Who we are

and how we got this way

it's a long story

I help people build their creative confidence and give voice to their stories.

If you could name one thing--just one thing that never bores you, what would it be?
For me, the answer is: stories.

Stories have always mattered to humans and for the past 20 years, my life's work has been giving voice to as many stories as possible. Business stories. Personal stories. Success stories. Failure stories. They all count.

About Jill Pollack

I’d like to think I’m helping create a Communications Revolution by teaching the art and science of telling a good story to people who may not think of themselves as storytellers.  And just in time, too.

The story a company (or a person) tells isn’t about a skill or product; it’s about who they are. That story can either earn you confidence and trust, or a swipe into the trash.

I’m Jill Pollack, the Chief Story Wrangler of StoryStudio Words for Work, founder of the creative writing school, StoryStudio Chicago, and Board Chair of Stories Matter Foundation

The crossroad between creative and business communications has always interested me, noticing how each artistic discipline blends and bleeds into the other. How can we make this connection even stronger?

I’m a true believer in the intense power of stories to change the world. That’s why I turned my career focus to the vital world of social impact. 

My commitment to students and clients is matched only by my commitment to making our world a better place. StoryStudio Chicago was certified as a B Corp in 2013, is a woman-owned business, and a champion of small businesses and entrepreneurs near and far. 

In 2019, StoryStudio’s creative writing school became Stories Matter Foundation, a nonprofit that is now able to reach many more communities and give voice to many more storytellers. The Foundation is growing quickly and brings together the school, The Chicago Review of Books, Writers Festival, and outreach programs.

I’m a writer, an artist, an entrepreneur, and a connector.

Most of all, I’m a teacher, cheerleader, and creative coach. I’ve been leading and inspiring storytellers of all stripes for more than 20 years and I’m on a mission to rid the world of boring business communication.

We love possibility…and collaboration.

Creative Writing at Work

Just like the best stories, StoryStudio is always growing and changing. What started as a school for creative writers morphed into a storytelling home for all types of creators working on personal and professional projects. (Read more about StoryStudio’s creative side of life.)

Words for Work brings those lessons of creative writing and storytelling to people at small businesses, social impact organizations, corporations, creative agencies, nonprofits, and innovate businesses who want to rise above the noise and truly connect with their customers and stakeholders.


About Story Mode

We like to say Story Mode is pure freakin’ magic.

I create and collaborate with my talented friend and longtime colleague, Beth Nyland  We call this collaboration: Story Mode.

You might know us from our webshops and workshops on business writing, storytelling, and presenting. Or, you may have worked with us on instilling a story-sensibility to your workplace. Perhaps you’ve been coached by us in a professional leadership program or heard us on a podcast.

We like to say, Love the Limitations, and Covid-19 brought us a lot of ‘em. Like most limitations, we’ve only gotten more creative in how we work with our students and clients.

We really are like no other company. Our teaching methods are an incredible mix of action, adventure, imagination, improv… all using plain old pen and paper, brainstorming, and clear language.

Read more about Story Mode and the many ways in which we can work you.

“We were never being boring.” Pet shop boys

What makes us tick?

Experimenting and throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks
Cups of Coffee, tea, water, diet Coke, and unidentifiable liquids we forgot about
The joy and awe we feel watching our students use the power of their own creativity
Happy Clients and students

A note about luck

I was once asked if luck has played a meaningful role in my life and business.

I responded by admitting that I don’t know how luck works. But, I do believe that we create our own opportunities by stating our goals and dreams out loud, and by meeting people and getting involved in projects larger than ourselves.

And, by saying Yes at the right moments.

You know about us. Now hear from some of our students

"No better way to spend time than honing storytelling--I should claim this class as a vacation day!"

Business Development Coordinator
"Amazing class! Learned a lot that I will not only incorporate into my work life, but my personal life as well. "
Advertisting Insights Team Member
"Insightful. Innovative. Creative. Brain-hurting. Confusing. Soul-searching. Meaningful. Worth it. Awesome. Tiring, but great. "
Content Marketing Developer