I’m just over my first ninety days in the agency world, and I’m loving almost every minute. The diversity in my clients and work that I’m doing ensure that no two days are ever the same. Take today for example, five coworkers and I got to host mock interviews for teenaged students participating in a summer workforce program. Little did I know, I’d be impacted just as much as one of the teens.
TeenWorks has deep ties to Indianapolis. Created in 1981 by Indiana philanthropist Gene B. Glick, it was initially called Pro100. The organization was created on a very simple idea—to provide teens with opportunities to obtain summer employment, gain professional development skills, and to empower youth to give back to their community. Today, TeenWorks serves nearly 500 teens in Indianapolis and Muncie!
TeenWorks’ summer program includes six weeks of professional development and employment experience, helping teens learn how to navigate the workforce. During the program, students are exposed to college campuses, financial literacy programs, and various professional development activities. Professional development activities are what led a group of teens to Well Done Marketing this afternoon.
Our team volunteered to host mock interviews for summer program participants. In case you missed my blog on Well Done Marketing’s website, I’m a high “I” on the Extended DISC profile—in other words, I see people as bright colors. Needless to say, I was in for mock interviews before I finished reading the email. But today proved to be far more impactful than I initially anticipated.
During my second-round interview, I was interviewing a young lady from a local high school. From handshake to answers she provided, she was very polished and prepared. And about halfway through the interview, I reached the next prompt and asked, “Can you tell me about a difficult situation and how you worked through it?”
She quickly replied, “Well, I have a two-year-old daughter.”
My mind began to race. In case you’re new, or you somehow missed it, I’ve been a single mom since I had my son at seventeen—catch up on that here. But I immediately questioned if it was appropriate to share my story. Should I just listen? You see, there are so many times while working on my bachelor’s degree, and then master’s degree, or rushing in between jobs, where I just wanted to see a fellow single mom doing what I was doing. Pushing how I was pushing. Someone who understood without me having to explain. Someone to show me it’s worth it to try.
As the interview came to a close, I realized I couldn’t say nothing.
“You did great,” I said. “I’ve got to tell you, I’m a single mom. I had my son at 17, and though my journey is still unfolding, just know that it’s possible. Whatever life you want for yourself and your daughter, it’s possible.”
I’ll never forget the look on her face when she said, “You give me hope that I can still be a success one day, like you.”
I really can’t convey the overwhelming gratitude I had in that incredibly unexpected moment. Never could I have imaged when I was pregnant at 16 that I’d one day be able to help inspire a young, teen mom, despite my hopes I someday could. I’ve been struggling to find the right places to share my story lately, mostly because I wouldn’t define it as successful, yet. But today, despite my hesitations, I think I planted a seed of hope. And at the end of the day, if I can plant a seed that helps a young woman muster up the courage to grow, well, that’s a success to me.