Young Women, Strong Leaders

Today I had the opportunity to be a mentor at the Michigan Women’s Commission, conference called “Young Women, Strong Leaders” at GVSU. There were well over 150 strong, fantastic young women from West Michigan High schools and Universities. My afternoon started with lunch and then we had two “roundtable” style discussions that were split by career paths.

The panel I was on included: Shelley Irwin, WGVU Denise Cheng, CMC DeDe Esque Emily Stoddard Furrow, DVQ Studios

During the discussion each panelist was asked to give a piece of advice for these young women. I always fall back on the same three fold advice when talking to college classes and students……

First, study abroad. To cut to the quick, while in college you can take out a low interest loan to help pay for the costs of forgien travel. Trying to budget for world travel out of pocket is extremely difficult. In addition, colleges find ways to introduce students to international cultures in ways that are not accessible to regular travelers, the forge long lasting relationships with people they meet while traveling and, frankly, seem a bit more well rounded.

Second, take time to experience a variety of internships or regularly volunteer. A great way to network, a fantastic way to explore types of working enviroments and one of the best ways you can increase the quality of your resume references.

Finally, double major! I haul this peice of advice out each time i speak with University or High School students in the visual arts field…. Sure find something you love to do, the thing that you are committed and passionate about. And then find a second degree that is complimentary and practical. Most of the time a double major means only 1-2 more semesters of study and often leads to greater opporunties in the future. I think a great example of this is getting a Fine Arts Illustration or Graphic Design Degree and pairing it with a Marketing Degree. They are complimentary degrees that are enhanced by a well rounded knowledge base. Like studying both sides of the same coin. Phew! Special thanks to Emily and Grand Valley State University for the invitation to participate!

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