I was honored to be one of the only companies at the recent College Fair held at St John Villa Academy – my alma mater. Special thanks to the guidance counselors who work hard every day to prepare the students' for their next step and for allowing me to add my insights and lessons into their daily work as another level!
It was amazing to be on campus again. It was always such a nice spot to learn with the Verrazano in the background and the grounds – even though as I told the girls on Friday, I was definitely not the best student while in high school. I even classify myself as a “late bloomer” in terms of education goals and focus – I was a B student in High School but straight A’s in college and my MBA (one B+ only) and definitely learned “later” the power of learning and excelling. That was such a big part of my talks on Friday, that you can really change and that by learning, anything can be accomplished.
In the past 22 years since I graduated from Villa, so much has changed – and a lot has stayed the same. I still have some very close friends from my time in high school and one of the most amazing things was telling the girls to look at each other and realize they might still be friends when they are pushing 40!
Standing in the gym and setting up my table for my company at the place where I definitely got a huge foundation in terms of education and friendship even if I did not focus and excel as much as I maybe could have done – was a heady experience. And being able to give back to the students there and finding them so engaged, so focused and so interested in learning my story and applying the lessons of my story and my tips and techniques to their own journeys was humbling.
At multiple points, I had groups of like 10 girls around me asking me questions. It was amazing. As I told them, I used to run multi-million projects and now I get ordered around by an 8 and 5 year old but that I have these experiences and books and free advice on my website that can help them in preparing for college and beyond.
I told them all to consider me a resource and to send me a follow up email; I even taught them what to do with the college representative that was there for the school they really wanted to go to so that they can stand out in the process.
It was amazing and so humbling to be there and giving back to a place I consider fundamental to my development – much like St John’s University was where I became a focused and driven student, at St John Villa Academy I built lifelong friendships and learned how to manage the stress and issues that most 14-18 year olds faced back in the 1990’s.
Since I am privileged to also be an educator for the 2000’s and beyond, I see and know the issues facing students today in these times and I hope that my lessons, my books and my techniques can continue to help local Staten Island high schools students take their next steps –whether it by my college readiness seminars or my career focused workshops and training, I am a local resource born and raised Staten Islander with global experience and tons of real world lessons to share on how to be college and career ready.
Special thanks to all the girls who made me feel so welcome!
If you would like me to visit school to share my lessons and know how, please click here
Speaking Engagements. More on my college and career readiness training, expertise and books can be found here, College and Career Readiness Workshops and Amazon Author Page.
Lisa Vento Nielsen