This week on the podcast we hear from storytellers of a corporate Tell Us Something storytelling workshop that I hosted for MEDA - Montana Economic Developers Association. Join these four storytellers for stories of work, and the importance of taking an active role in your local community through your vocation.

Transcript : Live Storytelling with Corporate Workshop participants MEDA

00:00
welcome to the telesumming podcast i’m
00:01
mark moss they had just been
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shafted by the company that had bought
00:06
their company
00:07
so i was buying them their beer
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ironically
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in a couple of years they would develop
00:13
a fully automated
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company that without employees doing
00:16
about four and a half million dollars a
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year in sales
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today we feature four storytellers who
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worked hard during a tele-something
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corporate storytelling week-long
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workshop
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members of the montana economic
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developers association
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or media shared their true personal
00:33
stories from their homes and offices
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during a corporate workshop hosted by
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tell us something
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the storytelling workshop helped people
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harness the power of personal
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storytelling
00:43
to talk about the work that they do
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every day
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why is that work important to them why
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that work is important to those that
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they serve and why that work is
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important to the communities where they
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live
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and work across the state of montana
00:58
big thanks to our title sponsor the good
01:00
food store and thanks to our enduring
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sponsors cabinetparts.com and blackfoot
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communications
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special thanks to our champion sponsor
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truefood missoula and huge thanks to our
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blue ribbon sponsor
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joyce of tile the media members who are
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sharing our stories with you today
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know that it is with our stories that we
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can reach people
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with our mission they left the graphs
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and pie charts at the office
01:24
they saved the data points for later our
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storytellers today
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used their true personal stories to
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share the story of the important work
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that they do
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in communities across montana around 20
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or so media members
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joined me every day for a week during
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our two hours every day
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i taught them what i know about
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storytelling we talked about techniques
01:45
and structure and helped each other
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develop and improve our stories
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i tailored the workshop specifically for
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the media members
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today four of those workshop
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participants will share their stories
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with you
01:57
we did the workshop over zoom and a
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couple times there were
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internet connectivity issues so you’ll
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hear some of the participants drop out
02:05
a few times usually a telesumming event
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is focused on a theme
02:11
we hadn’t discussed a theme for these
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stories but listening to them
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a theme emerged we can say that the
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theme is
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why am i here or why i do this call it
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passion
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whatever you call it you’ll see these
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storytellers are personally bonded to
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the work that they do
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and that their passion really comes
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through in the stories that they share
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our first storyteller is gloria o’rourke
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gloria
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has been a meta member since 1995 and
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self-employed since 2003.
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she and her business partner mike share
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an office and have been married for 44
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years
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mike and gloria enjoy spoiling their
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four grandsons and then returning them
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with sugar highs
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to their parents we call gloria’s story
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my desk do you know
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how many sticky notes are in a pack
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we all use them but do you know there
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are 100
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sticky notes in a pack i go through
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about a pack a week
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why i’m self-employed
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that means i’m my own boss right
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wrong i have a contract and i work for
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meda
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which stands for montana economic
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developers association
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meda has a membership of about as of
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this morning
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253 people and that means
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i have 253 bosses
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so at my desk here at my desk i like to
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think of myself as the communication hub
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maybe a federal partner or a state
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partner has an urgent program
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update and they’ll send it to me gloria
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can you shoot this out and
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or maybe a media member will send me
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something saying hey we’re
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putting on a training or oh we have this
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to offer small businesses
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would you shoot it out so i send it out
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or maybe i’ll get a phone call
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and it’s a business person saying i’m
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trying to start a business in bozeman do
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you know who i should contact
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and so i look at myself as kind of the
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communication hub
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things come in i send them out right
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but i’m not always at my desk one of my
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favorite things to do
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is what’s called immediate community
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review
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um once how it works is a community will
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invite me to in
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and i’ll first start with a small team
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of maybe just three or four of us and
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what we do
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is we listen we listen to a community
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for
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hours we listen to them share about
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what’s important to them
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what problems they’re having what
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challenges they’re having
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and we summarize everything that we
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heard from these hours and hours of
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listening
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then we go back to our desks and i start
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tapping the shoulders of some of those
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253 bosses
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and they say hey i’m this this town
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needs help with small business finance
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or this
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town needs help restoring a historic
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building or
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this town needs help with manufacturing
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or this town is looking for a co-op
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for a store so then we work together
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to help that community take action on
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their action plans
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a perfect example of this is the
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community of lockwood
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several years ago big sky economic
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development
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and beartooth rcnd invited a small meta
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team to come in
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and listen to lockwood and so we
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listened
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and we listened and we heard three main
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pretty heavy burdens the community of
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lockwood had
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um one was they felt like they were the
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ugly stepchild
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of yellowstone county they felt their
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voice was not heard
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another one was they realized they had a
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large dropout rate
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that they had these kids that grew up in
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lockwood went to school in lockwood and
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then suddenly
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it was time to go to high school and
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they were shuttled to different schools
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in the big city
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the third major problem they wanted to
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address and it was quite tragic
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was they had several deaths in their
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community
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because people had been killed there was
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no
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safe streets no safe sidewalk no good
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lighting
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for the people to walk on and so
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the team after we listened we came back
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to our desk we tapped shoulders of those
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253
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media members we worked again with big
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sky eda and beartooth and we held a huge
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town hall meeting
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and as a result of that our
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our media members bringing their
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expertise to the table and
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local people of lockwood stepping up
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i’ll never forget this young dad stepped
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up
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and he said i want my boys to be safe
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when they walk to school
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so the people of lockwood came together
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and
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they really went to work on their action
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items so
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a few months ago we were back to
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lockwood and we wanted to hear what
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happened
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and what we learned is lockwood has
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incredible momentum
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now they no longer feel like the ugly
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stepchild
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they through working through legislators
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they change state law so that they now
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had the right to vote onto whether or
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not to build a high school in lockwood
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and they now have their own high school
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and
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best of all they were the first
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community to pass a levy
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to pay for sidewalks and streetlights
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and so this huge momentum monumental
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shift has happened in lockwood
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so back at my desk with my
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my oceans of sticky notes
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i’ve realized something and that is that
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there is no self
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in self-employed i can’t do it on my own
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and i like to think you can’t do it as
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well
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without me and so working together with
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my 253 bosses who really aren’t bosses
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you are really my partners
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working together we are making a
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difference in our communities
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and building a great place in montana
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for people to work
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play and live thanks gloria
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to learn more about the montana economic
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developers association
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visit medamembers.org
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our next storyteller is a world traveler
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from a small town heather mccartney is a
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fifth
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generation montanan she works as an
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outreach and consumer education
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specialist
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with the non-profit child care resource
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and referral agency
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family connections her passions include
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hunting for a good decaf
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long reads and connecting people to
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great resources
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she lives in shoto montana with her
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conservation officer husband
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her artistic and whimsical daughter five
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freeloading chickens
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three cats and a dog named bear green is
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her favorite color
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we call heather’s story family
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connections
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i am driving down 89. the sun crests the
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eastern horizon
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and the light is blinding so i pull my
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visor down push it to the side
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no need to start a migraine this early
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in the day
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light flickers off the refuge waters as
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i look in my rear view mirror
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my little passenger looks dreamily out
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her window
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look mama i see a dragon maybe a dog
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i follow her gaze into the puffy clouds
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uh-huh i see what you see i also see a
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blue heron fishing
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over there do you see it yes and
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pelicans too
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she explains her head back i’m tired
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mama
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she murmurs me too sweetheart
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why don’t you pull your pillow over to
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the door and have a little nap
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she settles herself against the seat
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ponytail flopping over as she leans into
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her pillow
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and pulls up her blanket
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i count myself fortunate to live here on
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the crown of the continent
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our little bungalow sits in a tree-lying
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town in the shadow of the rocky
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mountains
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the backbone of the world the
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front actually known as a cornucopia of
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flora and fauna
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on a given day you’ll see silver-tipped
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grizzly bears
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grazing on black choke cherries next to
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freshly moan hay fields
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next to mountain streams that water an
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otherwise arid plain
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in the town of shoto the deer regularly
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grazed down my sunflowers
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and the elk bugle at the city limits
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neighborhood children play from house to
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house the schools are top notch
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and as garrison keillor would say all
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the kids are above average
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60 miles later i pull into a quiet
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neighborhood
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slowing to go over a speed bump i see a
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lively elementary school around the
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corner
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and gaze wistfully at a for sale sign on
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a modest home
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i stop as claire gathers her backpack
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and hops out
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i meet her on the other side of car we
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kiss through our masks
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love you mama love you too zugs i say as
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i squeeze her in a hug
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i climb back into the car and stare at
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her back
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and she heads into someone else’s
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capable hands
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15 minutes later i pull into the parking
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lot in my company designated space
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as i turn off the engine i feel the heat
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of the day coming on
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i hate my commute i hate all the hours
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lost to transition when i’d rather be
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relaxing
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catching up with friends heck even doing
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chores
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anything but sitting in a car my back
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and legs getting tight
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i hate that clara strapped to a seat
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belt for those same hours rather than
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running with the sun on her hair or
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climbing into a treehouse to exchange
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secrets with friends
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i especially hate that because my
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commute to child care is so far
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and high quality care is so expensive
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that i will have nothing to show for my
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eight hour day plus
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two and a half hours of travel my entire
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paycheck will have been cashed into
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making sure my daughter
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has great care and learning while i work
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yet i’m doing exactly what i love
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i’m an influencer for positive change
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change
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i deeply gratified helping people solve
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problems and communities rally around
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solutions
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like you there really isn’t much i
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wouldn’t do or haven’t done to help
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these good developments along
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i mean you know the drill cups of coffee
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at community tables
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op-eds to regional papers sitting on
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boards
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volunteering for anything on a saturday
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and then biting your tongue as a group
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moves in a different direction
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leaving your hard work in the dust like
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beer cans after a rodeo
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but this this depleting of my personal
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resources to care for my child
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so that i can help other families and
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communities care for their children
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this is pulling at me like attention
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wire fascinating me to two worlds
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professional and personal sitting here
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in the august heat reminds me of the
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pressure cooker i’m in
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i desperately want claire to have a
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carefree childhood full of rich
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experiences
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and i’m also eager to work to help solve
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montana’s child care crisis
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i’m educated and employed and i’m at
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risk of leaving the workforce
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i live in a childcare desert and i am
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digging wells for other communities and
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their child care oasis
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last night’s call from a panic provider
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wondering how she’ll finance next
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month’s expenses haunts me
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families are desperate for child care so
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they can work uninterrupted
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yet with pandemic variables many have
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pulled the kids home
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taking precious cash flow with them if
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she can’t put together financing
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she’ll join the 10 that have closed
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their doors this year
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adding to the already 40 shortage we had
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in the state
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last week’s blowback from a county
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commissioner’s meeting asking them to
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allocate funds to develop child care
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that had me ready to quit hot tears
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stream down my face why don’t people
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want to support families
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would they rather not have staffing at
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hospitals kids in schools
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volunteers or even talk tax dollars
14:20
towards infrastructure
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what the hell am i doing fighting for
14:24
others that they may enjoy
14:26
high quality affordable and available
14:27
child care for
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which i’m not attained for myself this
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is fraying the very fiber of my being
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i am driving down 89 as starlight
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illuminates the last of the night
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grazers
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my view is framed by oncoming headlights
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in the highways
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still slumbering at home clara dreams of
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her day at school
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full of friends and learning her dad and
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dog will walk her down the idyllic fall
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boulevard
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kicking leaves and stopping to pick up
14:56
her favorite rocks
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and what am i doing like you i’m going
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to work
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thanks heather to learn more about
15:05
family connections visit
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familyconnectionsmt.org
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russ fletcher is an old retired guy who
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escaped from san francisco
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25 years ago to live in missoula with
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his retired attorney wife
15:18
alexis they have two children his son
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lives in san francisco and works for
15:23
google his daughter has
15:25
come home to missoula from l.a and works
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for hulu
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russ spends a lot of his day looking at
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a computer screen
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drinking coffee and pondering the future
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of montana
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russ calls his story how i found my last
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best job in a missoula dive bar it was a
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dark and stormy night 20 years ago
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there was a waiter listlessly clearing
15:46
dishes from the table where
15:48
the 10 or so people that i invited to
15:51
dinner
15:52
had finished eating our greasy burgers
15:54
and drinking bud light
15:56
i’d invited them there to ask a single
15:58
question
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something that i’d found since i’d moved
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from silicon valley it was what the
16:02
prison sheriff on cool hand luke stated
16:04
when they dragged paul newman back
16:06
from an escape attempt what we’ve got
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here
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is a failure to communicate why didn’t
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montana communicate
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we did in san francisco it was just me
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and
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and we’ll call them bud and lou we’re
16:20
left drinking our last can of bud
16:23
there probably was a wet dog laying by
16:25
that back door
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they had just been shafted by the
16:30
company that had bought their company
16:32
so i was buying them their beer
16:34
ironically
16:36
in a couple of years they would develop
16:37
a fully automated
16:39
company that without employees doing
16:41
about four and a half million dollars a
16:43
year in sales
16:45
they would put a phone in their little
16:47
tiny office on higgins
16:50
that would go to the phone tree of all
16:51
the services
16:53
and bud had to go in occasionally to
16:55
sign checks
16:56
and sometimes he’d like to pick up the
16:57
phone so one day he’s in there and the
17:00
phone rings he picks it up and he hears
17:02
hi
17:03
my name is susan smith and i’m from and
17:05
let’s call it giganto corporation
17:08
he immediately slammed down the phone it
17:10
rang again
17:12
hi my name is susan smith and i’m from
17:14
gigento
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he so calmly said thanks susan we’ve
17:18
already got all the computers we need
17:20
and he hung up the phone the phone rang
17:23
again immediately and he picked it up
17:24
now he heard in a rush
17:26
hi my name is susan smith i’m with
17:28
digento and we want to buy your company
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time they got better attorneys and sold
17:34
it from mid-eight figures
17:36
now back to that uh back room with those
17:39
soon-to-be multi-millionaires
17:41
we’d had a few beers and we’re getting
17:43
down to the nitty-gritty
17:44
we’d all come from techy backgrounds in
17:46
silicon valley
17:48
and in that in that environment i had
17:51
always told my employees
17:52
please get out of the office at least an
17:55
hour a day
17:56
you have to get out you can’t just sit
17:58
in your office you’ve got to see what’s
18:00
going on
18:00
who are new competitors who might we
18:02
collaborate with
18:04
what’s the new technology i also had
18:07
told them that if they were over 45
18:09
i wanted them to find a 25 to 30 year
18:12
old
18:13
mentee not a men excuse me a mentor not
18:16
a mentee
18:18
someone who they could work with someone
18:20
who they could teach
18:21
who could teach them about what tensions
18:22
and technology were happening
18:24
they had to realize that it was they
18:26
were not the future
18:28
it were the it was the younger people
18:30
it’s all
18:31
and still is all about networking the
18:34
three of us lamented the fact that
18:35
missoula
18:36
wasn’t talking to bozeman wasn’t talking
18:38
to billings
18:39
wasn’t talking to great falls etc it
18:41
seemed like they all thought each other
18:43
was competing
18:44
it was the same for montana’s companies
18:46
they weren’t talking with each other
18:48
to see whether it might be collaboration
18:50
um
18:51
it wasn’t it wasn’t montana it was the
18:54
world how could i address this
18:56
they both looked at me in very calm
19:00
and humorous gazes said why don’t you
19:03
just build a website
19:05
i was running a company at the time but
19:07
i said hey let’s give it a shot
19:09
so i knew two guys they were brilliant
19:11
techies john and steve they founded mod
19:13
west
19:13
which was an incredibly successful isp
19:16
with i think clients in 56 countries
19:18
they agreed to build a website that
19:21
would become the montana associated
19:23
technology roundtable
19:24
matter because the economy does matter
19:28
i’ll never be able to thank them enough
19:31
john’s now
19:31
in uh truth or consequences new mexico
19:34
running a brew pub
19:35
so there is the career after technology
19:39
the site started modestly i started
19:41
holding monthly roundtables which i’d
19:42
done in silicon valley
19:44
people would get together we’d have a
19:45
topic or a panel
19:47
and people would just talk and they
19:49
seemed to be really
19:50
wanting to to get can get communicating
19:54
with each other
19:54
learn what was going on i really felt
19:57
great about these roundtables they were
19:58
a lot of work
20:00
but i enjoyed them we had one that i
20:03
think i’ll always remember
20:04
the t1 lines was taking 13 14 weeks to
20:07
get one installed for a new company
20:09
this was just you know inconceivable so
20:12
i said let’s have a round table
20:13
i got a call from senator baucus’s
20:15
office he said he would like to come and
20:17
speak because he’d heard about this
20:18
problem too when he arrived he
20:20
apologized he said russ sorry i can only
20:22
stay a few minutes after i give my
20:24
little speech
20:25
he ended up staying for over an hour as
20:28
he listened to the challenges
20:29
of the business community i would like
20:31
to think that this event had an impact
20:33
on him as he announced his first state
20:35
economic summit a few weeks later
20:37
matters all free
20:38
as you all know i rely on the huge
20:41
personal satisfaction i get from doing
20:43
matter
20:43
not the funding it generates it’s
20:45
certainly not the 34 cents an hour i
20:47
calculated i earned sitting on my butt
20:49
and answering the phone
20:51
while supporters and sponsors are
20:53
greatly appreciated
20:54
i’ve never focused on monetizing it in
20:56
spite of my wife’s concern
20:58
and frequent recommendations that you
21:00
should be charging for that
21:02
to me it’s all about montana an example
21:05
was a ceo i was talking to
21:07
he was having a hard time finding a
21:08
company to collaborate with they needed
21:10
some technology skills
21:12
i asked him have you walked across the
21:14
street he did
21:16
he found the company that fit his needs
21:18
that company didn’t have a sign on the
21:20
door
21:21
they competed for the contract they
21:22
didn’t get it but it really showed to me
21:24
the fact that we really needed to get
21:26
out of the office and talk to
21:27
our neighbors it’s been about 20 years
21:31
of updating the site
21:32
i produced three newsletters a week i
21:34
talked to thousands of wonderful people
21:37
and i have to thank montana and media
21:40
for helping me enjoy the best last job
21:42
i’ve ever had
21:44
i hope that if you haven’t already maybe
21:47
someday
21:48
in some dark back room of a dive bar you
21:50
can find your
21:51
dream job as i did maybe it just takes
21:55
communicating with the right people like
21:57
bud
21:58
and lou and john and steve and everybody
22:01
at mita
22:02
thanks russ to learn more about russ’s
22:04
passion project
22:05
montana associated technology
22:07
roundtables visit
22:09
matr.net teresa shriner is the
22:12
investment director
22:13
at the great falls development authority
22:15
she’s a former
22:16
butte rat who teases that she came
22:18
kicking and screaming to great falls
22:20
with her husband
22:21
although loves to sell folks on the
22:23
electric city teresa
22:24
just celebrated 10 years with her larger
22:26
than life husband casey
22:28
who equally challenges her efforts
22:31
together they have three scrappy and
22:33
smart little boys
22:34
that love to give them a run for their
22:36
money adam liam and finn
22:38
teresa calls her story nose down ass up
22:42
my dad has a small business in butte
22:44
it’s a dental practice
22:45
although i probably wouldn’t call it
22:46
small because as far as i remember it’s
22:48
been
22:49
probably the biggest practice see so my
22:52
dad’s practice let me tell you a little
22:53
bit about it
22:55
it is the practice that as far as i
22:57
remember we always had
22:59
the phone number listed from our house
23:01
in the white pages if you guys remember
23:02
the white pages
23:04
it’s the one because my dad remembers
23:06
what it’s like having a toothache
23:07
growing
23:08
up so he would always allow people to
23:09
call her home day and night
23:11
going to be ringing off the hook he’s
23:13
always the one that takes referrals from
23:15
the police department the er
23:17
any clinic indian health things like
23:19
that nature so he sees folks of
23:21
every stripe he’s also not a formal guy
23:25
just like his practice he’s unassuming
23:28
humble and larger than life
23:30
so people never call him doctor it’s not
23:32
even dr mike
23:33
he’s always been known by his high
23:35
school nickname beets
23:38
and my dad would always get home later
23:41
than
23:41
probably scheduled or he ever wanted to
23:43
be and
23:44
later than anticipated but he would pick
23:47
the four of us up
23:48
when he got off work he’d come rumbling
23:50
down the dirt road in this old beater of
23:52
a pickup truck and he’d lay on the horn
23:55
it was the signal for the four of us to
23:57
pile into this pickup truck
23:59
and go clean the office so we get in the
24:02
truck
24:03
we’d turn around and he’d head on back
24:05
to the office
24:06
he wouldn’t stay though because he would
24:08
just be dropping us off and he’d head
24:10
to doc’s place doc was his dad he’d
24:13
probably go have a beer and they’d
24:15
rattle off
24:16
war stories about some toothache that
24:18
day
24:19
and before we get out he turned to us
24:21
and he’d say
24:22
nose down kids ass up and i remember
24:25
thinking
24:25
that’s a strange way to clean because i
24:28
didn’t really know what it meant at the
24:29
time
24:30
but as i’d learn over the years he’d
24:32
tell us that all the time
24:34
it really meant nose to the grindstone
24:36
and do the hard work
24:38
now if any of you have kids grandkids or
24:40
even uh
24:41
you know nephews or nieces of your own
24:44
you probably know what it was like
24:46
when you would arrive back to a scene
24:48
leaving four rambunctious children
24:50
probably the oldest ten
24:52
uh to their own devices i don’t know
24:54
what my dad envisioned i don’t know if
24:56
he was picturing some sort of mary
24:57
poppins scene
24:58
leaving the four of us to clean the
25:00
office but really it was more like
25:02
something from one flew out of the
25:03
cuckoo’s nest
25:05
because what would happen my brothers
25:07
would haul out this really
25:08
large auric orange vacuum plug it in
25:12
and start it running then the two
25:14
brothers would start
25:16
i think negotiating who was going to
25:18
clean negotiating would escalate into
25:21
wrestling
25:22
wrestling would start yelling and then
25:24
somehow the two of them
25:25
would start deciding hey let’s have a
25:28
let’s have a water gun fight
25:30
so then they would go into the two
25:32
operatories or two of the operatories
25:34
they would take the dental squirt guns i
25:36
think you know what i’m talking about
25:38
and then they would start positioning
25:39
the squirt guns water would be splayed
25:41
out between operatory walls
25:44
my youngest sister would be lounged back
25:46
in a dental chair reading the latest
25:48
issue of highlights magazine
25:50
music would be blasting from the
25:52
laboratory usually it was doors my dad
25:54
was a big break on through album fan
25:56
and i remember myself really the
25:59
suffering middle child of it all
26:01
always the responsible one would be
26:03
clutched holding a broom or a mop
26:05
you know orphan annie style just
26:07
pleading with all of them
26:08
oh my god you guys help me he’s going to
26:10
be back soon
26:12
and he’d arrive probably about a half an
26:13
hour later to the scene
26:15
and even though everybody referred to my
26:18
dad as beats the four of us
26:19
affectionately called him beats a dead
26:20
horse
26:21
because he would follow us around the
26:23
office and he wouldn’t give in
26:26
he would just lecture us until we got it
26:27
done right
26:29
eventually we would learn that if we did
26:31
it right the first time
26:33
it would get done faster and the sooner
26:36
we actually got it done the sooner we
26:37
would be home
26:38
playing ninja turtles or street fighter
26:41
on our nintendo
26:43
now me being the suffering middle child
26:46
i
26:46
stayed with my dad on through college
26:48
and grad school and i worked with him
26:52
i remember throughout these years that i
26:54
was pretty embarrassed that we drove
26:56
these beater old trucks in all of these
26:57
old cars
26:59
and i asked my dad about it and i
27:01
learned that my dad because he takes
27:02
patients of all stripes
27:04
would tell me quite a few things in
27:06
addition to the nose down ass up
27:08
work ethic that my dad has he would tell
27:11
me more meaningful things too
27:13
he would often say that the
27:16
banker’s spouse takes care of the
27:18
widow’s heart condition
27:20
you see teresa beets would tell me that
27:23
a rising tide does lift all boats
27:26
it’s not about being the richest man in
27:27
the cemetery
27:29
after all you don’t see a hearse hauling
27:31
a u-haul
27:32
which is why he takes care of everybody
27:34
that he does
27:36
so my dad instilled in me this work
27:38
ethic but he also taught me
27:40
in this nose-down ass up attitude
27:43
that we’d better leave this place better
27:45
than we found it and my dad also taught
27:48
me that
27:49
throughout these years anytime i was
27:51
complaining about the social ills of the
27:53
world
27:54
i better be a part of the solution and
27:56
not the problem
27:57
so my dad’s diatribe continued to beat
27:59
through me like a drum
28:02
which matters because i think this is
28:04
why we are all doing what we do
28:07
and anytime i found myself progressing
28:09
throughout a career if i was unhappy
28:11
with it
28:12
i couldn’t go complain to my dad because
28:14
he would tell me
28:15
nose down ass up teresa go find the
28:18
solution
28:19
don’t be a part of the problem if you
28:22
find yourself being a part of the
28:23
problem
28:23
go find that solution so anytime i did
28:27
that i’d have to move up throughout this
28:29
progression
28:31
and i continued to ask myself what is
28:33
that man behind the curtain what is that
28:35
jack of all trades in the community
28:37
and i think we all know what it is it is
28:40
community development it is
28:41
economic development we are the end of
28:44
the yellow brick road
28:45
and now more than ever it is personal to
28:47
me
28:48
because about seven months ago my dad
28:50
actually called me
28:52
my dad who i have seen as this
28:55
true end of all being
28:58
called me at the beginning of the
28:59
shutdown
29:01
and he said i i don’t know what to do
29:04
i’m shut down
29:05
my dad hasn’t worked with a banker a
29:07
personal loan officer
29:09
since he’d opened his business he was
29:11
nearing retirement
29:14
and now my brother my younger brother
29:16
this man who i remember holding sport
29:18
guns
29:19
was looking at buying out his practice
29:22
but my brother had also seven hundred
29:23
thousand dollars in student loan debt
29:26
and had a baby on the way so
29:29
he didn’t know about the ppp loan he
29:31
didn’t know about the idle loan
29:32
wasn’t familiar with succession planning
29:35
he knew
29:36
what i did but didn’t know what i did
29:38
quite frankly
29:39
so because of the small business center
29:41
because of what we do as economic
29:43
developers
29:44
he’s been able to safely shut down he’s
29:47
been able to capitalize on ppp
29:49
loans and idle loans secure both of
29:51
those things
29:52
he’s been able to actually successfully
29:54
re-engineer his business and remodel his
29:56
business during the shutdown
29:58
and he’s been able to restore his
30:01
business
30:02
i can’t imagine what would happen
30:05
without my dad and my brother’s practice
30:08
in the community of butte so i want you
30:11
to remember that i want you to remember
30:12
the impact that we have
30:15
in the state of montana so i want to
30:18
leave by saying nose down people
30:20
ass up thanks teresa you can learn more
30:23
about the great falls development
30:24
authority by visiting
30:27
growgreatfallsmontana.org thank you all
30:29
for listening and supporting our
30:31
storytellers today
30:32
and thanks to all of the storytellers
30:34
gloria
30:35
heather russ and teresa if your
30:37
organization would like to learn how to
30:39
tell better stories
30:40
drop me a line at mark telesumming.org
30:43
that’s marc
30:45
tell us something dot org you can learn
30:47
more at
30:49
slash telesumming.org next week on the
30:52
teleslimming podcast we’ll hear from
30:53
nerma
30:54
dobre chanin a tell us something
30:56
storyteller who shared a story
30:57
in november of 2018 but
31:00
here there was nobody not even a car
31:04
to to go past i was thinking
31:07
what what is this resident evil or where
31:09
am i
31:12
i caught up with her last summer via
31:14
zoom to chat about her tell something
31:16
experience
31:17
and what it was like visiting the united
31:18
states from montenegro during her study
31:20
of the us
31:21
institute on secondary education through
31:23
the university of montana
31:25
tune in for that next week at
31:27
telesumming.org or
31:29
wherever you get your podcasts thanks
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again to our title sponsor the good food
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33:13
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Because storytelling is an art, I’ve always hired local artists to design a poster for each event. The posters of Tell Us Something are amazing in their own right, and I thought that it would be fun to sit down with some of the artists to chat about their process and see what makes them tick. What inspires them, how they work, and how they came to design the poster that they designed for Tell Us Something. So, this week on the podcast, join me as we go behind the scenes with local artist Courtney Blazon. Courtney designed the poster for the June 2019 show. The theme that night was “What Are the Chances?”

Transcript : Interview with Courtney Blazon

welcome to the tell something podcast

00:01
i’m mark moss i know what i’m doing but
00:04
if somebody wanted to know how do you
00:06
become an artist i’d be like
00:07
you just work hard since around july of
00:10
2020
00:11
i have been interviewing tell us
00:13
something storyteller alumni about their
00:15
experience sharing a story on the
00:16
telesumming stage
00:17
why they chose to share a story and what
00:20
they’ve been up to
00:21
since having shared their story i have a
00:23
lot more of those interviews to share
00:24
with you
00:25
this week though i’m going to introduce
00:27
you to one of tell something’s poster
00:29
artists
00:30
for me it was important for my life and
00:32
especially
00:33
important for my work that i had a
00:35
studio at home where i could shut the
00:37
door
00:38
where like at a certain time at the end
00:41
of the day
00:42
i’m not looking at that piece of work
00:43
anymore because storytelling is an art
00:46
i’ve always hired local artists
00:48
to design a poster for each event the
00:51
posters of tell us something
00:52
are amazing in their own right and i
00:55
thought that it would be
00:56
fun to sit down with some of the artists
00:59
to chat about their process
01:01
and see what makes them tick what
01:03
inspires them
01:04
how they work and how they came to
01:06
design the poster
01:07
that they designed for telesomething so
01:10
this week on the podcast join me
01:12
as we go behind the scenes with local
01:15
artist
01:15
courtney blazon courtney designed the
01:18
poster for the june 2019
01:20
show the theme was what are the chances
01:24
i kind of knew pretty quickly what i was
01:26
gonna do for it
01:28
and i usually settle on an idea pretty
01:32
quickly
01:33
and i don’t know if that’s just because
01:35
i’m generally like
01:37
this is the time i have allotted for
01:39
this you better snap to it
01:41
courtney blaizon is an artist and
01:43
illustrator living and working in
01:44
missoula montana
01:46
she graduated from parsons school of
01:48
design where she earned her bfa in
01:50
illustration
01:52
she’s shown her work in missoula at the
01:54
brink gallery
01:55
dana gallery allez gallery and the
01:58
missoula art museum
02:00
outside of montana she has shown work in
02:02
seattle portland
02:03
new york philadelphia san francisco and
02:06
most recently at the center for the arts
02:08
theater gallery in jackson wyoming
02:12
hello good morning hi how are you
02:16
um well how are you doing good thank you
02:20
good thanks for agreeing to talk to me
02:23
today
02:24
courtney’s work has been featured in new
02:26
american paintings the western edition
02:28
studio visit magazine and juxtapose.com
02:32
she is a past recipient of a montana
02:34
arts council artists
02:35
innovation award courtney is represented
02:38
by radius gallery in missoula montana
02:40
big thanks to our title sponsor the good
02:42
food store and thanks to our enduring
02:44
sponsors
02:45
cabinetparts.com and blackboard
02:47
communications
02:48
thanks to our champion sponsor trufood
02:50
missoula and a very special thanks to
02:52
our blue ribbon sponsor
02:53
joyce of tile courtney blaizon’s pen and
02:57
marker drawings reference
02:58
fields of science history cultural
03:01
studies myths and fairy tales
03:03
her images take us someplace between the
03:05
known world
03:06
and a dreamscape a surreal marriage of
03:09
naturalism and fantasy the results can
03:12
be simultaneously whimsical
03:14
and grotesque witty as well as
03:17
disturbing
03:18
the tension of these unions suggests our
03:20
own struggle
03:21
to achieve balance in a chaotic world i
03:24
caught up with courtney blaizon last
03:25
summer
03:26
we chatted about the historical context
03:28
much of her work references
03:30
life as a professional artist and some
03:32
of the large-scale works
03:34
that she has done recently before
03:36
finally talking about the poster that
03:37
she made for tell us something
03:39
in june of 2019 i’ve also been thinking
03:42
about these interviews as a record
03:45
of a specific time in our collective
03:46
pandemic history
03:48
they shared glimpses into the moments of
03:50
life during quarantine
03:51
how we were coping and how we are
03:53
somehow continuing to go about
03:55
our daily lives
04:00
i just moved to a new place so that was
04:04
really nice
04:05
yeah lots of very i mean different than
04:09
a normal summer
04:10
like yeah for sure yeah um
04:15
yeah like our maid fares aren’t
04:17
happening
04:18
this summer in the same way so that’s
04:22
weird
04:23
are you doing a online version of the
04:25
maid fair
04:27
i mean somewhat but we’re basically just
04:30
posting everybody who would have been in
04:32
the maid fairs
04:33
page and sort of letting them offer
04:36
discounts if they want
04:38
but we’re not doing anything like
04:40
virtual
04:41
with video or yeah i
04:44
i just i feel like that kind of bubble
04:49
where that was like at the beginning of
04:52
sort of quarantine
04:53
like there was a lot of live events and
04:55
i felt like they were really popular
04:57
and like really necessary and i feel
04:59
like now
05:00
now that it’s summer especially and
05:02
we’ve kind of gotten used to the
05:05
the whole thing like i don’t know that
05:07
we’d be able to capture an
05:09
audience in the middle of summer inside
05:13
you know like i feel like that was the
05:15
way that we are all connecting
05:17
at the beginning of this and i don’t
05:20
know if now people feel like they can
05:21
just be together outside
05:24
distance that it’s just like
05:27
oh yeah it’s interesting it just doesn’t
05:29
seem like
05:30
it didn’t it ended up not seeming worth
05:32
our time
05:33
and a lot of our major artists didn’t
05:35
want to
05:38
extend their time towards trying to do
05:41
something special so
05:44
summer in montana is pretty short
05:48
take advantage of it yeah especially now
05:51
because
05:53
who knows what the winter is going to
05:54
look like right yeah
05:56
exactly yeah we just want to be outside
05:59
and
05:59
doing stuff as much as possible right
06:03
yeah i know some of the art fairs around
06:05
the state have still
06:06
happened and that’s another thing we
06:09
struggled with
06:10
but we just felt pretty worried about
06:16
like if if an outbreak had been traced
06:18
to our event we would have felt
06:20
really irresponsible right and and we
06:23
wouldn’t
06:24
uh we’re not even in a phase where we
06:26
would have been able to allow that big
06:28
of a crowd anyway
06:29
with missoula county so yeah so we just
06:32
decided to be
06:34
preemptively just cancel it and then
06:37
hope that we can recoup with
06:39
some of the other events that we have
06:43
i’m lucky that i don’t have all my eggs
06:44
in that basket though
06:46
so i’ve got other ways that i can still
06:49
make money and stuff
06:50
have you been talking to a lot of
06:52
artists and writers and
06:54
creatives i talk to
06:58
only one other tell us something poster
06:59
artist in the way that we’re talking
07:02
you’ve heard this idea on the tell us
07:03
something podcast before that
07:05
replicating
07:06
the in-person live performance vibe that
07:08
a traditional tell us something brings
07:10
is very difficult yeah i just feel like
07:13
certain things like in our
07:16
experience like in our in our creative
07:19
experiences
07:20
can translate to online and can be
07:23
just as successful if not more in some
07:26
ways
07:27
and then other things we’re just i think
07:29
we’re finding just can’t
07:31
you can’t duplicate it right yeah
07:35
yeah you just have to kind of roll with
07:37
the
07:37
[Music]
07:39
because it’s an unstable profession to
07:41
begin with like
07:42
yeah it’s gonna be unstable in any
07:46
way and i think like creative people who
07:48
are self-employed
07:50
already feel that instability or already
07:53
kind of know
07:54
how to chart those waters if they’ve
07:57
been doing it long enough
07:59
so it it becomes i mean at least for me
08:02
became pretty easy to adapt
08:04
to because i was pretty used to
08:08
feeling some moments of floundering
08:13
financially or or you know so yeah
08:16
for me at least it was kind of like
08:19
yeah no i wouldn’t say easy i if i said
08:22
easy i
08:22
don’t think that’s the word but it it
08:24
was a an experience i was kind of
08:28
equipped for because i i’ve had periods
08:31
of good
08:32
stuff happening in periods where i’m
08:33
like i’m never going to get a job again
08:36
you know kind of feeling you have
08:39
just built your career around saying yes
08:41
basically
08:42
yeah and i don’t it’s interesting
08:44
because over the past
08:47
two years i’ve been in the process of
08:50
saying no to more things and
08:51
cutting more things out of my life as
08:54
i’ve it’s become more clear to me what i
08:55
really want and then also i’ve been
08:57
getting enough work
08:58
where i’m able to say no to things like
09:01
it was really just last
09:02
year or two years ago that i quit doing
09:05
summer markets
09:07
um i basically except for the summer
09:09
maid fairs have given up vending
09:12
all together and i only do the summer
09:14
made the majors in missoula basically
09:16
just
09:17
because that’s how i started really
09:19
getting known i feel like if people came
09:22
to my booth
09:23
at market and so i still want to keep my
09:25
toes in that a bit
09:27
i’ve given up doing private kid lessons
09:30
because it just wasn’t something i
09:31
wanted to do
09:32
i feel like i’ve been in the process of
09:34
shedding a lot of those things that i
09:36
said yesterday
09:37
at the beginning of my career in favor
09:40
of things that
09:42
really made me fulfilled and
09:45
so it’s been interesting to have been
09:47
saying no to things that then would have
09:49
been pretty hard to do
09:50
anyway um it was like um
09:55
an interesting interesting timing to
09:57
have been
09:58
paring those things down um
10:02
yeah but you’re right i absolutely and
10:03
like i know a lot of
10:05
artists who wouldn’t go that route of
10:07
like just say yes but for me it just
10:10
was the right way to go about things so
10:12
i i had a really large
10:15
pool and then it made
10:18
when one part wasn’t working i could
10:21
always rely on another part to
10:23
pay my bills and so it’s always been
10:26
like
10:27
i’ve never felt too insecure because
10:29
i’ve always had something that
10:31
i could put my hand in and be able to go
10:34
okay i can make money this way
10:36
if commissions aren’t working right now
10:38
or but it’s only you know 10 years on
10:40
and i’ve
10:41
finally been like i it’s time for me to
10:43
i need to drop something or i’m never
10:45
gonna sleep
10:46
um you know so like i don’t
10:50
i don’t want to spend the next 10 years
10:52
making products
10:54
for for me like that’s not fun or joyous
10:57
or i’d rather take that energy and
11:01
try to build more clients for my
11:03
illustration work
11:05
so yeah it’s been like i’ve been in a
11:07
period of sort of
11:09
reconfiguring and growth and
11:12
it almost gave me sort of some time to
11:14
just like slow down and be quiet
11:17
and i was getting a lot of family
11:19
commissions during
11:20
this whole period and i i think because
11:23
people are home
11:24
and they’re thinking about their spaces
11:26
more
11:27
so that was really good for me or it
11:30
gave me a focus
11:32
yeah yeah and do you
11:35
draw everything on an ipad or like a
11:38
tablet or how do you how what’s your
11:39
question
11:40
not my family commissions like the
11:43
portrait commissions i do for families
11:45
are all
11:45
pen and marker on paper and then all my
11:48
illustration work
11:50
that is for like but i do a lot for big
11:52
sky brewing company and that’s all on
11:54
the ipad because they often want
11:56
corrections or
11:58
they’ll the packaging is not just the
12:00
can but it’s the bottle
12:01
it’s the bottle it’s the can it’s the
12:04
box that the
12:05
cans would come in plus the box that the
12:07
bottles would come in and
12:09
there’s a lot of different iterations of
12:12
one design
12:14
so the ipad makes it super easy to
12:17
do all those changes and then for my
12:20
personal work i
12:22
mostly do that on pieces of paper
12:27
with real materials and this summer too
12:30
i had a residency
12:31
at the historical museum and that was
12:35
six weeks so i had a studio on site
12:38
and i was able to just dive into
12:41
um historical research about missoula
12:44
and that was re that was another like
12:47
really
12:48
awesome thing to have during this period
12:53
i was going to just say when are we
12:54
going to get to see that that sounds
12:56
awesome
12:56
yeah so i am working on
13:00
it so i did this body of work that
13:03
showed at the missoula art museum
13:04
could be without a summer it was like
13:06
very very
13:08
huge drawings with lots of detail
13:11
you want to talk about a rabbit hole
13:13
head to courtneyblazon.com to see
13:16
courtney’s exhaustive process
13:18
for this project learn the history of
13:20
volcano tambora
13:22
see courtney’s early sketches for the
13:24
work and read the notes that she took
13:26
during her research and i’m doing i’m
13:29
doing something similar with this body
13:31
of work i’m
13:31
going to recreate the period of time in
13:35
missoula which was like
13:37
1890 to 1905 roughly
13:42
on west french street where that section
13:45
of town was called the badlands
13:47
and it was a really i mean it was a it
13:49
was
13:50
where all the brothels were we had a
13:51
chinatown
13:53
so i i’m going to create that i’m hoping
13:56
it probably won’t be for a year
13:58
when i do bodies of work like this i
14:00
think i spend
14:02
about half the time doing the research
14:04
getting the sketches ready
14:06
and then the second half of the time is
14:08
actually doing the work
14:10
so right now i’m still in research and
14:12
development phase but i’ve been able to
14:14
talk to
14:15
so many amazing missoulians who have so
14:18
much knowledge about
14:19
this period of time until march 2021
14:24
you can check out the historical mural
14:26
courtney is talking about
14:28
in the alley next to radius gallery
14:30
called allez
14:31
gallery for a video teaser of the mural
14:33
and a link to the allez gallery website
14:36
visit tellusomething.org
14:40
well i mean it took you a long time to
14:42
do that
14:43
piece at the zack which is beautiful
14:46
and it has like that all of that yeah
14:52
that was about that was about 300 plus
14:55
hours and it was just a lot of work and
14:59
i was i was at the time in a studio that
15:02
was
15:04
that was a lot of work and i was working
15:06
in a really really
15:08
really small space
15:11
so i could only work on four of those
15:12
panels at a time
15:14
[Music]
15:15
this is a little different just because
15:18
in the piece
15:18
for the zax i could kind of just draw
15:22
whatever i wanted
15:23
i didn’t have to try to be true to
15:26
history at all
15:28
so this one will be a little bit more i
15:30
want to honor
15:31
sort of real historical things while
15:34
still keeping my sort of
15:36
surrealistic point of view and
15:40
stuff like that but i love that i love
15:42
that i have pieces that are just like
15:44
sort of
15:46
stream of consciousness and then pieces
15:47
that are more researched and
15:50
right now my my sort of workload and my
15:52
life my work life feels really balanced
15:56
between work that yeah
15:59
like because some of my work i mean it’s
16:01
work right like doing a family portrait
16:03
is work
16:04
because you don’t want to get anything
16:06
wrong and it’s going to be something
16:08
that will be in their home
16:10
and hopefully be passed on to their
16:13
children or
16:14
so those that i take really seriously
16:16
and they feel more like work
16:18
but that mural felt like a lot of work
16:21
but also like really playful
16:23
yeah it seemed like you were having fun
16:25
with it yeah absolutely
16:27
and i just i didn’t really have to
16:31
as long as it wasn’t inappropriate for
16:33
children i really had
16:34
so much freedom i think
16:38
i’ve been really fortunate during this
16:40
period of time to
16:43
have a number of things that have kept
16:46
me afloat
16:48
i don’t suffer from lack of
16:52
creativity i think i just like
16:56
can kind of force myself to do things
16:59
even if i’m not
17:01
feeling it just because it’s like a
17:02
muscle and i’ve already well developed
17:05
go to work yeah it’s a job
17:09
it’s a job like i i don’t feel like i
17:12
have the
17:13
the freedom to not do it just do it
17:16
and that extends to my even my personal
17:20
work even when i don’t want to show up
17:21
and do something for myself like i still
17:23
just
17:24
go just do it you’ll feel better
17:27
so that’s kind of that discipline i’ve
17:30
built over the years has really
17:32
served me and the other side of it is
17:35
like
17:35
my life changed like zero percent in
17:38
terms of
17:38
how i conducted my daily life when we
17:41
were in quarantine my life remained
17:43
exactly the same because i’ve already
17:45
been working from home for a decade
17:47
so nothing changed i was still home
17:50
alone
17:52
right you know like it’s more like just
17:54
a half an hour that you’re actually on
17:56
the zoom and then the rest
17:57
that by seeing friends and stuff like
18:00
that was really
18:01
and i did some virtual you know drink
18:04
dates with friends
18:05
and that was really nice and even like
18:08
how the zac
18:08
did their mini auction online and like
18:11
it was all on
18:12
zoom and it was just you could see
18:14
everybody
18:15
in it that was so cool
18:18
yeah that was a good example of how an
18:21
online event can
18:22
have success but it fell at the right
18:25
time because people were
18:26
so like people were just like what is
18:28
going to happen
18:29
and it felt like so it was so new
18:32
the experience of being like oh we can’t
18:36
we have to stay home and so seeing all
18:38
the faces of the people
18:40
you love in the community online and
18:43
like then seeing people bidding on
18:45
things
18:46
because i think they almost made as much
18:48
as they would of
18:49
having the event which was like what a
18:53
what a great
18:56
it just makes you feel like mozilla is a
18:59
great place
18:59
in that way it is but it definitely is
19:03
yeah it
19:03
it definitely is i just also think that
19:06
experience
19:07
has kind of it it couldn’t be recreated
19:10
again because i think now we’re so used
19:12
to this
19:13
i don’t know i maybe i’m wrong but it
19:15
just seems like
19:16
we’ve kind of gotten used to what it
19:18
means to be staying within our circle
19:20
and we’re all kind of changed because
19:24
of it and both negatively and positively
19:28
yeah you’re talking about zoom meetings
19:32
and you’re only on the call for the time
19:34
that you’re on the call and that’s it
19:35
and you can go back to work
19:37
yeah that’s been my experience too and
19:39
it’s like i kind of don’t
19:40
want to have coffee meetings again
19:44
i know i’d like to just go like let’s
19:46
just do zoom
19:47
like this is great i don’t need to go
19:50
out and spend that extra time
19:55
you know like i it doesn’t it feel like
19:57
this is gonna kind of change how people
19:59
operate
20:00
i think so i mean certainly certainly
20:03
for me you know i had somebody say hey
20:05
do you want to go have a socially
20:06
distant coffee and i was like no i don’t
20:08
actually
20:09
yeah because because i’m working and
20:12
if i leave the house that means that’s
20:15
you know half an hour to get to wherever
20:17
we’re going to meet
20:18
the time that we’re meeting and then
20:20
another half an hour to 45 minutes to
20:22
get home oh wait i
20:24
i actually i can go yeah i do need to
20:27
get
20:28
a loaf of bread or you know like no
20:30
exactly
20:33
yeah let’s have a half hour meeting and
20:35
like that’s the end of it and now i’ll
20:36
go back to work
20:38
yeah i love that too it’s actually
20:40
that’s become something that
20:42
i feel like is going to be really
20:44
beneficial
20:45
for me just be like let’s just do this
20:48
online
20:49
and that’s going to be so much easier
20:51
for everybody
20:52
i think if you’re somebody who needs
20:54
people you’re going to want to do that
20:56
anyway but
20:57
i kind of like being just in my zone
20:59
when i’m in the middle of work i just
21:01
want to stay there and that
21:03
needing stuff just breaks it up too much
21:06
yeah for sure you kind of come back
21:08
feeling unfocused or you’re like
21:10
you end up running a bunch of errands
21:12
just because you’re already out
21:14
yep so yeah going back to
21:17
work and art yeah i bet you if i had
21:20
asked you you know this year to do
21:22
something you might say no because
21:23
you’re
21:24
paring that down so thank you so much
21:27
for
21:28
making no not in that way actually i was
21:32
more just talking about like
21:34
vending oh yeah it was more just like
21:37
vending and then yeah but stuff like
21:39
that i still love doing any opportunity
21:41
i
21:41
have where i’m actually just drawing i
21:44
can’t say no to that
21:46
it’s like more just like i like to draw
21:48
and any excuse to draw
21:49
it was just like the things in which i
21:51
wasn’t actually just doing the thing i
21:53
want to do
21:54
i don’t want to do the peripheral stuff
21:56
i just want to do the art
21:58
i know what i’m doing but if somebody
22:01
wanted to know
22:02
how do you become an artist i’d be like
22:03
you just work hard
22:05
there’s no secret you’re just
22:08
you work hard you’re tenacious you
22:12
you want it more than the other person
22:14
who would want it i don’t know
22:17
um you’d be nice be nice to people but
22:20
also
22:20
be honest or not that honesty and nice
22:24
mister
22:25
but i mean be transparent if you want
22:28
comp
22:28
amount of money for your work say it
22:31
make a contract i mean there’s just so
22:32
many things that like and maybe those
22:34
are
22:34
valuable things to tell people now that
22:37
i’m thinking about
22:37
like these aren’t obvious for me i
22:40
always think
22:41
be an easy person to work with but don’t
22:43
be a pushover
22:44
and that feels like the best advice that
22:47
i was given was
22:48
be tough but always be fair and
22:52
keep record keep track of every
22:54
interaction you have
22:55
just in case somebody says you didn’t
22:58
tell me that right
23:00
or whatever right maybe it’s not obvious
23:03
it feels obvious to me
23:05
but because you’ve been doing it for 10
23:07
years
23:08
right right and isn’t it funny it’s like
23:11
you can do it as many years as you want
23:13
it still feels new like oh what if i
23:16
what if i can’t do it anymore
23:19
yeah for me it was important for my life
23:22
and especially important for my work
23:24
that i had a studio at home
23:26
where i could shut the door where like
23:29
at a certain time
23:30
at the end of the day i just said i’m
23:32
not looking at that piece of work
23:33
anymore
23:34
in my little place in the basement it
23:36
was there all the time
23:38
and it was making me crazy
23:42
the mental things just be like i’m
23:44
shutting the door on that
23:46
and i’m moving on to another part of my
23:48
day
23:49
and i yeah i mean i work more than
23:52
i should but i’ve been working really
23:55
hard also just on like
23:56
i gotta sleep more i need to find
23:59
some other hobbies not really but i mean
24:03
you know yeah i also need a little
24:06
balance in my life
24:08
it’s been nice also i’ve been finding a
24:10
lot of solace and
24:12
hiking this period
24:16
of times it’s been like yeah it’s just
24:20
remembering that that’s one of the great
24:22
reasons to live
24:23
in missoula is that you could every day
24:26
of the week you could go to a different
24:28
hiking spot
24:30
has been very very very beneficial for
24:34
my brain
24:35
yep after the unexpected and refreshing
24:38
business advice workshop
24:40
we started talking about the poster that
24:42
courtney produced
24:43
for tell something so i wanted to ask
24:45
you about
24:46
the poster that you made for us yeah
24:50
did you immediately know what you were
24:53
going to draw when i asked you to do it
24:55
and you knew what the theme was or
24:58
um i actually did some research
25:02
about like where’s my i thought i would
25:05
grab
25:05
my fingers i gotta grab it to look at it
25:09
because
25:10
so it was um because i think i like
25:13
i kind of knew pretty quickly what i was
25:15
gonna do for it
25:17
and i usually settle on an idea pretty
25:21
quickly
25:23
and i don’t know if that’s just because
25:24
i’m generally like
25:26
this is the time i have allotted for
25:28
this you better snap to it
25:31
how many events have you had in posters
25:35
at the beginning i was having
25:39
an artist design like a 24 by 36
25:42
screen print and we would just use that
25:45
same just
25:47
yeah and like with the idea being we
25:49
would sell some and nobody actually
25:51
wanted to buy anything that big
25:53
so i have you know lots of those if you
25:56
want one
25:58
um but we would just like
26:02
change the color scheme each for each
26:05
event to
26:06
differentiate it from each other
26:09
right and then
26:12
i decided you know that’s not okay
26:15
uh let’s make it really special and
26:17
let’s highlight different artists in
26:19
missoula
26:20
so then i don’t know when i made that
26:22
choice but
26:23
it was like maybe the fourth year that
26:26
we were going
26:28
right and four different artists every
26:30
year and that was
26:31
pretty awesome and and so before covet
26:34
hit
26:35
i got marlowe to frame i
26:39
had him printed on nice paper
26:42
and she framed every single poster that
26:45
we’ve ever had and we were going to have
26:46
an art show the art of tell us something
26:48
[Music]
26:50
because of our 10-year anniversary right
26:53
and so
26:54
i’m counting them now one two three four
26:58
five six i don’t know there’s like
27:02
50 something like that that’s amazing
27:06
yeah and so i paid her to frame the
27:09
posters and then coveted came and i was
27:11
like well we can’t have an art show now
27:13
and so i’ve got all these
27:15
sitting in my living room oh my gosh
27:19
yeah but she did it
27:24
uh it was going to be a quiet coffee
27:27
it’ll happen at some point i hope so you
27:30
know when we’re allowed to get back
27:32
together again
27:33
yeah so i i
27:37
i kind of like because i like i have a
27:39
hard time
27:40
hooking into being excited about a
27:43
project until i can
27:44
find some intellectual
27:48
excitement in it so i tend to just look
27:51
like if the word was
27:52
chance so i just started to look up like
27:55
chance
27:56
and then like what it was historically
28:00
and then like like the roman gods of
28:03
trance
28:03
and i think like i was kind of just
28:06
that’s the way i can get kind of excited
28:08
about it if i feel like it has a back
28:10
story
28:11
i always think it’s like an actor who
28:14
who needs a backstory for their
28:15
character even if
28:18
even if nobody knows it but it gives
28:19
them uh
28:21
a way to be really excited and invested
28:24
in what they’re doing
28:26
so i kind of knew as soon as i picked
28:29
that one and i think it was because the
28:31
word
28:31
because you gave me options i think of
28:34
two or three
28:36
yeah ones yeah and i think i picked
28:39
chance
28:39
right away because i knew it would have
28:41
like i could come up with something that
28:45
had a narrative behind it yeah
28:48
and that because because until or you
28:51
know mentally that’s just what i need to
28:53
like
28:54
get myself invested so i think like
28:58
the chance like i looked up like chance
29:01
meaning and then like kind of what it
29:04
would have meant in like
29:05
the roman period or the greek period and
29:09
then like luck of the draw and
29:12
and the dice are kind of obvious but i
29:14
use little sort of ancient
29:16
looking dice and
29:20
yeah okay so for tuna is that your name
29:25
yes for tuna yeah so i kind of knew
29:28
right away
29:29
what like that it would go that route
29:32
and then i would kind of try to figure
29:34
it out in that
29:37
but i didn’t want her to be like
29:39
blindfolded or anything
29:41
because she’s both greek it was like
29:43
yeah
29:44
i had an artist i was working with for a
29:47
show
29:48
in helena the theme was didn’t see that
29:51
coming
29:52
uh-huh and she and she without me asking
29:55
her to
29:56
she provided me three proof of concept
29:59
drawings and said you know which one do
30:01
you like yeah and one of them
30:03
featured a girl in a blindfold and i was
30:05
like
30:07
you know i get it i get it and also
30:10
like think about how people will feel
30:14
when they see that and she was like oh i
30:15
never even considered
30:17
yeah right
30:20
yeah yeah thanks for not putting a
30:22
blindfold on her
30:24
yeah so the thing on her head is
30:26
supposed to be her blindfolded
30:28
blindfold pulled up as if she’s seeing
30:32
yeah i mean and that’s just something
30:33
that i did like that you know because
30:35
then i was including what would have
30:36
been in the original representation but
30:39
it was in a different format because
30:41
like i don’t think it’s a good idea to
30:42
have
30:43
a blindfolded person because you don’t
30:45
no
30:46
yeah it just doesn’t make you’re right
30:49
it doesn’t make people
30:50
feel comfortable and if that’s your aim
30:53
but for a poster it’s not
30:55
did she have other concepts though that
30:57
made
30:58
oh yeah yeah she did a great she did an
31:00
awesome job and it was fun you know it
31:02
was fun to have somebody
31:05
ask me right right i know like
31:08
that’s not always the case right some of
31:11
us don’t
31:11
necessarily sketch out concepts and then
31:14
you just go for it
31:16
yeah and i do like it because when i do
31:20
um
31:21
like for the beer labels i have to have
31:23
concept drawings
31:25
yeah and when i’m doing something like
31:28
that i guess
31:29
yes you did give me the choice and i was
31:31
like oh well i’ll just i’ll just dive in
31:33
which is cool yeah yeah it’s
31:36
but it is it’s also nice to have that
31:38
option
31:40
i think sometimes and also like what if
31:41
she had chosen the blindfolded one you
31:43
would have been like
31:44
oh yeah i would have paid her and then
31:47
like
31:47
done something else you know like right
31:50
i would have been like well here’s your
31:52
money i can’t use this
31:54
but we had an agreement and you and you
31:56
and you met your side of the agreement
31:57
and i didn’t give you clear enough
31:59
instructions
32:00
my fault you know has it been
32:02
interesting working with artists
32:04
do you find that they’re all kind of
32:06
similar
32:07
in a way and how they approach work
32:10
or they taught me a lot about about
32:13
communicating right
32:14
right the the guidelines that i gave you
32:18
once you said you wanted to do it exist
32:20
because
32:22
some artists didn’t hit any of those
32:24
points and that was like
32:26
well they didn’t because i told them to
32:28
do whatever they wanted and they did
32:31
and then they gave me a piece of work
32:33
that i couldn’t use
32:34
and it’s because right so that’s why i’m
32:37
like okay it has to have
32:39
some sort of living thing in it you know
32:42
and it has to be
32:43
easy to read and you know all that stuff
32:45
yeah
32:46
and some you know some artists gave me
32:48
like a really beautiful piece of art but
32:49
it doesn’t have
32:51
the information that is necessary to
32:53
promote an event on it you know yeah
32:56
yeah and i think so like really good
32:58
that you provide
33:00
provide those now because i think
33:02
artists even if they think they don’t
33:04
want them they for this case they need
33:07
to have
33:08
some guidelines for sure
33:12
yeah and i i mean yeah i made
33:15
assumptions right
33:16
oh i’m hiring courtney blaizon she knows
33:19
how to do this stuff
33:21
and then courtney blazon gives me a
33:22
piece of work that it’s like beautiful
33:24
but the lettering is such that i can’t
33:27
read it you know like i’m
33:29
using you just so that i’m not pointing
33:31
out you know anybody else but
33:33
and i’m not saying that you did that you
33:35
definitely didn’t you gave me
33:38
a beautiful poster that it was easy to
33:40
read and we sold out the wilma
33:42
you know oh good i thought it looked so
33:45
good when i saw it like around the
33:48
around the town you know when it’s
33:50
because you just suck some up
33:52
right oh yeah they were everywhere yeah
33:55
yeah it was just exciting to see it i
33:57
was like that was
33:58
good yeah it does it looks great
34:02
and it was fun too like even from the
34:04
street you could tell what it was
34:06
if you were just riding your bike down
34:08
the road you might not be able to read
34:10
it because you were going fast but
34:13
yeah it was it was a great position yeah
34:16
it’s funny i i’m always telling stories
34:19
to people and they’re always like
34:20
particularly i have like a pretty
34:22
interesting life with my dad
34:24
and people are always saying you should
34:26
try to do something for tell us
34:28
something
34:29
and i feel like that would make me want
34:30
to vomit just the thought of
34:32
standing up in front of a crowd i mean i
34:36
know i could do it probably and
34:39
because i’m kind of also a cam
34:43
you know like i i like to chat
34:46
but i’m sure i could but do people want
34:49
to vomit
34:50
it’s kind of scary so
34:54
telling a story is scary and
34:58
also really fun and if you can take that
35:01
nervous
35:02
energy and turn it into you know it’s
35:03
energy so you can manipulate it to your
35:05
will
35:06
yeah and so take that nervous energy and
35:09
turn it into an
35:10
enthusiasm or excitement or whatever
35:13
you need to get through the story but by
35:16
the time you hit that stage
35:18
you’ve practiced your story enough and
35:19
you’ve gotten enough feedback from
35:22
not just other storytellers but me you
35:24
know i’m like that’s part of my job is
35:26
to
35:27
help you crash because you don’t go up
35:28
there and tell a story you like practice
35:31
and you
35:31
you people tell you what is working and
35:34
what isn’t working
35:35
and stuff like that yeah i mean in the
35:38
early days
35:39
it was just get up there and do it and
35:42
thankfully
35:43
people did great at that but as things
35:46
started progressing
35:47
i realized that i need to also step up
35:50
my game and
35:51
help them craft their story somebody
35:54
might tell me a story and it’s like
35:55
three minutes long and it’s like that’s
35:57
not your full story let’s think about
35:59
this and
36:00
and then by the time they get on the
36:02
stage it’s a beautiful piece of art you
36:03
know
36:04
wow yeah that’s amazing yeah that’s a
36:08
gift that you’re giving the community
36:10
to and hopefully like you feel
36:13
appreciated by
36:15
the you know the community i
36:18
feel really lucky really like that like
36:21
i i’m always cutting a deadline right to
36:23
the end
36:24
myself it gives you a
36:28
fire under your butt but it’s like it’s
36:31
just like a mental exercise of
36:33
i don’t care if anybody listens this is
36:36
what i do yeah yeah
36:39
i mean because i’m the same way like
36:41
i’ll force myself to finish a piece of
36:43
work that’s for me but i’m like
36:45
literally nobody but me cares
36:48
but it’s important for my mental
36:51
well-being to just stay
36:53
somewhere in that realm of
36:56
holding myself accountable i’m sure for
36:58
some people it’s other things like
37:01
exercise and sleep and what you’re
37:03
eating
37:04
for some of it’s related to like i just
37:06
need to do this to stay
37:09
accountable to myself and
37:12
like i like to dress up every day
37:13
whether i’m leaving home or not
37:15
and it’s just my way of saying like okay
37:17
you’re working now
37:19
and yeah yeah stuff like that
37:23
i don’t know i like i like the act of
37:25
changing out
37:26
of my sleeping clothes into something
37:28
that is
37:29
about being present and
37:33
focused and yeah
37:36
yeah well courtney thank you for talking
37:39
with me today i’m speaking of work
37:41
i like i do have to go to work okay well
37:44
have a good day mark and thanks for
37:47
chatting with me
37:48
thank you courtney you have an awesome
37:50
day as well and uh maybe i’ll see you
37:52
around in the neighborhood
37:53
sounds good bye all right bye

I worked with the team at Gecko Designs to rethink the Tell Us Something website back in 2017 and they have been providing hosting and routine maintenance for the website ever since. Join head honcha Melissa Kaplan and me for an in-depth vist about Gecko Designs, the Tell Us Something experience, and telling a story on the Tell Us Something stage. After our conversation, you can hear the story as she shared it with her husband and head honcho of Gecko Designs, Gabriel Silverman.
When Molly decided to share her story at Tell Us Something, she also extended an offer of in-kind sponsorship to Tell Us Something. Molly is the CEO of Gatherboard. The Gatherboard.com site tells us that Molly Bradford has been involved in sales and marketing in the greater-Missoula area for nearly 15 years, working with 500+ small businesses on successful marketing and advertising strategies. Through her roles at local businesses and on local volunteer boards, she has delicately guided customers, and even her employers, through grand openings, moves, promotional events, sales and closures. Since coming on board as co-owner of Gatherboard with Colin Hickey in 2009 Molly has co-created GatherBoard and upped the bottom line over 600%. Molly offered Tell Us Something a great in-kind sponsorship opportunity: a month before each Tell Us Something live event, advertising on MissoulaEvents.net and indoor ads through the Missoula Indoor Ads company that is part of the Gatherboard family. Molly joins me today to chat about the exciting new service that Gatherboard is working on: CheddarBoard!
This week on the podcast, Dagny Deutchman and I revisit the story that she shared about guiding a river trip on the Salmon River. In the story, she shared how she dealt with a client who inappropriately expressed his displeasure at having to use a groover. We talk about how she might handle that differently. Dagney shares how Tell Us Something changed her life and we talk about some of the sleep research she’s been doing as she pursues her PhD.