"You keep asking to be legitimate. Why don't you feel like you already are?"
That was the question my Executive in Residence coach asked me the first time we met when I started business school. I was a couple months into studying and I wanted a legitimate seat at the table to negotiate as an exec in the entertainment industry. I literally felt like there was no way anybody would take me seriously as the peppy cheerleader type. I felt that way mostly because I'd surrounded myself with a lot of people who didn't.
When Sasha Strauss asked me that, I was stunned. I didn't go back to class that afternoon. I walked around campus in tears. Was I actually already legitimate as a story teller, as a producer, as a leader?
So then I started writing what I wanted to write. I started telling stories that I wanted to tell. I started making a clear business case why content that's good for the world would be good for the brands that supported them. I started making a business case for doing good, being kind and for inspiration.
I started working with people and teaching skills that could make non profits sustainable, businesses socially responsible, and demanding those around me see their role in the economic community as a critical part of what can and will change the world. Business skills and the next generation will change the world. I want to be part of that.
Yep, there have been ups and downs. Yep, there have been a few rough goes and not everyone has bought into the business of inspiration, but then there are the days that everything clicks. Today is one of those.
My program at UCLA is growing and there is an extraordinary class of students who will enroll in just a few short weeks and their careers will be launched. My show, Inspiration Inc has launched and people really like it.
And I had the chance to direct an interview with my friend, my Executive in Residence, my mentor - and this time, we had the chance to talk about what makes him one hell of a leader.