Shannon Carroll: She’s a Social Storyteller

November 29 - On The Dot

Have you ever been around a person who is terrible at telling stories? Josie goes on and on and on, finally concluding the story and leaving you wondering what the heck the point was. Wait, so he got you a caramel latte instead of a vanilla latte? You’ve been standing in my office for 15 minutes, and that was it? When you’re the recipient of such mind-numbing commentary, it can be easy to end the conversation quickly. But I’ve got a little challenge for you. Before Josie gets going, tell your story first, no matter how insignificant it is.


Fortunately, most of the people around us are around us for a reason: We like them! We love to hear what’s going on in their lives, and vice versa. In fact, science says we’re each filling our brains with narratives all day long, playing out stories about our experiences, hopes and interactions, so it’s no wonder those inner narratives trickle into our verbal exchanges. According to Scientific American, personal stories and gossip make up 65 percent of our conversations. But storytelling is also a powerful tool for convincing others to see your perspective. One Princeton researcher says telling a personal story is the one and only way to activate aspects of other listeners’ brains so they connect your story with their own experiences. So, the next time you’re trying to get your co-workers or boss on board with a project or idea, you’ve got a plan: It’s story time!

WOMAN TO WATCH: Shannon Carroll, Creative Director for Vivid Story

Today’s Woman to Watch knows harnessing the power of a compelling story can lead to impactful change, and she’s employing her storytelling mastery to champion important social causes, building emotional connections with audiences and inspiring action. Her name is Shannon Carroll and she’s the profoundly talented creative director for Vivid Story, a creative studio that provides video-production, virtual-realty and design services for social enterprises and brands. Shannon is all things creative, from a filmmaker to a photographer to an artist, so it makes sense she would wield art as a way to tell stories and transform viewers’ perspectives.

Vivid Story has provided its stunning storytelling services for a variety of deserving organizations, from those focused on education and women’s rights to causes aimed at increasing innovation and service. Shannon’s work has been presented at Harvard and Brown universities, and her client list is staggering, including advocacy network SparkAction, the City University of New York School of Law, the Institute of International Education and even National Geographic Expeditions.

In mid-2016, Shannon was chosen as one of 10 filmmakers by Oculus VR, the virtual-reality division of Facebook, to participate in the 360 Bootcamp for Nonprofits program, which matched filmmakers with nonprofits to bring social missions to life through 360-degree videos. Shannon was partnered with an organization called Care, which works to defeat poverty and achieve social justice worldwide. The partnership led to an emotional documentary called Women on the Move, which chronicles a rural Nigerian girl’s fight to unlock a better future for the women in her village through an empowerment program that’s upending the culture of child marriage and gender discrimination. The film premiered as an official selection of the South By Southwest Film Festival in 2017, and has become a hit on the film-festival circuit.

From her time as a collaborative fellow for the UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art to her South By Southwest debut, Shannon is a master at combining inspired creativity with social impact, and has a keen understanding that imaginative storytelling can truly change the world.


With Shannon Carroll’s important work in mind, let’s conclude today’s bit of inspiration with a quote from creative-writing instructor Robert McKee:

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

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