About

headshot_01Hi. I’m Stephan. 

I believe that every data-head can tell a good story. They just need a little help going beyond the jargon.

Hi everyone, long-time listener, first-time caller. A little bit about me: I’m a big-picture, whole-brain thinker. The former actuary (lots of probability, statistics, and product design for insurance) turned copywriter.

Well – I’m still an actuary. I’m an FSA, with the history of a 16-year career in life insurance, annuities, and group benefits (LTD and STD).

That’s all very left-brain, and any time someone hears that I’ve made the switch to copywriting, they’re like, Wait, whaaaaaaat? That’s so different!

Yes. And no.

Even when I was working as a professional actuary (Cash Flow Testing, pricing, stochastic modeling, reporting, spreadsheets, databases, GAAP, ORSA, AC/DC…), the things I did better than my peers were not about the data. It was about the message that the data could tell us. I.e., what does all this mean? And, more importantly, How do we clearly tell other audiences?

I once created a 20-page document (complete with a flow chart!) to describe the inner workings of a complex combination insurance product. That “how it works” document then complemented all of the other parts in a 200+ page Pricing Report, including everything from marketing specs to the final rates. The Chief Actuary told me he considered that the “gold standard” of pricing reports.

Not-so-humble brag right there.

I’ve also been a presenter at professional conferences, for co-workers in the insurance company, and for students interested in an actuarial career. I’m comfortable talking with anyone from the code monkey to the C-suite.

Sounds Like a Pretty Sweet Gig. Why Change?

Because, eventually, I could see that those storytelling skills could help others, too. If I can understand all these complex topics like data science, engineering, and actuarial theory, and I have the ability to translate those topics into more accessible forms, I should probably be doing that more and more often to help those professionals make their message clear.

So, now, I apply my storytelling and big-picture thinking as a freelance copywriter and consultant for those same kinds of companies. I work with software engineers, actuaries, data scientists, and other similarly-oriented professionals.

The problem many of them have is they get bogged down in their jargon, procedures, and task-oriented communication, rather than clearly communicating the important underlying message. I help.

I translate those left-brain concepts into right-brain stories. Been doing it for years, and I’ll keep doing it forever.

Yeah, But You Could Just Be Blowing Smoke. Prove It.

Let me reassure you that I know my stuff. I am AWAI Verified, which means that I have grasped the concepts of writing sales-generating copy, such as …

  • The proven principles of effective headlines, leads, full sales letters, emails and more.
  • How to instantly grab attention, connect with prospects, and drive ACTION — whether it’s to order a product, request more information, or donate to a charity.
  • How masterful copywriting can make a massive difference in marketing success.

Plus, I’m a published author. I’ve been writing fiction for years. I know my way around a narrative arc. And this year I published the Handbook of Content Marketing, specifically to help small businesses make sense of the many options available in the content marketing universe.

I provide copy for websites (About Me pages, campaign landing pages, product benefit scripts), newsletters, blog posts, grant writing, autoresponders, e-mail campaigns, and more. Please do check out some Samples of my writing. I’m proud of everything on that page.

When you need to get your message out of your head and in front of your best customers, business partners, or industry leaders, let’s talk.

 

AWARDS

2015 – Parasite Publications Character Award scholarship, Odyssey Writing Workshop, Mount Vernon, NH

2015 – Winner, Wisdom (?) of the Crowd, 2014 Forecasting & Futurism Contest, Society of Actuaries

2013 – Best Application of Forecasting & Futurism Methods, Calibration, Society of Actuaries Speculative Fiction Contest

2013 – Most Interesting Actuarial Career of the Future, Calibration, Society of Actuaries Speculative Fiction Contest

2011 – Best Application of Forecasting & Futurism Methods, The What Ifs, Society of Actuaries Speculative Fiction Contest

2007 – 2nd Best Overall, Condemnation of Fate, Society of Actuaries Speculative Fiction Contest

2003 – Best Use of Computers, Antiquity in Their Midst, Society of Actuaries Speculative Fiction Contest

1999 – Wabash College Glee Club Leadership Award, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN

1995 – Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award, Triway High School, Wooster, OH

 

TESTIMONIAL

“I really like your work. And I don’t like anything!”

 –Mike Spakowski, Atomic Dust, St. Louis, MO