How Aliza Licht Left Her Mark On Me

Often we find ourselves putting our wildest dreams on hold in order to fulfill the desire of what is expected of us. Numerous stories are told of men and women who grow older and overflow with regret because they were not able to live life according to their own standards. During my 4 and a half years of college I’ve come across old classmates and colleagues who have shared with me that they’ve gone from majoring in in one thing (like biology) to something totally opposite. At first listen, it sounds so outlandish that someone suddenly goes from science to liberal arts (or vice versa). But after hearing the story of one my “mentors in my head”, such a jump made so much sense.

I had the opportunity to meet the phenomenal former Senior Vice President of Global Communications at DKNY and “DKNY PR Girl”, Aliza Licht. Last summer I came across her book, “Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It In Your Career. Rock Social Media” which holds so many useful gems. You literally can’t read it just once (I’m actually reading it again). Since I first read the book, I’ve been hooked to getting to know Aliza from the other side of my computer screen. From time to time I would interact with her through social media, so when we met I was floored that she remembered who I was… through Twitter!

Not only has “Leave Your Mark” been helpful to me as I am now in the workforce and building a brand, it taught me a very valuable lesson… it’s a-okay to break the mold. Within the book, we get Aliza’s story behind her inspiring rise to the top. First, I connected with the fact that she’s a fellow University of Maryland College Park Terp like me! Then, things got a little deep. Aliza shared that she spent the bulk of her college career studying science in order to become a plastic surgeon. Her family raved and raved about how she was going to be a doctor. However, it wasn’t until the tail end of her studies that she realized that she didn’t want that for herself. The passion within her was fashion. After having that “ah-ha” moment, Aliza took it upon herself to get her foot in the door no matter what. She didn’t allow her lack of prior training or experience deter her. She knew what she wanted and she attained it.

What I loved most about this single detail of her life alone, is that if Aliza had remained on the path that others expected her to take, “DKNY PR Girl” probably would have never existed. If she never  had the courage to step out of what was comfortable and familiar to her, she may have never been able to tap into her true purpose. I probably would have never known who she was, let alone have an opportunity to be inspired her. Small actions can have such large effects. Crazy, right?!

So many of us hold ourselves back because we are afraid to disappoint our family and friends by taking a direction contrary to what they developed for us. I spoke to a young woman who revealed to me that she hid from her father that she switched her major from biology to communications until weeks before graduation. When she told him, he was very angry, she said, but she shared that at the end of the day SHE was happy with her decision. That is what mattered most.

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I want to encourage those reading this to not be afraid to make your own decisions about your life. Yes, it may disappoint those close to you, but @@if you stay faithful to what God has placed in your heart, you WILL succeed.@@ Look at Aliza! And I bet you this: once the people who were trying to make you go one way see your success as you pursue your chosen path, they will jump on board with you. They will be inspired. That’s just the way it goes!

@@Don’t be afraid to step out and shake things up a bit.@@ You don’t want to look back later and think “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve”. Even if you feel like you’re in too deep to start over, it’s never too late. I like to look at Necole Kane, formerly of NecoleBitchie.com. Although she had already built an amazing empire for herself in entertainment, she wasn’t truly happy. So, she did something about it. As scary as it was, she kissed her gossip-blog goodbye and started fresh. And you know what… she’s STILL respected and thriving with her new path! (xoNecole is EVERYTHING!) @@Everyone is not going to understand your path, and they aren’t meant to.@@ But if you are true to YOU, you cannot lose!