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  • Writer's pictureBlaise Justice, University of Oklahoma

Challenging Imposter Syndrome

As a young woman struggling with imposter syndrome, my experience with the National Millennial and Gen Z Community was exactly what I needed. I concluded my final semester as an undergraduate student and jump-started my career.

For the past 22 years of my life, I feel as though I have always lived vicariously through others, soaking up their knowledge, expertise, opinions, and experiences.

Yet, I flew solo to San Francisco without knowing anyone – not only to learn and expose myself to such an experience but because a group of professionals wanted the younger generation's opinions. I never imagined myself, a 22-year-old from Oklahoma City, sitting across from well-known and successful business executives, discussing the next steps of their firm.

I had the honor of being asked to be the team captain for a "Coffee Challenge" competition. This competition entailed pitching a creative business strategy to Bentleys Napa Valley Coffee Company, a local Napa Valley coffee roasting company. They had a heart-warming story with their survival through the fires in 2017.

As a result, they had to pivot their free-range egg and hydroponic lettuce/basil business and venture into the coffee roasting industry. Then came COVID-19, which put the Bentleys to the test once again.

We called our mighty team of four "The Daily Grind" and put together a business proposal to help the Bentleys thrive. As a business major interested in graphic design, I was pleased to have the opportunity to refresh their brand. I created a simplified version of their logo, a mockup of what their packaging could look like, and a model of the website's potential.

Suggesting that the brand should be refreshed or rebranded is risky and remains a sensitive topic, so we knew we were taking a chance. Fortunately, the Bentleys loved our suggestions and even bought the logo I created for them!

It empowers me to know that the time and effort I put into learning about graphic design was rewarded and gave me a boost of confidence. I am forever grateful to have met such inspiring and impactful people and had this incredible experience that made me feel a part of an inspiring community.


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