Leilani Brown is K12 SVP of Strategic Partnerships and author, From Campus To Cubicle: 25 Tips For Your First Professional Year.
Many would say K12 SVP of Strategic Partnership and author Leilani Brown had a far from conventional path. Yet, Leilani believes life’s derailments led her exactly where she was meant to be. As part of a blog series where we will be speaking with women making an impact, Tallo sat down with Leilani to learn how she is using her passion to make a difference.
When I graduated from college, my plan was to go to law school. This was under the well intentioned guidance from my mother who said she had never met an unemployed lawyer! I applied to eight law schools my senior year, and I didn’t get into one. I did get into graduate school, and I went on to pursue a Masters in Public Administration, Management.
My current job is very different from what I imagined before, but I’m very happy with what I’m doing. I started my career as an insurance underwriting salesperson. So, I had a career start in sales and in insurance, and that was right after college. I did well. I rose through the ranks. But, outside of that work, I was always interested in increasing participation among underrepresented groups — first generation, people of color, women who might need a little extra help entering the workforce.
I’ve never looked back. I started my career, and I think it was the universe redirecting me outside of a law pursuit and directing me along this path which has been quite interesting and rewarding along the way.
At K12, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been interested in but at a much larger scale. I lead strategic partnerships and external engagements for our company. I’m primarily focused on career readiness, and I work with business partners and industry associations to try to create a workplace experience for our high school students so that when they graduate, their first day on the job won’t be their first day in the workplace.
The most rewarding aspect of my work is opening students’ eyes to different opportunities and allowing them to see beyond their immediate area. One of the most unfair questions we ask students is “what do you want to be?”, particularly when they haven’t seen all that they can be. I think in my partnership role we are providing a greater opportunity to do that.
I would say, don’t over-engineer your life. Sometimes things don’t work out, but those are the best things that NEVER happened to you.
One piece of advice I’ve received, and find myself giving, has been to run your own race. You have to be very careful to not compare yourself to anyone else — what they have, what they’ve achieved. Define success for yourself, and don’t try to do what others are doing.
Tallo gives its users the ability to define who they are and articulate what value they bring to the table. By creating a Tallo profile, you have a succinct way to describe your talents, abilities, skills, and what you want. The platform allows you to become more practiced with telling your story.