the long version
Now that the 3rd person bio is out of the way, I'd like to share a little bit more about who I am, what drives me, and how I got to where I am now - if you'd like to know ;)
The summer after my freshman year of high school, I decided I wanted to write a book. With a little bit of romance and a lot of mystery, I set out to write the story of Jessica, a girl whose grandmother’s passing left her curious about the spirit world and launched her into an adventure to…actually I don’t know. The book never got that far. After wracking my brain for what felt like way too long in high school days, I decided to give up and try a different story.
Jake had monsters under his bed and the one time he decided to look…hm didn’t finish that one either.
Amber moved to a new house by a lake and always had an eerie feeling about the lake. One day, her new friends convinced her to go swimming. She should’ve trusted her gut. What happened next? I honestly couldn’t tell you!
Story after story left unfinished. Story after story not mine to tell. Story after story not connected to anything real. I gave up, defeated, accepting that I was simply not meant to tell stories.
My junior year of high school I finally found a group of friends that I truly belonged with - a group with which I was able to be 100% myself. It was in this environment that my innate desire to tell stories resurfaced and it wasn’t long until my distinct story telling style became branded as “Nina Stories.” Don’t get me wrong - a Nina Story was by no means a good story. Much like the stories I had attempted to write a couple years earlier, these stories had no ending. There was no point to these stories, but boy could they make my friends laugh! And through this laughter - connection. Connection to people through offering to share a moment of my life with them. Vulnerability. When my reaching out was met with enthusiastic smiles, I realized that, up until this point, I had been telling the wrong stories to the wrong audience. These stories too were left fairly unfinished, but unlike my “books,” they connected because they were real. They were mine.
here's a visual on the Nina that was trying to write books back in high school
I gave up, defeated, accepting that I was simply not meant to tell stories.
And as I listened and observed, I became humbled, hopeful, and connected.
Fast forward to my college days at the University of San Francisco where I had planned to earn my degree in Finance to follow in my father’s footsteps as a financial advisor. My second semester of junior year, I returned from my study abroad program in the Philippines where I took a break from telling my stories to listen to the stories of people who needed to be heard. The friends I made there told stories of humility, hope, and connection. And as I listened and observed, I became humbled, hopeful, and connected. Taking these values home with me, I was able to look at my life through a new lens - one that at the very least showed me I am in no place to be advising people in their financial strategies! Rather, through my work in the University Ministry office on campus, I took notice at the joy I felt through creating an identity for the department, telling its story, and connecting students to the faith and spirituality experiences they were seeking. With humility and hope, I followed that feeling and wrote marketing - professional story telling - into my story.
Since graduating USF with my bachelors in marketing, I’ve had the privilege of helping many different people tell their stories - a financial advisor, numerous musicians, an actor, an animator, a religious educator - and, with humility and hope, many more in the future.
The thing that I’ve realized sets telling these stories apart from the stories I tried to tell in my early high school days is simply that they’re real. Real people tell me real stories. I listen intently. I ask questions to learn and understand. I humbly present a solution to the problem of how to tell their stories. We work together to refine the solution until the story is told. I am no longer in the business of trying to create fiction stories - I’ve proven to myself that that’s not what I do. Every person, every company, has their own story. I am in the business of learning those stories and telling them. With humility and hope, I seek, listen, find, and tell.
Real people tell me real stories. I listen intently. I ask questions to learn and understand. I humbly present a solution to the problem of how to tell their stories. We work together to refine the solution until the story is told.