Ashley Kilback has a degree in marketing, but her business expands far beyond a nine-to-five job.
Kilback is founder of The Storytellers Club, a local organization that seeks to bring back what it calls “the art of storytelling.”
“Storytelling is such an ancient art that’s been around for thousands of years,” said Kilback. “But I think in Western society we’ve really lost that. I realized how much we need story in the world and that we needed to learn how to live and breathe them and tell them again.”
Through her organization’s Storytellers Nights, Kilback invites people to speak in front of audiences at the Artesian on 13th in Regina’s Cathedral neighbourhood about their stories and experiences. Since starting the events about a year and a half ago, she has seen her audiences grow in the nearly 10 events she’s held.
Kilback’s passion for storytelling started when she was just a child. With her parents both entrepreneurs, she decided to follow their path. But she realized stories were her calling while working for a local organization.
“I was sitting in this tiny little office and I was blowing up volleyballs,” she said, chuckling. “It was just so far away from what I loved and what I wanted to do.”
After forming her organization and gathering speakers she began planning storytelling events that have included themes like “Overcoming Obstacles,” “The Power of Music and “Love,” the theme for February’s event.
“It was called ‘The Love Warriors’ because I think that each storyteller had to overcome some kind of experience that taught them something about love.”
Eddy Alvaro, one speaker, opened up about his experience with self-love.
“I thought I had it all figured out,” said Alvaro. “I had a great job, I had all these great connections and I was pursuing all these passion projects but still I was comparing myself to other people.”
“If my mind would be racing at night I would sometimes go for a night drive and this one time around I was taking that turn and then I just thought what if I turned right into the ditch.”
After seeking advice from a friend, he learned to be proud of who he is.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve,” said Alvaro. “And it might cause me to get hurt sometimes, but I have to build up my heart so it can be so strong so that I can withstand pains that come my way.”
“That’s where love begins,” said Kilback about Alvaro’s speech. “We all know that if we are to be able to love somebody else, we have to learn to love ourselves first.”
Alvaro’s speech resonated particularly with Megan Knowles, an attendee of ‘The Love Warriors’. After going to a Body Talk session, a holistic practice where a person is put deeper in touch with their internal functions, she was told she was not allowing herself to experience self-love.
“I realized how true that was and it was perfectly and divinely timed with attending this event,” said Knowles. “I had only been on that journey for about a week of practising self-love.”
She found the event satisfying.
“I am personally in a phase of my life where conversation about the weather and those new pants you just bought don’t really fill my cup. So this is a perfect outlet for me to go out and socialize and fill that craving,” said Knowles.
Kilback plans to host another event in June, with a theme to be decided in the coming weeks. Tickets will be available through the Arteisan on 13th or the Paper Umbrella. One piece of advice she has for storytellers is to be observant of life around you. The other piece is about focusing on yourself.
“It’s really learning to get curious about your life experience and taking your mind back to them as if you can relive it again,” said Kilback.