Live Stories: Gowanus Edition

March 22, 2018/ by Olivia Ramirez

On Tuesday, March 13th, we invited our neighbors and friends to hear five original, true stories at The Yard: Gowanus. Our storytellers hailed from backgrounds in education, digital marketing, and e-commerce and have come together at The Yard from across the globe. Their personal experiences have impacted them significantly, and our resident Communications Coach, Dawn J. Fraser, helped them to share their stories with the world.

We’re so grateful to have Dawn in our community as a source of inspiration for fellow Yard members. Dawn is Lead Instructor at The Moth and Creator of the live show and podcast Barbershop Stories. Learn about her upcoming storytelling workshops, and gain valuable tips from her webinars, here.

Check out some memorable moments from our night of storytelling!


Max Kirchoff, Co-Founder of LAMASIX

Max Kirchoff spoke about an important shift in his life that occurred when he stood up to his father and taught him an unforgettable lesson about compassion.


Natalie Kaminski, Web and Mobile Technology Entrepreneur

Natalie Kaminski shared her experience of sudden loss and how she learned to embrace meaningful signs from nature, allowing her to cope with her grief and feel reconnected to the world.


Cornelius Minor, Lead Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University

What if you had to eat fish (eyes and all) for lunch every day as a kid? Cornelius Minor shared haunting memories from his childhood, consisting of begging his father to give him anything for lunch other than fish, a traditionally Liberian meal that relentlessly embarrassed him in front of his American peers – and the moment that he learned what it all meant.


Want to stay in the loop on news and upcoming events? Join our newsletter! 


Justin Brandon, Founder & Principal at Adaklu Digital

Justin Brandon spoke about his journey through the Adaklu District in Ghana and how it led him to founding his digital advertising agency, Adaklu Digital.


EV Fitzgerald, Performance Artist and Educator, and Illy

EV Fitzgerald opened her story with a few short words from a close friend, Illyana Ivanova aka Illy (pictured above). Then, she invited the audience to share glimpses of her youth when she yearned to wear conventionally female clothing but struggled with judgment from her peers, who often told her to be more manly. When she finally found a dress that fit, sparks flew.

To top off EV’s story, Illy spoke about her love of Gowanus and the community – and thoughts of being confused about where and what she was!


Our audience had an incredible time learning about our storytellers’ revelatory experiences. We laughed, we cried, and we walked away with insight into truly unique, magical journeys.


Special thanks to Dawn J. Fraser for coaching our members and helping them to instill change in the world. We’re thrilled to have brought this amazing crew together and can’t wait to see what else they cook up at The Yard!


From left to right: Natalie, Justin, Dawn, Max, EV and Illy, and Cornelius

Want to join in on the fun? Book a tour of The Yard: Gowanus, or give us a shout at to hear about upcoming festivities at The Yard.