Answering the Tough Questions

I was nominated for an award with The Daily Record, a Maryland business newspaper with a readership of more than 6500 corporate decision makers and investors. To be considered for the award after being nominated, the special projects team asked me to fill out an application complete with essay questions for consideration by the awards committee.

The first essay question was, "How have your achievements positively affected your profession, your community or society at large?" Talk about a tough question. In an attempt to answer the questions in a way that wasn't scripted or planned, I just went with it; I wrote what came to mind first. I never expected these words to see the light of day beyond the eyes of that committee, but as I go back and read what I wrote, I got inspired all over again. Here was my answer:

In a "School of Life" book I read called How to Change the World, the author references Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy's belief that significant moments in history were not achieved through the work of one person or leader, but the combined effect of many small things done by ordinary people every day. Tolstoy believed history is shaped by, " infinitely large number of infinitesimally small actions."

I believe we all have power to take those actions and that the every-day actions of "ordinary" people do actually have the potential to be world-changing. So when I think about the impact of my personal achievements, both personal or professional, I believe they have contributed in some way to changes in motion which are greater than myself. I consider bringing two smart, vibrant, thriving little humans into this world a personal accomplishment, because as all parents hope of their children, they may grow up to inspire or effect many changes of their own. Professionally, I believe that my achievements -- all of the press I've secured, the awards I've nominated people for, the TV interviews I've arranged, and the political dignitaries I've hosted -- have all inspired a change of their own: a change in how people interact with the older adults in their families, communities and neighborhoods.

Everything that I do in public relations at Roland Park Place is about changing the way people think, the way people see older adults in their community and the way people approach the process of aging in their own lives and in the lives of people close to them. My achievements in helping the public think about aging, retirement and older adults differently -- as a demographic that is active, thriving and engaged -- inspires people to learn a new possibility in approaching older adults, spending time with them and ultimately building relationships with them.

I'm honored to have been selected as one of Maryland's top up-and-comers in their 20s named to The Daily Record's "20 In Their Twenties" list. I hope other honorees and young professionals will think about and share how their work has impacted their communities; how they've answered those tough questions and nearly-impossible interview or application prompts; and inspire other young professionals to do amazing, meaningful things as they work and grow in their careers. Because I think we're all capable of that.

An original version of this article was published on April 10, 2015 on Wheelhouse, a command center for stories by Bridget Forney.