The Cincy Stories Team
Co- Founder/Executive Director
Shawn is never happier than when he is seeing people connect over shared experiences. It's why he loves stories so much, it's the way they communicate the human experience.
Shawn studied English Literature and Theology due to a deep love of how stories connect us in small ways to each other and in bigger ways to the broader universe more than anything else. It was with this love of people and stories that he, alongside Chris Ashwell, started Cincy Stories as an event in 2015.
Shawn's passion for storytelling finds him spending his time away from Cincy Stories hosting the WVXU program Conversations with Humans, where he does just that: have authentic conversations with other humans. It's Shawn's hope to create a culture of storytelling and listening throughout our city!
Chris Ashwell grew up in what seemed then like far away Mason, Ohio, mostly experiencing Cincinnati through the lens of baseball games and museum field trips. After moving around to various parts of the country, he settled in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Walnut Hills. While working in restaurant management he had a revelation to quit his job (several jobs in fact before it stuck) and pursue what truly made him happy. For him that meant dedicating himself to the arts of filmmaking, audio production, design and above all storytelling.
While he knew he wanted to focus on documentary as an art, he had no idea where that desire would lead. After connecting with Shawn, and co-founding Cincy Stories, Chris realized how his love of true stories could be utilized in practical ways to improve our city. A few short documentaries about local residents turned into large a scale multi-media project and that turned into multiple large scale projects, a weekly radio show and a much happier and fulfilled Chris.
Now, in addition to his passion for all things storytelling, he has a new passion for giving a voice to those whose experiences are often overlooked in his community and for creating new ways to activate those stories for real change. His work with Cincy Stories has gained him nine Emmy Awards from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Kayla grew up in Mendham, New Jersey and relocated to the Cincinnati area by way of a Master of Arts degree in Theatre from Miami University. While she's always been passionate about the arts, she never really found her niche until she started focusing on Arts, Production and Stage Management, allowing her left-brained personality to find a home in a right-brained field. She is excited to be setting down roots in the Cincinnati area and is thrilled to be joining the Cincy Stories team.
When Christine moved to Cincinnati for college, she never planned to stay here forever. More than ten years later, she couldn't be happier to call Over-the-Rhine her home. Christine teaches English and publications classes at Roger Bacon High School, and she's an adjunct English professor at Xavier University. When she isn't teaching, Christine enjoys running, coaching cross country, writing, and spending time with her husband, Caleb, and their two retired greyhounds, Robin and Clark.
Storefront and Event Manager
Daniel Watkins is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati, but more importantly a lifelong resident of Avondale. He is passionate about the future of his community and Cincinnati. A recent graduate of NKU, Daniel enjoys traveling the United States, visiting 37 states along the way so far. He is a sports fanatic and enjoys taking his dogs to the many parks in Cincinnati He is excited to partner with Cincy Stories and to be on the team.
Drawn to the art of storytelling and the shared experience of human nature that exists at its core. Rachel Byrd is a passionate geographer, a life-long musician, and often off in pursuit of the next outdoor adventure. Even on the coldest day of the year you may find her biking through the city on a quest to enjoy some ice cream.
Board of Directors