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Story Coaching

I’ve contributed to quite a few essay anthologies over the years, but none has been so thoughtfully curated or as communally nurtured as “Covidology” under the helmsmanship of Paul Iarrobino. Paul’s story sensibilities resonate with the turning points, the emotional moments, the splash of humor, the deepening of awareness, and the genuine joy in any story. He doesn’t judge the material—that’s yours, not his. So long as the story is true to the theme of the production, whether that’s an oral storytelling performance, or on the written page, every story has the potential to be meaningful to an audience. Paul helps storytellers hone in on the strength of connection with both readers and listeners. Paul works magic, and I have loved having the opportunity to be a part of it.

Jamison Green

It was during a storytelling event that Paul offered me an invitation to submit a Covid story for his proposed anthology. Until then, I knew nothing of Our Bold Voices or Paul Iarrobino other than his stage presence that day, the story he told, and the warmth he shares. As Covidology project progressed, I soon came to appreciate his clarity of purpose, attention to detail, and the support systems he set in place for success. Projected dates never wavered and his intention to take Covidology on the road materialized with the same inclusive attention to detail. It is rare to find so many facets of a creative process in one person. Knowing more about Paul now, none of this surprises me. The project had room to address questions and needs of writers, how to offer clear and respectful feedback. In my case, the story I thought I would contribute, went beyond the intention of the anthology. Equally important Paul’s team of readers gave me honest and affective feedback that ultimately fed my writing process as I understood why my story had a different trajectory. I was able to submit instead, a poem that was enthusiastically accepted. Contributing to the anthology and reading my poem before audiences has surprised me in healing some of the longing and loss of our shared Covid experience. Reading and hearing the stories of each writer, I can honestly say, has contributed to my growth and embrace of life. I imagine Paul knew this was possible. New friends have been made and my world is bigger and stronger.

Shere Coleman

Paul was so helpful to me in preparing my story. He totally understood my challenges with COVID and brain fog and gently guided me where I needed to go. His patience and caring assisted me in learning how to present an effective talk. The best part was we laughed a lot together. He is an absolute delight to work with and I learned a lot from him.

Brenda Culhane

Being given the opportunity to learn storytelling skills and receive mentorship from Paul is a dream come true! I was supported to dig into my history and weave together years of memories, and Paul’s feedback and guidance was invaluable. We even experimented for the first time with incorporating music into the story. His enthusiasm kept me excited about what I was revealing, and now I feel practiced to continue exploring this powerfully vulnerable art form.


Jade Schey

The opportunity to tell my story at an Our Bold Voices was a tremendous gift. In preparing my story I was able to process my journey better, and convey to an audience what has inspired me and kept me going.  Though my story is as personal as it gets, the audience at OBV was incredibly supportive, and validated the hard road I’ve walked, while celebrating my resilience and determination.


David Gibbs

I was approached by a mutual friend who suggested I grab some coffee with Paul to see if I was interested in working with him as a storyteller to share my genderqueer perspective with my community. I went into that meeting with the belief that I would be contributing to Our Bold Voices without much thought of what I would gain from the experience in return. I had no idea, going into it, that working with Paul and my three story telling companions would empower me, or that I would emerge from Prideful Voices with a confidence I didn’t know I possessed. Working with OBV gave me a sense of community that I had been longing for. Through it, I’ve put down roots in the Vancouver/Portland LGBTQ community and can even say I have gained friends through my journey of self exploration/acceptance that Paul coached me and my fellow story tellers through.

If I ever get another opportunity to work with Paul’s OBV again, I won’t miss out!


Abasi Umoh

At first, I was hesitant to participate in a storytelling group. After meeting and talking with Paul Iarrobino, I knew that the actual event and the work leading to it would have substance. His knowledge and confidence in the process encouraged me to write my story, and his keen sense of hearing helped me to take out what didn’t work and leave in what did. Paul’s direction enabled me to feel good about my story and to look forward to the performance. I had fun and wouldn’t hesitate to follow his direction again.


Ann Daley

Before I met Paul, I had attended a couple of storytelling programs, but never envisioned being involved in one. Through Paul’s guidance, humor, and focus I was able to develop my story and build the confidence needed to tell it. The experience was extremely rewarding and fulfilling as well as great fun, and I highly recommend working with Paul to anyone who has a story to tell. Paul is a fabulous person to work with and you too will find the experience personally rewarding and fulfilling.

“And it’s all about me“


Marilyn Lowles

The process of creating my portion of the gay seniors event was quite challenging. Paul’s patience, sensitivity and encouragement made the process an extremely positive one. Thanks Paul!


Stan Ware

As a an elder person terrified of public speaking, Paul’s training in storytelling techniques allowed me to stand before a younger audience and share a very personal story. Thanks to Paul’s coaching, my talk was engaging and well received. The best part for me was my presentation was done without my usual stress and anxiety.

My experience in Paul‘s storytelling class was enriched by the fascinating stories being shared by my fellow classmates and I made a few new friends in the process.


Jim Sutherland

As a first time story teller, I didn’t know what to expect. Whatever expectations I had were greatly exceeded, and I credit this to Paul. He was so thoughtful and supportive throughout the whole process. He got the story tellers together so that we got to know each other, which only greatly added to the experience and bonded us all in a very special way. Paul was always available and very responsive to any questions or concerns that may have come up and did a great job explaining as he walked us through. Paul is simply the best!


Denise Peña

Paul asked the right questions that led me to develop a story filled with truth, depth, and creativity. His coaching comes directly from his big heart filled with empathy and humor. I felt very supported and am a better storyteller because of the coaching I received from Paul.


Ellen Wolfson

Bravo for Our Bold Voices!!!

For me, working with Our Bold Voices (OBV) was an evolutionary experience into the embodiment of who I am as a woman, mother, community member, activist, dreamer, everyday stargazer, and human being.

We all have STORIES don’t we? Working with both Paul and Arnel was purely magical as if their talent for bringing story tellers together was only matched by the way they elevated each story teller’s will to embrace the soul of their personal story and celebrate their own individual rain dance!

The confidence, joy, and empowerment that I gained through the incredible hand dance between me and the amazing audience and the cheering of my co-storytellers gave me the boldness to forever live the gift of storytelling!


Cosette “Coco” Leary

This type of coaching provides individuals and organizations with practical skills in a hurried world. We people get “unstuck” by exploring the key differences from our “old” stories and our newly emerging stories. We support this integration with active listening and coaching.


Carol Brownlow

Executive Coaching

Paul is an amazing mentor! He knows how to connect with people and know just the right questions to ask. His mentoring has brought my travel business back to life. He listened and helped me strategize a plan for my business re-branding. I now have the confidence to take my business to the next level all because Paul took the time to give me the guidance and support. Thank you, Paul! You are one in a million!


Darlene Rivera (Travel Agent; Destined to Travel, LLC - Troutdale, OR)

Anyone who spends a few minutes talking with Paul about Storytelling would be inspired by his passion and drive! Paul’s Storytelling session with our board members helped them to hone in on the value of their own personal stories about the organization, uncover their motivations for involvement and articulate them with confidence. Paul’s session empowered our board to share their personal impact stories on behalf of Store to Door and to feel more comfortable doing it! Paul helped to show them just how valuable their experience with our organization is and to realize how they can further Store to Door’s mission.


Kiersten Ware (Executive Director; Store to Door)

I found Paul Iarrobino to be a great resource for help with contemplating what I might do for my next venture into using my skills within a work experience. Paul listened carefully while asking good questions of me with respect to my desires and my skill sets. Since I have worked alongside Paul in the social services environment he knew some, but not all of those skills, and was not aware of the additional ones I possessed. Through his ability to ask the right questions, he pulled out things that would help me with my search for meaningful work as I go forward toward my next job. I feel more confident now that I will be successful in my search for just the right work for me because I have a better awareness of what I can do to get there.


Georgina Ramson

Community Building & Fundraising

Each story had it’s own resonance for me. Brenda led with such grace, power and insight; Bee shared an amazing internal capacity to grow through their pain, sorrow, and strengths; Paul created a narrative that shared vulnerability, insight; grief, and fluidity to get a place where he could recognize a place for himself; and Stacy took us down a path where I could see my own way through the pandemic had strong parallels.


Paul is a masterful storytelling coach and it was a joy to work with him. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to awaken the heart. Paul skillfully and compassionately guides storytellers to invoke deep vulnerability, which in turn transforms listeners. First Unitarian’s event, Igniting Voices: Celebrating Transgender and Non-Binary Lives and Stories, had nearly 200 people in attendance. We received profoundly moving feedback and it was without a doubt, among one of the most meaningful events we have held. Paul’s work is truly a gift to our community and we are looking forward to collaborating on many more events with Our Bold Voices.

#firstunitarianportland #ignitingvoices

Kerry Heintze (Adult Programming; First Unitarian Portland)

I learned so much in this festive, celebratory event.
Thank you, storytellers, for your gift of vulnerability!
We appreciate it so much, and we celebrate your resilience!
I dream with you all of tomorrow – when we will just rejoice over each human being, and get behind each so they may thrive!

#battleground #comingoutasyou

Ingrid (Parent and Event Organizer; Battle Ground Community)

It was an excellent, historic event. I loved all the stories, the MC, the feelings of inclusiveness and safety. It was so special!

#battleground #comingoutasyou


This event was a smashing success!

All the storytellers did a fabulous job! I’m SO grateful to all who helped make this event happen. I’m overwhelmed by the support of the community – especially that SO many of them helped supply treats for the refreshment table.

I’m so proud of having been part of organizing this event and for being persistent that this it got brought to Battle Ground.

#jessicacole #comingoutasyou #battleground

Jessica Cole (Parent and Event Organizer; Battle Ground Community)

Thank you for putting this together! I had a great time <3 so many wonderful people sharing their authenticity! I look forward to many more opportunities of bringing our communities together.

#battleground #comingoutasyou


It was a great event. So needed in this community. Thank you for bringing it here.

#battleground #comingoutasyou


The event was incredibly important for our community. It was an open and safe space for everyone. The event was well attended with all ages represented: families with young children, teens, and adults of all stages of life. The grant allowed this gathering to take place and to gather the presenters here.

There has never been an event like this at the Camas Public Library, and—from what we could gather—not in downtown Camas area, either. The response we got from the community was phenomenal. The Downtown Camas Association highlighted the event in their newsletter, and at a board meeting gave the Library kudos, saying how proud they were of their town. The Mayor of Camas not only came to the event, but she also gave it rave reviews at the following City Council meeting. It’s incredibly important for our LGBTQ+ friends here in Camas to know that they are supported and that we welcome everyone in our stores, businesses, schools, public agencies, etc. On the flip side, it’s equally important for our straight allies and those who may have been more sheltered up until this event to gain a greater understanding of the coming out journey, how it varies for each individual, and how those of us who identify as LGBTQ+ don’t come out just one time but thousands of times each and every year.

Stories told by the presenters were incredibly impactful. There were several tears shed as audience members related to the various questions and topics. It brought about a sense of community that audience members took away with them beyond the hours of the event. In addition, Library staff worked with presenters to receive book recommendations. As a result, we were able to enrich our collection to benefit the community for years to come. Having this broad collection of LGBTQ+-themed materials allows community members a safe place to find the information they may be seeking as well as to read books with diverse characters, allowing individuals to see themselves represented in the books they’re reading.

#connieurquhart #camaspubliclibrary

Connie Urquhart (Director; Camas Public Library)

In March, in honor of International Women’s Day, Our Bold Voices generously selected The Family Preservation Project of the YWCA of Greater Portland as the recipient of their charitable giving for their inaugural Storytelling Event. That evening, five courageous women boldly told their stories for the first time ever, to a sold out audience.

The Family Preservation Project highlighted a recent program graduate along with program staff to tell the story of the project through spoken word pieces. We were also able to engage the sold out audience in ways that they might get engaged and support the work.

Our organization raised funds that evening, as well as cultivating broad community support.

Paul is not only a talented event producer, mentor and emcee, he is a wonderful human who was a pleasure to work with. He was a thoughtful partner every step of the way, and a natural collaborator and builder of community. The Family Preservation Project will look forward to working with Paul and Our Bold Voices on future collaborations.

#jessicakatz #ywcaofgreaterportland #familypreservationproject

Jessica Katz (Director; YWCA of Greater Portland, Family Preservation Project)

Our Bold Voices (OBV) is a new and innovative venture that serves to elevate the voices of marginalized people while introducing new audiences to the non-profits that work to serve these underrepresented groups. Paul Iarrobino transforms lives by helping individuals to share their life stories in a way that thrills, chills, and moves audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

The May OBV event raised over a $1000 for Friendly House’s Vera’s Purse Fund, and we reached 100’s of potential new donors through this exposure. We are so grateful to Our Bold Voices and to Paul Iarrobino for his visionary leadership. It’s important for all Portland non-profits to have such a venue to get the word out to the broader community about their social services, and a transformative experience for the storytellers he mentors, and for the audience he engages.

#myachamberlin #friendlyhouse

Mya Chamberlin (Assistant Director; Friendly House, Inc.)

In September 2018, we were honored to learn our Women of Wisdom (WOW) program had been selected as a charity for the Schooled! Event, put on by Our Bold Voices. Founded in 2005, WOW remains the only psychosocial support program for HIV+ women and their children in all of Oregon and SW Washington. Despite progress to eliminate stigma and health barriers associated with HIV, there remains a tremendous lack of services for positive communities—especially for marginalized communities of color, women, and low-income groups. WOW is a program for positive women, facilitated by positive women. It is a program that fosters genuine bonds of sisterhood and belonging in a community battling isolation and stigma.

The stories of the WOW women are not often told. Paul’s platform with Our Bold voices gave our WOW women such a platform. Validating these stories and sharing them with the public remains the most effective way to build bridges of empathy and compassion. Each of us rely on these connections, as they unite us in a shared moment between storyteller and audience. We are hugely grateful to Our Bold Voices for elevating these stories and giving them prominence. Without them, the wider public wouldn’t see the core values of strength and resilience which define our WOW women. Thank you so very much.

#rachelboehm #questcenterforintegrativehealth

Rachel Boehm (Development & Communications Manager; Quest Center for Integrative Health)

Working with Paul and Our Bold Voices was amazing. Our event really brought together the entire Pixie Project community. It was a chance for adopters, volunteers, fosters, and staff to reconnect with each other and really hear what a difference animal rescue has made in all of their lives. Plus, it was great to hear how our favorite adopted cats and dogs are doing with their new families! We really enjoyed the entire experience and can’t wait to make it an annual event.

Development Director, The Pixie Project

#jessicaberg #thepixieproject

Jessica Berg (Development Director; The Pixie Project)


Paul Iarrobino, along with author and LGBT+ historian Jim Sutherland, presented an informative and moving World AIDS Day virtual program for the Henderson Libraries District. Paul led the discussion with empathy and skill, engaging our diverse group of participants. The discussion was so lively it could have gone on for much longer than the scheduled one hour. The takeaway from their presentation and discussion is how far we have come and how much farther we must go to end the AIDS epidemic. And the first step begins with awareness, which is what this presentation was able to do. Thank you!

#CityOfHenderson #HendersonLibraries #WorldAIDSDay

Rachelle Basso (Neighborhood Library Librarian; Henderson Libraries)

Paul is an invaluable member of our community. He brings laughter, joy, and lightheartedness, but also honesty and candor to everything he does. His welcoming demeanor immediately puts everyone at ease, and because of this, the conversations feel safe and comfortable, regardless of the topic. Paul has his pulse on the mood of the community, and responds with timely and compassionate programs that meet people where they are and seeks to both educate and comfort. Paul is deliberate in his efforts to create an inclusive environment where diversity is honored and recognized, but does not create barriers, boundaries, or hierarchies that could be an impediment to everyone being enriched by the community and the experience. In short, Paul is a wonderful human, and a wonderful humanitarian.

#michaelmurphy #hollywoodseniorcenter

Michael Murphy (Center Activity & Event Manager; Hollywood Senior Center)

Paul Iarrobino’s keynote on Navigating the Complexities for LGBT Elders: Creating Visibility and Inclusion at the OSU Gerontology Conference had the 400 attendees mesmerized with information on the challenges faced by Older LGBT communities. He is an immensely inspiring, motivating, humorous and engaging speaker. The attendees loved his storytelling and educational talk so much that they have asked him to speak again at this year’s conference. Paul makes a positive impact on the lives of Older LGBT communities by educating in a kind, informative and connected manner.

#sunitavasdev #osugerontologyconference

Sunita Vasdev (Gerontology Program Coordinator; Oregon State University Gerontology Conference)

Social Media

I learned so much in this festive, celebratory event.
Thank you, storytellers, for your gift of vulnerability!
We appreciate it so much, and we celebrate your resilience!
I dream with you all of tomorrow – when we will just rejoice over each human being, and get behind each so they may thrive!

#battleground #comingoutasyou

Ingrid (Parent and Event Organizer; Battle Ground Community)

It really was amazing. One of the speakers reminded me so much of one of my kids. It was encouraging and empowering to hear their stories

#battleground #comingoutasyou

Jasmine (Parent; Battle Ground Community)

It was an excellent, historic event. I loved all the stories, the MC, the feelings of inclusiveness and safety. It was so special!

#battleground #comingoutasyou


Thank you for putting this together! I had a great time <3 so many wonderful people sharing their authenticity! I look forward to many more opportunities of bringing our communities together.

#battleground #comingoutasyou


It was a great event. So needed in this community. Thank you for bringing it here.

#battleground #comingoutasyou


It was a brilliant night with amazing stories told by incredible women! BRAVO!!!

The diversity in stories was fantastic… yet all relatable — too relatable from laughter to tears, it was a great night.

Great job to everyone! So much heart, so much courage. I loved it!

Fantastic show! I’ll be back for sure

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening full of fascinating stories of courage and inspiration and love

It was done so well and an evening of uplifting heartfelt story tellers. I’m inspired to join storytellers in Portland!

Each story was powerful and unique- and the storyteller’s were amazing! So glad we were there!

The show was tender, powerful and engaging. Thank you.

Enjoyed this event as the first time for storytelling for me , very inspirational, thank you to all the storytellers.

Social media

T’was a fun show! I really felt transported to the places and time the story tellers were describing. Daring, “bold” , and brave folks! Thank you all.


It was a wonderful evening, full of lots of energy and five wonderful stories. Those women’s “bold voices” were a perfect compliment to the celebration of International Women’s Day. And the Family Preservation Project pitch fit in so well with the whole tenor of the evening.

I would call “Nevertheless, she persisted” a resounding success!

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