Helena Kaufman, StoryMarket Founder
The 73-word story on my success for others: Vancouver-based storyteller Helena Kaufman helps professionals, entrepreneurs and companies discover the narratives that make them memorable. An award-winning communicator with over 25 years experience, Helena uses her writing and marketing skills to plan, produce and promote her clients’ projects.
As a gifted copywriter, speechwriter and publicist, Helena’s text-based creations influence and inspire. She has long been a go-to creative source for individuals and organizations searching for the right words to say or print.
I was born into the flow of stories. They comprised the cultural and religious tradition I was born into and they were as it turns out, our most valuable and portable asset. Our stories were the currency that silently crossed language and national borders.
By the time I arrived in Canada at age five and a half, my senses had been impressed by five countries, beginning with my birth in Poland. Is it any wonder then, that as the youngest child in an immigrant family, I quickly picked up and loved the English language? There I could finally luxuriate in a new and a steady context. I could grow the vocabulary that would educate and entertain me and in the course of the duty that fell upon me with my growing communication skills, I could also serve as a helper to my family.
I translated the culture for my parents, who spoke 6 and more languages each but were tackling English late in life. And I tackled the translation of correspondence and documents. I had no idea, except in retrospect as a mother myself, how extraordinary a gift this great responsibility was.
This gift did confuse and overwhelm at times with too much knowledge. It did, however, train me to more easily find the nuggets that mattered. First for my parents, then for my schoolmates and ultimately my clients. I found the message that mattered most, cleared the overwhelm and then helped them polish their presentation. In the process, we found the right language to be heard, understood and often accepted.
Story was at the root of all I learned from each person and the life lessons they had to share. Ever curious and enthused about my new surroundings, I thirsted to know how people met, how they got started in business, why they chose the work they do, what special secrets they would share with others from their special place inside a cause, a company or a personal passion.
In turn, people expressed their surprise on reading my body of work to find that I have never lost my sense of wonder. This delights me to no end. After all, a writer’s greatest asset is curiosity. A storyteller’s influence resides in the freshness of delivery of even ages old wisdom and oft retold tales.
I believe in the magic of discovery. I can see how things can be shared, even step-by-step, even if complicated so that others in the community or audience can understand the words and ideas people want to communicate.
Translating struggle to success
My personal struggle in the role of an outsider so often in my own life has sharpened my observation skills. The special powers of perception led to being an exceptional publicist who helped clients gain ground in the media and their market. On the foundation of hard-won communication ‘chops’ and high-quality writing I added valuable, custom coaching to help them deliver their messages and their image comfortably and with confidence
When marketing forged the brave new world of branding, I knew I had been correctly placed at the heart of communication culture with my love of stories as my super power.
Branded at birth!
Before ‘brand’ became a thing, mine was sealed at birth, one might say. My parents named me Helena which is from the Greek for bringer of light. My father’s name, Kaufman, is from the German and means merchant. Together, they describe my greatest love as a business communications specialist – to bring to light the special stories that make entrepreneurs shine – their history – their accomplishment – their unique contributions – and how they serve their community.
Just a few of the critical narratives I created helped to……
- Raise $28 million in a capital fundraising campaign for Winnipeg’s Asper Community Centre and won my clients a Silver Medallion in Montreal for original marketing materials such as newsletters, a publication for expats, full-colour brochures and advertising collateral.
- Craft genuine cross-cultural understanding for readers of my ‘Communication Culture Column’ who for 4 years found comfort and clarification in communication ‘how-to’s. The monthly column in The Afro News, an international (then print and online) newspaper featured entries on body language, business writing, networking, etiquette of business and mindset support to see the reader towards success in their business or social outreach.
- Spark students in the Douglas College (now University) Self-Employment Program on their path to define their story and that of their products as they launched as entrepreneurs. Image, Business Writing and Cultural Communication’ was the daylong seminar that helped them acquire and apply vital communication skills.
- In my 30-year body of work as a writer, columnist and trainer – the stories I crafted were lit up by my own bright personal wish – that they would connect people. Now with our immersion in technology we can accelerate that process of connection and it must be able to take us over both great geographic as well as cultural distances.
Helena speaks, coaches individuals and delivers custom in-company training on specialized communication topics such as: Storytelling in business, productive and personal networking, effective content creation (and maximizing that initial time and money investment!) for blogs, email campaigns and social media presence and profit.
How to work with me……………………..Please email me at helena(at)helenakaufman.com with queries.