I’m fortunate that my role at Blue Mobius Marketing is very outward-facing and allows me to regularly meet wonderful people from within the community. At one recent meeting I caught up with Angie Covey, the Executive Director of the New River Community College (NRCC) Educational Foundation. As Angie and I were becoming acquainted I asked her to tell me an example of what her office does. The story she shared not only demonstrates the tremendous value she brings to the community, and the lives of the students at NRCC, but it also provides a fresh reminder of the power of storytelling.
Angie recalled that she once came in contact with a student who nearly missed out on achieving her educational dreams because of $40. This student required special shoes for the nursing degree she was pursuing. She showed up to her clinical rotations just to learn she had spent the last $40 she had on the wrong type of shoes. Distraught, and feeling as if she failed the class because of her mistake, she was directed to Angie’s office.
After calming the student down and assuring her the shoe situation could be resolved, Angie and her team made sure the proper pair of shoes were obtained, utilizing resources from the Educational Foundation. Angie described this student’s reaction as humble, grateful, and so appreciative. For Angie and her team they were just doing their job by practically equipping this student who had the attitude and aptitude but lacked resources. They had no way of knowing the power of the return on their investment in this student.
Two years later, Angie’s office mate, Erica, (part of the team that bought the shoes) was devastated to learn her mom had cancer. One night, she was sitting in the hospital with her mom, and can you guess who walked in? The student who needed the shoes. She had since graduated and earned an excellent job within nursing. She was the nurse assigned to care for the ill mother. Talk about it all coming full circle.
I imagine this story will stick with you–as it has with me. Something about personifying the work of the NRCC Foundation through the story of one student, and one pair of shoes, carries quite the impact. It not only explains how Angie’s office works in a practical sense but it also explains the benefits. For me, it creates much more meaning than data points about dollars raised.
The importance of storytelling goes back to the fundamental truth that people matter. When a business is able to celebrate the human experience through stories, they connect with clients–and potential clients–in unparalleled ways. It reaches into the authenticity we all crave and provides an emotional experience we can’t forget.
Are you adequately telling your company’s stories?
Are you teaching others about your organization in a memorable way?