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Jane Dvorak is who I want to be when I grow up. Seeing a woman who has pursued her passion to build an extremely successful public relations career from the basement of her home while finding time to raise children, volunteer in her community and serve as PRSA chair-elect is nothing short of inspirational.

So how does she do it all? She doesn’t feel guilty about not committing to activities or clients if she can’t give them 100 percent. Simply put, she prioritizes her passions and only makes time for those things that are most important to her. As professionals, we often find ourselves running in circles like a hamster on a wheel, trying to do everything and help everyone at once. This isn’t healthy. We need to strive to find life balance. After all, in the words of Jane, “The hamster life can kill you.”

One student asked if she had any negative experiences related to being a woman in the workforce. Her answer is something that will stay with me throughout my life. “If you want respect, demand respect.” Don’t allow anyone, male or female, to give you any less respect than you deserve. Develop a strong handshake. Look people in the eye. Don’t wear anything at a business meeting that you would wear out partying on the weekend. Demand respect in your appearance, your actions and your words.

She urged all students to remember that it’s not about what you’ve done, it’s what you’re capable of doing. Invest in yourself. If you find yourself in a position that requires a skill you’ve never used before, don’t automatically say you can’t do it. Stop and think about if you have the ability to do it and go from there. There is a community of mentors surrounding each and every one of us who are willing to impart advice when you feel stuck. Use your community and pay it forward.

If you are ever lucky enough to spend a few minutes with Jane and her addictive, outgoing personality, you will realize that she is the perfect embodiment of every piece of advice she shares. When it comes down to it, her philosophy is simple: Be patient and let the journey happen. Whether it is in your career or relationships, life is an amazing ride, so let it unfold for you.

-Brielle DuBois

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