profiles

meet mj

director’s note: After 10 years of thinkpeace workshop we’ve been privileged to follow the journey of many girls as they blossom into women who are pursuing their interests and goals with determination, a bit of anxiety, and lots of talent! We want to share their stories with you here over the next few months… Each of these incredible women is just like you: compassionate, creative, and real.

Meet MJ!

After high school…

After receiving my degree in Arts Management from MCLA, I went on to Empire State College to pursue my Master’s in Community and Economic Development, with a concentration in Social Entrepreneurship. Before college, I interned at a law firm in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY. Once in college, I interned for a talent agency based out of Los Angeles. From there I interned for DownStreet Art, where I put on monthly community-building events showcasing local talent.

Throughout my internships, I also worked in restaurants as a hostess and a server, which I believe everyone should do once! It’s a humbling experience that taught me a lot about time management, valuable social skills, and to always have empathy when I am the one being served in a restaurant.

Currently I’m working as the Director of Marketing at an up and coming real estate agency in Saratoga, which is actually an agency born from the law firm where I had my first internship! Can you say full circle?!

Career ambition or dream job?

My career ambition is in real estate development. I’ve always believed one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and my dream is to take broken, abandoned homes and restore them to their former glory. Think Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper! I think if more people took the time to fix things that are broken, rather than turning a blind eye in favor of something “shiny and new,” it would have an incredible impact on the community.

Advice from an older thinkpeace girl:

When I first came to thinkpeace camp at age 12, I didn’t know that it is okay to wholeheartedly and shamelessly embrace whatever your talents and passions are. Don’t disregard things that you are good at because you think “everyone can do this, it’s not really a talent” because that’s just simply untrue. Never be afraid to do something that sets you apart from others, because those things that make you “different” are your gift to the world.

What I’ve learned to value about myself:

My passion for creating, my innovation, my entrepreneurial nature, and my ability to not take myself so seriously.

When I was younger, I got in trouble at school for things like painting my jeans in art class to make them more unique or trying to set up a sneaky-postal business where I would charge people a penny to facilitate note passing in class. While those things admittedly may not have always been appropriate in class, these are the skills I have carried with me into adulthood, and I look back now, with confidence in who I am as a woman and smile thinking “I’ve always had this in me.”

23-year-old me reflecting on my thinkpeace camp experience:

I think learning to be a strong woman in this world and learning FROM strong women is the most important thing. Growing up, I never thought for a second that a woman couldn’t do anything she put her mind to, and I credit a lot of that to thinkpeace.

One of my favorite memories from my life is the thinkpeace talent show. All the “good” talents were taken (dancing, singing, gymnastics), so in my effort to be unique, I just ate an onion raw like an apple. As ridiculous as my performance was, my thinkpeace family, embraced that talent as if I had just juggled fire. That’s when I learned that every single talent is special, and in turn, so was I. We were ALL winners that day.

I AM FOREVER A THINKPEACE GIRL! ❤