First Impressions

This post was written by Tia Hammons, an intern in the IIF Youth Leaders Summer Program in its pilot year. Tia will be a high school senior in 2013 and aspires to pursue a career in the medical field. You can learn more about her journey by watching the IIF Youth Leaders Recap Video here

Before receiving this job and being involved in “Izzy’s Kids”, I had no idea who Israel Idonije was. I feel kind of bad about that now because he is a remarkable man. Most people are usually scared to meet celebrities because we are not in their “league”. When I got the job I wasn’t nervous about meeting Mr. Idonije because he is just a down to earth person. I love the Foundation’s 5 core values: Self-Awareness, Social-Awareness, Self-Management, Responsible Decision Making, and Effective Communication. At first I didn’t understand the terms because to me they were just words but after being at the foundation for a little bit I have started to understand how they all play a part. The other interns and I have been reading Decoded by Jay-Z. The book is very interesting and I was shocked about what I learned. I always thought Jay-Z was a good business man because he has a lot of money but there is more to it than that. In Drake’s song, “Started From The Bottom, Now We’re Here”, he describes how he was struggling and made his way to the top with success. Jay-Z knew what it was like to struggle, which is probably what made his trip to the top better. My favorite part in the book so far is when Jay-Z took the young rapper Memphis Bleek under his wing. He wanted to help out Bleek’s career while advancing his own at the same time. But the young boy starts feeling overconfident and didn’t show for the recording of the next song so Jay-Z went to his house and told him there wasn’t a tour or a new album; he cut him off. He had to show him tough love and Bleek came back for album number three ready to work and confident. I feel like that’s what the foundation is doing for us. Everybody is trying to help us be better people but at the same time they are not babying us either. One of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein is “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” So far everything has been great! My favorite lesson to learn was about personal brand. I’ve actually started to use that lesson outside of the office and I’m starting to look more like my age. I learned that your outer appearance is the first thing anybody see’s about you and people will judge you based on that. A thank you to IIF CEO Ms. Nash for helping me and the other Interns with our business and business casual attire. I wouldn’t have picked some of those pieces by myself but I began to love them when I tried them on!