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
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
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.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.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.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 ProjectJessica Berg (Development Director; The Pixie Project)
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.Sunita Vasdev (Gerontology Program Coordinator; Oregon State University Gerontology Conference)
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.—Bobby
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!—Maryann