Pursuing Your Dreams And Not Settling For Less

23 May

The last day of summer was always the hardest day for me because I knew I would have to leave the place I always wanted to live: NYC. Visiting family in Brooklyn as a child sparked a passion in me for the “NYC-Lifestyle.” The passion grew with me and all through college I told myself I was going to graduate, move to NYC and work in marketing.

A few months before graduation, I noticed my plans changing because I feared not being able to survive in NYC. Why? Because the cost of living is pretty intense and the workforce is beyond competitive. A lot of this persuasion was the result of me listening to others.

Times Square

I still desired to live in a large city so I accepted a post-grad internship in Chicago at a well-respected agency, where I worked on a few teams for nationally-known consumer brands. I gained a valuable experience but towards the end of my internship, I discovered I was not going to receive an offer because there wasn’t anything available on my account teams. A normal person would have accepted this and moved on. Not me … I panicked because I feared embarrassment because I was a former national officer in a prestigious organization and had members expecting me to be one of the ones who “makes it.” I folded to the pressure (that I was placing on myself) and accepted an offer at an agency I didn’t want to work for, in a city I didn’t want to live in, telling myself “I can make this work.”

Some of my initial concerns with the agency proved to be true: the company culture was not one I could thrive in and the management style of the woman leading me conflicted with my working style. The working relationship with the manager got so bad I looked forward to sick days. I was in a situation where I felt trapped by the professional constraint of staying with a company for at least one year.

After receiving advice from two of my good friends — Jasmine Brooks and Evan Roberts — and being motivated by my grandmother’s sickness, I quit the job, packed my things and moved to NYC. I told myself I wanted an NYC story (moving to a large city with a little bit of money, chasing a dream).

Automatically, I outreached to some of my Twitter friends and told them I was looking to transition to New York. Without hesitation, they helped me to set-up interviews. Thanks to Andrew Worob, Justin Goldsborough, Tiffany Winbush, Pegah Rashti, Mark Ragan and Valerie Simon. With the help of these friends (and a few others), I interviewed more than 15 times at agencies and corporations and received a few offers. The only problem was that I realized I did not want to walk back in the same situation I left. I also discovered that I wanted to focus more on social media marketing, instead of traditional public relations.

Sadly, my grandmother (who was my best friend), lost her battle and passed away. An hour after I received the sad news about my grandmother, a certain television network called me to set up an interview. A few weeks before, I applied for a job that I thought was not possible to land, social media coordinator at MTV. While applying, I shot a friend who worked for the company a note, asking for a recommendation. She put in a good word and that combined with my experience led me to the interview.

Only after a few minutes in the interview with the hiring manager, I knew this was the job for me because he was extremely charismatic, passionate about his craft and team and had a vision! They felt I was the best person for the job and hired me to be social media coordinator, a position that requires me to use all of my marketing and PR skills to help our amazing brand remain social.

It’s still surreal to me that I am living in the city I always wanted to be in and working (in Times Square) for a brand I always loved. If I didn’t step out on faith, have friends and loved ones who believed in me and believed in myself, I would not be where I am today. I encourage all of you who have dreams and goals you’ve been pushing off, to stop pushing them off. Pursue your dreams and don’t settle for less.


17 Responses to “Pursuing Your Dreams And Not Settling For Less”

  1. worob May 23, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Glad I could help. Good luck and definitely learn as much as possible with MTV. You have an opportunity to really make a difference – take advantage of it!

    PR at Sunrise

    • ThePRNerd June 1, 2011 at 9:24 am #

      Thanks, Andrew — I am def. trying to make a difference.

  2. Evan Roberts May 23, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Kion – I appreciate the shout out sir! It’s been amazing seeing this whole thing unfold.

    Good luck today dude, I know you will rock it out!


  3. Jasmine Fowlkes May 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Great post, Kion. Such a great success story, and I can definitely relate on so many levels. Best of luck at MTV!

    – @JasmineFelicia

    • ThePRNerd June 1, 2011 at 9:24 am #

      Glad to hear you can relate, Jasmine! Thanks!

  4. @JasmineRBrooks May 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Awww, Kion! Such a great story!

    You are so blessed to be able to live your dream! Not everyone gets that opportunity due to … reality, basically!

    Keep us all inspired!

    • ThePRNerd June 1, 2011 at 9:25 am #

      The big man upstairs has his hand on my life … I give him all of the glory!

  5. Sydney Owen May 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    Congratulations, one, and HOORAY, two. I’m pumped for you and that you could realize what the emotions were that you were feeling at the end of your internship. I was feeling them too before I was fortunate enough to get an offer. I had packed up and left my whole world in Florida for a SHOT in Chicago. Fortunately it worked out in the end. But that’s the thing about dreams, Kion. They change. And that’s totally okay.

    I have no doubt that you will be immensely successful in NYC. Your determination, past experience and work ethic will surely take you far, and I am excited to follow your journey. Success breeds success, and if you continue to surround yourself with positive people and continue to follow your gut, you will no doubt continue to be happy with the decisions you make as they pertain to your career.

    Cheers to you, to passion and to living a life worth a shit. Seriously. Drake is right. Everybody dies, but not everybody lives. Yay for actually living. 🙂

    • ThePRNerd June 1, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      You’re right, dreams do change. I am glad to hear you can relate. Thanks for the all of the kind words — means a lot, Sydney!

  6. Justice Wordlaw IV June 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    I am creating my own story right now with this but in Chicago. I love the city lifestyle and would never give up. Your story is a true motivation to continue to work harder and to not give up.

  7. Kim Alexander June 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story. Inspiring!

  8. Cristin McGrath June 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Great story. This is exactly what I was thinking about doing directly after my internships with MTV and Sony Music Entertainment, but my path led me elsewhere. Still trying to do it one day! Congratulations on landing your dream though!

  9. Alice Fuller June 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    I needed to read your story, at exactly this moment. I’m in a similar situation with interviews, and yes, I’m PASSIONATE about social media too, with one foot in entertainment and the other in social media marketing. Reading YOUR experience, confirms what I knew, but needed to hear, everything’s gonna be alright. Hold on! Don’t worry about a thing. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Wesley Jack Claybourne July 3, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    This is great and really inspirational man, congratulations!

  11. Single In Atlanta (@singleinatlanta) March 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    Now this is what blogging is about. Awesome post. I was a little discouraged today, but this read helped me. Thank you. =)


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