Throughout 2019, our #DreamSpeakers have sparked conversation and shared wise career and life guidance in engaging flashchats with students across the United States. To close out the decade, we’ve chosen 20 pieces of advice from our wonderful role models to help guide you into 2020! From the DreamWakers’ community to each of you — may these pieces of wisdom serve as a reminder that it’s never too late pursue your dreams.

1.“Things are hard all the time, but nothing is impossible. Everything that everyone has ever done before you is achievable by you. The difference will be the effort you put forward, the questions you ask, and the resources that you look for. But nothing is beyond you.”— Nicholas Hunt-Walker, App Developer at Starbucks

2. “Whether it’s how I present myself to the office, with male colleagues, with people higher than me, I always want them to understand what I’m bringing to the table. One of the things I always like to instill is just knowing your worth.”— Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle, Deputy General Manager at L’Oreal USA

3. “If you don’t try, you’ve already failed. Take risks and try things that interest you. Give life a go! Don’t be ruled too much by fear of failure.” — Athena Jones, CNN White House Correspondent

4. “Learning never stops. I had a mentor tell me once, ‘If you’re the smartest person in the room, leave.’ He meant to constantly surround yourself with people who either teach you things or inspire you.” — Julio Chavez, Software Engineer at YouTube

Julio Chavez, Software Engineer at YouTube

5. “A lot of times what you see in your surroundings, you believe that’s going to be you. Instead of being a product of your environment, you can be a change agent. You can be the one that brings in new information and educates everyone that’s behind you.” — Gregory Lorjuste, Director of Scheduling, Office of Barack and Michelle Obama

6. “Failure is a short term feeling. If you fail, you’ll bounce back. Try something else. Regret is a long term feeling because you can never go back.” — Michelle Bar, Owner and Designer at Barbela Designs

7. “You’re going to have hard times. I’ve had lots of money, I’ve had no money. Success, no success. I’ve been a nobody, I’ve been a somebody. But I kept moving forward. In life, when you get hit, get back up. Don’t let something negative define you.” — Doug Brown, Professional Skateboarder

8. “It’s not always easy to ask somebody a tough question. You owe it to not only yourself, but to the general public to ask that question because if you’re in your head thinking about that question, someone else is too. There’s never a stupid question.”— Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, On-Air Correspondent with Verizon Media

Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, On-Air Correspondent with Verizon Media

9. “Success is all your perspective. To me it’s a journey, and I always want to be working where my purpose and my passion mix. I feel like there’s a lot more I want to explore for myself, so success comes with pressure, but you’ve got to believe in yourself.” — JJ West, Manager of Affiliate Marketing at Disney & ESPN Media Networks

10. “Keep taking risks, and keep going after whatever it is that you want because it IS possible.”— Hafsatu Kamara, Olympic Track and Field Runner

Hafsatu Kamara, Olympic Track and Field Runner

11. “There isn’t one specific path that you have to go down. You are going to take a lot of paths. There are going to be a lot of mistakes and errors, sometimes failures. All of those things will add up and make you a better person.”— Heather Chisenhall, Owner of the Healthy Gene

12. “It helps a lot to look to people I admire and try to mimic what they do. Whatever they do right, I try to do because if it’s working for them, maybe it’ll work for me. Even if you don’t have a formal mentor, you can always try to find inspiration from wherever you can.”— Jackie Birdsall, Senior Engineer at Toyota

13. “Stick with it. Stay in that lane. Stay focused, be purposeful, and have people around you that believe in you and champion your cause. Naysayers and people that don’t get it, they can go in the other lane.” — Lee Chan, Founder of Design Lab NYC

Lee Chan, Founder of Design Lab NYC

14. “As I got older, I realized that I can only get better at something if I make a mistake. I can’t automatically know something all the time. That’s what being a scientist is like. It’s about making mistakes and trying to learn from them.” — Arianna Brown, Doctoral Student in Astrophysics

15. “If you act powerfully, you will think powerfully. When your body language is confident and open instead of closed off, other people will respond positively, which unconsciously reinforces their perception of you and your perception of yourself.” — Juliette Dallas-Feeney, Head of Brand Partnerships at Love Stories TV

16. “There are assumptions that young people can’t do much to resolve conflict. But when I find stories of young people who are making a difference and building peace in their communities, I like to bring those stories forward and break those assumptions.”— Palwasha Kakar, Senior Program Officer at United States Institute of Peace

17. “Dream absolutely big. Just dream big. Whatever you want is out there. Don’t care what the naysayers say, what the haters say; your vision is for you, it’s not for anybody else. Nobody else has to cosign on your dream. You just have to believe.”— Precious Williams, CEO of Perfect Pitches by Precious

Precious Williams, CEO of Perfect Pitches by Precious

18. “Every time you climb a mountain and get to the top, you see another mountain to climb and you’ll wonder if you’re able to do it. I have doubts, but I learned instead of setting big goals, set little goals so every day you can do one thing to move in the direction you want.”— Jamie Crane-Mauzy, Professional Skier

19. “Try and find things that you love to do and keep doing those things! Eventually you will find a job doing something you enjoy.”— Agustin Mora, Software Engineer at Google

20. “In any challenging moment, I try to remember that these things are temporary. Sometimes people are trying to teach us lessons when we go through our toughest moments, and sometimes we’re just trying to teach ourselves something.” — Sam Crocker, Manager at Instacart


Thank you to the DreamWakers community for another incredible year of inspiring students and waking dreams! Check out more highlights from 2018–2019 in our Annual Report.