How ELP inspired and encouraged Jacqueline Howard

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The 2013 ELP Class
Photo by Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

By Jacqueline Howard, media coordinator at CNN and 2013 ELP participant

Kim Bui Barnett (Right) , CNN Executive Producer with ELP graduates Jacqueline Howard (Center) and Michelle Lee (Right).

Kim Bui Barnett (Left), CNN Executive Producer with 2013 ELP graduates Jacqueline Howard (Center) and Michelle Lee (Right).

Preparing for the Executive Leadership Program, I had some pre-conceived notions that it would be a lot of lectures and group exercises with a handful of take-away information.  Little did I know that it would be one of the most inspiring and eye-opening experiences of my professional and personal life.  In the journalism industry, it became easy for me to convince myself that no one understood my insecurities, struggles, and situations.  However at ELP, I met others who experienced the same problems.   We not only learned from the coaches and guest speakers, but we mainly learned from each other.  I made some deep, personal connections with my fellow ELPers that will stay with me throughout my life.

ELP taught others and myself how to be our own best advocate and how to search deep inside ourselves to realize our full potential.  I learned how to speak up for myself and my aspirations, how to not only approach and talk to management but also how to work well with others.  I learned how to take my best qualities and use them to my advantage to set myself apart from the competition and to get my next promotion.

Graduating from ELP, my soul feels renewed.  I am inspired and encouraged to work harder and be more vocal about what I want for my career and personal life.  For the first time in a long time, I truly believe that there are opportunities out there for me to do journalistic work I’m honestly passionate about.  I wouldn’t feel this way without ELP.  The chance to take a break from the day-to-day grind of the newsroom and to reflect and learn more about myself only happened because of ELP.  It’s rare in this industry that journalists are given the opportunity to meet others outside their own company, learn from other, grow with each other, and hear from industry executives and leaders.  ELP made that possible.

I will never forget my ELP experience and the friendships I gained from program.  I whole-heartedly believe it’s one of the most successful, unique programs of AAJA, and I hope to give back to ELP throughout the years.