Dear 25-year-old me: Here’s some advice.

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Navigating your 20s can be tricky. Start your 401(k) early, get a master’s degree, don’t get a master’s degree, make time to network, skip the latte—we’ve all received similar well-intended nuggets of advice over the years from friends and family. The Network spoke with four Baton Rouge women who have experienced success in their careers about what advice they would give if met face-to-face with their 25-year-old selves. 

JILL SAVARD, CEO of Savard Labor & Marine Staffing

“Don’t worry. Life is full of the most unimaginable twists and turns. Relax and enjoy them, as they take you to the best places and things always work out. Appreciate and embrace failure—it is your greatest teacher. Question everything and be different in as many ways as possible.”

LYNN DAIGLE, retail broker at NAI/Latter Blum

“Ask the questions. Speak up. And do it; just go for it. There’s no reason not to. I wasn’t told that in school. I was told to follow the rules, but the rules were different for men and women. Now it’s different. I would also say read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. You have to picture yourself at the table to get there, and you have to have to do what it takes to get there. Don’t settle for anything less than your biggest dream.”

BEVERLY BROOKS THOMPSON,
consultant and political candidate

“Diminish the committee of fear that lives in your head and show up. Do the next right thing. Every single day, if you get over your fear and show up and keep doing the right thing, you will be just fine.”

LINDA BENEDICT, retired LSU AgCenter communications

“First, be conscious of salary differences between men and women doing the same work. Women need to be more assertive about salary equity and expose differences. They (we) need to join organized movements to correct these differences. If there’s not an organization or movement working on this, then start one. This is a battle still going on across America and, most especially, in our state of Louisiana, and every woman should be involved. My second piece of advice is to learn how to speak effectively. My strength was in my writing, and I ignored my shortcomings in speaking ability. I would tell my 25-year-old self to join Toastmaster’s, take speech classes and even get a speech therapist to improve my ability to speak and call attention to the issues I am concerned with. It’s important to communicate through writing. But there are many times when someone can stand up and make people listen to what needs to be done here and now to correct some of society’s wrongs.”

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