Turning to a New Chapter

“Story is the human operating system.”
— Mary Alice Arthur

I’ve been telling stories for 36 years. That’s my current age of 38, minus my first two years of life when I think it’s fair to say that most of my language probably couldn’t legitimately be described as story.

But all of us, from the age of about two onwards, have been telling stories. Many of us reach a high point in the richness of our storytelling between the ages of about 4 and 7, when our stories were so fantastical and imaginative, that literally anything was possible.

For myself, I’ve continued to refine the craft of story over my professional career, and it’s an honour and a privilege to be able to earn my bread and butter in within what can aptly be described as world’s second oldest profession.

Stories are how we make sense of the world. They are how we transmit information human-to-human.

Stories allow us to take the complex, the abstract, the conceptual, and distill down into simple, easy-to-understand soundbites of information. Or as described in the above quote, the are the operating system for humanity.

For the past five and a half years, I’ve been working with the incredible team at Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) and Kiwi Connect — the precursor organisation — to tell the stories the inspiring work that EHF Fellows and the wider community have been doing to solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges.

It’s been a wonderful period of my life and career, paving the way for much personal and professional growth, and expanding my imagination of what is possible when talented, passionate people put their minds together. I’m infinitely grateful for having had the opportunity to help build, support and work with such a talented community of global change-makers.

It is with a mix of sadness and excitement at what the future will bring, that I draw my EHF chapter to a close.

What’s next for me?

Having written over 200 stories of impact over the past few years, tackling social, environmental, cultural, economic, technological, logistical, digital and intergenerational challenges, I’ve come to understand that the problems we’re facing as a global society are complex and interconnected: Hence the solutions must take an interconnected, systems-level approach, and the stories we tell must make room for that complexity in such a way that invites people to be part of the solution.

Complementing my work producing written and video content, I have spent the past 10 years writing, producing and performing spoken word poetry, previously under the stage alias Ali Jacs. These days though, I’m performing under my legal name, Alina Siegfried.

What started as a bit of fun back in early 2010, soon became a “full time hobby”, saw me winning the New Zealand National Poetry Slam in 2012, and competing on the world stage at Women of the World Poetry Slam in Minneapolis in 2013.

In recent years, I’ve succeeded into transitioning my spoken word from purely entertainment into my professional realm, performing at a number of conferences, summits and other events. It’s been a humbling and eye-opening experience, reducing grown businessmen to tears, and coming to understand that no matter the faces we all wear — the uniforms, the job titles, the different approaches we take — most people, at their core, want to improve the world, their organisations, and their communities.

Drawing on my experiences at EHF, prior roles, and and on a decade of experience synthesising nuanced concepts into engaging narratives using spoken word poetry, I’m now turning my attention towards helping organisations, businesses, and individuals to tell better stories to support systems-level change, as a freelancer and consultant.

In short, I want to help tell the stories that can inspire a better world for all.

What I imagine this might look like:

  • Content creation to communicate the impacts that organisations are making
  • Telling the stories of humans working within organisations, and driving the change
  • Impact reporting
  • Impact Strategy
  • Brand storytelling development and content marketing
  • Strategic advice across communications, marketing and content creation
  • Video storyboarding and direction
  • Web content copywriting
  • Continuing to write, produce and publish spoken word poetry that challenges and invites people to make a difference
  • Performing at conferences, summits, festivals, symposia, and other events
  • Writing and/or performing bespoke poems to communicate the specific messages of organisations, non-profits, and movements
  • Continuing to publish stories on Medium, about the intersections of entrepreneurship, technology, anthropology, environmental issues, and social justice.

If any of the above is something that you or your organisation would like help with in the future, please get in touch. I’m based in Wellington, New Zealand, but totally open to remote work.

Heart felt thanks to EHF for giving me the platform to refine my storytelling expertise over the years. Thank you to all who have inspired me to write — I can’t wait to tell more stories about you and your incredible work in the future. And thanks most of all to those who have taken the time to read my stories. It is truly appreciated.

Most of my writing, I currently do for free. If you’d like to support my efforts in writing about storytelling for impact, narrative change, and systems change, you can do so through Patreon. Or alternatively, if you’d like to follow my musings, sign up for my free monthly newsletter here. Thank you!



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Alina Siegfried

Alina Siegfried

Storytelling | Narrative | Systems Change | Circular Economy | Spoken Word | Author of “A Future Untold” on story & narrative for change | www.afutureuntold.com