It took twenty years for our story to unfold,

but it really began with a simple dog walk.

 

We've always loved the inherent power of storytelling and, for twenty years, our executive leadership team has helped shape the stories of hundreds of American communities from Amelia Island, Florida to Tacoma, Washington, and from Camden, Maine to Palm Springs, California. Since 1995, we've built community content for economic development, residential relocation, and general promotion for more than fifteen hundred communities across the fruited plain. And the stories behind localized education success has always been an important aspect in the marketing of a place to visitors, new residents, and prospective employers.

 

But then came that dog walk.

On that walk, my oldest son and I began a conversation that would last from the remainder of his last summer before high school and on through graduation and into college. And as this conversation ebbed and flowed, I saw my own son's story taking form. As a 3-term school board member and someone who had always seen education as the principle lever of success for our young people, I became accutely aware of and profusely grateful for the work of the educators in my son's life. I wanted to tell their stories — the teachers. I wanted to tell my son's peers' stories. I wanted to share it with the community, and so I did. And as I did, I got a glimpse of the power these stories had in personalizing and communicating the profound impact of our schools on the communities they serve. Because of our human wiring, I suppose, personalized stories resonate with us at a higher frequency than pure data or statistical reporting.

Ever since those first stories, we've discovered that sharing a positive, inspiring, deeply personal narrative, engages in ways nothing else seems quite able to do. We've seen how stories can inspire and how they can transform. But they've got to be told. And that's what we do; we tell stories. Through print, online, podcast, video, and smartspeaker, we shape better community connection and, as a result, deeper community engagement.

Craig Williams, c0-founder,

and son, Evan, University

of Chicago, class of '22.