social change | February 24, 2013

Leadership Conference: Jessica Jackley On Turning Your Passion Into A Job

Jessica Jackley recently gave a keynote at Texas Christian University's State of Leadership Conference—and attendees raved about her presentation. Dede Williams, director of the BNSF Next Generation Leadership program, said that "Jessica did an amazing job," and TCU student Kyle Cochran said that Jackley's talk was "inspirational," and made him think seriously about his own goals. At the event, Jackley shared her personal journey from a young student with a passion for eliciting social change, to the businesswoman who eventually turned that passion into a reality. She discussed her work with the groundbreaking peer to peer microlending site KIVA (she co-founded the venture) and the importance of making personal connections with the people you want to help in the world.

Her mix of personal and professional anecdotes really resonated with the audience. Williams said: "[Jackley] was able to utilize her personal feelings to find something she was passionate about in life and I think that's why all these students are here at TCU, because they're trying to find what they're going to spend their life's work on." Cochran said that he was glad to hear about Jackley's success story and that her message about self-motivation really stuck with him. "[By hearing about] the value she has in impacting people," he explains, "I'm able to understand my own motivations at the same time."

Jackley not only inspires on the stage, but in the classroom as well. She's presently a Barer Visiting Fellow at Drew University, where she teaches students about social entrepreneurship. A savvy businesswoman, Jackley is also down-to-earth. She is able to relate to audiences on a personal level first—letting everything else fall into place after that.

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education | February 21, 2013