Vincent Preti (he/him/his) is a native New Yorker proudly hailing from Mount Vernon, just north of N.Y.C. Vincent earned his B.A. in religious studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he homed in on Himalayan studies and religious theory. After graduating summa cum laude, Vincent worked in education and communications roles at nonprofits including the Denver Art Museum and the Episcopal Church, before ultimately joining the StoryCorps team. Vincent is an avid tennis enthusiast (3.5 National Tennis Rating Program), a photographer, an urban hiker, and a certified yoga instructor.
What is your role and how long have you been in this position?
I’m the Manager of Learning & Engagement (L&E) and I’ve been with StoryCorps for a year now.
What does your job entail?
Our team brings the mission and interview model of StoryCorps to organizations and individuals in various ways. We lead a variety of engagements—from one-hour listening events to long-term recording partnerships lasting typically for a year—during which we provide training to a cohort of community facilitators in best practices to support their interview collection project. We also oversee StoryCorps DIY, our free, self-paced learning hub.
What are the rewards of your job?
This role provides a great platform for me to amplify the voices that are seldom heard. One of the ways we achieve this is through our New York City Community Partnerships program, which enables us to uplift a diverse range of underrepresented voices within the five boroughs. I take pride in our ability to support the storytelling of these individuals.
What are the challenges of your job?
Since I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have the experience of a StoryCorps interview, it can be incredibly difficult to say “no” or “not now” to potential partners. I want to work with everybody!
Another challenge is that people think they need to come to StoryCorps with a perfectly polished story, so we’re always trying to dismantle that idea. StoryCorps is about the experience of telling your own story—whatever it is—not making sure it’s a neat and tidy package.
Why should everyone record a story with StoryCorps?
In college, I pursued a religious studies major, which emphasized the significance of the experiential aspect of storytelling rather than solely focusing on facts. The stories we tell have a profound impact on the world we live in. As one of my professors used to say, “What is your self, but a story you tell yourself to help make sense of the chaos of living?” It’s life-affirming to be able to concretize the intangible experiences of life into a more tangible narrative.
What is your favorite StoryCorps story?
Through a workshop I facilitated, I met 12-year-old Mason Best and helped him prepare questions for an interview with someone important in his life. It was so satisfying to hear his interview with his mother a few weeks later, broadcast on NPR. Mason’s mom had cancer and a heart attack, yet he tells her, “your heart is kind of on protein powder because [of] how strong it is.” It’s a simple yet powerful story of how a twelve year old can support and love his mom.