Writing is an Introvert’s Best Friend: Meet Myles

Myles holds a pen and looks off to the side

Behind every great team is an incredible intern. The Minerva team has been lucky to have Myles Cabanos this fall and winter to make our team stronger and smarter. We sat down with Myles to learn more about his background, and what led him here to be our rockstar Minerva intern.

Where are you from, where do you live? 

I was born in Seattle and was raised in Mukilteo where I continue to live today. It was nice to grow up in a small community, where I have lifelong friends. I have been here for most of my life and consider it my forever home. I am lucky to be surrounded by family—I went to school with some of my cousins and grew up around my aunts and uncles that I look up to because they are all so hard working. I feel grateful to be working at Minerva Strategies where so many of our clients impact this area.  

Can you talk about your academic history, and how you became interested in communications? 

I started out at Cascadia College – a local community college – but I wasn’t until I went to UW Bothell that I found a strong direction with a major in media and communications. It’s a versatile degree, and so important since we are constantly communicating, across contexts and the world, and shared understanding is so important. I feel more comfortable and express myself better in writing than in conversation, though I try to switch it up. I am an introvert, but I love communicating and being social, as long as I can get some time alone afterwards.  

Myles wears a purple and gold University of Washington hat with a yellow dandelion tucked behind his ear. He is surrounded by greenery and trees
Myles representing UW on a hike last summer.

We know that you have a passion for telling stories, can you talk about that?  

When I got to college, I was pretty lost. I wanted a guide so I decided to become one. I shared what I learned through my own adjustments, and that helped me work with other students. With so many voices on campus, it’s really easy to feel lost. I wanted other students to feel heard. This is also how I fell in love with stories. I see things from others’ point of view, and often people are too self-centered to conceive of the other paths and stories around them.  

When I’m in the middle of a story, it’s in the state of possibility, where anything can happen.  

You had a unique start to your Minerva experience, when you were able to meet the full team in person on your first week—how was it? 

I was so nervous at first, I felt like throwing up. But once I got over that, I loved it. I really did. I love meeting new people, even if it’s a bit overwhelming. It was amazing that I had only spoken with people through screens, and when I met them in person it really did feel like I already knew them.  

It’s amazing how much work you can do with so much laughter all around. Everyone was so friendly. Sara’s ice breaker activities were a fun way to get everyone laughing, and then we were lucky to have Luke take us out on his family’s boat. When on the boat—it’s been a while since I’ve been on a boat—I could see myself living on a boat (just like Sara did!). It was great to see the whole city from a different perspective.  

Why did you choose to intern at Minerva? 

I was looking at a ton of opportunities, and when I saw Minerva, I had no idea who you all were. I clicked on the “Who we are” tab, and it was full of impressive and smart people. The backgrounds and experiences—everyone seemed flawless!  

Minerva being mission-driven was also huge for me. I could totally see myself doing this kind of work, working with other mission-driven organizations and companies. Plus, it was very connected to my major. I could really see myself learning and contributing so much to the position.  

Also, Minerva is the goddess of wisdom, which is my favorite goddess—I won’t lie that got me too! 

You love stories and reading, do you have any recommendations to share with us?  

I have a shelf with only the books I’ve read. There are two books that capture my interest in reading. I love memoirs.  

Educated. I love educators, and this made me reflect about my time in school and classes, and sparked my interest in lifelong learning, and the fact that there is always more to learn.  

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. This was gifted to me by one of my coworkers when I was a peer coach and was the first memoir I read. Trevor Noah is a funny guy, and his life story was something that I really needed to read. I had never read a story from South Africa, or similar to his experience. It inspired me to learn more about the world and what people are going through.  

Lastly, I just started reading the Midnight Library. It’s all about the choices we make. I can’t be good at all the skills I want to be good at and can’t do everything, we all have to make choices. In the Midnight Library, you’re in a library with all the choices you could have made. When I reflect and think about my own life in this way, I think that this is the happiest branch that I could have–I am lucky to have so many possibilities.  

Myles' bookshelf features Sylvia Plath, Shakespeare, and Trevor Noah.
Myles’ growing bookshelf of only books he has read.

Are there rules that you live by? 

Only the books that I’ve read go on my shelf. This way I can always look up and reflect on what I have learned from each one, and it motivates me to keep filling it up.  

My other rule is to say no when you have to. I can easily become a yes man. Sometimes to protect my energy I have to say no and I have come to realize that people will understand.  

Do you have any hidden talents?  

In high school, I was a part of chorus, and continue to sing—I’m a baritone now, but it mostly comes out during Karaoke with my friends and family! 

How has Minerva shaped your career path?  

I have been in communications for all of my schooling, but Minerva is the first place that I have been able to put it into practice. I know that I want to continue to do this work of bringing communications to life.  

Ballard Food Bank’s grand opening was my favorite example of this. I used to volunteer at the foodbank, so it was particularly special. It was amazing to see the outcome of all of our work and preparation at the event. So many people were there—reporters, photographers, supporters, and even the first lady of Washington! Through the media coverage, the news of this milestone for such a great organization spread far and wide. It was really cool to see the impact of communications in the moment and on people. I even got a name tag with my name and Minerva Strategies on it, I felt so official! 

Joy, Myles, and Luke pose in face masks outside of the Ballard Food Bank
Ballard Food Bank grand opening ribbon cutting and tour. Minerva Strategies team.

Any big takeaways from your time at Minerva so far?  

What is beautiful that I learned at Minerva and want to share with everyone is that your people are your most valuable assets. The work can’t be done by just one person, and it takes a whole team to make something happen. Minerva is a great team, and the talented individuals create success. It starts with amazing people and the amazing things follow.  

I enjoy amplifying peoples’ stories, and when personal stories are shared, a sense of humanity can be conveyed, and that is so special. Once these stories are shared, the impact is undeniable, and the organization is no longer faceless. The people that make up an organization ARE the organization, and the community. Sharing stories is so incredibly important to make that clear.  

Is there anything else that you’d like to share with us?  

I am so happy to be here, it feels good to be busy, and it’s like another chapter in my life. Right now, I’m in my Minerva chapter, and I have Minerva on my pedestal right now.

About The Author

Malia Mackey