Digital Storytelling for Business -- Where it All Started

Ever since I was a little girl I enjoyed writing stories. It started as a hobby, writing down things I would observe.

The earliest example I can think of was my grandpa’s funeral when I was in the third grade. I wasn’t very close to him and I was young when he died. It wasn’t traumatic for me necessarily, but the people around me. They captivated me, the way they acted and the conversations they had. I just had to write about it, to document it.

The big, sad, memorable moments are what I loved writing about the most. I was fortunate enough to have a blessed life, so when I felt like I had nothing to write about, I made something up. The infamous story I wrote in the seventh grade was about a boy who died of cancer. I was assigned to write about an event in my life from my english teacher, and I couldn’t think of anything true, so he was at the forefront of my mind and on the end of my pencil. Long story short, the story was passed around the classes by my teacher and around all of my family members still to this day. It just stuck, I guess because I was able to pour so much emotion into it.

As much as I loved writing that story, I didn’t love making it up -- I felt wrong for doing that, so I took a break from writing for a couple years. When I finally picked it back up, I was in college writing term papers for english composition. My professor told me I was crazy for not majoring in journalism, and he was right. I changed my major from fashion marketing to mass communications and got an associate’s degree from a small, 2 year college. I gained experience in my classes, working at the school newspaper, interning at a small newspaper and finally interning at a successful bridal magazine before I started this business. I wrote plenty of stories in my time at different media organizations, and I never got tired of features and stories about people. It’s like an addiction that I have, telling people’s stories. Always striving to do it more honestly, more accurately, more emotionally. I absolutely pour my heart into it. There’s so many people in the world that deserve to have their story told, people that I might run into at the bar or in the grocery store, and admire from afar. They are always ordinary people, and they are just unique. One of my gifts, along with telling stories, is that I can immediately find something to admire about a stranger. I observe, I explore and I explain. That’s my process. That’s my story.

Toni Ross