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Pathfinder Day: #BlogHer14 Preconference Keynote by Teneshia Jackson-Warner

Teneshia Jackson-Warner kicked off Pathfinder Day and BlogHer '14 with a funny and motivating presentation going through her personal story of how she achieved her goals.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Have passion. Don't waste your time and energy on things that don't matter to you. Or worse, on things that chafe your values.

  • Trust your gut. Think the time is right to go after that dream job? Trust your gut-- and make a plan to do it.

  • Have patience. It took a couple years to get to a clear place where Teneshia could make career transitions. She still kept her eyes on her goal and kept her feet moving toward it.

  • Be persistent! She talks about how she faxed Russell Simmons every day for 30 days because that's the only number she had, and she wanted to make sure her message got through. !

  • Have vision. She wanted the job so much, she was willing to work without pay for some time. She made plans to be able to do that.

More simple-but-essential takeaways: Preparation is everything--detailed preparation. Start with an overarching vision, and then fill in the steps you can take in a timeline that works for you. Sitting with a calendar in front of you can help you realistically see what's possible. Networking, networking, networking. I kind of hate that word because it seems to imply just a tit for tat, business dealing. It's not quite complete. Relationships are what really counts. There's no way of getting around our humanity, even if you think it's inefficient. At the end of the day, that's what makes us memorable and makes our work move forward. Service. Always keep focused on serving others. Teneshia came back to this point several times because it's clearly a core value for her. She discussed the satisfaction she had in getting corporations to do the right thing and give back to communities. This is necessary work. From my longtime work in the nonprofit sector, I'm well aware of the myriad creative ways corporations have to greenwash or otherwise implement wan, cosmetic, ineffectual policies that sound good and mean nothing. Good PR without much more is often worse than nothing. But if you can engage the people at a company in an authentic way, connecting on a human level, and if all the stakeholders have an equal voice in the discussions, that's a step forward. Teneshia's work seemed to be on this level, which was gratifying to hear. Keep going. Finally, Teneshia told the room full of bloggers the encouragement we all need: If one person reads your blog and is inspired, that does make a difference. *********************** Tweet your thoughts to @Anita_Sarah. Thank you!

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