About Us

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Our Vision

Our Vision is to create, grow, and sustain an inclusive movement of people and communities around the world who strive to explore and understand their own stories and the experiences of others.

Our Mission

Our mission is to create space for people to experience the compelling authentic stories of real people and to find the common threads that tie us together as human beings.


Our Team

Lillian Dunlap, Ph.D.

Executive Director /
Co-Founder &
Interim Board Member

Lillian is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Your Real Stories, Inc., and Co-Creator/Director of its Decades of Day Work and St Pete Stories series and the annual week-long storytelling festival, Story Days in Tampa Bay. Lillian is a former television news reporter/anchor/producer and former professor at Indiana University, the University of Missouri School of Journalism and resident faculty at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Lillian holds an undergraduate degree in music from Defiance College and a master of music education (voice) and Ph.D. in communication and culture from Indiana University. She is a founding director of I.U.’s African American Arts Institute and longtime diversity and inclusion coach. Lillian has coached professors at over 40 U.S. universities, and journalists and media managers on four different continents. Among her clients are the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the University of Central Lancashire (UK), and the Association of Independent Journalists in Belgrade, Serbia.

Jaye Annette  Sheldon

Artistic Director /


Jaye is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Your Real Stories, Inc., and the Co-Creator and Director of the Decades of Day Work and St. Pete Stories series. Together with Dr. Lillian Dunlap, she has written over 70 original scripts based on the lives of local community members. Jaye is a graduate of both Colgate and Syracuse Universities, and has studied acting and directing with Jerome Kilty, Jonathan Miller, and Lucy Bailey. She holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance, was a member of the voice faculty at St. Lawrence University, and maintains a private voice studio in St. Petersburg, FL. She has appeared onstage at Glimmerglass Opera. Locally, she has appeared in Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens and The last Days of Judas Iscariot at the Space Tampa. Jaye composed original music for Intimate Apparel and served as voice coach for The Pitmen Painters at American Stage Theatre. Directorial credits include: Assistant Director of the World Premiere of Cheryl West’s Holiday Heart with Director Tazewell Thompson.​

Board of Directors

Teresa A. Nixon
Advantage Environmental Services

Linda Steele
Owner of Steele Advertising


Rachel Harrison

E. “Stella” Sanders

Advisory Council

Valerie Hyman

Yvonne Scruggs Leftwich, Ph.D.

Frank Wells

Cheri Ashwood

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