Wednesday, March 16, 2011

shaping America's youth

My boss, Hope, has a friend that teaches Latin at St. Joseph High School in Downtown Brooklyn. Every year they have a Women's Day Panel of professional women that come and speak to the girls about careers and college and all that other reach for the stars kind of stuff. Hope was asked to be on the panel and somehow I got roped into it because the girls "would relate to someone younger".

After a very rousing speech by one of the women involved with the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, we were split up into rooms corresponding to our field. Hope and I were in a room with an interior decorator, Tita (who of course Hope knew...I feel like the whole morning was a Brooklyn Heights Social Hour). We went through "our story" and answered any questions the girls or the moderator could come up with. I know I'm an adult and should be confident in passing my vast knowledge along to these impressionable young girls, but I was terrified. I tried to hide my shaky hands under the desk and hoped no one would notice when I took a sip of coffee. Public speaking has never been my forte. Luckily, I would manage to utter a few key words about what I was trying to say and Hope and Tita would run with it. I think we made a good team...or at least they made up for my bumbling shortcomings.

I don't really think the girls related to me any better than my older, more established counterparts. In fact, I think they were extremely interested in the process of owning your own business and being your own boss. I was just some chump right out of school. You would inner city kids would be interested in my Southern roots, so I mentioned it a couple times. Nope. Nothing. No bites. I guess when you grow up in NYC, the rest of the country seems unimportant, especially those places of rural persuasion. However, my highlight of the day was making everyone laugh as I described my first-day-at-work-panic and realizing I knew nothing. Somehow I still don't think comedy is in my future :)

It was definitely a new experience. I hope the girls took some inspiration away from the day and can decipher some of my well intentioned fragments. It was great to meet some successful women and hear their stories and advice. At times, I felt more like a student then a panelist!

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