Building An Authentic Career As A Keynote Speaker

In this short series, we hear from mid-career professionals, leaders, and founders on what it takes to build an authentic career, some of their challenges and proudest moments along the way, and their best piece of advice for navigating an intentional and authentic career. Get inspired below!

What's your name?

Lorraine K. Lee

What's your title or function?

Keynote Speaker | Consultant | Instructor (LinkedIn Learning, Stanford Continuing Studies)

What led you to this career path?

I like to say that my career path got launched through a combination of experience and being at the right place at the right time. When I was getting ready to graduate, I had no idea that editorial roles in tech existed, but I knew I wanted to use my journalism degree in a journalism-adjacent role. I reached out to a former supervisor of mine who had moved from LA (where I'm from and where I was initially seeking a job) to Silicon Valley. She recruited me, and that began my 10+ years career in marketing and editorial roles in tech. I've always known the importance of having a strong professional presence, and it was over the last few years that I took the brand I had built on LinkedIn and started a side hustle that has now become my full-time job!

What would you say is your unique zone of genius?

I'd say people know me best for two things: Building a LinkedIn presence and being an engaging virtual speaker.

What's the best part and the hardest part of the work you do today?

The best part of what I do each day is constantly learning. While I have a certain set of skills from my 10+ years of work in tech, now I get to figure out how to turn my skills and expertise into a business. On the flip side, a big challenge is that as a founder, business is more unpredictable and it can feel stressful trying to "figure it out" and ensure you are building something that's sustainable.

What's a challenge you've overcome in your career (that you're willing to share)?

One challenge that I think many others experience is figuring out that leap from do'er to leader. I had to learn skills that you're not taught in school - like how to advocate for yourself and how to promote your work. Thankfully I have had wonderful managers who helped me along the way.

When you look back on your career what are you most proud of?

It's hard to pinpoint one moment, because all the little moments are what added up to get me to where I am today. I would say any time I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone I saw the biggest rewards. For example, I decided to host a video series at LinkedIn because I saw video was becoming important in the business world. Later that gave me the confidence to try giving virtual keynotes, which resulted in other opportunities like becoming a LinkedIn Learning Instructor. I believe our careers are made up of these significant turning points — we can't always plan for them but we shouldn't shy away when something scares us or challenges us.

What's the job or passion project you've considered but never gone after?

I would have said it was starting a business. Now I'm doing it, and there are lots of ideas I have that I haven't done yet because of time or bandwidth, but they're on my list! 😉

What is the best piece of career advice you'd like to share with others?

Over prepare but don't over plan. It's important to constantly be learning and networking so you're prepared for what may come next. However, don't plan out your career too much. It's great to have a general idea but so many things will come your way that you never would have expected if you just stay open and flexible.

What does an authentic life and career look like for you?

An authentic life and career mean doing work that I'm passionate about while helping others become more recognized, influential, successful, and empowered. I also want to make sure I show up for my family and friends. I value relationships above all else.

In you're ready to show up with intention and authenticity in your career, here are three ways that we can support you. 

1) Join our newsletter here. Get career insights and inspiration straight to your inbox every other Tuesday.

2) The Authenticity Lab. Ready to start cultivating a life and career you love?

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