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Awesome Member of the Week: Kristin Pedemonti Listens and Learns Before Doing

GOOD is featuring interviews of devoted members each week on Kristin Pedemonti is a cause-focused storyteller, speaker, and TED talks finalist.

GOOD is featuring interviews of devoted members each week on Kristin Pedemonti is a cause-focused storyteller, speaker, and TED talks finalist.

A 'Do' I want to share with the world

Whatever field or issue you happen to be passionate about, there’s universality in listening and learning.

Stop, listen and learn before doing.

It is even better when we understand the value of doing good, the potential and inherent talents of the population we seek to positively impact.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is what you’re offering what’s truly needed?
  • What talents are available locally and how can you form partnerships and collaborations?
  • What local ideas can you bring to fruition by working together?
  • Are you harming more than you are helping?
  • What are the consequences of the program or project you wish to initiate?

The common thread throughout my work history, whether it was in women’s clinics, the national AIDS hotline, or cancer research, was the power of story and the importance of listening. Those jobs laid the groundwork for my current vocation as a Cause-Focused Storyteller.

Since 2005 I’ve donated programs for 33,000 students and trained 800 teachers and librarians in how to use their own cultural stories in teaching and programming. I've gained far more than I gave. I learned to listen and to adapt and to provide what was truly needed as voiced by the local people. I learned to collaborate and creatively problem solve.

What I care about

We need to break the pity/poverty model. As I’ve traveled the developing world, I’ve heard over and over again, “We are more than poverty. We are more than someone to be pitied.” With a desire to break the pity/poverty model, I’ve been fortunate to become the Lead Facilitator for Artfully Aware’s Community-Created Book Project. We seek out local organizations and individuals who creatively problem solve as well as lift each other out of difficult situations and circumstances. We highlight stories of resilience, overcoming adversity and perseverance. We envision these stories being shared globally as models of best practices with the potential for replication in other communities and countries.

In Kenya I interviewed 66 widowed women who are now working on a farming cooperative created by Kenyan Jared Akeni. They broke tradition, risking being shunned by their communities after their husbands died. The women worked together four years, but until our sessions, they had never shared their stories. Afterwards, they realized they all had similar experiences and they felt empowered to help other women in their community. They are now micro-lending to other women in their community and making fair trade peanut butter.

We need to understand that everyone has a gift to offer and often all that’s needed is to serve as a catalyst to tap into that talent and release it.

Book Recommendation

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It by Robert D Lupton

My Manifesto

We can all learn from each other. Especially in this age of internet technology; it is easier than ever to collaborate and form projects across cultures and the globe. But first we must honor the fact that everyone has a skillset, everyone has something to offer and everyone has a story. There is so much good in this world just waiting to be tapped into and shared.

My Biggest Goal for 2014

Getting the message out on an even larger scale that everyone has a story and that story matters. Artfully Aware’s Community Created Book Project will continue collaborations in Haiti, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and, next year, in Colombia and Belize. We are always seeking partnerships as well as consultancies. We especially seek stories of resilience, creative problem solving, overcoming adversity, and sharing inspiration. We need help with marketing our co-created books to a larger audience as well as creating a larger social media presence. Our goal is to share the stories collected both in print and on-line with organizations, communities, universities, and individuals worldwide to illuminate Best Practices and motivate others to replicate featured projects and ideas.

If you would like to collaborate, partner or volunteer with us please let us know at You can also visit my website to learn more about my other storytelling work at

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