Ad Exec + Storyteller, Colleen Hindsley


Today I’m talking with Ad Exec and storyteller, Colleen Hindsley. Growing up the youngest of 6 kids in a big Irish-Catholic family, Colleen learned young how to get herself noticed in the family.  And while people have always told her what a great storyteller she is, she never really thought about it as something special, until she discovered her side passion, crafting the stories from her real life and sharing them onstage.



Colleen’s episode on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcastCatch Colleen at Happy Hour Story Hour, Mondays @ 7pm at The Duplex in NYC

  • From Philadelphia, and a big Irish-Catholic family.

  • Feels that while she “fell into her career” in advertising, she now can look back and see the threads that connected them all.

  • How a vision of herself telling stories on stage came pretty much fully formed and led to her side passion in storytelling, even though she’d never heard of The Moth or the concept of storytelling in front of audiences.

  • Her childhood as the youngest of six, was filled with lots of attention getting because she was the youngest, and her family was rich for stories.

  • How Colleen got started with storytelling by just starting to tell a few people about her interest and then through a class at The Story Studio.

  • Colleen started going to workshops and surrounded herself with other likeminded people who were exploring their interests outside of work.

  • The acute grief she experienced after her father’s death led her to start thinking about what might be something interest she might want to explore; wondered if there was something more out there for her… at this time she was in a space of being open to new things, which is why she thinks her storytelling interest showed up — because she was open to it.

  • We dig into the many, many values of having both a career and side interests.

  • After seeing some early success within the storytelling community she set it all aside when her mother became ill and then died.

  • How earlier this year, an accident led to her returning to make space in her life for storytelling again, but there was a lot of fear and "stuckness" around it.

  • How her friend texted her about Liz Gilbert’s podcast opportunity, and she went for it and feels like it was meant to be because of the place she was in in her life. She was feeling stuck but also really open.

  • Her experience in talking with Liz Gilbert for the podcast.

  • Finding the ability to appreciate her innate gifts as a storyteller.

  • Experiencing the discomfort and lack of ease around being a beginner with a new project she’s working on — a one woman show of her stories.

  • Yet again I reference the Ira Glass video I love about being a beginner.

  • On feeling “good enough to be” exactly where she is right now, and how that’s pretty good!

  • When she was injured there was a lot of anxiety around her recovery, but she didn’t recognize that the seven week break was really helpful for helping her move to the next phase in her life until later, but now she can look back and see that it was.

  • Also the choices she made during that stretch, limiting TV and trying to give herself space for something else, even though she didn’t know what it was yet…. really did help her move forward.