Many adults I know are at what they call a “career crossroads” in life. They often speak about choices they made in college and even in high school that maybe weren’t the most well thought out options. They talk about how if they only knew more back when they were younger, they might be in a better place educationally and in their careers. I have learned that it all comes back to support and exposure. Those of us who are lucky enough to have the support of friends and family to help us navigate the rough waters in our life are more likely to find the path that is right for us in the end. And those of us who are lucky enough to have experiences that broaden our perspective and expose us to people and opportunities are more adaptable and willing to take chances.
Support and exposure. At Girls in the Game we offer our teen participants the chance to get support from caring and invested adults while also learning about the vast career possibilities open to them. We do this through an initiative called Leader to Leader Interviews.
We had our first Leader to Leader Interview of the school year last week at PepsiCo. 18 teens were able to sit and talk with four incredibly smart and experienced women who have high-level positions at PepsiCo. The teens asked questions ranging from “how does your competitiveness motivate you?” to “how do you find a work/life balance?” The women were honest and compelling in their answers. They spoke about having the will to win and having the confidence in yourself to know you can develop whatever skill you put your mind to. The women also talked about how imperative it is to surround yourself with people as smart as or smarter than you, so you can be constantly pushed to be better and to learn more.
The opportunity to talk with women who are at the top of their career fields and have a wealth of experience to draw from is truly invaluable. And the teens recognize it. They soaked up every moment with the women at PepsiCo and reflected on what they learned afterwards. One teen remarked that the women “made me think about obstacles in my life and how I am going to overcome them.” Another girl learned “it takes hard work and dedication to be successful.” Several teens remarked that this Leader to Leader Interview has made them think differently about what they want to be when they grow up because they learned about jobs they never knew existed.
These are life lessons that many adults I know are still struggling to wrap their heads around. But our teens get the chance to start thinking about these things now so that they will be better prepared for their futures. At Girls in the Game we help provide the support and exposure, but as usual the teens provide the inspiration.
Until next time,