Welcome to Fantastic B Corps, MyCorporation’s salute to the entity that gives back to business and society. Join us biweekly for a glimpse at the entrepreneurs using their small business to “B The Change” in this global movement for good.
What’s your story? At StoryStudio Chicago, a team of talented instructors help writers from all walks of life hone their craft and creativity. Founder by Jill Pollack, they’re on a mission to offer writing and storytelling training in a positive, open, and encouraging community where students can develop their unique voices. Read on to find out more about Jill and her Chicago, IL-based B Corp.
How we got our start: “I started StoryStudio Chicago in 2003 because I wanted to hang out and learn from other writers. But what happened is that my city has seen explosive growth in all matters literary. So as StoryStudio has grown from just four students, we now train more than 1200 each year in our Creative Writing and our Words for Work business writing/storytelling/presentation training program. Chicago is home to more than 50 Live Lit reading series and we attracting top talent to town.”
Discovering the supportive community within B Corps: “We became a B Corp and an Illinois Benefit Corp in January 2013 and immediately we became members of a wonderful community of business owners in Chicagoland. I was already running StoryStudio with a strong focus on arts development and community involvement so we were acting like a B Corp. But now I have strong, supportive, intense, fun, creative relationships with my colleagues. Not only has this helped me in running my own business, but we have banded together to address issues in our city around economic development and social impact.”
Finding success through continued growth: “The fact that we have continually grown for 14 straight years, that we a pillar of Chicago’s literary community, and that every day I watch our students find their voices and get their stories out into the world through traditional publishing, online posting, self-publishing, or reading in front of an audience. StoryStudio helps our writers stay current and have a voice in the world. This past fall we decided that stories matter more than ever and have expanded our class topics and our blog content to share more personal stories from voices that are too often suppressed in our society. After so many years of focusing on our students individual stories, we’re now focusing on the collective impact of sharing those stories.”
The power of narrative: “ One thing we do every day to B the Change is to give a student or prospective student the courage to stand up and tell their story. I’ve come to understand how powerful and potent this is.”
If you want to become a B Corp… “It’s the way of the future. Running a business is hard and it never gets easier. But at the end of a day filled with meetings and emails and problems and ideas, it’s a wonderful feeling to look back on the day and know that you have contributed to the world at large, not just your own pocket. For us, the ‘world at large’ is typically our local community. ”
How Benefit Corporations are transforming the world of tomorrow: “The future is bright for Benefit Companies. Consumers are already making choices based on this identifier and the millennial workforce has changed the way we marry work, personal lives, and personal commitments. Perhaps one day we won’t even need the designation of ‘Benefit Corp.’ Companies will be good citizens that exist to improve the world. Period.”
About Jill Pollack, Founder of StoryStudio Chicago
StoryStudio Chicago began when our founder, Jill Pollack, decided that she wanted to spend more time in the company of other writers and focus on her fiction. While teaching at another institution, Jill got the idea for StoryStudio and opened the doors in 2003 with just four students. Today, StoryStudio is one of the premier writing centers in the Chicagoland area, and welcomes more than 1,200 writers each year. StoryStudio Chicago is a certified B-Corp, a WBE Woman-Owned business, and a proud member of the Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, and Ideaction Corps.