After graduating from law school, Elizabeth Jin worked as a transactional associate in New York and a corporate attorney in London. While she learned the critical skills required of an attorney, the jobs left her feeling run-down by a grueling lifestyle. In 2012, she was ready for a change and applied to the company she’d interned with during college. Jin was thrilled when she landed the position of in-house counsel at Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Even though she enjoyed her new role, she felt isolated in the massive company. Eventually Jin, ACG, ALB, joined a corporate club, 310 North Toastmasters, to befriend colleagues in different departments.
As she gained confidence through Toastmasters, Jin yearned to express herself creatively. “I think of myself as much more than a lawyer, and I felt compelled to find a creative outlet to tell my stories and to put ‘bursts of happiness’ out into the world,” she says.
She started a video blog and now finds purpose sharing self-improvement tips. Through her “weekly pep talks,” Jin wants to uplift and inspire others with short videos like “Embrace Being a Beginner,” and “Bad Day? How to Feel Better ASAP,” and her most popular video to date “5 Reasons to Join Toastmasters.” She makes time to pursue her passion while balancing her current role negotiating and managing Coca-Cola’s talent endorsements and sponsorships.
How has Toastmasters encouraged you in your daily life?
Toastmasters is not a spectator sport—you alone are responsible for investing in yourself. One speech I gave was titled “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.” There is simply no substitute for consistent hustle. Slowly but surely, your life will change for the better when you put in the work and give yourself a chance to grow. I now take this attitude with my blog, and I made a commitment to upload a new video every Friday.
Tell us about your website.
I had been creating two-minute films just for fun with my friend who is a videographer. Eventually my short films turned into weekly vlogs [video blogs], and I created a website and YouTube channel. These videos are a sort of live catharsis where I open up about my hopes and struggles and offer encouragement to people who might be facing similar situations. Like me, my blog is a work in progress and a testament to the fact that we can all dig ourselves out of whatever rut we are in.
How did you learn to create videos?
Before starting my website, I had never even picked up a camera. I now create, film and edit my own content. I’ve found that if you wait until you have the perfect content or you’re an expert at something, you’ll never start. I bought an affordable camera, a tripod and some lights and just went for it. Once I got the hang of it, I signed up for a class at a local college to learn advanced video editing. Almost 80 videos later and I’m still learning!
What gave you the courage to bare yourself
through your vlog?
Toastmasters helped me own my voice and believe that I have something worth sharing. Embrace your stories and your struggle because that’s what makes you you. No one else has gone through exactly what you’ve been through. You can’t please everyone, but if you are honest and authentic, your story will resonate with the people it needs to reach.
What do you wish you’d known about leadership when you began your career?
I wish I had known that vulnerability can be a strength and a powerful tool to inspire others. While at Coca-Cola, I’ve applied for roles that I did not get, and I was laid off (before being re-hired). It was painful to endure these public disappointments, but I realized that I had a choice in how I reacted. I decided to create videos on how to be grateful for “failure.” I know now that sharing your story—particularly your stories about struggling—is a gift that someone else could really use.
Tess Iandiorio is senior editor of the Toastmaster magazine.
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