On December 14, 2015, I was invited to speak to a class of high schoolers at the Alliance Susan & Eric Smidt Tech High School in Los Angeles on what it took for me to build my career as a writer. The students numbered about 20 and each had questions about my work, my clients, my pay scale and the different jobs I had to take before I “made it” as a professional business writer and ghostwriter. It was interesting to listen to their questions and to watch their reactions as I talked about “paying my dues” over the course of my 30+ year career.
The presentation I gave was set up by a non profit called the Youth Business Alliance, which organizes guest speakers for high schools in low income areas of Los Angeles. The students are all high achievers who are interested in pursuing careers with or without a college degree. From meeting them, I was able to see that these kids were intelligent and motivated but may be financially challenged.
I shared with them my journey from my first job as a 3rd shift radio news announcer/news writer at a small radio station in Newport, Rhode Island to writing for top business publications like Variety and the Los Angeles Business Journal, and being hired by a travel company to take an all expense paid trip to Italy for 12 days in 2007.
What I hope I imparted to these students is that hard work really does pay off and to go for their dreams, even if others challenge them or try to talk them out of succeeding.
To volunteer to be a speaker for high school students in L.A., please go to: www.youthbizalliance.com. I think you’ll find it a great way to give back.