Blog Viewer

Virtual Storytelling Event

By Bridget Mason Hess posted 05-15-2020 20:12


Thursday, May 21 @ 3 PM Pacific  |  
Facebook Livestream @USBGNCF

                                                           To view the Storytellers Event via Facebook LIVE Recording, CLICK HERE.
                                                                              Special Thanks to our emcee and all our storytellers!

Everyone has a story to share. This is especially true for the many hospitality professionals who specialize in people-to-people interaction, and whose places of employment become a backdrop for celebrations, for tears, for business meetings... for doing life. Storytelling is all about connecting, entertaining, creating empathy, and building community. Bartenders and bars are important connectors in our communities. To honor this spirit of connection and to support the hospitality industry, DIAGEO and the USBG have partnered with Storytellers Brand Studio, part of the USA Today network, to present a live storytelling event in support of the USBG National Charity Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Campaign of the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program (BEAP). We have assembled a group of hospitality professionals to share stories that you won’t want to miss.

This show livestreamed on Thursday, May 21 at 3 PM Pacific on the USBG National Charity Foundation’s Facebook page (@USBGNCF), open to all, and donations are welcome to the BEAP COVID-19 Relief Campaign!

About our Virtual Storytelling Emcee and our Four Storytellers:

                                                                                            Megan Finnerty, Storytellers Brand Studio

Megan Finnerty is a journalist and storytelling consultant. Essentially, she’s a professional listener, who likes to talk. It’s complicated. She’s the director of the Storytellers Brand Studio, which curates and hosts live storytelling events for brands and nonprofits. And she’s the founder and director of the Storytellers Project, a series of live storytelling events from the USA TODAY Network in 22 cities and growing. She’s coached thousands of people to share true, first-person stories. She graduated from Purdue University, and was a news features reporter at The Arizona Republic for 14 years. She feels strongly about feminism, cocktails, and NPR, and prefers a boldlip to a smoky eye.

                                                                                          LaShan Arceneaux, USBG Houston Chapter

lashan_arceneaux.png LaShan Arceneaux is an experienced event bartender who turned her talent for elevating cocktails with handmade artisan sugars into a business when she launched Three Lumps of Sugar. What started as a hobby has grown into a full-time job as she pours her artistic talents as well as her knack for educating other women about creating beautiful cocktails into this growing company. With a background that includes working as an executive chef, working for a large technology company in corporate America, and several years as a bartender at high-end events, it's no wonder that LaShan has become a mover and a shaker within the cocktail space.


                                                                                           Charles Joly, USBG Chicago Chapter

Charles Joly is a global bartending champion, James Beard Award winning beverage designer, content contributor, speaker and philanthropic enthusiast. With more than 20 years in the hospitality industry, he has helped usher in the modern age of the cocktail, while showcasing his talents at premier world events such as the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Kentucky Derby, and beverage leadership summits including Tales of the Cocktail, Diageo World Class, and Berlin Bar Convent. He has overseen several successful business ventures and has been a long-time member of the USBG. When Charles is not working in Chicago, he travels the globe studying and sharing his passion for spirits and cocktails by educating other bartenders.

                                                                     T. Cole Newton, USBG Board of Directors and USBG New Orleans Chapter

cole_newton.jpg T. Cole Newton owns two bars in New Orleans: the celebrated “cocktail dive” Twelve Mile Limit - often recognized as one of the top bars in the city - and recently opened “wine dive” the Domino. Originally from Washington, D.C., Cole moved to New Orleans to do full-time volunteer work after Hurricane Katrina through AmeriCorps. His first experience as a bartender began in 2008 working at Commander's Palace, culinary alma mater of Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. He later implemented the cocktail program at bistro Coquette, consulted bar programs at several venues in New Orleans, and is a regular contender in cocktail competitions.

                                                                                            Trish Renehan Vodrazka, USBG Phoenix Chapter
Trish_2.jpg Originally from northern Indiana, Trish Renehan Vodrazka lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband, Ben. Her first job in the bar and restaurant industry was as a cocktail server in 1984 at a dive bar. She later switched gears to work at an upscale restaurant and has since worked as a server, bartender, manager, trainer, and beverage director at various bars and restaurants. Her most recent position was as a Beverage Director for an independent restaurant group. She joined the USBG Phoenix Chapter in 2013 and has held several leadership positions in the chapter. As a tireless volunteer, you can often find Trish behind the scenes helping to plan USBG events.

Thank you for tuning in to this community-building event! To learn more about the Storytellers Brand Studio, visit