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Fresh Faces 2022: Wes Woodson

Woodson is the lead storyteller for Dear World and an advocate creating authentic conversations around mental health.

Wes Woodson Copy
Photo: Courtesy of Wes Woodson

Wes Woodson, 24, is the lead storyteller for Dear World, a nonprofit that creates events and experiences surrounding authentic storytelling. Based in the Boston area, Woodson is also the author of I Have Anxiety (So What?): The Unapologetic Guide to Overcoming Your Anxiety, which was released in 2021.

How he got his start: "My start in the event industry almost didn't happen. One day, I was emptying out an inbox of an email address I no longer use. While going through every piece of mail, I happened to stumble on a Dear World storyteller application which was forwarded to me by an old college professor. Curious, I clicked the application—and the rest is history.

Since then, I've traveled around the country teaching the power of storytelling to corporations such as Verizon and BDO USA through Dear World's Brain Tattoo Storytelling Experience. Additionally, I've done similar events at Brown University and Indiana University. On a day-to-day level, my role is ever-changing. Traditionally I operate as a professional public speaker, traveling around the country speaking, however in order to ensure a successful event I find myself working directly with each client to address their immediate needs while on the ground."

Biggest takeaway from the past two years: "The biggest thing the pandemic has taught me is to become comfortable with letting go of expectations. Two years ago, no one expected the world to pause. We expected 2020 to be just like every other year. However, when that wasn't the case, we were forced to adapt to the new world we found ourselves in.

I bring that same sense of adapting to the unknown into the world of events. Each event is just another set of unknown variables: an environment where anything can truly happen. Therefore, I've learned to let go of expectations and adapt in order to overcome."

Career goals: "My everyday mission is to create safe spaces that celebrate vulnerability and authenticity through the art of storytelling. More specifically, I look to become the leading force behind creating events and experiences that create authentic conversations around mental health. Therefore, my biggest goal in my career is to inspire 1,000,000 people to talk about their mental health struggles."

Advice for his peers: "When I first started at Dear World, I wanted to produce the 'perfect event.' However, looking back, I wish I realized sooner that the perfect event does not exist. In each and every event, there are technical difficulties, miscommunications, high client expectations, the list goes on and on. The sooner you realize that there is never a perfect event, the quicker you can start creating events that are more meaningful and better than the last."

In his free time: "I am an active member of NACA (National Association for Campus Activities), where I interact with college activity coordinators from around the country to introduce them to the Dear World Experience."

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This year's "Fresh Faces" feature is sponsored by Glisser, an award-winning meetings and events platform developed by event industry veterans to go beyond basic video and screen-sharing tech to power inspiring, high-participation events of any size.

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