ABOUT KAREN DIETZ

Karen Dietz, Founder of Just Story It

Hi, it’s KD here.

I want to take a minute and introduce myself because you are probably asking yourself, “Who the heck is Karen Dietz?”

I’m actually a business consultant and professionally trained storyteller who had an epiphany in 2000.

Here's the short version:

  • I've been a business consultant for 25+ years helping Fortune 500 firms, smaller companies, and nonprofits with leadership development, organizational change, governance best practices, and the many applications of storytelling.
  • For several years I was the Executive Director of a national membership association.
  • I'm a PhD Folklorist with academic training in storytelling, along with training in the performance art of storytelling.
  • I have a wealth of experience under my belt, and am still avidly learning.
  • I'm also a fiber artist who periodically retreats into her studio to create beauty, which I then bring into my client work.
  • I have a ton of fun; I love my work and clients.

OK, that's a nice list. But for those who want the full story, here you go:

THE YEAR 2000

For five years I’d been living in San Diego, CA and traveling back and forth every other week to New York City to work with clients. It was insane. A United Airlines flight attendant gave condolences to my husband the first time I reached 100,000 miles because she knew I wasn't home much.

So on this day in 2000, I’m sitting in a room with 1200 technology staff at a financial services firm on Wall Street. The senior executives< are up on stage going blah blah blah about a big change they were facing and what the organization was going to do going forward. People were nodding off, checking their pagers, whispering to each other, or looking bored to death. Hmmmmm, not good. We’d just spent the better part of a year assessing the organization, identifying what needed to change, creating implementation plans, and here we were launching it all. All I heard from the stage was data, information, platitudes and talking heads. BORING.

Two weeks later I’m at another client’s site on Wall Street. Pretty similar set up as before. But this time the senior executive was up on stage telling a compelling STORY about what needed to happen and why, and what the future could look like. People were LISTENING and excited about the changes.

San Diego, CA

What was the defining difference? Duh -- STORY of course!

Well, after five years I needed to stop the craziness of this back-and-forth travel so I took stock. I saw many senior executives who badly needed storytelling skills, I had worked with this group for a number of years, and I had all this experience and background in storytelling (both professionally and academically).

Who else had my unique set of skills to help business professionals be more powerful and influential? Well, there was me and a handful others in the business story work field I've had the privilege of knowing and working with. But in the early days, we were few and far between.

So I got busy and focused on turning leaders, business owners, entrepreneurs, technology geeks, non-profits, and community activists into compelling, memorable storytellers who moved people to action.

Business was great. I then was called to became the Executive Director of the National Storytelling Network, an association of professional storytellers, educators, and devotees of the art form. My mission was to increase the visibility and influence of storytelling as both an art form and a science. I learned tons.

I’m now back in San Diego and decided I want to reach many more people than I could by just working directly with clients. So I began curating content on business storytelling and am now the top curator in the country on this topic. In addition I re-started my coaching and consulting work to help clients develop executive presence, become more influential, grow their business, or advance their career by mastering story skills.

MY BACKGROUND

How has my background influenced my work? Well, my BA is in communications (I was trained as a journalist writing feature stories), and my MA plus PhD is in Folklore/Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.

So I’m a Folklorist. What the heck is a Folklorist? Folklorists study how a group or culture maintains itself and transmits its knowledge, wisdom and values through its art. I know all about how to research, analyze, categorize, and understand stories from a theoretical, qualitative, academic perspective.

Yet who I LEARNED THE MOST FROM about stories was my first storytelling teacher, Ron Evans – a Chippewa Cree from Saskatchewan Canada who held many of the sacred stories of his tribe. As I listened to him tell stories, I learned about the art form, about story's power to enthrall, teach, and make a difference. From Ron I learned about the care and feeding of stories.

From my other storytelling teachers, I’ve learned that until you experience and understand the powerful dynamics of oral telling, you’ll never fully grasp its richness.

From my business mentors I learned about leadership, organizational dynamics, change, strategy, HR, operations, technology, facilitation, training and consulting.

Clients have included Chase Bank, Walt Disney Imagineering, Avery-Dennison, Princess Cruises, Beaver Medical Group, and Just In Time for Foster Youth. I’ve given workshops at Hewlett-Packard, North Face, Toyota, and the American Society of Association Executives. Just to name a few.

TODAY

Today I almost always start my work with people building oral storytelling skills – because it’s the most powerful communication medium we have. Other business skills are important, and we've all known brilliant people who can't talk their way out of a paper bag and lose amazing opportunities.

Not everything is a story. My mission is to create clarity, ease, amazement, enjoyment, and transformation with you via through your stories.

I want to show you, and have you experience, how stories will bring you HUGE benefits.

But the question you're probably asking is "Why should I believe what KD says?"

Well, there are a lot of people out there trying to convince you that they have all the answers

Unfortunately, I don't have ALL the answers. But I do believe I have SOME of the answers -- and I think the answers I do want to share with you are pretty important.

I truly am not interested in material or tools that don't work. I like stuff that gets results. I want you to get results. I'm constantly learning about what works, what doesn't, and how to make what does work even better. And I'm here to share what I learn with you.

I'm a human being and I certainly have my flaws. But I also think my materials and programs are excellent, and I stand behind them. I trust you will get a TON of value from them.

All the best –

PUBLICATIONS INCLUDE:

  • Forward and Chapter 6, “Who Said Money Is Everything? Story Is The New Currency InFinancial Management” in Wake Me Up When The Data Is Over; How Organizations Use Stories To Drive Results, edited by Lori Silverman. New York: Jossey-Bass, 2006. Pgs. 78-92
  • Boundless Diversity; An Introduction To The Golden Personality Type Profiler, with John P. Golden, Ed.D. Dallas, TX: Harcourt Assessment Inc., 2004
  • “Free Agent Ecosystem ™; Cultivating a Sustainable Commercial Ecosystem Among Professional Services Free Agents,” with Joseph B. Sterling, Rita L. Sterling, and Sharon Lieder. San Diego, CA: Free Agent Ecosystem, 2002.
  • Organizational Personality Type reports for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Personality Profiler. San Diego, CA: Polaris Associates, Inc. 1993, 1998, 2001.
  • The Power of Values; A Guide For Business, with Katie L. Anderson. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1996.
  • Everyday Heroes; Living Live by Your Values, with Katie L. Anderson. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1996.