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Des moines Storytellers Project

The Des Moines Storytellers Project, presented by the Des Moines Register, is a series of live storytelling nights. The storytellers are not professional speakers. They're your friends, neighbors and family members. You won't hear a TED talk or a PowerPoint presentation; it is not a lecture, and it is not an open mic night. All of the storytellers that take the stage are people who have worked with a Register storytelling coach and put in hours of time to perfect their first-person, true story for the audience.


Cost: $10  |  Prairie Meadows Authors Pavilion, 6 – 7 p.m.  |  Purchase Ticket

Interested in VIP? Upgrade your ticket for a premier reserved seat and a complimentary beverage!

Meet The Storytellers


Bill Blank

Bill Blank has been a stand-up comedian for almost 20 years. He was born, raised and still lives on Des Moines' north side. He's married with three teenage children and loves touring the country's major comedy clubs.


Chad Hartzler

A country boy at heart, Chad Hartzler spent much of his life working in agriculture. He currently is the operations manager for a trucking company in Manson, not far from where he grew up. A father of three, Chad is a reformed gambler and has not filled out a March Madness Bracket in years.


Jacqui Kalin

Jacqui is a full-time barista at Scenic Route Bakery. A former collegiate and professional basketball player, she also has a blast working her own mobile coffee bar called JKafé. In her free time, you'll find her working out or snuggling with her miniature dachshund, Gimel.


Colleen Kelly Powell

Colleen Kelly Powell has been a part of "Ken, Colleen and Kurt in the Morning" on STAR 102.5 in Des Moines for almost 20 years. She lives in Clive with her husband and two children. She loves camping, boating, traveling and playing cards. She's excited to be a part of the Des Moines Register's Storytellers Project because it gets her out of her comfort zone and is a space to share a part of her life she hasn't talked about on the radio.


Sue Woods

Sue Woods is an ordained minister (retired) in the Christian Church (DOC). She is the chair of the denomination's National Assembly. Her eight grandchildren are being held hostage by their parents in four different states, which requires a lot of travel for negotiations. Sue is currently learning to quilt without any math ability. She and her husband, Jerry, live in Ankeny.


Li Zhao

Li Zhao lived in China for 25 years before moving to Holland, the U.K. and the U.S. With decades of international trade experience, Li is a top China expert in Iowa. She has received the Passport to Prosperity Award, the Governor's Volunteer Award and was named to the Business Record's Forty Under 40 list.

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