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ComNetworkDETROIT: Storytelling to Connect Past, Present, and Future

ComNetLOCAL Event

TechTown Detroit

As FrameWorks Institute CEO Nat Kendall-Taylor wrote in the Spring 2017 issue of Change Agent, “Stories have remarkable power to drive social change. They appeal to us on a core emotional level and lodge deeply in our minds.”

At our June event, Jennette Smith Kotila described the anatomy of a story: A story has a hero, a conflict, and a resolution. Effective stories also establish a setting that is inclusive not only of the place and circumstance in which our heroes exist, but also the history the precedes and informs the challenges and opportunities of the moment. At our July event, guest speaker Alvin Gay will share his thoughts on how to ensure our storytelling is respectful and inclusive of not only of the people we feature but also the history of the spaces they occupy.

Alvin is a Detroit native and amateur Detroit historian. His father graduated number two in his class from Wayne State Law School in 1947 and finished second on the Michigan State Bar Exam that same year. His father’s office was in the First National Building, one of only two downtown office buildings in Detroit where black entrepreneurs were allowed. Alvin started as a documentary filmmaker and has a career’s worth of experience crafting stories that bring life to brands and causes around the world. In the 1990s, he helped reintroduce retail brands to former Eastern Bloc countries. In 2000, he launched the multicultural advertising agency Footsteps, which he served as CEO for more than a decade. Five years ago, he came home to downtown Detroit, where he is Managing Partner at BLVD, a boutique marketing agency that develops strategy and content for both the general and multicultural markets.


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