I’m Natalie, an award-winning marketing and communications storyteller, content strategist, author and editor.
I’m an East-Coast-born, West Coast convert. Origin: Canadienne; currently a Seattleite via California. I bring my unique intersection of skills and experience—a foundation in journalism; a portfolio of impactful marketing and communications work; an MFA and a romance with words—to help people and organizations tell their most awe-inspiring stories. Authenticity and trust-building are at the center of everything I do.
A newsy gal, a Nellie Bly, a deadline doer …
For a decade I built my writing skills as a reporter at newspapers around the West, learning how to listen, and how to tell stories that deeply impact readers. I wrote about Mexican migrants traveling through the desert, lesbian golf tournaments, and backyard + boardroom politics at The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif.; dodged falling boulders and a serial killer at a tiny newspaper in Gold Country; wrote film and art reviews for the San Francisco Independent; and covered growth issues, murder trials, transportation, and social issues at The Seattle Times. As a young newspaper journalist, I learned one of the most important lessons of my career: You must build trust with subjects and stakeholders first and foremost, in order to help them feel comfortable telling intimate, authentic stories that create impact.
Who became a leader, a team championer, a big-dream dreamer …
From 2012 to 2017 I directed content and editorial strategy, developed social and marketing campaigns, dreamed up creative, and tripled traffic as the youngest ever Executive Editor of ParentMap. At this dream job, I married two great passions: creative storytelling, and advocating for the education, health, and social systems that support families. With every monthly magazine that hit the newsstands, every live event bringing critical research and insights from experts to parents, and every click on our highly trafficked website, I lived my passions and learned something new. I also built up my leadership muscle, managing a team of talented editors, designers, writers, and freelancers. Coaching others to develop their skills and pursue their dreams has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career.
Who then crashed the corporate tech party!
I made the jump to corporate storytelling when I went to help Microsoft tell its brand story, creating and curating content on two global Microsoft websites and serving as lead storyteller for the tech giant’s culture storytelling program. I brought to life topics ranging from artificial intelligence to quirky employee passions, from cutting-edge campus design to the largest employee giving program in the world and powerful stories of diversity and inclusion. Versatile and always learning, I built communications plans, style guides, social campaigns, and an employee communications newsletter that circulates to 150,000 people weekly.
In 2019, I jumped over to build a thought leadership program for an incubation product that helps organizations and employees measure and change how work happens. Here, I explore the future of work with some of the most creative, data-driven minds on the planet–investigating how culture must change so work can improve; creating multimedia stories about solving tough problems; making vision videos that showcase the art of the possible and bring to life Microsoft’s renowned growth mindset; and leading special series that measure how we’re re-inventing work in real time. In addition to public-facing thought leadership and marketing campaigns, I also contribute my storytelling to leading industry publications such as Harvard Business Review.
An MFA in a sea of MBAs
I have a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics. I am an extroverted introvert and a brainstormer at heart. One of my favorite things in the world (besides red velvet cupcakes) is to be in a room with a team of highly engaged, mission-driven people and drive actions for good through creativity.
To keep myself under the spell of language, I write creatively on the side and my essays, stories, and opinion pieces have been published in newspapers, magazines and literary journals around the country. My memoir, California Calling, was released in 2018 by Hawthorne Books. I teach classes and workshops on storytelling, creative writing, and publishing to professionals and adult students, and I speak at conferences and read and perform my creative work regularly around the Pacific Northwest and the country. Creative publications can be found in my portfolio on this site.
Who thrives on creating, collaborating, and serving
I have taught writing to youth inside Seattle’s juvenile detention center and Washington State’s residential youth psychiatric facility. Read more and see work I produced while teaching on the inside. I served as an invited guest writer for On the Boards Seattle, where I responded creatively to contemporary performing art and helped create a bridge of dialogue between artists and the community. I have been the recipient of multiple journalism and creative writing awards and fellowships including winner of the 2013 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Memoir/Nonfiction prize; first runner up for the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Award in 2017; finalist in the Autumn House Press book manuscript contest 2016; and second place prize winner in the Torrey House Press Nonfiction contest 2011. I served as 2016/2017 Alumni Ambassador and editor of After the MFA, University of Washington, Bothell MFA Creative Writing and Poetics program and was inducted in 2018 to the University of Washington, Bothell IAS Alumni Hall of Excellence.
I live with my husband and daughters in Seattle, the best place in the universe and, oftentimes these days, the center of the resistance.
See my storyteller/journalism resume here.
See my creative resume here.