I just might have the best title of anyone on The Get Real Project team: Chief Improv Officer.
I have over 20 years of consulting on my resume, specializing in experiential facilitation, change management, leadership development, and process improvement. Eight years ago, I had the opportunity to help our Improv Guru, Shawn Westfall, with a client workshop. This sparked my passion for applying the principles and practices of improv to real-life business challenges. My clients tell me that the custom programs I create produce profound results for leaders needing new perspectives, creative solutions, breakthroughs in communication and teamwork, and a more nimble and energized workforce.
Somehow in spite of all my credentials and quals, I’m most known for my stint as Davy Crockett at Walt Disney World during college summer breaks.
When I’m not on assignment for The Get Real Project, I’m a Senior Associate at gothamCulture and the co-founder of The Village Circle Company. Over the years I have worked with an eclectic group of commercial clients including Adventist Healthcare, Booz | Allen | Hamilton, Chevron, Cisco, Deloitte Consulting, Google, Jet Blue, Siemens, and Super America, as well as public sector clients like Air Force Singing Sergeants, Department of Justice, New York City Transit, US Navy, and Veterans Affairs.
Credentials-wise, I have an MBA in Organizational Development and Information Technology from George Washington University and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University.
Somehow in spite of all my credentials and quals, I’m most known for my stint as Davy Crockett at Walt Disney World during college summer breaks. Being a performer and guest host gave me a one-of-a-kind opportunity to hone my skills as an entertainer and service provider.
In my free time, I explore the cherries and dunes in my hometown of Traverse City, Michigan with my wife and three young children.
I specialize in leading workshops, with a focus on our signature offering, Improv-ing Relationships. I also deliver interactive keynotes (with improv, audience members have no choice but to get involved).
“I knew we’d had a great session when the participants started discussing their next steps long before Cary’s session ended. We’ve had performing arts organizations work with our company before, but they only juxtaposed the funny. Cary integrated the funny into our practical work.”
, Booz | Allen | Hamilton
When I was a junior at Penn State, a few of my friends were exploring the Disney College Program, which was basically a really cool internship at Walt Disney World. I was totally bummed (technical term) that my engineering major didn’t fit Disney’s criteria; they preferred students of Hotel & Restaurant Management, Business, and pretty much anything BUT engineering. My friend Jen convinced me to interview anyway. We had to co-interview because the program wasn’t technically open to engineers and it was the only way they were willing to see us.
Not long into our interview, Jen and I realized the secret to success: being yourself. Not being engineers, Penn-Staters, or whatever we thought we should be. Instead, being real, authentic people who loved Disney and what Disney was all about, and who weren’t afraid to show it.
At the end of the interview, the Disney rep said, “you two are the most ‘Disney people’ I’ve ever met.” (It’s actually a badge of honor that I carry with me to this day.) She was right. (At least about me. I think Jen ended up swearing at Minnie. Wait—sorry, different friend.)
I’ve enjoyed sharing that Disney passion many times, many years later with my wife and three children every time we visit there. And to this day, everyone who reads my resume wants to talk most about what I did at Disney.
So I tell them about being Davy Crockett on the Explorer Canoes. And I remind myself that it all happened because I allowed myself to be Cary Paul, Disney Enthusiast, in a life-changing interview.
Entertaining, modest, dedicated dad, “Brad Pitt look-alike” (*Citation needed)
The Moon Landing. The creation of Disney World. The complexity of Stephen Sondheim.
Mary, Abigail, Anna and Asher (my wife and kids)
My family, my faith and my friends.
Meeting someone for the sixth time who STILL doesn’t remember me.
Die Hard, Gladiator, and A Few Good Men
“Your opinion on Facebook really changed my thinking.”–no one, ever
See “What brings me joy”
Hosting the Academy Awards.