JAY GOLDEN, CO-FOUNDER, STORYTELLER, STORY COACH
Jay Golden has nearly 20 years of experience as storyteller, story coach and strategist. After selling his first business, a binocular rental venue at concerts, Jay spent three years traveling the world, from Kathmandu to Cusco to Marrakech. It was on the road that he became a storyteller, recounting tales of adventures to friends and in his writings in the SF Bay Guardian.
Jay’s storytelling skills proved useful when he landed in San Francisco in the mid-90′s, when he helped found the web’s first fun learning site, Learn2.com – which Yahoo! called “The Most Useful on the Internet.” Often pushing the edges of interactive media, Jay also produced some of the first major-label online music videos (Shockwave.com), and an array of Pre-YouTube-era viral web animations that were seen by millions (Freerange.com).
Jay continued on his work in web series and ebooks. Yet as the online media universe expanded, Jay began to see that the innate human tendency to shape and share stories with one another was a vast media territory that was largely overlooked. So in 2009, along with Joel ben Izzy, Jay created Wakingstar Storyworks, with the vision of helping leaders shape the world through well-told stories. Today, Jay crafts stories, coaches leaders, and trains teams for a wide array of clients, and creates shows that inspires audiences far and wide.
JOEL BEN IZZY, CO-FOUNDER, STORYTELLER, AUTHOR
Though Joel ben Izzy has been telling stories all his life, his professional career began in 1983 after he graduated from Stanford with a self-designed degree in storytelling. From there, Joel set off to travel the globe, gathering and telling stories from Tel Aviv to Tokyo and Paris to Petaluma.
Joel’s own career took a sharp twist when he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Though usually a treatable form of the disease, in this case there was a strange complication. When he awoke from surgery he discovered he could no longer speak. At first the doctors thought the loss was temporary, but later they decided it was permanent. So it was Joel found himself living inside a story as strange as any he had ever told, filled with twists and turns including the last and strangest twist – the sudden return of his voice long after he had given up hope of being able to speak.
This led to his award-winning memoir, The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness (Algonquin Books, 2003). Now in its fifth printing, it has been translated into fifteen languages around the world, has been optioned for film and is being developed for theater.
Joel’s journey left him with many gifts and lessons as well as a passion for helping people do good work and find and tell their stories. This took him to realms rarely frequented by storytellers – the worlds of technology, community development, law and entertainment. And then one day, he walked into Saul’s Deli…
AHRI GOLDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF MEDIA PRODUCTION
With NPR-quality productions and creative business savvy, Golden brings top-notch storytelling skills and cross-platform delivery expertise to help Wakingstar seek and develop stories at the heart of companies and organizations.
With over 15 years of experience, Ahri Golden has created award-winning public radio documentaries and events. She has produced on a diverse array of topics as Senior Producer of Public Radio International’s weekly show Beyond Computers, acquired by Salon.com, and as Co-Creator of the nationally-distributed public radio documentaries Shades of Gray, Birth and Born. Alongside the latter productions was The Birth Tour, a national community engagement event in over 75 cities and towns which catalyzed conversations about birth and helped build support networks for new mothers. Ahri was also Producer of the indy movie Mitsein, and recently released an album of her own songs called Delve.