Our stories as a lighthouse and campfire

Michael Margolis said: “There is a fundamental shift happening in the web: We used to connect with friends. Now we connect with people we don’t know”. That’s how the story of Katja, Eva and myself starts…

We didn’t know each other at all. Somehow, a few months ago, some tweets, retweets, mentions started “flying” via the @beyondstorytell Twitter account,…”oh, we like so much your conference initiative and content”…”ah, I see that we share so much in common in our field of work”… Then we had a skype, some email exchange, beautiful sharing of our aspirations…. and that’s how the idea of the below interview popped up. Enjoy it!


What image comes to your mind when you think of our title „Re-Authoring Futures“?

Katja: It’s the picture of a vibrant neuronal network that constantly grows and illustrates the interdependencies between Storyteller, Story-listener & external influences.

Eva: I see people gathering together in a creative exercise that allows them to regain ownership of their stories. In doing so, they re-signify both their past and present and shape the world they want to create from a place of clarity and empowerment. 

What does it mean to you? 

Katja: A daring step forward, to be honest. We as Story-experts should make sure that the people we teach and educate in the process of mastering their stories, experience close guidance and maximum freedom at the same time. Our energy should be focused on these two aspects of story work.

Eva: To me, it means placing stories at the heart of our human existence as a means to truly understand our existence. At this particular time in history, stories are no longer just about religious and political leaders explaining the world to their hungry audiences. Real time access to information together with a culture of collaboration and co-creation grant us the opportunity to create and own our different versions of reality and build bridges between them. I see our mission as Storytellers and Story workers as a way to help individuals to dig deeper into their narratives and help groups to build connections and find common ground to build upon.

Why do you think that this topic is important to talk about right now? 

Katja: As we’re looking into a new movement of enlightenment the stories we collect and tell need to reflect the complexity of the times ahead. In collaboration & communication. The stories we develop need to function as a lighthouse and campfire, especially in a VUCA-world. In a time where the essence of story itself seems to be in doubt and loses its trustworthiness (Fake News, sugar-coating, spin doctoring, etc) it should be our intention to bring it back to its original intention: bring people closer together and ignite change. 

Eva: Over the past few years, we have discovered that fact checking is not the cure to fake news. People crave stories that make sense of what is happening around them and will embrace a lie against all odds as long as it connects to their deepest longings and fears. Therefore, we need to re-learn how to make sense out of information. This includes mastering the arts of listening, questioning and mapping, rather than accessing information sources. In a volatile environment, were we receive a new headline every few minutes, we urgently need to reconnect to bigger truths and lasting stories, for those are the ones who will aid us in our growth and evolution. 

What does Re-Authoring Futures mean in your field of practice? 

Katja: A critical discourse about Corporate Messaging and different thinking patterns about all audiences internally and externally. Showing to our clients the impact of stories two or three steps ahead. 

Eva: An open debate that leads to a profound change in how we communicate and build relationships. Building connection between mission, vision, values, strategy and action, both on an individual and collective level.

What would you like to see happening at Beyond Storytelling conference 2018?

Katja: A broader debate about the opportunities that arise from practicing storytelling in internal and external communications. How to turn employees into true brand ambassadors with the use of stories and how to find, develop and tell stories that target the audience of the future. 

Eva: An honest debate on the past, present and future of storytelling and story work in Communications (beyond Marketing). The consolidation of the European Professional Storytellers and Story Practitioners Network. The creation of a hub where professionals, students and organisations can meet, discuss and work together.


Eva Snijders is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of Communication, Public Relations and Organisational Change. She is well known for her work in organisational Storytelling, where she assists companies in creating coherence between their past, present and future.

Katja Schleicher is an international expert in Internal, External and Intercultural Communication. She is fluent in three languages, holds two passports and a European heart. Katja travels across borders constantly to bring people and ideas closer through communication. She speaks at conferences about communicative misunderstandings and how to initiate change through communication.