I had the distinct pleasure of speaking at Hansberry College Prep high school - A campus of Noble Street Charter Schools located on the South-side of Chicago. As I was guided to the classroom where I was to speak, I saw an eclectic amalgamation of young, bright, creative students who were living in the moment as they prepared to set sail towards their future. These young adults were knowledgeable and interactive. The young adults were granted the opportunity to learn from a number of professionals on a wide range of professions. As my first session began, we discussed their career interests, most of the students who signed up for my session were into creative arts and entertainment with a few interested in entrepreneurship. I started off my session with a very simple question: Who are you? And why should I care? You see, we live in a time where our online presence precedes us, people gauge and define us by what we share on our social media. From Linkedin to Facebook and ¬¬¬onto Instagram. The persona that we want to display is portrayed by what we post. I challenged these young adults to not only consider what their posts say about them, but more so to develop a digital signature of who they are, so that when friends, colleagues, employers or admission representatives visit their social media pages, it truly speaks to who they are and want to be.
It is known that upon meeting or hearing about someone, the first act is to Google or “check out” their social media. The young adults I spoke with agreed – that’s their initial move and knowing employers and admissions reps will do the same. Recognizing this whilst taking the time to view their social media as an opportunity to present their best self through the lens of who they are from a professionally and as a value statement to their character. During my presentation, I introduced the concept of Social Currency - The true value of influence. The more popularity a person obtains, the more social currency they have to spend. Many utilize this for personal reasons: launch a book, TV show, etc. Others use it to cause social change - such Is the case for Colin Kaepernick. He leveraged his influence to give a voice to an injustice plaguing his community and it cost him a good deal of his social currency. Challenging these young adults to think about what they give a voice to which causes them to think about their values and integrity should look like. The young adults I spoke to, all 17-19 years old; desired a career in arts, entertainment and entrepreneurship which means they all have a creative skillset that they were seeking to monetize. The examples I provided challenged the students on their path to success. I connected with several of these young adults after the class to share more wisdom with them whenever they need it. I have a passion for our next generation so I am making myself available to speak about technology, leadership, career development, personal branding and more.