Lessons from Croup and Captain Hook

Four-year-old Jackson sounded like a seal barking as he called from his bedroom one wintery Sunday afternoon. I’d put him down for a nap an hour earlier and hoped sleep would curtail his cough. He was frightened and struggling to breathe. A call to our doctor: “hang up and dial 911.” The ambulance arrived in no time, and medics whisked Continue reading

“From Grinch to Our Neighbor” Inspires Imagination

We dreaded the arsenic hour … 5:00-6:00 pm, the first hour that Abby was home from day care. She would melt down and become inconsolable over small things. After a series of tantrums, she would retreat to her room (or be sent into a time out) and re-emerge with a new outfit … often dressed as a character. Princess, bride, Continue reading

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

When I was in graduate school, I worked as the Nutrition Coordinator for an Adult Fitness/Cardiac Rehab program associated with the university I attended. It was a fairly new position in the organization without a lot of structure and process in place. Bright-eyed, naïve, and optimistic, I brought forward a lot of new ideas to enhance and expand the nutrition Continue reading

What I Learned from the Accidental Thief

After herding my three rambunctious and exhausted kids out of the ski chalet, I discovered that my skis were missing. In a panic, I alerted my husband, and we searched high and low … to no avail. As I went inside to report the (probable) theft, he did some sleuthing and noticed that close to where I’d stored my skis Continue reading

Learning from My Mistakes in Webinar-Based Storytelling

In my first professional job, I was charged with building a nutrition capability for an adult fitness/cardiac rehabilitation program. Passionate and naively optimistic, I would develop 1-page proposals for new offerings. I was particularly excited about a proposal for a new weight management course, but when the executive director, Phil, red-lined my proposal, I was devastated. Choking back tears, I Continue reading

Storlie – What’s With the Name?

People frequently ask me about my last name, “Storlie,” and my company name, “Storlietelling.” I guess it starts in grade school . . . As I set off for school with my older sister, Cindy, I heard the neighborhood kids shouting, “There’s Cindy Big Meadow!” and chanting, “Jean Big Meadow!” I shrunk away, confused and embarrassed, while Cindy went off Continue reading

Letters from Camp Offer Lessons for the Workplace

Anxious to hear from my kids who were at a summer camp, I was excited to open the mailbox and see two letters from Camp Iduhapi. We had dropped them off at this charming YMCA camp on the shores of a Minnesota lake four days earlier. The first letter I opened was from Eleanor (10 years old), who wrote, “I’m Continue reading

How [Ms.] Switzerland Managed [Dr.] Divergent

Her nickname was “Switzerland,” which she earned by staying calm, rational, and neutral during conflict. These traits made her the perfect fit for her role in leading the department of consumer complaints. When “Dr. Divergent,” a senior PhD statistician, started working for her, she told him, “I’d like you to bring a typed agenda to our updates.” He complied for Continue reading

Opportunity Disguised as Loss … Three Years Later

Instead of checking my email before work, I called my mom to wish her happy birthday. When I walked into the office, I could tell something was odd. My boss walked past me without greeting or eye contact. Looking out at the sea of cubicles, I noticed that everyone had their heads down, and I felt a tension in the Continue reading

A “Super Senior” Decision Led to Her Dream Job

Something about my daughter’s text, “When are you getting home?” alarmed me as I was getting off the plane on a beautiful summer evening in late August 2013. I suppressed my “mother instinct” to worry as I drove home and joined my husband on our patio. About 20 minutes later, Abby came out and asked if we could both talk. Continue reading