‘YOLO’ and Other Advice from Alumni

When alumni connect with the Patricelli Center for the first time, they often leave bits of advice for students and young entrepreneurs. As fall break comes to close and courses kick into high gear again, we’re happy to offer a mid-semester pick-me-up and share some of their wise words. (If you’re an alum with truth bombs to drop, fill out the PCSE alumni volunteer form!)

“Move where you can make a difference. There are jobs in every nook and cranny of this country for smart, ambitious, motivated young people. New York will always be there (at least until the ice caps melt), so spend the early years out of college actually learning skills and figuring out what you’re good at – and do it somewhere where it has impact.”
– Daniel Bloom ’10, COO & Co-Founder at TernPro

“Do what you can, with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are!”
– Vivian Best ’03, Founder at Give It Fresh Today

“Live in a community different from the one in which you grew up. Develop empathy for those from other circumstances.”
– Kathlyn Pattillo ’12

“You need two qualities to build something big: the stomach to see all the reasons why you’re going to fail, and the will to be relentless in finding solutions to those problems.”
– Jon Leland ’05, Director of Community Engagement at Kickstarter

“Do something that pulls you out of your comfort zone. If you’re nervous or confused, it’s probably a good sign.”
– Francesca Jones ’12, Business Development Officer at Smarter Lighting Engineering Research Center

“Follow the power. The strongest argument or most well-crafted message doesn’t do anything unless it reaches someone with the power to change the thing you want changed. Figure out where the power for change lies, and apply pressure there.”
– Dan Shannon ’01, Senior Strategy Director at Purpose

“YOLO. Make it count.”
– Vlad Gutkovich ’07, Impact Manager at Schoolzilla

“Self-care is important in order to not burn out. Sometimes we need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others and make the world a better place. In fact, sometimes we may need to focus on only taking care of ourselves and our families, in lieu of working to make the world a better place. ‘Im ein ani li mi li?’ (Hebrew) Translation: ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?'”
– Robin Alexander ’89, Clinical Social Worker at Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services

“Focus on finding an organization that does good, and that does good well. An organization’s culture and work style are ultimately more important than the exact issue at hand. If you find an organization that is effective, efficient, and inspiring, you will be motivated to help affect change.”
– Elizabeth Conrad ’11 at Hopscotch