From interactive storyteller to oral cancer survivor and patient advocate, to motivational speaker….to The Story Doctor, evaluating the health and vision of every story to create connections, build rapport and inspire trust.
My name is Eva Grayzel
I’ve got a story to tell… (Survivor story in ‘rap’ on YouTube)
Part I: Becoming a Storyteller
My life changed at the sound of a bell. I was pursuing a career as an actress in New York City while intercepting boredom with interactive stories for 8-12 year olds at an after-school program. One day, the principal came into the room furious, “Didn’t you hear the bell ring?” she demanded. “This delay has caused quite a traffic jam outside!” Students protested, “Wait! Tell us the rest of the story.” Her mouth dropped. This was unprecedented – students begging to stay after the bell. Within 5 years, ‘Story Theater’ carved out a career for me as a motivational storyteller providing value-rich assembly programs, educational keynotes at Professional Day conferences and Teacher-In-Service programs on interactive storytelling techniques.
Part 2: Transition to Motivational Speaking
A non-healing sore on my tongue was eventually diagnosed as stage IV oral cancer. Tragically ironic for a storyteller! The radical surgery and treatment was devastating but my outcome was extraordinary.
A couple of years later, the ADA (American Dental Association) launched an awareness campaign with the message, ‘There is a painless way to know if this is serious.’ The voicemail I left on their 800 line was succinct, “You need to know my story and I want to help you.” They called back.
In 2003, for the first time, I told my very personal story in a public way, with 9K dentists in the audience at the Annual ADA Conference. My call to action motivated doctors from across the country to request a presentation for their regional dental meetings. My speaking career took off. Patient stories matter.
Part 3: A Calling to Patient Advocacy
As I contemplated my own extraordinary recovery, silence was not an option. I couldn’t stand by and allow what happened to me, happen to others. Dental offices seemed to lack the material to educate patients about oral cancer. Committed to raising awareness, Six-Step Screening was born. More than a personal choice, I feel an obligation to be a part of the revolution, awakening healthcare providers to the urgency of detecting oral cancer in the early stages and educating the general public.
Part 4: Using Storytelling to Build Business
After a keynote presentation at a dental conference, a Henry Schein sales manager confessed, ‘If my team could tell a story like you do, we would be golden.’
I was all in, “Let me give a workshop for your team on finding and crafting the story to build rapport with clients and inspire trust.” Three weeks later, a rookie to the team claimed it was her story that scored the sale of their highest ticket item. Since then, I’m hired to do what I love, what comes naturally to me: craft stories to have a meaningful impact and create a lasting impression.
A two-book series empowering children with coping skills and communication strategies when someone close to them has cancer.
A 12-page guide for documenting personal stories, an invaluable resource for future generations.
An oral cancer awareness campaign. Eva had been given a 15% chance of survival which fueled her passion to prevent what happened to her from happening to others.
A collection of short, easy-to-read value-rich stories designed to provide a motivational lift. These stories promote thinking about life values and can build a foundation living in a meaningful way.