Traverse City Event, Fulfillament, Empowers Entrepreneurs

Fulfillament uses live storytelling to encourage local entrepreneurs in Traverse City. Frequent Traverse Magazine contributor Emily Bingham talks with the life coaches who organized the inspiring Northern Michigan event. This article was originally published in the November 2015 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.


Chelsea Bay Dennis and Shea Petaja were taken aback when they heard this statistic from a recent Gallup poll: that 70 percent of American workers are either disengaged at work or doing just enough not to get fired. The two Traverse City life coaches felt called to do something about that, so they created Fulfillament, a live storytelling event that puts the spotlight on local entrepreneurs and community leaders with stories to share about pursuing their passions—including the good, the bad and the ugly.

“As life coaches, we’ve seen that when people are real and honest and genuine, that’s when transformation takes place,” Petaja says. “The audience can listen to the hard stuff, not just the success. We want to hear the backstory: Oh, this actually took 20 years to happen? Or you lost friends over this? Or you had to move? Or you went bankrupt? The stories are just incredible, of how people persevere.”

The goal is to inspire creativity, courage and empowerment throughout the community, but not just with ideas—after each event, a $500 grant is awarded to an audience member who needs a financial boost to get their great idea off the ground. Says Dennis, “We want people to come alive and love what they do.”

Fulfillament is held three times a year, and stories are archived online. The next event is January 28; more information available at fulfillamentstories.com.


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