Brand building through storytelling

A friend to homeless women (and at least one first-time author)

I have a terrible memory for faces and names, so I can’t recall meeting Lia Grimanis at a crowded reception some time ago. But she remembered me, and while browsing in a bookstore she recognized my face on the spine of My Mother’s Daughter. “How do I know her?” she asked herself. Then she saw me in her mind, sitting alone until she interrupted my reverie.

I must have told her a little about the story I was struggling to write—the story of how I became myself because of, and in spite of, the woman who formed me. Every day in a fit of relentless perfectionism, I’d rewrite at least half of the previous day’s work. But I doubt if I shared that particular detail. Along with my mascara and silver jewelry, I had put on the role of the assured, resolute author. Then my real self went home and lay awake, wondering if this adored and indulged problem child known as a book would ever find a place in the world. I couldn’t picture the finished book in my own hands, let alone in the hands of readers I didn’t know.

Lia bought my book, for which I’m grateful. She decided it was worth just as much as a pedicure, or a week’s worth of lunchtime sandwiches. And then she had the extraordinary grace to let me know. That night she e-mailed me her good wishes, which I found on my computer in the eye-rubbing moments before bed. It had been a day of wrong turns, missed signals and out-and-out screwups, but Lia’s message redeemed everything. She closed with a link to her web site, Up With Women, where she advocates with energy and grit for homeless women.

Lia used to be such a woman. At 18, she fled an abusive home to find the place she deserved in the world. She learned to play the harp, fly a helicopter and race motorcycles. She makes her living as a sales executive in the software business, but she has a gift for telling stories that bring her mission to life—especially her own tale of how she became herself despite formidable odds. Check out her site. I’m betting you’ll agree.


Posted by Rona

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