Guest Blog by Ashmere Prasad, Recruiting Coordinator + Sports Blogger, Gilead Sciences + sportswithshmere.com
On September 19, approximately 30 WISE guests attended Olivia Christian’s ‘Own Your Story’ workshop at the Google Community Center in San Francisco.
Olivia has worked as a brand strategist since 2005 and has helped a variety of people across the country craft content to tell their stories. “I was helping companies and people build their brands with their stories and after a while, I realized I wanted to do that for myself.”
Olivia’s goal was to encourage people to put their story on paper and create a storyline for their audience to follow and to feel connected to, rather than just repeating skills from your resume. Throughout Olivia’s presentation, she discussed the importance of creating your personal brand and how to effectively present it to your audience. She emphasized how building your own story takes time. Her process forces you to reflect on the turning points in your life that have led you to where you are now, and where you’d like to be in the future – whether it be a job, connection, mentor, business partner, etc.
Olivia opened her story with a specific moment that women across the board can relate to, her period. My ears immediately perked open. I was curious to hear where the story was headed once she started with such an intimate moment. She grew up a tomboy and was overly competitive with her older brother. She explained her period moment as her realization that she was a woman, but she loved sports. (As if the two worlds were unable to collide). Yet, she learned how to utilize her love for the game and build a career out of storytelling, but in another industry. Fast-forward to the future where she mentioned her YouTube channel, “The Game Last Night,” and how she transitioned from behind the camera to in front of it. Her call-to-action moment was when she asked the audience to subscribe and watch her channel, as it was initially a challenge for her to request help. Olivia started her channel to build her brand, start telling her story, and gain the confidence to turn the camera on herself.
After sharing her three minute story, Olivia asked for feedback on what stood out. It was captivating and memorable, and once we commented on her story, she challenged the group to write a rough draft of their own story in five minutes. Mind you, the goal is to create a three-minute story for our audience.
Olivia’s storytelling process consists of three main topics:
- Call to action
The challenge portion is where we focus on what experiences from our past drove us to make certain choices for our future. Our call-to-action allows us to tie the past challenges to our intentional forward-looking choices. What do we request our audience to do for us? Subscribe, email, connect, etc. A few stories from the group discussed sensitive challenges from their past and how those experiences helped them maintain a strong focus in shaping their future.
As I sat in silence, I reflected on both my desire to work in the sports industry and the journey I took to get where I am today. We broke into groups of three and used the three main topics she mentioned in her presentation as the foundation of our individual stories.
Overall, the workshop was a great success. Olivia’s positive personality and humorous storytelling helped the group feel comfortable and slightly vulnerable. Learning about her story-telling process and understanding how it led to the story she told us was inspiring. Although she did mention she does not use the period story for her executive-level audience (which makes a TON of sense), she emphasized that her story remains the same. Olivia admitted how writing your story takes time and won’t happen in 5 minutes. Practice, practice, practice!
For those who are interested in learning how to create your brand with a strong foundation, remember to describe the main challenges in your life, how those led you to change the path for your future and your call-to-action from telling the story to your audience. And don’t forget to time yourself! #OwnYourStory