“I Am Committed to Helping People Tell Their Stories” An Interview with Kim Maxwell, Owner of Kim Maxwell Studio
by Reynold Akison
Kim Maxwell Studio’s mission is to “teach people to launch their stories loudly and unapologetically into the world: to laugh more, risk more, and have bigger lives. Stories are what make us realize that we are not all so different,” Kim says. “Stories are what connect us. This understanding that strangers are not so strange after all is what creates empathy and pushes us towards social justice and change.”
The Kim Maxwell Studio offers a 10-Week Workshop class that meets three hours once a week for ten weeks of writing and developing personal stories. At the end of the Workshop, students present their stories to an audience at the Studio.
Kim Maxwell Studio also offers “Find Your Voice: A Women’s Writing Retreat in Leadership” by consultant and executive coach Gloria Miele, Ph.D. and Kim Maxwell. Find Your Voice empowers and inspires participants through a process of reclaiming the experiences in their lives through writing, creative reflection, yoga, dance and other activities.
The Kim Maxwell Studio offers private lessons and consultations, and business and corporate workshops in better communication and presentations.
Kim Maxwell’s style of coaching has inspired beginners and professional actors for over 30 years. From pre-teens to senior citizens, Kim Maxwell’s students, have gathered in theaters and other venues throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties to have their stories heard.
Kim Maxwell Studio is located at 226 W. Ojai Ave., #102, Ojai, CA. Contact Kim Maxwell at email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 805-207-7470; Website: www.kimmaxwellstudio.com; Facebook: facebook.com/KimMaxwellStudio
The Kim Maxwell Studio is a 501c3 non-profit company that relies 100% upon donations and class tuition to operate. You can make donations at: https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/fiscal/profile?id=2272. All donations are tax deductible and appreciated by Studio staff and scholarship students who benefit from their donors’ generosity.
Ojai Business Journal: What is the most important thing that you want readers to know about the Kim Maxwell Studio?
Kim Maxwell: I’m all about the ‘ensemble’, whether it’s a group of 10 people in a workshop; a team; the owners, management and employees of a business or the community. I help people invest in themselves and in their community.
People often talk about the things in their way that keep them from realizing a goal. I believe that what is in your way is your way. I help people discover how to use those things to get positive results in their lives and businesses.
OBJ: Who is your target audience or Workshop participant?
Kim: People in transition. We’ve had people from 12 to 80+ years of age take the Workshop. People transitioning include high school kids who don’t feel they fit in, recent college graduates having trouble finding a job and their calling, people who have had a recent death in their family, empty-nesters, pregnant women, retirees, and the recently-unemployed. We also have a scholarship fund to support people who want to take the Workshop but don’t have the money.
OBJ: Have people in the Ojai Valley been receptive to your Workshop?
Kim: Yes! Workshop classes and performances sell out. We’re considering extending the performances to three nights, and I’m thinking of adding another Workshop for adults. We offer a Teen Workshop for young adults from 14 to 18. I’d like to start offering a Pre-Teen Workshop again for kids in the 6th to 8th grades later this year. The local interest in what we’re offering has been remarkable.
OBJ: How do people book a Workshop?
Kim: They can go to our website at http://www.kimmaxwellstudio.com, where they’ll find the dates for all workshops. People can email us or reach us by phone.
OBJ: What’s the biggest challenge facing the Kim Maxwell Studio this year?
Kim: Growth. Our next evolution includes the launch of our new podcast - The Townies. The podcast will feature the stories of participants in our workshops and other friends and neighbors.
We have three goals for the podcast. First: to capture the voices and stories of our students to create a radio program. Second: to grow interest for the Workshop outside the Ojai Valley through appropriate online electronic providers of podcasts like iTunes, SoundCloud and others. Third: to create empathy for other people’s stories and give people permission to take the risk to tell their own story.
The Townies podcast will be like a non-fictional Lake Wobegon meets the Moth (The Moth is a non-profit group founded in 1997, and dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling). Ojai songwriter and musician Rain Perry will be doing the music for The Townies.
I would also like to teach other people how to conduct the Workshop. Many teachers have asked me to train them to use my Workshop techniques in public and private schools. Finally, this year I may bring in other teachers with a similar vision and goals to use the Studio.
OBJ: Could you describe the corporate workshops you offer?
Kim: We work with business owners, core administrators, managers and employees. The companies are often in transition or not achieving the progress they want for their company. We offer a workshop using writing exercises with prompts that help people open up to each other and get people to feel free to express themselves with others in the organization. We try to help people break out their old habits of communication that may not be working.
We also help people work on improving their presentation skills with a 2-day seminar-workshop focused on presentations. Our corporate and business workshops are very flexible and can run 1 to 3 hours, all day or for a full weekend, depending on the business’ or organization’s needs.
OBJ: What sets the Kim Maxwell Studio apart from other businesses in the Ojai Valley?
Kim: I have been teaching the Workshop for over 30 years. My experience as co-founder of Ojai’s Theatre 150 and the Ojai Playwrights Conference has influenced what I do. I’ve been immersed in the storytelling process with some of America’s most talented playwrights and many of the best storytellers from other fields. I have taken advantage of all these resources to build and improve my Workshop.
OBJ: Is there anything else you’d like to add about the Kim Maxwell Studio that we haven’t covered?
Kim: I love my work. Through this work I see the best of humanity every day. I see people who are willing to take risks. I have the best job in the world; I hope I can do this job forever.
OBJ: What one thing would you like readers of this interview to remember about the Kim Maxwell Studio?
Kim: Everyone is welcome. I’m committed to people and their stories, and helping them find the courage to reveal themselves to others.