Most people may consider the art of storytelling and scientific discoveries as two very separate skills, but businesswoman Julia Damassa is embracing their connection.
As Julia explains: “Science is so imaginative. It is all about ‘imagine this’, and that’s how you make discoveries. Science is the stuff of great stories.”
It is this and her scientific hero Isaac Newton’s poetic words ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’, that has inspired Julia to run a series of storytelling workshops as part of this September’s Gravity Fields festival.
Stories have been a key part of Julia’s career, having invented the storyshaper to help build children’s communication skills.
Basing her design on ancient carvings in Canada known as the Peterborough petroglyphs, and the way that the symbols are universally understood by all who visit them, Julia created the storytelling aid and then successfully pitched it on BBC’s Dragon’s Den in 2010.
The experienced entrepeneur also won The Angel on Sky in 2012, which saw her compete against other contestants to prove she had six golden business attributes.
Outside of being an innovative businesswoman Julia is also a mum to 12-year-old Will, who has inherited her love of words and science to become a young blogger for the National Space Centre in Leicester.
Julia, who lives in Bottesford, said: “Will has come through storyshaper as a confident communicator. And he is the scientist in the business.”
Moreover Will has helped Julia develop her ‘Let’s Tell a Stary’ interactive show and tell sessions for Gravity Fields, where young children can learn about the science of stars through storytelling.
Education comes naturally to Julia as a former teacher, which she did before she decided to set up her own business in 2008.
However the 48-year-old is now moving back into a tutoring role.
She said: “I am that point, nearly 50, when I’m wanting to give back. I like working with young people and young talent. They are the entrepeneurs of the future.”
As such Julia will be giving regular seminars, including from September at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy in London, and has also been asked to speak at a business conference held at Leicester Tigers’ Stadium.
Not only does she see her mentoring role as important for future business, but also for the future of the Grantham community.
She explained: “We need to keep young entrepeneurs in the area. Locally it can give the area a lifeline, and so is part of a bigger picture.”
As well as young businessmen and women just starting out, Julia is acting as a consultant for those who have been in the business industry for a while, but need that extra advice and support.
She explains: “My experience as a businesswoman and a mum can help . Some people may be facing redundancy, or may have decided to take a break themselves, and I’m here to support them in getting back into work.”
Julia whose office can be found at the Old School, will be running these self-titled ‘Damassa Classes’ for adults, in addition to her storytelling sessions for children which she gives at schools, community halls and libraries.
Of course it is on the younger generation which she is focusing at Gravity Fields, after her and Will visited the first one in 2012 and were impressed by the spectacle: “It was amazing. Grantham was completely transformed.”
Now Julia is hoping to impress those who come to her workshops, which will take place in the George Centre at 9.45am on September 24, 25 and 26.
For more information on Julia’s other upcoming events, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07931 561940.