I presented for Career Day the other day and it was so much fun!
Full disclosure: I WAS TERRIFIED. Leading up to the day, I told all my coworkers about how nervous I was and how much I was freaking out. But, I put together a little presentation together and went in there and did the damn thing. I presented to 5 different classes of Freshmen and Sophomores and thoroughly enjoyed it. The kids were really well-behaved and inquisitive and they asked thoughtful questions throughout the day. Honestly, I was nervous that they would think I was lame or boring (all teenagers think adults are lame and boring lol) but they genuinely seemed interested…or at the very least, they feigned interest. And that’s good enough lol. They asked a range of questions — things like hurdles I had encountered throughout my career, what my dream job would be, how I knew Howard was the right choice for me, etc. etc.
I told my story about how I grew up in Texas, chose Howard for matriculation, and then tried to embark on a Marketing career fresh out of school, to no avail. I actually graduated in 2008 in the middle of the recession and finding a job felt virtually impossible. I explained how I ended up having to take an Operations job at a luxury hotel in Houston and hated every second of it. I really wanted to impart on them that you may not get that dream position right away — most people don’t — and that’s totally ok. It’s ok to try out a few different positions or even industries, until you really figure out what drives you. I also touched on mentorship and explained that the mentor in my life pulled me out of the trenches (lol, dramatic) of the hospitality industry and gave me my first shot in Advertising. She literally changed my life…and I’ll be forever grateful. Since then, I’ve been on this rollercoaster journey in this crazy industry and I know that this (or some variation of it) is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ve been blessed with a fun, fruitful career and I only hope that my little talk inspired those kids to step out on faith without fear of failure and follow their dreams. Or at least, try new things to figure out what those dreams are.
For the day, I threw on some old pieces — a white blazer from Forever 21, black jeans from Fashion Nova and my Sam Edelman Circus snakeskin boots. I wanted to be casual cool for the kids. ;) And mostly, I wanted to dress like I normally would for work. The idea was to show them that my industry is laidback and creative and exactly the right fit for a personality like my own.
I left feeling really good about being able to impart a little wisdom on young boys and girls of color and I hope I inspired at least one of them to pursue a career like mine. Or maybe to check out Howard University. That would make me especially happy. ;)
I want to thank you for stopping by. And I challenge you to think about ways you can give back to the kids that look up to us everyday. I’m gonna do the same. xoxo - Ash