If magic is “the art of changing consciousness at will,” then story is the most effective magic anyone
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And among other things (global adventurer, angel investor, wilderness guide; lover of mountains and metaphors and chocolate with fruit inside), I am a professional storytelling and leadership coach who
partners with founders, execs, experts & creatives to excavate the true stories
(and build the narrative skills) that move people to say YES.
But over 10 years ago, when I was first
I didn’t realize how often the biggest opportunities get decided
(and distributed) inside a single conversation.
The first time I courted a big prospective client, I spent two days
crafting the perfect proposal; the book Made to Stick open on the dining
room table, my laptop surrounded by a growing collection of
coffee mugs gone cold.
Later, the client would say it “brought tears to his eyes” for how
“poignant” and “needed” my ideas were.
I left his office certain my proposal had worked; that the position was
But then weeks went by….
Which turned into months…
And then I finally got the news...
The contract had gone to someone else.
And not just anyone else — an old white dude someone else.
I told myself I didn’t want that contract anyway.
Then I moved to San Francisco, with no job and no apartment lined
But what I did have?
Were three contacts who had agreed to a meeting.
This time, I didn’t spend hours laboring over a fancy proposal.
Instead, I sent the obligatory resume (which showed a colorful pie
chart attributing 20% of my education to "school") and showed up in a
plain blue dress from Banana Republic..
Sitting across from the bemused CEO, a view of San Francisco Bay
sweeping out to his left, he asked me over tented fingers why I wanted
to work there...
... Given that I had no relevant experience to speak of?
I looked out the window, and thought about it… and told him a story.
A true story, about how backpacking in the woods as a teenager
changed my perspective, and made me realize how important it is
to connect people with nature...
... Which (I think?) is what the organization was all about..
Three days later, I was hired for a job I was
(on paper) completely unqualified to do.
… Despite having zero of the “5 years’ experience” and “demonstrated
track record” that were “required” for the position.
Although I’d had insights about the power of story before, this was the
moment my brain short-circuited, smoke wafted out of my ears, and I
realized how applicable that power is to every facet of our lives…
“I've experienced a seismic shift in how I
communicate my unique value as a professional and
Tanya Troshyna, Product Leader & Founder of Fable
Since then, I’ve personally used the power of story to:
Turn disengaged board members into eager and helpful participants
Attract my first clients & escape the 9-5 for good
Quadruple my rates in my first year of business (my client told me to!)
Earn the title “Head Story Coach” (what even is that?) at General Assembly SF
Become an adjunct storytelling and career coach at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business
Design dozens of custom workshops and trainings for companies, teams, and nonprofits
Build a pandemic-proof creative business I can operate from anywhere
Take my business on a 14,000 mile cycling trip, while working just 6-8 days a month
Coach 100’s of founders, V.C.’s, execs & M.B.A’s across a range of industries
Establish partnerships with top universities, business schools & accelerators in the U.S. and around the globe
And my clients have used the power of story to:
Get the investor to say, “Where do I send the check?”
Get the Congressman to refer them with: “You need to meet with him, tomorrow.”
Get the partner to suggest, “Let’s demo this in 12 of our buildings.”
Get the boss’s boss to decide, “Let’s allocate $8M to this for the first year.”
Navigate a tricky transition to become the new CEO
Empower their executives to become inspiring team leaders
Give the TEDx talk that received a standing ovation
Showcase their unique contribution as a thought leader in their field
Publish the narrative of their life’s work
Land leadership roles at top companies like Google, Apple, Nike, Lyft
Successfully negotiate their highest salaries yet
Turn hesitant prospects into eager paying customers
Launch and grow a thriving online business
Stop trading their time for money and start getting paid for their value
Even (twice!) to craft the perfect wedding vows
And also (once!) to successfully adopt a baby boy
(Honestly — it gives me chills to see all these things in one place!)Where will your story take you?
“What exhilarating results.”
Bailey Selland, Psychologist & Coach
Truly, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from working with so many diverse and talented people, it’s this:
What YOU can achieve with your “magical” skillset is limited only by your imagination.
And this is key, because — real talk?:
Your story’s not (really) about what happened.
It’s about what happens NEXT.
So — what’s next for you?:
Is it game over — or is it game on?
To your one wild and precious life,
“Game changing… I can speak to others with simplicity and power... this
has helped my career immensely.”
Nyn Tompkins, Doctor of Chiropractic
3rd Person Bio
Among other things (global adventurer, angel investor, wilderness guide; lover of mountains and metaphors and chocolate with fruit inside), Jessica Mastors is the founder & CEO of Bay-Area based Story Magic, where she partners with executives, founders, experts and thought leaders across North America, Europe and Asia to excavate the true stories – and build the narrative skills – that move decision-makers to say YES.
Blending business and personal leadership with language, art, neuroscience and social psychology, Jessica’s unique approach has been designated by clients as “extraordinary” and “game-changing;” and Jessica herself as a “guru in all things communication.”
Jessica teaches graduate-level courses in communication and story at California College of the Arts in San Francisco; advises M.B.A.’s and alumni as an adjunct career coach at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business; and partners with a wide range of companies, universities and accelerators in the US and abroad to deliver one-of-kind workshops and trainings that emphasize the value of fun and creativity for building strong teams and learning new skills.
Jessica is also the creator of Own Your Story, a unique storytelling learning accelerator designed to show you step-by-step how to start telling simple, concise and effective personal stories that engage the imagination and inspire others to take the next step with you. Deemed “priceless” and “a huge gift” by participants, the live accelerator opens 2x/year in the Spring and Fall, but the truly committed can get started right now with Own Your Story on demand.
In a modern business context characterized by increasing complexity, accelerating change and pervasive uncertainty, Jessica’s strong belief is that experts and specialists alone will not succeed in moving us into the future – until they invest the time and attention required to start communicating in ways that get the rest of us to care. For that – no matter your message – you need analogy, metaphor, story, and narrative.
Outside of work, Jessica spends her free time in nature, hanging out with her husband and daughter, reading and writing, cooking delicious things, and pondering the possible future of education at the intersection of storytelling, entrepreneurship, and the environment.
“Extraordinary... Jessica brings a story to a higher plane.”
Karen Feinstein, President, Jewish Healthcare FoundationBook a call now