All handmade by a team on a mission

At Digital Storytellers, we run by decentralised organising and Teal principles. We don’t have singular job titles. We are part of self-elected working groups and usually hold multiple roles, depending on our talents, interests, evolving needs of the organisation and the learning edges we want to develop. We also love wholeness and diversity. As you’ll see, we’re a bit like the United Nations of storytelling, and our people are multipotentialites.

Mikey Leung

Co-creator, Cofounder/Director, Cinematographer, Outreach & Advocacy, Geek, Dad

Mikey gets more shit done in 5 years than other people do in 10 lifetimes. He attributes that to being born in the year of the Horse in the Chinese zodiac, but we think he owes it to coffee. With over 15 years study in the practice of digital wizardry, Mikey has worked as a web designer, radio journalist and travel writer, before finally finding his spiritual home in the moving image. When he’s not behind the camera, he’s out advocating for impact storytelling and helping clients achieve their storytelling goals. He also does a killer rendition of ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ on guitar and vocals.

Over the course of figuring out what to do with his life, Mikey published two books, including the Bradt Travel Guide to Bangladesh. He also founded the Positive Light project, a crowdsourced and crowdfunded photography project and coffee table photo book that is changing the way the world sees Bangladesh. Today, he’s also a proud husband and dedicated dad of two adorable boys.

Mikey once left a DSLR on top of the car, and chased it for 2 kms down a bush track waving like a yowie. He also crashed our new drone at a team retreat. We don’t let him forget moments like these too easily.

Pete Dowson

Co-creator, Cofounder/Director, Story Engineer, Growth & Evolution Sherpa

Creativity, production magic and passion are the three traits that makes Pete the bursting heart of the Digital Storytellers team. With a strong emphasis on environment, sustainability and community resilience, and a degree in Commerce, Pete has an established track record in the corporate space, having worked with some of Australia’s largest production companies and events.

Today, stepping into his life purpose, he brings an extraordinary bag of tricks to the Digital Storytellers team. With three green thumbs and a cool head in high-pressure production scenarios, Pete oversees all post-production work at Digital Storytellers, and is our innovation, growth & evolution driver.

He is known for 11th-hour lateral strokes of genius (a.k.a. “unicorns”), holding the team to high standards with organic food, delighting in Thug Life, having a twisted sense of humour and saying yes to anything (as long as it does not have Chia seeds or Quinoa in it). He also finds blasting death metal on his headphones while editing strangely calming.

In his spare time, Pete is out halting coal mines and saving valleys. His vision for a better future involves growing the community of Impact Storytellers collaborating to write a better narrative for the world.

Peter Dowson
Sylvia Baumgartner

Co-creator, Executive Producer, Mum

Sylvia’s magic trick is to bend time. In her role as Executive Producer at Digital Storytellers, she brings extraordinary Austrian efficiency to our production, ensuring our film-making projects run on time, and in some cases, way ahead of schedule (she’s just that organised!). Her role ensures that valuable investment in our production work and storytelling creativity is spent effectively for maximal outcomes.

Seemingly unflappable, and exuding endless trust and positivity, Sylvia makes the million and one daily decisions required in executive production without the blink of an eye, and provides an eagle’s eye on quality, pushing the envelope on perfection, and ensuring the best possible outcome for clients and audiences. Sylvia’s other talent, is a delightful knack for making up her own fabulous (and incorrect) song lyrics and singing them with conviction.

Passionate about using powerful stories to provoke thought around complex issues, she loves showcasing human interest stories around issues such as human rights, equality, health and wellbeing. Sylvia has spearheaded storytelling campaigns for organisations such as The Australia Tibet Council, Suicide Prevention Australia, Westpac Community Leader Awards and Earth Hour’s Sustainable Schools Project. She’s also a proud new mum. A secret tip… if you want something done, bribe Sylvia with passion-fruit donuts.

Julia Lörsch

Co-creator, Executive Producer, Community Engagement

Julia brings nearly a decade of screen production experience to the team at Digital Storytellers, and comes to us from a background in broadcast fiction. As Senior Producer, she devotes her skills in narrative, image and producing to bring compelling stories to life. Her religious dedication to integrity in message and production means we create the most engaging pieces possible.

She has a particular interest in climate change, emotional health and the ethical economy as well as harbouring a penchant for at times somewhat crazy feats of endurance in the name of life experience, such as completing a half marathon soon after recovering from a knee reconstruction.

The most extroverted member of the whole team (according to the Myers-Briggs test), Julia never tires of people and brings a highly contagious and effervescent exuberance to the team. She is also an avid “Burner”. This self-proclaimed German-born diplo-brat is fluent in German, French and Austrayian, and brings her three languages, full passports, a wealth of international perspective and insatiable curiosity for understanding the world and its people, into each production she creates.

Natasha Akib

Co-creator, Stories For Impact Lead and Facilitator, Producer, Shooter, Editor

You know those one man/woman bands that sing and play the trumpet, pan flute, bass drum, guitar, loop pedal and piano all at the same time and still make it sound good? That’s Tash.

Previously Community Builder at StartSomeGood.com – the leading crowdfunding platform for social impact projects – she was primarily responsible for building the organisation’s community of international changemakers in both the online and offline world, coordinating and producing content for their extensive social media channels, speaking at conferences, organising and facilitating crowdfunding workshops, supporting campaigns, managing events and relationships. She raised over $150.000 in eight StartSomeGood campaigns in her time there.

Tash also worked at one of the first non-government newspapers in Bhutan, producing a promotional film documenting the history and vision of the newspaper, while studying Communication and Media at Macquarie University. She then worked at Vibewire, a Sydney based NFP launchpad for young people to ensure that they have a say in conversations that matter, where she become Head Editor and board member.

Starting at Digital Storytellers as our communications and engagement strategist, specializing in media and marketing for social and environmental good organizations, she then became a digital producer specialising in using the skills of film production, media and marketing for creating social impact.

With over 5 years experience in the social enterprise and NFP sectors, she now leads Stories for Impact, our line of capacity building workshops and programs that help changemakers tell their own stories for impact. So passionate and ambitious about empowering changemakers through the democratisation of storytelling is she, we had to stop her from cancelling her wedding to run a workshop at the Social Enterprise World Forum.

Tash is a proud and doting mum of a doe-eyed Staffy who never tires of pets and cuddles. She will also pretend the Wanderers played well, when we all know what really happened, as shown by the scoreline.

Zara Choy

Co-Creator, Business Steward, Strategist, Growth & Evolution Sherpa,
B-Keeper/Conscious Business Advocate

In the world’s best stage productions, there is always a backstage manager who humbly orchestrates every single on-stage event, thus ensuring the audience’s experience is absolutely magical. Yet, although this conductor is rarely seen, her stamp of excellence on the overall production is ubiquitous. Such is the effect Zara’s work has at Digital Storytellers, pairing storytelling excellence with business strategy and execution.

Her passion for business as a force for good is backed by nearly 20 years of multidisciplinary experience and diverse skills across computer science, market research, community engagement in arts for social change, and social entrepreneurship. She has a Bachelors of Computer Science from the University of Adelaide and a Masters of Commerce and Information Systems from UNSW. She was also co-founder and organiser of Carnival of the Bold, an arts for change initiative, and is currently on the committee and board of Conscious Capitalism Australia & NZ.

In a secret life, Zara is a dance slut, spending every spare moment over the last twenty years on ballet, Salsa and Argentine Tango dance floors. She also plays the piano and sings.

Here at Digital Storytellers, she is known for having an immeasurable number of open tabs (and being able to find them), being the spreadsheet person, and wins the title “queen of the night” for sleeping ungodly hours.

Devon Bunce

Co-Creator, Scribe Artist / Graphic Facilitator

Devon is our amazing scribe in residence. Full of curiosity about the world, she is a professional scribe artist who works at the intersection of illustration and graphic facilitation, where visuals are used as a way of sharing experiences and learnings – and making magic with metaphors.

Her special sauce is what we think of as “Colouring in Complexity”, transforming group conversations into tangible, meaningful and beautiful storytelling artefacts. Apart from being a visual artist, Devon also has a poetic way with words and an unreal head for thinking. Whenever she’s around, conversation goes next-level… and as we say around here, “that’s Metaaaa”!

Graduating from renowned Kaos Pilots, a hybrid business and design school offering multi-sided education in leadership and entrepreneurship, she is trained to work with systemic and design thinking as a means for organizational, business, and social innovation.

She is also a Leadership Development Fellow at Global Leadership Foundation, who works to develop emotional health in community through the guiding principles of self-realization, collaboration and stewardship.

Myrthe Reijnders

Co-Creator, Editor, Cinematographer

Myrthe will not leave the house without her keep cup. That’s just one testament to her resolve to contribute to a better world. Coming from a background in TV-journalism and corporate video making, she searched for a way to combine her passion for visual storytelling with a desire to do something good. Storytelling for impact turned out to be that combination, and she finally found a home at Digital Storytellers.

Myrthe in editing mode makes laser-like focus look like it has ADHD in comparison. She also makes the best bircher muesli ever, which has become a definite highlight at our team retreats. And beware — do not put her in the same room with peanut butter.

Myrthe believes in the power of storytelling to bring out the many perspectives of events and raise empathy. As an editor she is interested in shining a light on proud – shadier moments and everything in between. She has a Bachelor of Journalism and Documentary Making from Utrecht University, and is now in the process of becoming a certified yoga teacher.

When she is not editing away she likes to ride her bike to yoga and an inconvenient amount of foodie shops. She is always up for some serious karaoke or singing and loves to spend time outside running and swimming. Another multilinguist on the team, she speaks Dutch, English, Chinese, French and a bit of German.

Tim Foley

Co-creator, Sound Designer, Audio Post Production, Sound Composer, Musician

A magical production is not complete without the energy and power of music; it is in sound where all the emotion and feeling is captured and conveyed in auditory landscapes. Tim brings years of experience as a musician and deeply geeky aptitude with the craft of sound to our productions. Also an adept musician who now resides in Berlin, Tim is our sound designer by day (our night) and musician by night (our day). If there is a pun somewhere in it, Tim will find it. Put Tim and Pete in the same room and we have no end to some of the most cringe-worthy punniness.

Tim’s experience includes broadcast audio and post production in SBS and ABC, and post production work on documentaries, the occasional theatre, contemporary dance productions and music album productions. He completed a sound design apprenticeship, and 3 months full time study of music in India. He has also taught music workshops for young adults with physical and mental disabilities, and recording technique and drum tech in various institutions.

Four years ago, Tim turned his attention to new forms of music, sound creation and digital platforms once again, re-sparking his whole passion for sound design. He launched himself back into that world in a deep way, with a new hearing experience and understanding of sound after his years of musical exploration. More recently, living in Berlin has really opened his ears and eyes to new realms of artistic excellence and possibility. He is also keenly watching the how community based enterprises and the art world are growing closer together.

Armand Lespoir

Co-Creator, Client Development Lead, Musician

Without Armand, everyone at Digital Storytellers would probably hate their jobs because they would have to try and sell. Clearer than a bell with communications, Armand helps keep this ship running by responding to all the interest we receive with prompt attention and rigour of a captain.

“Dutch Direct!” is a saying we now have around here. And thanks to Armand, we get a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder if we waffle. With a Bachelors in History, and a Masters in International Relations and Affairs from Utrecht University, Armand absorbs complicated matters and theory like it were infant literature. He speaks four languages, which came in handy during his time working for acclaimed Dutch TV show ‘Metropolis’, helping collect stories examining cross cultural differences from all around the world.

Having studied Jazz Guitar at Utrecht Conservatorium, Armand moonlights as a consummate artist, thrilling your ears with his amazing vocal colour and virtuosity on the guitar. Another reason we love having him at our team retreats — we are treated to live musical interludes in the breaks.

He is also an avid rock-climber, so we keep him clear of objects with too much vertical surface, lest he try to climb them.

Daniela Benavides

Co-creator, Producer, Editor, Stories For Impact Coordinator and Facilitator

A filmmaker and conservation biologist dedicated to strengthening the narrative for social change, Daniela throws herself head, heart and hands into her work and vocation.

Before coming to Australia, she founded and ran ConCiencia, an innovation-driven education non-profit in Peru to promote environmental stewardship and leadership in rural communities, public school children and teachers. There, she drove environmental communication campaigns, built coalitions around the world and promoted education policy reform. Previously, Daniela was also Project Manager of the Peruvian Environmental Trust Fund co-leading conservation projects from Pacific ocean to Amazon rainforest, researcher and snorkeling tour guide.

At Digital Storytellers, she works in film production and coordinates and facilitates Stories For Impact workshops and programs. She’s a powerhouse of energy and source of never-ending smiles. When she’s not making films, Daniela is busy rock climbing, traveling, testing out new dance moves and navigating fire pits. She’s also a budding bass player and founding member of Dub Cunts, a band named as a (perhaps ill-conceived) nod to the Australian vernacular that fascinates her.

Daniela has a Screen Media degree from International Film School Sydney and Communications accreditations from Columbia University and Duke University, along with a Conservation Biology degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is also a Board Member of Coalition Wild, and a member of the IUCN Commission of Education & Communication. Her passion spans the arts, sciences and social impact sectors. 

We also consider this bunch a part of our Digital Storytellers family.

Belinda Johnstone

Website Developer

Cath Leach

Graphic Designer

Ed Coney

Cinematographer

Ace Roque

Cinematographer / Editor

Monique Upton

Editor, Stories For Impact Facilitator

Kim Ingles

Producer, Editor,
Stories For Impact Facilitator

Jayde Harding

Producer, Stories For Impact Facilitator

Tania Sheward

Stories For Impact Facilitator