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
Jena Bradley is a lover/collector of stories. Over the last 10 years, she's had the pleasure to work with numerous non-profits in the Greater Cincinnati region and celebrate the triumphs of phenomenal people. Outside of work, Jena enjoys spending time with her husband Matt in their beloved neighborhood of Walnut Hills.
Megyn is a Cincinnati boomeranger. She grew up in Wyoming, Ohio and moved to NYC to major in Musical Theatre at PACE University. After graduating she found herself in the bustling little world of NCY's 1920's Jazz events scene. She spent four years as Event Director for Governor's Island's beloved Jazz Age Lawn Party. After nine years in the big apple she wanted a new atmosphere and a new hustle. She found the city she grew up outside of to be as new as if she'd never been a native and has loved discovering the rich dearth of creatives and doers that make up Cincinnati. She freelances as an Event and Creative Director with her production company, No Standing Only Dancing and currently running the OTR festival, Second Sunday On Main. She has a passion for cultivating events that create a platform for bringing people together, so she was naturally drawn to Cincy Stories and is a huge fan of the work they do. When she's not off traveling or jetting out of town, you can find her most often buzzing around OTR, at Tucker's, or bogarting a jukebox with good soul music.
Pat Feghali is a lawyer and rock and roll musician from Cincinnati. She is on her neighborhood council in Mt Adams and likes to read books and walk around (not at the same time). She thinks Cincy Stories is awesome and, since used to co-host a community radio show called Queen City Awesome, she should know.
Elizabeth J. Winters Waite, (Betty) is the Chief Financial Officer of the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. She founded, owned and managed an accounting firm for 20 years. Her employees were mostly working moms, defining themselves with flexibility in the workplace before it was a trend. Prior to that she was with the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche for eight years. In addition to her accounting skills, she is a writer, a gardener, a mother to three sons, and a crazy cat lady.