog is not to be a report on the brands people are wearing, but rather to capture the creativity of each person’s individualized style.

Will hopes to create a positive dialogue and image of personal style in Greenville for his fellow local sartorialists and anyone else who may stumble upon his blog. He does freelance photography work in the fashion field as well as in any other creative and artistic field. He also does work as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant.

Alchemy Improv

Improv Comedy Troupe

al·che·my [ˈal-kə-mē] a process of transforming the common into the special

Alchemy Comedy Theater is Greenville’s only weekly improv comedy show and training center. These energetic and completely improvised shows feature different local performers and special guests each week. All shows are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30pm and 9:00pm in Greenville’s iconic Coffee Underground theater. Information about classes can be found at GreenvilleComedy.com.