Founding Executive Director of Story Crossroads
Rachel Hedman competed in storytelling as a sophomore high schooler in 1994. Everything went wrong with her first telling, and she considered quitting. By senior year, she received 5th in State (Wisconsin) for Storytelling. Rachel launched the BYU Storytelling Club as a freshman; it earned the Service Award. She became first recipient of the J.J. Reneaux Mentorship grant from the National Storytelling Network, training with Don Doyle.
For 17 years, Rachel mentored California high school tellers and received the Arne Nixon Storytelling Award from them. She has been Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance Co-Chair, National Youth Storytelling Showcase Board Member, and Utah Storytelling Guild President. Rachel received the national ORACLE Award for service and leadership in the Western Region and the Karen J. Ashton Award for storytelling service specifically in Utah. For eight years, she served the WSU Storytelling Festival, became Storyteller Chair, and started the Annual Youth Teller Reunion.
Meanwhile, she completed her Storytelling Masters from East Tennessee State University. The adoption folktales thesis was defended two days before adopting two boys with her husband, Casey. They have since adopted a girl.
She kickstarted Story Crossroads, a Salt Lake county storytelling festival in 2016 and continues to expand it with the dream of an Olympic-level six-day event called World Story Crossroads no later than 2030. Currently, Story Crossroads holds year-round events from live to virtual shared in the form of performances, workshops, camps, and trainings for youth to adults.