Since joining the Compass Group family eight years ago, Vice President of Corporate Communications ANN SHERIDAN has proved a deft storyteller. In keeping with the Women’s History Month theme of “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories,” here’s what she has to say about who inspired her, what drew her to the communications field, and what makes a great storyteller.
“My father spent a lot of time talking to us! His parents immigrated from Italy, and he had so many stories about his life. He was a great storyteller, very funny and warm. I think I discovered my love of storytelling from him. I was the editor of my middle school newspaper, the editor of my high school yearbook and even wrote for local papers in my hometown. Telling great stories was something I loved to do, like other kids enjoyed sports! In college, I was determined to be a TV reporter and got an internship at a TV station in D.C. The team at that station spent time teaching and coaching me. Those mentorships meant the world to me and today I work with young journalism students, offering writing and career advice.
“Stories resonate with people. They’re memorable. And every one of our 280K associates has a story to tell. I remember when I first started at Compass as the Communications Specialist for Canteen, I was tasked to write the newsletter. At that time, the newsletter was factual; it didn’t have many stories about our associates. I started to tell people stories, quite honestly, because as a former reporter, I knew how to do that and didn’t know much else! I remember someone saying to me, ‘You can’t do that forever. You’re going to run out of stories.’ That’s when I knew I had something to contribute. We will never run out of stories about our great people!
“To be a ‘great’ storyteller, you have to be vulnerable. Great storytelling makes people ‘feel’ something, and you can’t make people feel something
, if you don’t feel deeply too. Can you tell the stories of your life and the moments that mattered to you? Whether it’s work, family, failure or success? To get to the heart of the story, you must have heart. It’s corny to admit, but when I’m writing stories about our people, I often cry or laugh, or pick up the phone and try to get to know the person even better.”