I’ve always loved a good story.
It started in earnest with fantasy novels in elementary and middle school. From there I moved on to story-driven RPG video games in high school. Next was classic literature, and then some of the great television shows that have been made in the last decade. Now I’m mostly into deeply philosophical science fiction and ancient folk tales. But I’ll take in a great story regardless of genre or medium.
It’s not just that stories are entertaining. They make you feel things, experience things, understand things in a way that other methods of conveying ideas just can’t do. To borrow from Robert Heinlein’s classic science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land, stories can help you grok things. It’s no exaggeration to say that stories have completely transformed how I look at the world and humanity’s place in it.
For a long time, I viewed this love of story as being in conflict with my otherwise very analytical mind. One is about communication and ideas and imagination, while the other is about cold hard facts and data. Making a living telling stories is really hard. So I decided to study economics and mathematics, and kept my love of story as a hobby.
But eventually I realized that they don’t have to be in conflict. Data analysis doesn’t have to be sterile. It tells a story about what is going on in the world. In fact, without a good story to go along with it, many people look at data and take nothing away. For a researcher or data analyst to be effective, they have to be able to turn their findings into a compelling, interesting story.
And that’s what I have built my career on. I’ve helped members of the Florida Legislature tell the story of why supporting particular pieces of legislation was the right thing to do. I’ve helped legislators and members of the public better understand what legislation does and the broader context in which the legislation was written. In my current role, I help the Chief Financial Officer tell the story of Florida’s economy, so that Floridians and business leaders can better understand what’s going on around them and why. I also help executive leadership understand the story of the good work that the agency does, and where improvement needs to be made.
It turns out that I get to make a living telling stories after all. And I’m grateful for it.
Some of the other main characters in my story include my fiancé James and my 5 cats (yes, I said 5).
I love helping people figure out how to tell their stories. Feel free to contact me if you need some help!