I can remember, as a child, being read stories each night at bedtime.  When my mom and I would go to visit my grandparents in the summer we would share a room, me in one bed and her on the far side in another, and from across the room I would drift off to sleep listening to stories of Pollyanna.  When we returned to that house after my grandparents died the roles reversed, I lay on my side of the room and read to her.

Pollyanna, in case you are not familiar with her was a fictional little girl who , based on her life circumstances, could have lived a very sad life, but instead she found a piece of happiness within each moment, a spark of optimism, and she called it the “Glad Game”.

With Pollyanna I learned, as young girl, to look for the good in every situation, and then later as a teenager, I navigated stormy years reading Judy Blume, picking up valuable tips on problem solving and critical thinking with my heroine Nancy Drew.  As an adult, authors like Alice Hoffman, Elizabeth Berg, Monique Gray Smith and others have helped me navigate relationships and complicated situations.

Where would I be without stories?  It would have taken me much longer to learn some of life’s lessons and I might not have the creative spark that I have.  Every piece of fiction began with something real.

We are truly blessed today that stories come to us in so many more ways, through TED talks, public salons and in-person events where we can celebrate those women who bravely step to the front of the room to share their own story.

Stories can heal, both the teller and the listener.

I’m pleased to share a number of events with you today, I hope you will have an opportunity to enjoy one or two of them.

Perhaps one day you will share your story with our community at yoUnlimited or Where Women Lead