If you ask Traveling Stories Executive Director Emily Moberly to comment on the nonprofit’s three-year Investee experience with SVP, she’ll tell you the partnership has had a huge impact on her organization, yet it is her own development gained as a leader that she values most.
When Moberly first met the team of SVP Partners assigned to Traveling Stories, she immediately connected with Lead Partner Philip Lurie. In 2018, Traveling Stories was reaching toward a series of lofty goals beyond its initial pop-up StoryTents. With more challenging organizational ambitions, came more pressure on Traveling Stories staff to achieve. Through their weekly calls, Lurie became a listening ear and sounding board for Moberly. “Philip is the best part of SVP…he always asks me questions, and then we have conversations… he has a strong influence in my confidence as a leader,” shared Moberly. Conversely, Lurie reported that SVP is currently his favorite involvement largely due to his experience as a Lead Partner with Traveling Stories. “Emily is so much fun to coach; she is like a sponge!” said Lurie.
Lurie and Moberly’s conversations continued weekly throughout the engagement, strengthening their bond, and driving the Investee engagement forward. “We took a real interest in one another’s lives” said Lurie. Three years of an Investee collaboration with SVP took Traveling Stories from five Story Tent sites throughout the region, to a Story Tent social enterprise licensing model, and eventually to a virtual reading platform with six complete pilot programs and plans to continue into fall 2021. Along the way, Moberly and Lurie’s dialogue built an alliance foundational to the success of the engagement. In the context of a global pandemic, “Philip and SVP helped shape this new vision [for Traveling Stories] …it was not reactive, it was proactive…he was willing to help me do hard things,” said Moberly.
Those “hard things” included shepherding Traveling Stories through a strategic pivot in its program offerings, securing a significant increase in funding, and developing its board to support the continued growth of the organization. Moberly credits SVP for empowering her to lead during this challenging time, “I couldn’t have made the big decisions I did without SVP’s support.” For this executive director, mentorship was key to the SVP Investee experience. Moberly’s passion for Traveling Stories’ mission was re-ignited. “Now, I’m passionate about what we do [again]. When challenges come, I am a better leader with a different mindset.”
As for Moberly and Lurie’s weekly calls? They are still ongoing.