Your storyteller

Storytelling has occupied a central role in my life. Growing up in my hometown of Washington, Illinois, I spent hours after school and in the summer creating worlds with the spaces and things around me. That was how I had fun. I loved imaginary worlds, developing a strong love for the Star Wars universe thanks to my mom and for Lord of the Rings. My friends and I would reenact scenes from the movies on the playground during recess, quoting the lines word-for-word.

Stories are all around us, and I love a good one. For me, the history of the Soviet Union and Russia was that story. I went to college to study Russian, spent a year in St. Petersburg, and decided I wanted to live there. That led me to my first job in storytelling: teaching. I worked with others to give them the ability to tell their stories in English to the world, whether by speaking or writing.

My years as a teacher honed my writing and storytelling skills. To create engaging lessons, I developed role-playing games and made-up worlds for my students. I wrote, a lot, for students and colleagues, learning to keep it short and sweet. While developing courses, I cultivated the invaluable skill of asking questions. I interviewed subject-matter experts to then translate their knowledge into consumable information for others.

Now I want a writing-focused career, which is how I came to copywriting. The creative process of devising a message that can be only 90 characters long but should convey my clients’ USP is invigorating! It’s brainstorming, jotting down ideas, asking questions, clarifying, writing, revising, writing, and I love it all. I had these in my previous work, but they always took second place. Now, I can do them all the time.

Put me to work and I’ll put my energy to work for you!

Contact me via email or LinkedIn today.

Want to learn more about me?

Read on!

The basics:

Free time activities: Walking (wandering), writing, movies, baking

Favorite food: Pizza

Tea or coffee? TEA! Black and strong. I drink tea all day.

Movies: Action, Fantasy, drama (Favorites: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Kingdom of Heaven)

Books: same genres as movies plus non-fiction on psychology and history (Favorites: A Song of Fire and Ice, Dracula)

The details:

Starting in high school, I caught an itch to travel and explore new places. Along with that, I became interested in languages and communicating with people around the world. In high school, I studied French but I had always had an interest in the Soviet Union and Russia, which came from an early childhood interest in the history of World War II, along with a love of James Bond movies. That led me to pursue a degree in Russian Studies and Political Science at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. If you asked me then what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said something about being a diplomat. Communicating with other people and building bridges was something I loved to do. My path took a different direction, which I'll get to in a bit.

The tram (tramvai) is a classic form of public transportation in St. Petersburg.

During my third year, I studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia with the goal of improving my Russian language skills. I came for the school year and ended up staying for the summer as well. I fell completely in love with the in the city of St. Petersburg and the people. I took the opportunity to travel around Russia as well, trying to learn as much as I could about the country. I also met and fll in love with my future wife. After returning to the US, I knew I wanted to steer my life in a direction that put me back in Russia. I then turned to a career in teaching English. After a year teaching on the Fulbright Program in Kyzyl in the Republic of Tyva in southern Siberia, I returned to St. Petersburg.

From 2014-2022, I lived in St. Petersburg, teaching English as well as doing a two-year M.A. program in Russian History (storytelling once again called). I grew from teaching general English courses to more specialized courses for university students in IT and ecology. I focused special attention on teaching my students to present their ideas and argue them properly in both written and oral speech. I also prepared courses, workshops, and other events for my teaching colleagues to support their professional development. I then moved on to the management side of education and became an Assistant Director of Studies, overseeing the teaching operations of one of three schools that belongs to a language school. I also decided to begin to explore video game development to see how I could connect it to my teaching and to explore potential career options.

February 24th, 2022 changed a lot in my life. Russia launched it's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and I, like many others in Russia and throughout the world, was shocked and horrified. My wife and I made the very difficult decision to leave Russia and a month later, we said goodbye to St. Petersburg, our home, and went to Yerevan, Armenia, where we lived for five months before moving to our current home, Tbilisi, Georgia.

With the upheavals occurring in my life in the past year, I decided to make changes in my career and begin pursuing my writing in a full-time capacity. It's been difficult, to be honest, but that's really no surprise for most people who've lived on planet Earth. There's still uncertainty, but I know what I want to do: tell stories and write. So, I'm making that happen!

The Cascade in Yerevan, Armenia.

Narikala Fortress as seen from the Botanical Gardens in Tbilisi, Georgia.