Tom Burket

Chief Storyteller


The copy chief at the agency where Tom started in 1991 used to routinely say, “You can’t tell people what to believe. You can only tell them stories.” That totally made sense to our Chief Storyteller because he grew up immersed in the world of storytelling from listening to his parents and relatives who regularly (and often at length) explained the world that way. Being an avid bookworm, radio buff, movie lover — and then an early adopter of all things interwebs — contributed to an even broader understanding of the power of story.

Factual stories, in Tom’s view, almost always capture the imagination and inspire action more than fictional tales. These are true stories, the stories of our clients and the people they need to reach and engage to achieve business and organizational goals. As Chief Storyteller at CEL, Tom works idea-by-idea and comma-by-comma with client and internal teams to bring these stories to life with energy, conviction and longevity.

Tom earned a B.A. in English from Baylor University. He completed the 4A’s Institute of Advanced Advertising Studies in Minneapolis and is a member of the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. He freely admits to reading the Associated Press Stylebook just for fun.


Tom and his wife have two college-aged children and a Yellow Lab who—though everyone else in the family loves canoeing and kayaking—doesn’t swim, the story of which is a complete enigma. Tragedy or comedy? That’s your call. But it’s the truth. And you can’t make up a tale of a Minnesota-born Labrador Retriever that doesn’t swim.


  • Board member YMCA Camp Widjiwagan
  • Volunteer writer Quarry Hill Nature Center – Rochester, MN


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I’m probably listening to fiddle music right now while cooking mabo dofu or wafuu curry.