10 Questions with Gina Cavalier
10 Questions with Gina Cavalier
Story District super volunteer Louise Dettman recently sat down with Story District Board Member Gina Cavalier to learn more about one of Story District's newest board members.
How did you come to know Story District?
Many years ago, a dear friend invited me to a 2nd Tuesday performance to support his storytelling-friend. It was love at first show.
Have you taken classes or been a teller? Not yet! A very kind and wise woman recently commented to me that storytelling is a two-party exercise: the best storytelling requires both a storyteller, and (at least one) person to listen to the story. (Not that the stories we tell ourselves aren’t riveting and important.) While I think I’m best suited as a listener, I plan to take some classes and find out for sure.
What do you like about Story District?
I’m always amazed by the bravery of storytellers — especially first-time tellers — and impressed by their polish and composure while sharing personal experiences in a public venue. That type of courage is inspiring and helps put everyday nonsense in perspective. Shows are also highly entertaining. Story District tellers are cool, have a great sense of humor, and a profound command of badassery. Finally, Story District performances are a shared personal, in-person experience; refreshingly low-tech in a high-tech world.
In what areas can Story District grow?
I tend to think the more Story District, the better, but realize that growth is an important topic to assess strategically. One idea for consideration is more types of shows — I could definitely envision smaller-venue performances (in addition to, not in lieu of the existing schedule), potentially utilizing the new space. I also think Story District could be more widely leveraged in the corporate context, whether at company-retreats, or workshops for employees. The art of storytelling has so many different applications and benefits; it is a useful tool for enhancing everyday communications and building connections between colleagues, as well as reinforcing the identity of a business and cultivating a personal brand.
What made you want to join the board?
I’m committed to Story District’s mission and believe this is one way to be able to contribute to its continued success. It’s a very special organization — I very much wanted to be a part of it, and have a more active role. I’m thrilled to be joining the Board and look forward to working with the Story District community.
What experience/perspective do you bring? I’ve seen the city evolve over more than two decades — attending law school here, and working and living in various parts of the District over the years (as well as in adjacent cities in Northern Virginia). I’ve watched DC increasingly flourish, and become an even more vibrant center (and destination) for culture, arts, entertainment, food, et cetera. This, as well as my professional experience as a lawyer, informs my perspective. Combining this vantage point with my appreciation for Story District as an important DC tradition, member of the community, and contributor to arts and humanities, I hope to have a unique (and positive) impact on the organization.
What do you hope to accomplish?
I want to help successfully shepherd Story District through growth and change, while preserving its distinctive culture.
What do you think makes a good story? In my view, a good story covers a topic the storyteller feels deeply about, and is told simply with well-chosen words and lots of candor. If all else fails, I think redemption, baby animals and illegal substances (not necessarily in that order or together) generally tend to be the makings of a good story.
Tell us the story of you in six words.
My copy had the most marginalia.
Why is storytelling important?
I think it’s a great reminder system. At least for me. It is a reminder that we have things in common (lots of things, surprising things, or just random things) with most other people. And it’s a wonderful reminder, when everything seems excruciatingly mundane, that so many people (all around us) have had remarkable experiences, and live extraordinary lives. Finally, storytelling is a reminder that we have some choice in how (and whether and when) we tell a story, some control over how we choose to describe our experiences, and this, sometimes, makes a big difference.