In early 2019, Authenticx’s founder and CEO, Amy Brown, attended a luncheon for women leaders in Indianapolis. The event featured a nationally acclaimed, Indiana-based storyteller, Sally Perkins, as its keynote speaker. Sally’s performance, entitled Digging in their Heels, was about the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.
During the performance, Amy was in awe of how Sally weaved historical facts, compelling visuals, and her own voice to captivate the audience. Since Amy had launched Authenticx as a data-backed storytelling platform for healthcare, she immediately saw the value that Sally could bring to the team. Within a few weeks of Sally’s performance, Amy and Sally met for breakfast and the relationship blossomed. Amy asked Sally to join her team and help bring storytelling at Authenticx to a new level.
Storytelling at Authenticx
Today, Sally presents data-backed stories to some of the biggest healthcare companies in the world. She helps corporate leaders walk in the shoes of their customers, through her immersive storytelling. After a recent insights session that Sally facilitated, one client stated, “Working with Authenticx has been so critical at getting our quality to the next level, so we can better help our customers.”
In recognition of Sally’s impact on Authenticx and its clients, she was recently named a TechPoint Tech 25 award winner. This award recognizes non “C level” team members in the tech space who help propel their companies forward. A key criterion of the award is a demonstrated commitment to the Indianapolis community. Annually, 25 of these individuals are selected for the award, and we are thrilled to announce that this year Sally Perkins is one of them.
We recently sat down with Sally to learn more about her background and perspective on the business.
As a Communications professor at Butler University and an accomplished storyteller, joining a tech startup was a completely new adventure for Sally. She was drawn to Authenticx because of its approach. “She (Amy) was telling the stories of people who are often voiceless,” Sally said, smiling. She spoke on the power of the work Authenticx does, and its ability to hear both the aggregate and individual narratives of ordinary people. “It marries where the world is going with technology and the age-old and very human feeling of connection,” she concluded.
When asked what was different about working in a tech startup compared to her previous endeavors, Sally chuckled and exclaimed, “Everything is different!” She mentioned that it was thrilling to be on the cutting edge of technology, leading the way in the tech space. She feels privileged to be able to witness the growth and development of the company and its software.
Sally’s Approach to Storytelling
Sally shared that her Authenticx storytelling and performance storytelling approaches are similar and that in both she takes the same three steps. Each step builds upon the others to create the final product.
- The first step is doing the research and collecting data. It’s rather like a jigsaw puzzle for her, which she enjoys.
- The second step is crafting the story – finding out which elements work and which ones don’t. This is the most exciting part for Sally, as she uses this step to bring the “characters” to life. In both performance storytelling and working with Authenticx, it is important that whoever is hearing the story can visualize the people in it. Having a connection with the “characters” is really important, as it draws out emotion from the audience.
- The final step is sharing the story, in one way or another. This could mean a big presentation to a client or telling a story to a large audience. In either scenario, all of her hours of hard work pay off as the listeners engage with her story.
Sally recognizes that she was an unconventional hire but sees the value that storytelling could bring to any tech business. When asked what advice she would give other tech companies, she said, “Hire someone who knows how to structure a story. They can help present the product in a moving, compelling, and accessible way. Anyone who knows how to tell stories knows how to capture people’s attention. Having talent with a background in storytelling (or something similar) could be a huge asset.”
Since the Tech 25 award criteria focus, in part, on nominees’ commitment to the community, we would be remiss not to mention Sally’s remarkable dedication to using her gifts to serve others. Within the last two years, alone, Sally has been involved in over a dozen non-profit or community-based educational programs. Among them, she has shared her storytelling talents with Indy Women in Tech, Storytelling Arts of Indiana, and Riley Children’s Hospital. Through this work, she has helped diverse groups such as ex-offenders, sick children and their families, and immigrants all learn how to create transformational change through the art of storytelling.
When reflecting on the difference Sally has made to Authenticx, Amy said, “Sally is a star performer, both on and off the ‘stage’ and within Authenticx. Sally puts her whole heart into her work and has led our company’s approach to data-backed storytelling. In her role, she has made a lasting impact on some of the largest corporate healthcare organizations in the world, by helping them truly hear and feel the perspective of the patients they serve. Because Sally’s background is in communications, research, and storytelling, her perspective has influenced our product in unique and important ways.”
We want to celebrate Sally’s Tech 25 award and congratulate her!