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Lessons learned from graduation

“you build a legacy not by one thing but by everything, your legacy is every life you touch.”

Maya Angelou

As many of you know, there many things in this world that make me happy, giddy and joyful. Last week at my alma matter more than a few of them came together. Talking, giving speeches, college graduations, USC Annenberg and Oprah….like a perfect storm they became one. While I was supposed to attend the graduation for one of our volunteers, I sadly couldn’t get there in time.

However, through the power of media I was able to watch Oprah’s speech. She has such wonderful lessons that I wanted to give you some of the highlights here. Oprah knew the first rule that they teach you at Annenberg and that is to know your audience. She certainly knew hers, future journalist, broadcasters and the messengers of the future. Oprah asked those messengers to give voice to the people who need a voice. She said,”Use your gifts to illuminate the darkness in the world.”  She asked the students to, “Be the truth” and asked,”what are you willing to stand for?”

Oprah quoted her friend Maya Angelou’s words saying, “You build a legacy not from one thing but from everything. Your legacy is every life you touch.”  Words that resonate.  As she wrapped up her speech with practical advise about making your bed, being kind, and investing in a good mattress, she pivoted and said,” Join forces in service of something greater than ourselves. Pick a problem, any problem and do something about it.”

These are not just words for USC Annenberg alumns or words for Oprah fans but rather words for all of us to process, think about and decide how we are going to act.

charity matters.

 

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Copyright © 2018 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Women in leadership and a life full of purpose

Women in leadership

Last week I was privileged to speak at the launch of the USC’s Women in Leadership Society at the Annenberg School for Communication, my alma mater. An amazing organization founded by Professor Christopher Smith to provide support, build self-confidence, build community and connect  young female undergraduates who are at the intersection of tech, media and entertainment. So what could I possibly say to these young women?

First, I remembered what a challenging time USC was for me, my parents had gone bankrupt and I was putting myself through school. I had boyfriend problems, was trying to figure out my path and the basic challenges of having fun, growing up and juggling it all that all young co-eds face.

I wanted these young women to know that we all go through this. More importantly, I wanted them to have a bigger goal and keep their eye on the prize. So often, the vision is short-sighted and they can only focus on the internship, the A, the diploma or the job. I want them to focus on living a life full of purpose, where you are using your gifts to the greatest ability.

While leadership is a tool that helps you on the path to acquiring all of the above, isn’t the real goal of leadership simply one life inspiring another? I shared my favorite leadership quote by Woodrow Wilson who said, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

Because Leadership is at its essence….one life simply inspiring another and after all, isn’t that is the purpose?

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

 

 

Full circle moment

Full Circle

Have you ever had a full circle moment? A moment when you can’t believe that your life started at one point and somehow came all the way back around? Last week, I had that moment. I was invited back to speak at my alma mater, USC’s Annenberg School of Communication, as a guest lecturer.

As I stood in front of the class full of freshman Communication majors, I really couldn’t believe that I was no longer the student. How was I standing here? When what seemed like moments before, I had been working full-time to put myself thru USC. Trying to hold down a job, my full class schedule, a social life and find direction in my life.

Now, here I was sharing my journey of life, loss, growth and philanthropy with the class. It was surreal. I spoke about failing, struggling, not knowing what to do, which way to go and trying on so many things until I found the right fit. My message was the biggest roadblocks, were my greatest gifts.

The students asked me about so many great things, but one question that I loved was, “How did you find your voice?” They were referring to Charity Matters and I almost laughed at loud when the professor rephrased the question as, “your journalistic voice”. It took everything I had not to look over my shoulder to see if a journalist had entered the room.

After a pause, the answer to the question was, listening to myself. Giving myself time to reflect on what was true, honest, what fit and felt right. As I sat in that class room and looked at those fresh faces, I realized that it was that gift of listening and knowing what felt right that brought me to this moment. Full circle.

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Finding your path

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

The Little Prince

finding your path fall

This past week I was asked to speak to a group at my alma mater, USC about philanthropy, which as you all know is a vast topic. When pondering what specific message I wanted to convey to these young students I decided on the topic of finding your path. 

We all start life lost and unsure where it will take us and where we are going, much like the book The Little Prince. His journey was about being lost, lonely, friendships, love and loss. What we so often lose sight of, is what is truly important is not material or seen.

Our journey in giving is no different from our journey in life. Until you know what gifts you have and what speaks to you, it is very hard to find your way. The path only becomes clear once you realize that your challenges become your greatest lessons and gifts. The road signs from those lessons show you the way.

The hope is that if we learn from our roadblocks, we will continue to grow, thrive and explore new and exciting paths. As I told the students, “Giving, service and charity have healed me in unexpected and unimaginable ways. And while my journey continues, It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

 

Charity Matters. 

 

Copyright © 2015 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.