Developing a Vision

January 10, 2022 - Amanda Guinot Talbot, PhD

For many of us, 2021 will be remembered as a year defined by ambiguity and uncertainty. And as we head into yet another year with the COVID-19 pandemic, polarizing political movements, and racial and social injustice compounding on top of already-existent personal and professional pressures, it makes sense that some of us may feel lost as to how we can move ourselves and our careers forward. 

So how do we navigate this new normal, and cut through all of this chaos with clarity? In December of 2021, the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) inaugural student cohort welcomed Felicia Turrentine Wasson as a featured presenter to offer insight on this very question. Felicia is the Director of Nike's "Until We All Win" portfolio within the company's Social and Community Impact group.

As she explained, it's all about developing a vision for the future - by understanding who you are right now. "Get comfortable with yourself," advised Felicia. "When you know who you are, you can recognize things that are not for you, as well the things that are." Felicia suggested that each of us understand our strengths and weaknesses, as well as our own intrinsic values. This way, we can easily identify the things we will and won't tolerate - both in the workplace and in our personal lives.  

Felicia also noted the importance of appreciating where you are right now before focusing on where you'd like to be. In her words: "Don't forsake where you are right now to get to your next step. Where you are right now is exactly where you are supposed to be." By reminding ourselves that every job is a learning experience - no matter how menial it may seem to us in the meantime - we can keep in mind that it is a necessary and noteworthy stop on our way to our dreams.

"I loved this quote from Felicia," said WLI board member Alejandra Loaiza Delgado, who attended Felicia's talk. "I think it resonated with me as sometimes we want to rush through life, but we should concentrate and try to make the most out of that situation to prepare us for our future selves."

Developing a vision not only means knowing who you are and appreciating where you're at in the here and now, it means connecting with others to build a better future. Felicia explained that all of the job opportunities that have come her way in the past were introduced to her by friends, coworkers, mentors and professional connections. 

And to pay it back, Felicia believes in elevating the other women around her. "Whenever I progress, I take someone with me."

During her talk, Felicia also urged us all to surround ourselves with people that don't look or think like us, and emphasized that humility is one of the best qualities we can have. "Be willing to learn," she advised, "and keep others at the center of what you do."

Felicia also explained that when developing our visions of success, it's not a specific salary or a prestigious title we should be chasing - it's an opportunity to provide service to others in a way that is meaningful for us. To illustrate this point, she shared the following quote from Shirley Chisholm with the group: "Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this Earth." 

Finally, Felicia talked about the importance of staying strong through hard times, and shared with us the comforting philosophy she learned from her mother: "It will not be like this all -ways." 

"This philosophy is amazing," Alejandra reflected. "Hard times are inevitable in life, and learning that they are not fixed can lead people to overcome those challenging situations. When you look back, you remember that you did survive middle school without that pair of jeans, as Felicia mentioned."

The WLI's next webinar will be held later this month, and will feature MSU alumna Brenda Becker discussing the topic of "Working to Make a Difference: Tackling Change & Leaving Your Mark." Brenda is the Senior Vice President of Global and Government Affairs at Boston Scientific, and we are so excited to feature her and her wisdom!



About the Author


Amanda Guinot TalbotAmanda Guinot Talbot, PhD

Acting Director, Women’s Leadership Institute
Mason-Soneral Faculty Fellow, Women’s Leadership Institute
Director of Undergraduate Education and Assistant Professor, HDFS

Dr. Amanda Guinot Talbot is the director of undergraduate education and an assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. As the Women’s Leadership Institute acting director and Mason Soneral faculty fellow Dr. Guinot Talbot works on institute programming, curricula, and student engagement. Dr. Guinot Talbot also is a co-administrator of the financial literacy educational campaigns at MSU (Go for the Green). She received her master’s degree in Family Studies and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University.

Learn more about the MSU Women’s Leadership Institute.