Karl DeVries


Senior Director of Multimedia

In 2 words: Intuitive storyteller

At Empathos: Weaves the experience into purposeful cross-platform narrative

Career: 25 years of driving stakeholder loyalty for blue-chip clients

Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts

Sideline: Sports extremist

A little more about me

He was on deadline that beautiful fall day, struggling to complete a client project on a weekend. Son Eli, then four, said to Karl, “Dad, let’s lay down here in the grass and look up at the sky.”

So they did. Eli wanted to do this with his dad, but Karl admits he needed the encounter much more than his son.

Karl’s seven children, ages 7 to 27, teach him a lot about life and his life’s work—art and design. Kids always seem to bring fresh eyes to an experience, an innocence and simplicity. His own children inspire Karl to experiment, to grab some playtime during the workday, and to focus on the positive. As Karl puts it, “you can’t think you’re going to fail.”

He supposes the same may be true of people with suicidal thoughts, and those who interact with them. When good treatment works, at-risk individuals can reclaim pleasure from looking up at the sky.

At Empathos, it’s Karl’s job to weave stories that can bring the fullness of human experience to light. The patterns, the commonalities, the storyboarding and story telling. All of this, together, to enhance empathy and understanding of the suicidal person—and best ways to help them.

Karl has lost two friends to suicide, and this informs his work at Empathos on projects that can drive prevention. His side interest in woodworking and refurbishing used furniture is perhaps a metaphor for this work: “I find what people discard and make it useful again.”