Since Winning Futures, I’ve gone on to study public relations full-time at Wayne State University. I’m currently finishing my sophomore year, and am on an accelerated track to graduating with my Bachelor of Arts degree in three years.
While I attend class four days a week, my time at WSU expands far beyond the classrooms. I also work part-time at the college of nursing as the student assistant to the director of marketing and communications. My favorite part of the day is 7:30 a.m., when I arrive at my office on the third floor and can start my day with a fresh, Detroit sunrise and an Einstein’s coffee.
When I’m not at the office, in class, or drying out the coffee shop, I’m usually planning, attending, or writing about an event for WSU’s PRSSA (public relations student society of America). As vice president of chapter development, I’ve been able to hone extremely valuable and marketable skills through hands-on work. One of the best experiences I’ve harvested from PRSSA was a free trip to Washington D.C., compliments of Wayne State. Four incredible women from WSU-PRSSA’s executive board – including myself — were able to attend PRSA National Conference for four days in October. The conference included cream-of-the-crop public relations professionals from around the world, including Good Morning America’s Amy Robach. Not only did this experience allow me to meet and network with some of the most successful inspirations in the PR industry, but it allowed me to really find myself as a PR professional and solidify confidence in my career choice.
Being able to define my own path and, more importantly, to feel secure riding it, is so peaceful to me, especially after I struggled endlessly my senior year in high school to decide which pre-paved path I wanted to take. I would lie awake in bed at night stressing over what I wanted to be versus what would make me money versus what complimented my character better. I flip-flopped back and forth between an elementary school teacher, a dietitian, and a news broadcaster the entire year – obviously none of these were my ticket. Luckily, my last semester of high school I was enrolled in the Winning Futures program, which is geared toward professional and career development. What I thought would be a weekly seminar on professional etiquette turned into my favorite day of the week celebrating character and values. Through these discussions, I was able to grow confidently into my person and become the brightest shade of myself. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was a huge stepping stone to my future as a student and a professional.
My mentor Ashley Fordyce (Winiarski at the time) was so patient and supportive of our three-girl group. None of us were 100 percent confident in what we wanted to be, but Ashley was able to tap into our cores and help each of us decide on what would make us the happiest, not the richest. She was never bias or judgmental, and shared her own personal struggles to assure us we were “normal” (whatever that may be). My time with Winning Futures and with Ashley gave me the tools I needed to pave my own path in life. I came out confident in myself as a person and ready to tackle the beast ahead of me – more commonly known as life. The heaviest piece of gold I discovered in Winning Futures, one that I still treasure today, is the truth that attitude is everything. I’ve adopted it as my mantra, it’s the first thought of my every day, my rescue line from stress, and my pep talk before any and every event.
I can honestly say if it weren’t for Winning Futures, I probably wouldn’t be in the exhilarating and successful positions I’m in today. My positive, authentic attitude landed me a paid job in my field of study, an executive position on WSU-PRSSA, and has attracted completely inspiring, genuine people to my life that I may have otherwise never connected with.