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The human brain has evolved over the course of 100,000 years to interpret the world in “story terms.” This means we don’t “choose” to tell stories – we are fundamentally storytelling animals. We are helpless to it. We’re involuntarily telling ourselves stories every minute of the day.

What does this mean for a non-profit organization? That the organization that tells and lives their story best wins. Every time.

We will show you how to identify the central theme of your story and reduce it to a single sentence called the Controlling Idea, a tool used for clarity, differentiation, and action within story communication – for your audiences, internal and external.

Storytelling is not “soft.” It is literally the way people create meaning in our lives, and as a result, the path non-profits and all organizations need to differentiate themselves. Neglect it, at your own risk.

Over the course of our talk and visit, Michael and Dave will break storytelling down in a way that leaves non-profit leaders and marketers better equipped to manage change, strategic planning, stakeholder relations, and drive development.

Dave and Michael Neelsen are the founders of StoryFirst Media, a Consulting and Video Production Company. Founded in a French Café in Austin, Texas in 2009, they’re based in Milwaukee and Madison, WI. Over their conversation at that French Café in Austin they discovered a common thread in their work and passions – storytelling. Dave’s history in business and marketing used story as a tool to help clients reach their audiences and goals, and Michael’s background in film and its unique power to tell a story that moves an audience. StoryFirst was launched to provide clients a dependable path to differentiate, build trust, and drive action when tactics and technology are changing daily all around them.

Oct 12, 2022 01:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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Michael Neelsen
Co-Founder & Storyteller @StoryFirst
Michael Neelsen is a writer/director, documentarian, and co-founder of StoryFirst Media. His latest directing project was the true crime documentary BEYOND HUMAN NATURE, about six paper mill employees convicted of murdering their co-worker in Green Bay in 1992. He is currently producing two music documentaries: GIVE THE DRUMMER SOME, a biographical film about James Brown’s former drummer, Clyde Stubblefield, and a yet UNTITLED JAZZ BASS DOCUMENTARY short film chronicling a weekend at jazz legend Richard Davis’ annual conference for young bassists, that he also directed. StoryFirst Media (founded in 2009), specializes in helping businesses discover their difference through storytelling, and then put that difference into action through consulting, and video and film. Michael has served as lead creative on multiple campaigns and rebrands for companies in the Midwest and directed over 250 commercials and web videos over the past decade.
David Neelsen
Co-Founder & Storyteller @StoryFirst
Dave’s career, in one form or another has always centered around helping clients tell their stories and reach their audiences. He’s owned and led three companies in the worlds of print and digital media companies and worked in the creative agencies. His history and the perspectives of clients desiring more than a features and benefits approach to marketing, which led to the founding StoryFirst in 2009. Since then, he and StoryFirst’s talented collective of storytellers and collaborators from the worlds of marketing and filmmaking have helped a wide array of clients from international corporations to local identify their defining actions to help them tell truly differentiating stories to reach their goals.
Peter Benson
Senior Vice President – Business Services @Park Bank
With both a Graduate School of Banking degree as well as an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, Peter has fulfilled a number of banking roles with Park Bank, culminating in his current position as Senior Vice President of Business Banking. Peter has worked with all types and sizes of businesses and helped meet financing needs ranging from small startup capital to major expansion funds. Give Peter a call today to share your vision for your company. He’ll help you get there.