I just finished the third and final year of We All Grow Storytellers (in its current form, that is). What a way to round out the trilogy of events than to meet and coach six brilliant women with intriguing life experiences.
Here’s some background information: When the #WeAllGrow Summit first launched and opened for panel submissions in 2015, I filled out the form and pitched a “storytellers” session based on my participation and love for Az Storytellers here in Phoenix. Ana Flores called to let me know my idea wasn’t only accepted, but it was chosen to be the closing event of the summit – and she wanted me to coach the tellers and host the night.
I had been used to being on the receiving end of the coach sessions, not the other way around. But Ana’s confidence in me helped calm my nerves. I’m so happy I overcame this fear because it turned out to be one of the greatest gifts in my life. I worked with a total of 18 women. I feel like they are each a close family member now because we shared so many details of the lowest lows and highest highs in our lives. Overall, a few women hundred applied, and it was so difficult to narrow it down to six per year. I wish we could do this every month!
Here are this year’s storytellers!
Dora Stone (@DorasTable) – Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico; Elayna Fernandez (@thePositiveMOM_) – San Jose de Ocoa, Dominican Republic; Laura Muller (@lightysaludable) – Chihuahua; Marianna Du Bosq (@bilingualavenue) – Caracas, Venezuela; Vanessa Bell (@DeSuMama) – Los Angeles, California; Camila Canabal (@camilacanabal) – Uruguay but raised in Barquisimeto, Venezuela
This year Disney Princess “Dream Big, Princess” sponsored this special event – and went above and beyond the actual time on stage. They really understood the context of what storytellers is about and infused us with positive energy. Check out their new campaign: Dream Big, Princess! It’s meant to empower women of all ages.
Each teller had to share which princess she related to the most. I was blown away at how close the ties were. Marianna lost her voice when she moved to the United States and couldn’t speak the language at school. It reminded her of Ariel. Elayna felt the spirit of Mulan when it came to fighting for the love of her family. Laura, like Cinderella, had to deal with haters and found the power to turn her biggest insecurity into her strongest asset. Those are just half of the stories, you can read them all here!
And this is all of us on stage! You can see how relieved we were to be finished! The videos of our stories should be up soon.
Before the We All Grow weekend started, the Disney team surprised us with a treat: A VIP trip to The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. We also previewed the new Beauty and the Beast live-action film on the property – in the exclusive screening theater.
About that tour! We left the Maya Hotel (where the summit was held) and made our way across the city in a swanky shuttle to Burbank. Here I am with my friend Monique from Curves and Chaos, and our amiga, Vanessa Bell of DeSuMama, photobombing us!
As soon our feet touched the walkway, we could feel the history of the property. From peeking up to Walt Disney’s office window to watching the squirrels run about. Have you heard the story about the squirrels? Walt wanted his animators to have live inspiration while drawing, so he brought deer, squirrels, and other animals onto the compound. Decades later, there are still squirrels here and there!
After our screening, we were each presented with a rose and led to the executive lounge for lunch. While there, Disney CEO Bob Iger stopped by to say hi! Oh, no big deal, right? EEEKK!
Here is a QUIZ for you! This was printed on our menus. Can you name the movie that each quote is from? I’ll put the answers at the bottom of this post!
Before we boarded our bus back to the hotel, we were treated to one more sneak peek – a screening of Tangled: The Series! And guess what? Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi reprise their roles for this super cute series that will be airing on The Disney Channel.
Well, it’s a wrap. What a cool adventure. I showed a lot more on in Instagram and Snapchat stories. I wish I had taken more pictures!
Answers to quiz: Snow White; Lady and the Tramp; Ratatouille; Snow White; 101 Dalmatians; The Little Mermaid.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to look for storyteller events in your city! Share your story too!