What's Your Jam? When the Things You Learn Connect Your Skills and Passion

Ideally, the things you learn should feed the end goal of your desires.

Earlier this month, I attended a really large meeting of about 2,400 young people at the International Intern Leadership Conference, hosted by Ernst & Young. I was asked to speak to these Gen Yers who were about to embark on a career in financial services about my work in education.

Along with working as EY's education manager for their corporate responsibility team, I'm also the co-founder of The Hall Pass Tour, an event and concert series that started in 2011 with the goal of helping middle and high school students from underserved communities get excited about leveraging higher learning to pursue their dreams. I'm the headlining singer on the tour, so my business partner and I frequently get asked to speak to people about our journey, and the importance of higher learning. But instead of talking about higher education specifically, the conference organizers wanted me to discuss how I'm doing my part to build a better working world.

At first, I considered a basic story I could tell them about my work, but as I thought about my journey over the past 18 months, the development of the tour, and where I'm headed personally, I realized I needed to do more than that. I used our Hall Pass Tour simple recipe for "finding your jam."

Jam Exhibit A:

Your jam is where your natural skills meet your passion [skills x passion = happy]. Seems easy, right? Not really. When I asked 2,400 interns, "Who has their jam?" at the age of 23, a mere 10 or so raised their hands. To be fair, I didn’t have my jam at 23-years-old, either. But it got me thinking: this is something we should ALL be talking about more.

In our Hall Pass Tour Backstage Pass Workshop, we challenge kids to first think through their "jam," and then leverage each other to carve out a path where higher learning can help them get there.

THAT makes sense, right? The things you learn should feed the end goal of your desires. Right.

I realized in all of this, I'm no different from our Hall Pass Tour workshoppers. As an "edupreneur," I'm new to this space. I need to learn more about the landscape of education so I can better serve it. So here I am, going back to school this fall to Harvard's Graduate School of Education to do just that. I got stuff to learn, man. It's all so I can get the knowledge I need in order to become better at what I do. Simple as that.

I invite all of you to join me on this wild and crazy journey, follow my adventures here on GOOD, or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@JanelleBechdol), and send me suggestions of things and people I should be learning about and connecting with so that I'm more effective.

But more than sharing the journey, I invite you to find your jam. It'll change how and what you learn. You owe it to yourself. Jam on.

Click here to add going back to school to learn something you've always wanted to your GOOD "to-do" list.

Images via Janelle Bechdol


This article was produced in partnership with the United Nations to launch the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of cooperation in building the future we want.

When half of the world's population doesn't share the same opportunity or rights as the other half, the whole world suffers. Like a bird whose wings require equal strength to fly, humanity will never soar to its full potential until we achieve gender equality.

That's why the United Nations made one of its Sustainable Development Goals to "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls." That goal includes providing women and girls equal access to education and health care, as well as addressing gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.

While there is still much work to be done, history shows us that we are capable of making big leaps forward on this issue. Check out some of the milestones humanity has already reached on the path to true equality.

Historic Leaps Toward Gender Equality

1848 The Seneca Falls Convention in New York, organized by Elizabeth Lady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, is the first U.S. women's convention to discuss the oppression of women in sociopolitical, economic, and religious life.

1893 New Zealand becomes the first self-governing nation to grant national voting rights to women.

1903 Marie Curie becomes the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She is also the only woman to win multiple Nobel Prizes, for Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911.

1920 The 19th Amendment is passed in the U.S. giving women the right to vote in all 50 U.S. states.

1973 The U.S. Open becomes the first major sports tournament of its kind to offer equal pay to women, after tennis star Billie Jean King threatened to boycott.

1975 The first World Conference on Women is held in Mexico, where a 10-year World Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women is formed. The first International Women's Day is commemorated by the UN in the same year.

1979 The UN General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), also known as the "Women's Bill of Rights." It is the most comprehensive international document protecting the rights of women, and the second most ratified UN human rights treaty after the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

1980 Vigdis Finnbogadottir of Iceland becomes the first woman to be elected head of state in a national election.

1993 The UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the first international instrument to explicitly define forms of violence against women and lay out a framework for global action.

2010 The UN General Assembly creates the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to speed progress on meeting the needs of women and girls around the world.

2018 The UN and European Union join forces on the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is redoubling its commitment to reach all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality. But it will take action and effort from everyone to ensure that women and girls are free from discrimination and violence. Learn more about what is being done to address gender equality and see how you can get involved here.

And join the global conversation about the role of international cooperation in building the future by taking the UN75 survey here.

Let's make sure we all have a say in the future we want to see.

via WFMZ / YouTube

John Perez was acquitted on Friday, February 21, for charges stemming from an altercation with Allentown, Pennsylvania police that was caught on video.

Footage from September 2018 shows an officer pushing Perez to the ground. After Perez got to his feet, multiple officers kicked and punched him in an attempt to get him back on the ground.

Perez claims he was responding to insults hurled at him by the officers. The police say that Perez was picking a fight. The altercation left Perez with a broken nose, scrapes, swelling, and bruises from his hips to his shoulder.

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