6th Edition
October 14-15, 2016
Oct 14-15, 2016 Registration

Speaking this year

  • The creative minds that will inspire and share tips and tricks

Brian Lindstrom

Brian Lindstrom is a documentary filmmaker who lives in Portland and is married to the novelist Cheryl Strayed. Brian’s award-winning documentaries profile people society puts an “x” through and aim to reduce stigma and reveal the humanity of those living on the margins. Alien Boy: The Life & Death of James Chasse, about the death of a non-violent man with schizophrenia at the hands of the Portland Police, is available on Amazon and iTunes. Finding Normal follows long term addicts trying to rebuild their lives with the help of recovery mentors.


Brian is currently working on a documentary about the late singer/songwriter Judee Sill.


Visit his website for more about his films.


Carson Ellis

Carson Ellis is the illustrator of a number of books for kids, including New York Times bestsellers Home (which she also wrote), The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket, and The Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy (who happens to be her husband).


Carson is also an occasional maker of editorial illustration (having worked for The New York Times, Poetry Magazine, and The New Yorker, among others) and an even more occasional fine artist represented by Nationale in Portland. And she’s the illustrator-in-residence for The Decemberists.


Carson lives on a farm in Oregon with Colin, their two sons, one cat, two llamas, two goats, one sheep, eight chickens, a family of barn owls and an unfathomable multitude of tree frogs.


Check out her portfolio.


Cătălin Tolontan

Cătălin Tolontan is one of the most reputable sports and investigative journalists in Romania, winner of ten “journalist of the year” awards in the past 12 years. He started working in media in early 1990 by founding, producing and distributing a student newspaper. Fast-forward twenty-five years, and Cătălin became the general manager and editor-in-chief of one of the best Romanian sports news outlet: Gazeta Sporturilor – GSP.RO


In the past decade he was the author along his colleagues of several high profile journalistic investigations, exposing corruption either in Romanian football clubs or of high officials in key governmental institutions.


His 2009 investigative piece that lead to the stepping down and later prosecution of the Minister of Youth and Sport, Monica Iacob – Ridzi, was mentioned in the 2009 European Commission’s Report on Romania and the USA’s State Department Report on Romania.


Another journalistic investigation started in 2013 with colleague Mirela Neag regarding the illegal financing of the Bute Gala lead to the formal prosecution in early 2015 of several people, including the former Minister of Tourism, Elena Udrea. The same investigation won a prestigious award at the 2014 International News Media Association Awards for Best Use of An Event to Build a News Brand.


Visit his blog for more.


Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Wild, the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough, and the novel Torch. Her books have been translated into forty languages around the world. Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her inaugural selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 and was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern.


Chery’s essays have been published in The Best American Essays, the New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, The Sun, Tin House, and elsewhere. Cheryl is also the co-host, along with Steve Almond, of the WBUR podcast Dear Sugar Radio, which originated with her popular Dear Sugar advice column. She lives in Portland, Oregon.


Visit her website for more.


Colin Meloy

Colin Meloy is the singer/guitarist and songwriter for the Portland, OR band The Decemberists. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Wildwood Chronicles, a trilogy of novels for middle-grade readers.  He was born in Helena, Montana, USA. He studied theater and writing in college, eventually transplanting to Portland as a wayward twenty-something, where he formed The Decemberists. Since its founding in 2001, the band has released seven records and an untold amount of singles and EPs. They have toured worldwide and have garnered three Grammy nominations. Their 2011 record, The King is Dead, debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart.


During a break in the band’s recording and touring schedule, Colin wrote the books that would comprise the Wildwood Chronicles, a series of novels for young readers. The books are set in a reimagined version of modern-day Portland where the city’s 5,000 acre wooded park, Forest Park, is a enchanted country of its own, inhabited by warring coyotes and meditating mystics. WILDWOOD, the first book in the series, won the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award in 2012. He lives just outside of Portland with his wife, the illustrator Carson Ellis, and their two sons.


Visit his band’s website and the Wildwood Chronicles.


Dvora Meyers

Dvora Meyers is a writer and journalist based in New York. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, ESPN, Slate, and several other publications. Her book about women’s gymnastics, The End of the Perfect 10, was published by Simon & Schuster in July.  She is a Brooklyn native and still lives in the borough of her birth with her dog, Lizzie. Neither one speaks with a Brooklyn accent.


Jacqui Banaszynski

Jacqui Banaszynski is an endowed Knight Chair professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, where she works with the true storytellers of the 21st Century.  Her newspaper career took her to all seven continents, including three trips to Antarctica. She has written about corruption and crime, beauty pageants and popes, AIDS and the Olympics, dogsled expeditions and refugee camps, labor strikes and political strife, traffic fatalities and family tragedies.


She won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for an intimate series on a gay farm couple dying of AIDS, and was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for her eyewitness account of the famine crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1991, she covered the Kurdish refugees who fled Iraq after the first Gulf War. She won the Associated Press Sports Editors’ deadline award for coverage of Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1988 Olympics. Projects she has edited have won ASNE Best Newspaper Writing, Ernie Pyle Human Interest Writing and national business, social issues and investigative prizes.


Her students frequently placed in the Hearst Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of college journalism. She is an editing fellow at The Poynter Institute, and coaches reporters, writers and editors around the world. In 2008, she was named to the Society of Features Journalists Hall of Fame.


You can find some of her work and her blog on her StoryLines website at www.jacquibanaszynski.com


Watch Jacqui’speech on the importance of place in stories from 2015.

Watch Jacqui’s speech on listening and interviewing from 2014.

Watch Jacqui’s speech on the power of stories to reach people from 2013.


Jon Mooallem

Jon Mooallem is a longtime contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and the author of Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America, chosen a best book of 2013 by The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker and Canada’s National Post. He also contributes to This American Life, Wired, California Sunday Magazine, is a writer-at-large for Pop-Up Magazine and has spoken at TED.


He writes about all sorts of things, including, recently: a $42 million pigeon-breeding Ponzi scheme, the assassination of endangered monk seals in Hawaii, a pastor who ministers exclusively to major league baseball umpires, and a Silicon Valley design firm that’s “redesigning death.”


His Atavist story “American Hippopotamus” – about two rival spies who joined forces to bring hippopotamus-ranching to America in 1910 – is being adapted into a film by Brett Ratner and Edward Norton.


Visit his website for more.


Jonah Sachs

Jonah is the Co-Founder and CEO of Free Range Studios and an internationally recognized storyteller, author, marketer, designer and entrepreneur.


Sachs’ book, Winning the Story Wars, draws on case studies from his own body of work, as well as some of the most successful brands of all time, to show how values-driven stories will not only revolutionize marketing, but represent humanity’s greatest hope for the future. It was named one of the American Marketing Association’s top marketing books of 2013.


Jonah and his work have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, FOX News, Sundance Film Festival, NPR, The Colbert Report, The Huffington Post and Fast Company Magazine, which named him one of the 50 most influential social innovators. He lives in Oakland, CA with his wife Chelsea, their daughter Mira, and son Orion.


Watch Jonah’s speech on making brands stand out by using myths and archetypes from 2014.


Tara Skurtu

Tara Skurtu is a Boston-based poet, teacher, and translator currently living in Romania, where she is a Fulbright lecturer in creative writing at Transilvania University of Brașov. She is the recipient of two Academy of American Poets prizes and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, and her recent poems appear in The Kenyon Review, Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, and Plume.


Romanian translations appear in DoR, SUBCAPITOL, Zonă Noua, and three editions of the Poets in Transylvania anthology. Her debut poetry collection, The Amoeba Game, will be translated by Radu Vancu and published by Charmides.


Read some of Tara’s poems here and here.


Wendy MacNaughton

Wendy MacNaughton is an illustrator and graphic journalist whose books include Meanwhile in San Francisco, The City in Its Own Words; Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology; Pen & Ink, Tattoos and The Stories Behind Them; and the most recent New York Times bestseller Gutsy Girl, written by Caroline Paul.


Her work appears in places like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Print Magazine. She lives in San Francisco with two cats, one dog and her partner, writer Caroline Paul.


Wendy’s portofolio.

Follow her on Instagram.

Watch Wendy MacNaughton’s speech on drawing people’s stories from 2015.

Keep in touch

Since 2011 we’ve been bringing together leading journalists, writers, filmmakers, innovators to share ideas and stories. Don’t miss your chance to get involved.

Questions? We've got answers. E-mail us at pos@thepowerofstorytelling.org.