10-27-15 Special guest Christa Price, the creator of Entre-Slam!

MEET CHRISTIE PRICE...IN HER OWN WORDS

For over 4 years, I've been in the excavation business helping companies dig down and find their competitive advantage. I love this work. Absolutely. Love. It. I work closely with organizations to give them the tools and training to be unstoppable and unforgettable.

Nothing gets me more excited than to reinvigorate teams that have 'hit a wall' or are losing momentum. There are many organizations that are just 'going through the motions'. They need to shake things up a bit. So, my job is to jump in quickly to help them (re)connect with their central vision, clarify (or redefine) the 'promise', execute clear, compelling messages and leverage those narratives across the company's entire operations. May your story set you free, right? Not product, widget or service. It's you, baby. It's you. It's the journey, the struggle, the pits and valleys and the big 30,000 foot vision that is kind of, sort of clear to you but not to anyone else. Let's fix it.

The power you're looking for? The answers to your questions about, 'why', 'when' or 'how'? All of them can be supported and lifted by your ability to answer the question, 'Why Do I Exist?' If you hesitated to answer that question, you're in good company. It also means that we've got some work to do.

Before the business storytelling years, for over 15 years, I've crafted visual stories for clients such as JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Marriott, Merrill Lynch, SIEMENS and The University of Michigan and many others as a designer and programmer. Before I worked with them, I was in the Army National Guard as a Combat Telecommunications Specialist which later led to my time as an Analyst with the FBI. Oh...way before the government stuff, I was a concert violist. (yeah...crazy story there)

So, my journey has prepared me to take on this excavation work as I help companies like yours answer the question, 'Why Do I exist?'. Once we get it all sorted out. I go away. Or not. (smiles)

THE BEGINNING

In February 2012, two, scrappy entrepreneurs in Ann Arbor, Michigan felt that something was missing from the many networking events available for entrepreneurs. Christa Chambers-Price and Jeannie Ballew felt that the networking experience could be well . . . better. They wondered why there couldn't be a night where people got to know each other as people first before a business card was exchanged, degrees and schools revealed and the list of who-knows-who was bandied about like a crazed ping pong ball match. They envisioned an atmosphere where people could share what's really going on with their businesses and eventually walk away from the night renewed and reconnected to the central nerve source of why they started their businesses in the first place.

They wanted the night to feel relaxed, comfortable and most importantly, safe. The stars of the night would represent the diverse, eclectic mix of the Ann Arbor community who frequently find themselves sitting in the audience versus being center stage. The stories would reflect the journey along the way, not just the end game or a higher game. At Entre-SLAM, we would celebrate the 'in-between', 'trying to get there', 'almost there and missed' and 'hanging on by the fingertips but hanging on' stories. Motivated by The Moth, they determined that storytelling would be at the center of the experience. Entre-SLAM was born. So they went to work and 58 days later they had a URL, logo, website, a venue, a date for the first one, and a mini-army of volunteers. A labor of love, the first Entre-SLAM held on March 28th, 2012 and the night was terrifying and magical. It was clear that they were on to something. The baby was born and Jeannie and Christa worked tirelessly to keep the new baby fed, warm and happy.

THE MIDDLE

After many requests, Entre-SLAM was moved to Detroit because with a crew of audio, lighting and video engineers, a director, a producer, and our fearless and ever patient volunteers, Entre-SLAM's operations were just too massive to run in two cities simultaneously. Wanting to keep their Ann Arbor roots alive, they partnered with Golden Limousine to charter executive buses to bring Ann Arbor to Detroit. With eight new Detroit-based partners, Entre-SLAM was well on its way to going to the next level. Entre-SLAM learned quickly the deep effort did not equal rewards as each monthly event got harder and harder to pull together and fill with bodies. Entre-SLAM slipped further and further into that dark place of the unknown and uncertainty. The business was being tested and one night found itself face-to-face with a similar event that launched on the same night as Entre-SLAM, literally three buildings away. Entre-SLAM and its intrepid crew were faced with the classic scenario of what happens when a bigger, better financed competitor comes and opens up next door. Entre-SLAM still pulled in its usual crowd that night, but the 'writing' was on the wall. It was clear that between the founders, exhausted bank accounts and crew, it was clear that something had to change. So...they made the decision to shut Entre-SLAM down for 'remodeling'.

THE YEAR LONG ODYSSEY

Over the coming months, it was clear that while storytelling was an important skill for entrepreneurs to develop, helping entrepreneurs FIND their story was one challenge. Convincing them to step forward and lead with what truly made their businesses unique instead of 'hiding' behind their product or service was something else all together. Christa kept working with entrepreneurs and discovered that few really wanted to reveal and expose the only thing that for many of them, was the ONLY thing they had left to hang onto: their core vision. She found that for many, the vision was hanging on by a fraying thread. Sure, on the surface, these entrepreneurs LOOKED fine but on the inside, they were suffering, worried and wondering if they were in the right place, doing the right thing, wondering why they weren't further ahead and were too afraid or exhausted to try something new. Extreme sure. But it was real.

So starting in Detroit where Entre-SLAM ended, Christa quietly started working with small groups at DHive and Techtown to discover what entrepreneurs needed. Over a 3-month period, she worked with over twenty entrepreneurs to test a process that helped entrepreneurs not just discover their story but build core, sales and digital narratives that worked. These powerful narratives increased the speed in which the innovator and their potential new partners could connect and make collaborative decisions faster. The results were powerful. The new narratives were amazing, sure. The real power was seeing the confidence in each entrepreneur rise up and give them the boost they needed to take on new challenges like building and executing a sales and social media campaign.

ENTRE-SLAM 2.0

Throughout the year, Christa heard from many of people asking, 'when is Entre-SLAM coming back?!'. Each time, she kept the answer simple, 'When it's ready'. Early in the 'shut down', she sat down with a very good friend, local investor-type guru (and resident pain-in-the-ass...we say this with love) to 'pitch' Entre-SLAM's next act. He slammed every one of them with lightning speed and zero buffering. Wanting to put her out of her misery (and probably get on with his day) he looked her in the eye and said, 'Look. This has promise. You just have to figure out what this is all about, really. Come back when it's ready and take your time.'

So she did...an entire year, as a matter of fact. Let's call it: The Year of the Ramen (noodles, that is...chicken flavored).

What she discovered was that Entre-SLAM is a platform dedicated to supporting ALL innovators and helping them find, define and own their advantage. In the past year, thet've worked with innovators who run startups, non-profits or are rocking a competitive jobs landscape. Innovators need a platform that connects them with opportunities and introductions while they receive both traditional and non-traditional brand, sales and digital marketing training and mentoring. Entre-SLAM is now ready to take on that charge.

Click Here to learn more about Entre-Slam and when and where they will be having their next awesome event!

Listen to our interview with Christa Price LIVE on October 27, 2015 at 11:00 AM CST, or download the podcast at your convenience.

 

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