Monday, April 16, 2007

Speech to communications students at UWI

I really enjoy addrressing university students.

I am not too old to remember what it was like to be 18 and full of hope for the future and yet so scared to go out into it.

In 2006, at the invitation of the Communications Students Association, I addressed 70 students at UWI in a 3-hour presentation about my journey in corporate communications. This occured before I founded IABC T&T but I knew then that having met them, that I would return and bring with me fresh ways for the them to connect the theories they were learning with real world communications practice.

On Friday 13th. April, lucky Friday as it was dubbed, the President's Visioning Team of IABC T&T hosted, " The Future Is Not That Scary," a one-day workshop comprising panellists, presentations and speed communications sessions. The objective was for 100 students to connect the dots between campus life, communication theories and the world of work. I delivered the following presentation to open the session.

“The Future Is Not That Scary.”
Opening remarks-Judette Coward-Puglisi

Dr. Godfrey Steele, lecturer, in the Communications Section, Department of Liberal Art
Fellow IABC T& T Board Members
Distinguished Panellists
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
My dear students.....

It was about one -year ago that we met, where at your invitation, I shared with you my own journey in the field of corporate communications. I must say that even though I was the guest of honour, I was in fact in awe of you...

I was amazed at your energy…
Captivated by your enthusiasm….
And delighted by this great, big appetite you seem to have for learning... all things communications

At the time, you forced me to think about what it was like to be 18 years old and have no idea of how to connect what I was learning to the real world. Heck, I didn't want to know about the real world… campus life, the limes, the friends, the learning…being part of the guild... for me that was the sweet life… things were as good as they could ever get.

Funny how reality bites!

Because here I am 20 years later.... happy about the choices that I made, glad to have made certain decisions about the direction of my career and passionate…. absolutely passionate about my chosen profession...your future profession...communications.

My dear students,

It was you that inspired this career day, because having been in your presence last year; I made the decision to harness some of the best talent in the IABC T&T to form a President’s Visioning Team lead by Nadine Johnson, who is your presenter for today.

Together with Brevard Nelson of GHL, Anna Walcott Hardy here at UWI and Karel Mc Intosh, one of today's panellists…..all of us IABC T& T members… as well your own Dr. Godfrey Steele….

Together, we decided to introduce you to the idea of IABC T&T....a global network of communicators located in every corner of the world linking students with superb mentoring programmes, knowledge resources, discussion forums and career development.

By being engaged with the possibility, the very idea of forming a student membership of IABC T& T you stand the opportunity to network with of the best senior communicators in the country as well as other student communicators from around the world.

My dear students,

WHAT DO I WANT FROM YOU TO GET OUT OF THIS DAY ...Let me answer that by telling you two stories.... My first story involves a friend who I went to visit about one month just a bit of background on my friend. She is in her late 30s ... an accomplished communicator... single… and has recently bought her own home. Sounds good? Think again.

My friend does not like the position she holds in her company, she hates the fact that she is single and despises the fact that her home provides her with a whole heap of new bills.

In any case, my friend needs someone to talk to…. so I go to her home for the very first time to be part of the soul searching effort and it is there…. in her living room… that I notice a sheet on the ground ....

“Why do you have your sheet on the ground?” I ask.
“To cover the carpet,” she replies matter-of-factly.
And when she says that I am so startled that I pull at the grey cotton sheet and underneath it lies a $5,000.00 Crate and Barrel rug that she keeps covered with a sheet simply because she does not want it to get dirty.... (PAUSE)

Can you imagine what it would be like if she could appreciate the bold patterns and ‘plushness’ of her carpet every day? I bet she would feel more proud of her space and more proud of herself in that space….

Which brings me to my second story...I want you to remember as you sit through this day that life is a journey to a discovery of who you really are ... It took me a while to get this lesson, that life really is just about everyday experiences, teaching you, moment in, moment out, who you really are. That every experience is here to teach just that... just a bit more fully...

For a long time, I wanted to be somebody else. I mean growing up I didn't have a lot of role models. I was born in l969. I wanted to be a TV journalist. There was no Oprah when I was a teen….no real models upon whose career I could pattern. I remember thinking one time that I wanted to be like Dianna Ross until I realised… it was my aha moment ….when I discovered that no matter how many apples I ate I could never have her ultra slender waistline nor her hair….. unless I went to Frederick Street and bought myself some… (PAUSE for chuckle)


I tell you these two stories because today… you have the opportunity to remove all the grey sheets that may cloud your thinking…
Today, you have the opportunity to build your foundation and begin the discovery of having all that you dream of for your professional lives....

Today feel free to be challenged….
Today feel free to grow….

Don’t resist any new ways you might learn of connecting the same old dots...for in the end it is IABC T&T’s wish that you see that the future ….THE FUTURE… is really not that scary.