I fell in love with Kendal when she took a class I was teaching at the university.
She's a Turkish Kardashian, all luscious dark locks, huge eyes, fluttering natural lashes — but with a big dose of spunk and moxie that surprises.
She wasn't just gorgeous. She was smart and gorgeous and oh-so-ambitious that it made my heart sing.
I call her my "journalism daughter" because that's how I see it. We met through the subject matter, but we continue as treasured pals. I want her to succeed. I want to be her sounding board, a mentor and open friend for her life.
She got her first job recently. And as proud as I was, she was let down. Because after coveted internships in New York City at a broadcasting network, working at the highest level, she was now employed at a place that was not up to her standards or ambitions.
She expressed anger and at one weak moment, suggested she change her career field to something easier and also more lucrative.
No, I told her. Don't train wreck your dreams because it's not easy. Pay your dues, work hard, even in the trenches, and don't forget to "be brilliant' wherever you are — a small station or one day, a major market. It's all out there. You want it. You bear down and grab it.
In her angst, she reached out to her mentors (a great instinct, I might add), including a woman she's followed who became a network star. "Never once did I ever consider giving up," wrote this well-known weather broadcaster in an email to my daughter. It also included some anecdotes about her own tough years before she made it big — encouragement for Kendal when she was doubting.
"She's always so real with me," Kendal wrote me. And I knew she was touched that someone with real-world wisdom took time to share that yes, the struggle might be real. But for the determined, the rewards could pay off huge. You just have to want it the MOST.
Quickly, Kendal re-oriented her thinking and started pumping out fabulous story ideas for her boss. Her attitude has shifted. She hasn't given up yet. And I rather doubt she will.
One day, I feel sure i"m going to turn on the television and see her there, a star in her own right. But until then, I know she's going to "bloom where she's planted," so to speak.
Never forget that you can be excellent and produce excellence right where you are.
That's a "brilliant" attitude more of us should embrace.