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Whether speaking at public schools, fundraisers, or corporate retreats Mark Yaconelli tells soulful, humorous, and true-life stories that inspire.  Mark has used his narrative gifts to help non-profit organizations (such as the St. Helena Boys and Girls Club, the Afghan Child Project, Compassion International, the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Ashland Hospice, and many others) communicate the heart of their mission both to their volunteers and supporters.  He is the founding director of The Hearth: Real Stories by Regular Folks a storytelling series in Southern Oregon that invites local people to tell true stories based on a theme.  Mark leads creative retreats entitled “What’s Your Story?” that involve personal healing, creative awakening, and a deepening connection with self and others through narrative, creative, and contemplative exercises.   Using a process he’s developed entitled “The Inside Story,” Mark helps communities and organizations discover, celebrate, and communicate their corporate identity and vision.  Mark  has recently completed a story-based show entitled “The Hidden Life of Human Beings,” which will debut in early 2011.  For further information on Mark’s storytelling skills and projects see below.

The Hearth: Real Stories by Regular Folks

Intermission at The Hearth’s summer storytelling event, “True Tales from Childhood.”

On Valentines Day in 2010, in front of an over capacity crowd a the Caldera Tap House, Mark Yaconelli hosted the first night of “The Hearth” Southern Oregon’s own true-life storytelling series. Now every quarter Mark gathers a handful of local folks to tell a true story, first person, based on a theme. Past themes include: “Changed: True Tales of Transformation,” “Letting Go: Stories of Loss,” and “Into the Wild: Wilderness Tales.” Each event includes live music and all proceeds go to charities based in Southern Oregon.  Events often sell-out and are now held at the United Church of Christ in Ashland, Oregon.  For more information go to The Hearth.  To see the Ashland Daily Tidings profile of the Hearth go here or feature article in the Jefferson Monthly go here.

The Inside Story: Helping Communities and Organizations Discover and Deepen Their Identity and Purpose

Using his training and experience in contemplative listening, group process, and narrative arts, Mark works with communities and organizations to help discover, create, and document their corporate or communal story.  He then crafts this story in presentation and in writing to help communities and organizations celebrate their identity and clarify their shared purpose.

Mark’s tales of love, romance, and the search for true human connection, touched people’s hearts, minds, and bodies.  His stories evoke laughter and tears…all joyous.  He created a popular and special event.”–Frank Sottile, Executive Director St. Helena Boys and Girls Club

“Mark’s unique style captivated and inspired us at a Valentines Day fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Helena and Calistoga.  His program not only touched our hearts and souls but inspired  us to reach for the lessons of love, patience and forgiveness every day of the year.  We could listen to him again and again and hope to do so soon.  He receives our highest recommendation to get audiences motivated and ready for action!”–Kathleen A. Herdell, President Boys and Girl’s Club St. Helena & Calistoga

This is Your Life: A Retreat in Self-Discovery

A retreat for people who long to come home to themselves.  Using a variety of storytelling, creative, and contemplative practices, participants explore the dynamics of their own history, fears, and longings in order to deepen their own sense of self and calling. Based on over fifteen years of leading contemplative retreats in the United States and United Kingdom, Mark brings a collection of gifts as a spiritual director, contemplative teacher, and storyteller to create a safe place in which people can identify and respond to their deepest yearnings.

Next retreat will be scheduled in February 2011. Location and dates to be announced.

The Secret Lives of Human Beings

In this one-man show Mark tells humorous and heart-stirring tales of the human struggle for connection.  Using stories from his own life as a husband, father, spiritual seeker, teacher, and spiritual guide, Mark has a dynamic  capacity to touch the heart and awaken the soul.



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