About HeartStories

the Vision | the GNO | the Team | become a Sponsor |  FAQs

the Vision

The Girl's Night Out you won't regret the next day

On the outside do you look like you have it all together, but on the inside, you’re fighting a soundtrack of negative stories.

Are you rushing through life on a tightrope, keeping your struggles and sometimes even your joys, to yourself?

Despite our picture perfect updates, many women don’t feel quite so put together on the inside. We’re striving to be great at everything, while inside we’re losing touch with the truth about who we really are and who we want to be.

We push even harder to do it all better, never stopping to truly connect, even with our closest friends.  But the truth is, when we live our lives in consistent authentic connection to our girlfriends, it’s so much easier to replace the negative stories we believe about ourselves with Love.

HeartStories is on a mission to help you hear Love louder than all the negative noise in your life.

By first acknowledging that we are all sisters and we’re in this together, we’re creating fun new ways to support each other,

Together, we’re improving the way women think, love, and live.

Are you ready for a new story?

the GNO

Just like any great girl’s night, you’ll enjoy laughter, wine and hors d’oeuvres, but you’ll wake up the next morning refreshed, with more clarity, feeling more connected, and inspired to be more intentional about becoming the woman you know you’re meant to be, with a tribe of women who have your back, right by your side.

more joy.

more connection.

more purpose.

more fun.

It’s time to bring fun and meaningful connection back to this season of our lives.

It’s entirely possible to live our crazy-busy lives with purpose and a lot more joy. But it all hinges on connection.  We have to get reconnected to ourselves and each other and have fun doing it!  That’s why we created a fresh new spin on a Girl’s Night Out.

It’s like a mini retreat in the middle of your week.  

the Team

Powered by a band of believers who are inspired by Crystal’s passion and vision, a team of talented thinkers, doers and creators has come together to support the HeartStories mission.

Crystal is a wife and mother who left a successful career to start HeartStories because she knows what it’s like for women to rush through life on autopilot, losing touch with close friends and the truth about themselves in little pieces along the way.

HeartStories was born out of her passion to help women to hear Love louder than all the negative noise in their lives. Through HeartStories, Crystal is determined to create fun, innovative ways to connect women with more joy and purpose.   Her mission is to inspire them to be all they’re meant to be, while enjoying the journey together, despite their hectic lives.  She hosts monthly GNOs (Girl’s Nights Out) speaks, and blogs daily about life and learning on the journey of leading HeartStories.

When she’s not focused on HeartStories, she can often be found exploring the great outdoors, snort-laughing with her girlfriends, or dancing like a maniac with her boys and her husband Scott.

Crystal would love to connect!  Find her on LinkedInFacebookInstagram, & Twitter.



Crystal Gornto
Founder and Chief Love Amplifier

Alison is a web designer, developer + support system for small business owners who focus on their online presence because of how critical it is to their success.  She runs the show at tiny blue orange.

She joined HeartStories to lend her nerd skills to keeping the unseen side of the website working the way it should, along with making important changes + additions to the site. When she learned about HeartStories + their mission, she wanted to be a part of the team because of her passion for making this world a better place for girls to grow up in along with creating space for women to feel comfortable being themselves.

You can find Alison on Twitter.


Alison Monday
WordPress Developer


Board of Directors


Keith Jacobs graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1996 and spent the first 5 years of his career working at consulting firms Ernst & Young and Sapient. After the .com bust and a month before 9/11, Keith founded a user-experience design firm called Bright Corner that he grew, merged with Geniant, and eventually sold to EMC in 2007. Although he didn’t have a non-compete or earn-out, Keith worked at EMC for two years before getting the entrepreneurial itch once again. Keith then co-founded another user-experience design firm called projekt202, which was ranked #13 in the 2012 Dallas 100 and #161 in the 2013 Inc. 500. After growing the firm to over 100 employees and three offices, Keith handed over the CEO reins to a fellow investor and has stepped back from day-to-day company operations to focus on growing a handful of companies, including HeartStories.

Keith is also co-founder of Sifter, an online bug and issue tracker used by hundreds of businesses around the world, and is a guest lecturer at the SMU Cox School of Business and at Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering. Joanne, Keith’s wife of 14 years, is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and they have two adorable daughters named Emma and Lily, ages 8 and 4.


Keith Jacobs


Dennis Jay Cagan

Dennis Jay Cagan is a noted high-technology industry director, executive, and entrepreneur.  He has founded or co-founded over a dozen different companies, and in addition to his entrepreneurial activities, Mr. Cagan has been a CEO of both public and private companies, consultant, venture capitalist, private investor, and professional board member – 51 company boards.  In 1979 he was the Keynote Speaker at the first COMDEX Show in Las Vegas.  In 2011 he was elected to the IT Hall of Fame – Channel Wing, administered by CompTIA. In 2013 the Dallas Business Journal and NACD selected him as one of 12 Outstanding Directors in North Texas.

In 1976 he founded the David Jamison Carlyle Corp. (his 5th start-up. After being included in Inc. Magazine’s first Inc. 100, he took DJC public (NASDAQ) in 1981. Today, Mr. Cagan is primarily engaged in management consulting through his personal firm Caganco Incorporated. He is a regular contributor of feature articles published in Directors&Boards Magazine, and a speaker on the subject of boards of directors. Feel free to connect with Dennis on LinkedIn.

Rick Gornto, CFP®, CPC is currently is Principal Partner of First Financial Benefits, Inc. and  Managing Partner at DRDA, PLLC CPA’s and works extensively in the areas of Practice Management, Personal & Corporate Financial Planning, Business Consulting, Retirement Planning and Mergers & Acquisitions. He has been nationally recognized by U.S. Congress ,the  Texas Governor and the U.S. President for his work with governmental pension plans over the past 33 years.

Rick has extensive community involvement in local non‑profit organizations and has served as numerous boards in the past and present such as for HCA Clear Lake Regional Hospital, Communities In Schools Clear Lake, The Nolan Ryan Foundation, Child Advocates of Houston  Alvin Community College Board of Trustees and Foundation Board, Houston Society and Alvin National Bank.  Rick’s interests are his grandchildren, golf, biking, skiing, gardening , scuba and reading. He has been married to his wife Janice for 43 years and has two grown children and five grandchildren.


Rick Gornto


Nancy Fares


Nancy is a technology business executive and entrepreneur, a master at creating sustainable business growth and maximizing stakeholder value. Dynamic passionate business leader, with a proven track record at starting and growing profitable technology businesses in complex and global changing conditions. Experience in multiple Technology sectors at both a Fortune 500 company running a $200 million business and as President & Chief Executive Officer of a privately held company. Turnaround leader, known for driving financial success, customer loyalty and improving staff performance. Fluent in English, Arabic and French.





Sandra is a seasoned executive, Wall Street industry expert, author, and public speaker who was CMO for a $3 billion advertising agency and is now CEO of Crawford Creative Consulting. She also serves as COO for 4word, a non-profit that serves workplace women.  She’s also one of the most positive, high-energy women we’ve ever been around.  Red Bull has nothing on her!

Connect with her on LinkedIn.


Sandra Crawford Williamson

2015 Interns



Mariah Williams-Roberts





Mariah is a Pre-Law Vocal Performance major at the University of Southern California, hoping to one day become an entertainment lawyer. In her free time she watches stand-up comedy and listens to John Mayer. Mariah was drawn to HeartStories by its mission to spread love and support to women around the world. She loves what HeartStories is all about and is enjoying being a part of it. 





Emily is a Communication Design major at an art school in New York. In her free time she enjoys knitting, Law and Order marathons, and reading. She loves using her creative skills at HeartStories to empower women. Her favorite part of HeartStories is how it embraces each woman’s individual journey, regardless of what she’s gone through or where she may be going.


Emily Habashy

Vy Phan




Vy (like the letter) is working towards a major in Cognitive Studies and minor in Corporate Strategies at Vanderbilt University. Her favorite workout is restaurant hopping and she spends her spare time either working with kids or watching Parks and Rec. She loves working at HeartStories because of the genuine heart for giving back and passion for outreach.





Esther is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is studying Psychology and Markets and Management at Duke University. In her free time, she writes about Korean entertainment (K-dramas and K-pop) and indulges in food, friends, and the occasional traveling. Esther feels so lucky to be interning at HeartStories this summer, because it perfectly encompasses her passions for marketing, advertising, creativity, community, and helping others.

Esther Han



Sam Koontz





Sam is a senior at Oklahoma State University, majoring in Strategic Communications with a minor in Spanish (iHola!). She’s a lover of indie music, steamy mugs of hot cocoa, and all things dog-related. She loves that HeartStories calls women to see the positives in their lives, and believes it is truly a group of great people with warm hearts.





Gabby is a Public Relations major at the University of Texas at Austin. She loves cats, food trucks, and all things Austin. The reason she’s in love with HeartStories is because of the community it creates. She loves that it unites women through love, passion, empowerment, and not to mention ethical fashion!

Gabby Pucci

Love Contributors


Samantha Mori
Content Team Lead
Danielle Herrel
Social Strategy Lead


Landon Ledford

Bethany Sexton
Graphic Design

Erika Ruggiero
Graphic Design

Derik Olsson

Amber McCue

Michelle Meals

Michelle James


Vicki Dolenga
Social Media


Starr Baker
Lindy Nelson
Marketing Intern
Christine Lin
Marketing Intern
Beth Alemayoh
Social Media Intern
Briatni West
Creative Intern

become a Sponsor

At HeartStories we LOVE our sponsors. We’re always looking to connect with fabulous partners who believe in encouraging women to connect in community as a path to living out their purpose in the world.  If you’re interested please drop us a line.  We’d love to chat to see if it’s a fit for you to sponsor one of live events or something else we have brewing!

To more love . . . and partnerships!


These FAQ’s are designed to provide a better understanding of HeartStories, our vision, and the resources we provide. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!



Crystal Gornto is the founder of HeartStories. You can read her bio here.

Crystal wanted to create a place to help women replace the noise in their minds with the truth about their worth and to begin to feel whole – maybe for the first time in their lives. On the journey to discover how to accomplish this, she realized it could most effectively be accomplished by fostering open and honest relationships with those who love us. These loving relationships have become the center of the HeartStories community.


It’s easy to get caught listening to a negative soundtrack in your mind that tells you, you’re not enough. You don’t have what it takes to create change that matters.

HeartStories is changing all that.

We’re here to hold you accountable.  You have a purpose and a story that no one else on earth has and we want to see you live it. We believe that by strengthening connections and living in community, you’ll begin to hear the truth about yourself, and step out to live the story only you can live.

We’ll watch you change the world as a result.


We made a little video about this concept here! At HeartStories, “noise” represents that soundtrack of negativity that we too often get caught up in. It’s that little voice in our heads that repeats all our mistakes and shortcomings and too often drowns out all of our positive qualities. At HeartStories, we strive to eliminate this noise and replace it with love – love for yourself and love for others.


“HeartStories” are the true stories about our worth and our unique purpose in life.  The name HeartStories reminds us to live the stories that come from our hearts.


Our red heart-shaped headphones are a reminder to replace the negative soundtrack that often plays in our minds, with a story of LOVE.


We are on  FacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube, and Instagram!  Come follow us!


  1.  Spread the word! Let the women in your life know that there is a new resource available to empower them to live in a new way. You can share our  Facebook page, Twitter page, PinterestYouTubeInstagram , and our website!
  2. Join us at a GNO!
  3. Keep in touch!  Let us know how the GNO, the blog, and anything else we are working on is encouraging you the most.  We’d love to hear what we can do to better encourage & connect you.

You can also sign up on the front page of our website to stay in the know on what is coming next at HeartStories!


We would love to hear from you! You can e-mail us and/or follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube, and Instagram!

If you’d like to discuss partnership opportunities or other business ventures, contact us here.

If you’re interested in hiring Crystal to speak at your event, you can reach out to her here.

How can I book Crystal to speak at my event?

Crystal loves to speak to women of all ages, entrepreneurs and anyone who needs to be reminded they have a story in their hearts, only THEY can live and that, that story thrives in a community of authentic friendships.

Drop her a note here to work out the deets.