Lesley Kontowicz, Creative Collaborator
The most powerful marketing is embraced through genuine stories that make an emotional connection. Lesley creates moments that help brands create deeper engagement with their customers and inspire new ones.
One of my fondest childhood memories is being tucked in bed, cozy under the covers, wide eyed and all ears as my larger-than-life father—a former college football player—spun a bedtime tale. His leading characters were always the same, but their adventures and mishaps to mysterious, far-away places were different. I relished every episode, focused on every word, developed images in my mind...
The pastime probably didn’t help me fall asleep, but it did help me become who I am today. I didn’t grow up thinking I would be a storyteller. When I was little, I wanted to be a race car driver. This was well before Danica Patrick crashed through those gender barriers, so most adults just raised their eyebrows when I professed this dream. As I matured, I wanted to be a veterinarian and declared myself a zoology major at the University of Arkansas, where, for a communications credit, I enrolled in the Theory of Cinema. And everything changed.
Soon after, I moved to the Big Apple, got my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinema Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and learned how great filmmakers tell stories. But (there’s always a ‘but’ that comes midway through the story), the need for a steady paycheck led me down a different path. For 20 years, I worked as a marketer in the travel industry, helping destinations and their constituents get their words out using print and online mediums. I reached the c-suite, a Vice President in Sales in Marketing, and decided I was bored. What to do? Return to my first love—storytelling.
Today, like any character in any good story, I’ve evolved. I’ve returned home, but home is different. Home for me is blending what I know of travel and tourism with what I know about telling stories, and I can’t wait to tell yours.
Shortly after earning her BFA in Cinema Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Lesley Kontowicz served as script-supervisor on the 1993 Oscar-nominated short film The Lady in Waiting and then was lured away from NYC with the draw of a regular paycheck in Tucson, Arizona. That led to a successful 20-year career in advertising and publishing. In 2010, Lesley left her executive position at Madden Media to return to her roots in filmmaking and her love of writing.
Lesley writes travel articles for her bank account, short stories for her soul, and screenplays for her visual imagination. Her travel writing appears on many destination marketing organization websites; her short story Trichloris was published by The Sunlight Press; her short screenplay, Bright Omen from a Black Raven is currently in pre-production. Lesley also serves as a judge at the Prescott Film Festival and occasionally takes a gig as a script supervisor. When she’s not writing, she edits.