In my twenty-something years of travelling the globe and living and working in 6 countries on 4 continents, I have worked in the arts world and in the corporate world, run startups in pyjamas and in fancy suits, published a book, turned my back on a thriving business in order to try something new, and now I’m happily pursuing a portfolio career that allows me to do a little bit of everything.

[the whole story]

I run Start with Story, a business storytelling agency that allows me to combine my deep understanding of narrative, marketing, the digital world and how to do business with my creative, technical and writing skills. I am based in Innsbruck, and so I work primarily with businesses and organisations based in Tirol, Süd Tirol and parts of Germany and Switzerland who have a global presence or outlook.

I work as a freelance communications trainer offering a mix of cross-cultural / intercultural training programmes and coaching, presentation skills training, public speaking training and I offer programmes in how to tell better stories, too.

I am an oral “performance” storyteller, telling traditional tales to adult audiences in English. Performed as Ziyadliwa, my alter ego, I specialise in crafting storytelling shows that allow people to forget the world and go on a journey to far-off places with me. In recent years, I’ve started working with museums, cultural organisations and environmental agencies to help them use storytelling to bring exhibits and ideas to life, and to engage, enlighten and sometimes even persuade listeners.

My storytelling and love of reading led me to record a number of stories, walking tours and podcasts, and this in turn led me to an unexpected career as a voice over artist and audio book narrator, where I specialise in – wait for it – audio book narration, as well as museum tours, guided walks, documentaries and elearning programmes. My voice has been described by producers as “mellifluous and articulate, with an accent that lends itself to a variety of cultured productions.” High praise indeed! Hence “Mellifluous Voice”.

I am interested in helping women in Tirol who want to break start their own businesses or initiatives. To that end, I have started (but not really done much with) Frauen Power, which I am presently turning into a networking group for women who want to support each other, build ideas and change the way that things work so that Tirol becomes a more entrepreneurial culture. This is a BIG ambition, and the going is slow…

I am occasionally invited to deliver talks and keynotes about storytelling, entrepreneurship, intercultural interactions, plastic, sustainability and Africa. If that’s something that interests you, get in touch.

I believe that life is too short to only do one thing, and in addition to being avid reader and writer, my interests include sustainability, Africa (South Africa being my key area of interest), walking, scuba diving, coming up with new ideas, learning to play the guitar and the uke, bringing people together, mastering the perfect loaf of bread, travelling, meeting new people, growing chillies, drinking tea, star gazing, writing and illustrating, and wine.

In an attempt to do less in 2018, I won’t mention all the things that I’ve put on hold. Instead, I’ll say that I write occasional stories about odd topics that take my fancy on my blog, I curate content about Africa over at Naturally Africa, and I am working on a new side project called Craving Craft.

If you’d like to get in touch, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to respond to emails promptly. I receive hundreds of emails daily, thanks to all the things I do, so that normally means a few days.

A summary that appeals to me

I put this together a few years ago and I still love it. It’s how I like to describe myself, if that gives you any insight!

Avid reader, fish-hugger, ENFP bordering INFP, scuba diver, star gazer and storyteller. A morning person who prefers being barefoot to wearing shoes. Love bringing people together, jumping in puddles, losing myself in a good book, throwing parties, scuba diving, cycling around town in a sundress and a big hat, drinking wine, vivid colours, cooking up a storm, the ocean, birds, basil, writing, walking (not hiking), people watching, tea, words, growing chillies, and hopping on a train, plane, or other mode of transportation to travel just about anywhere.

"This too shall pass"

— Engraved on a ring by a Persian wise man, in answer the challenge to find a sentence that would be true and appropriate in all times and situations...