Summer gives us time to regroup and rejuvenate our bodies and our minds – unspoiled time to explore personally and professionally.  Personally:  I hiked, rafted and rode horses in the Colorado backcountry; interviewed my Dad for StoryCorps; took my 7- and 8-year-old boys camping; climbed at Outward Bound’s new Discovery Center in Philadelphia; hiked and rock climbed in Acadia National Park; and read Educated by Tara Westover. 

Spending time outdoors and stories of triumph spark inspiration and motivation for me.  To do our best work we need those moments that refill us.  What is that spark for you? 

Professionally, I read On Writing Well by William Zinsser (if you want to get excited about writing, read this book); worked with a special taskforce at Firstrust Bank; completed a 3-month project with a stellar group of marketing professionals at Comcast; and aided physician scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale New Haven Hospital to assist them in their quest to share their groundbreaking work.  These are all familiar audiences for me.  However, come September I will be working with a new audience – Wharton undergraduates.  And what do you do when you have a new audience: research.

The audience is paramount.  So, what have I been doing to research my new audience?  I’ve been talking to other professors, colleagues and even interviewing undergrads to really understand what’s important and motivating for them. What are their priorities?  How do they best respond to a topic they could be apprehensive about? 

As summer jumps into fall, go find new audiences, places and stories that light a spark for you.