See What Sticks: Seeing Your Skeptics

See What Sticks: Seeing Your Skeptics

At the request of a great many friends, and a vehement recommendation from my sister, I have finally completed Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's incredible novel AmericanahIn the past several years (read: once the Harry Potter series concluded) I haven't found much use for fiction, and have instead filled my mind and bookshelf with biographies and advice for my real life. And yet, as I read Americanah, there was so much that I found familiar, I found myself wishing for many, many more books like it

Day 22 - Activators vs. Cheerleaders: How to Find the Action Oriented Supporters in Your Network


katie bean, be the change, leadership, niche movement, happiness, college students, workshops, leadership trainings, activators, cheerleaders In the first few months when I started The Niche Movement in January 2013, I had a growing number of supporters and advocates that initiated some early outreach. One advocate that really stands out and still supports my vision to this day is Katie Bean. I met Katie in 2006-07 when I started visiting Courtney in graduate school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. They were both in the same student affairs program and became really close friends.

Upon earning her masters degree, Katie moved to Washington, DC in 2008 where she worked as the Assistant Director of Alcohol and Drug Education for three years. Katie is one of those people who has huge heart and believes in what she does in her job. She has a vision where every college student is properly educated and supported to make healthy lifestyle choices thus leading to a healthier and safer campus.

In 2011, Katie found a new opportunity and moved back to her hometown of Philadelphia where she took a job as the Assistant Director of Student Outreach at St. Joseph's University. In this role, she provides wellness, alcohol, and drug education, support, and programming. Part of her job at St. Joe’s is to lead a group of peer educators that are advocates for responsible lifestyles and link the campus to her office. Katie’s leadership philosophy, both with her programming and advising her students, is to empower people to make choices that benefit them. I love her leadership style because anyone that works with college students knows you can’t force a college student to do something, but you can educate and guide them to make healthy choices that lead to a happier life.

Katie was someone that didn’t just talk about change, she created it. That’s why her mantra is “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” The emphasis is on ‘be’ because she is an action oriented person. I didn’t realized it at the time, but I learned that this trait would benefit the Niche Movement tremendously. After telling her about my ideas it was only a matter of time before I saw something different than many of my other conversations with supporters...I saw her take action.

When I launched The Niche Movement’s first online cohort for college students to help them find their niche, Katie Bean was one of the first colleagues to share it with her network. Not only did she promote it, but she encouraged a few of her peer educators that were juniors and seniors who were looking for some direction upon graduation to apply to this program. I can’t thank her enough for her belief in one of my first initiatives. Because of Katie’s support, four students from St. Joe’s were accepted into The Niche Movement’s program. One of her students, Nikki Uy, has an incredible story that I will share later this week.

You will have friends along the way that will listen to your ideas, share their support with you and those all great people to have around you. However, activators like Katie are game changers. She took the conversation a step further by sharing it with her students and supporting their involvement in the cohort. That kind of action-oriented support is invaluable.

katie bean, be the change, leadership, niche movement, happiness, college students, workshops, leadership trainings, activators, cheerleaders, wedding, friends, relationships, trust, empower

Just like many of the people I have talked about, Katie has been there for Courtney and I. She played an amazing role as one of Courtney’s bridesmaids, she has helped us connect with several other colleagues in the field, and has always been there to offer positive life advice. It is great to see her genuine personality shine through in both her professional and personal world.

What They Taught Me:

Everytime I talk to Katie she shares amazing stories of how she empowered one of her students or helped a struggling student on campus better themselves. She has taught me to never give up on a student and to find an outlet where they can be empowered.

How They Inspired Me:

Having Katie as one of the first advocates of The Niche Movement has really met a lot to me and establish a name for my passion project outside of New Jersey. Her encouragement and belief, along with many others, helps me recognize that I bring value to this subject of post-graduate life.


When you are finding your niche, there will be those that are cheerleaders and those that will be activators. The activators go beyond the cheers of support and they take action in ways that will amplify your message and help you reach your goals. Katie was an activator for me. I have lots of cheerleaders, but it is the activators that continue to help make this ‘dream’ a reality. Be an activator for someone else. There are many times throughout my story where I have done that for others, and I believe that is why I have been fortunate enough to see that kindness and dedication come back to me. If you have activators around you, thank them. They are critical to your success.

Day 6 - They Said I Was a Leader...Here's What Happened Next


leadership, marketing, college, professors, FDU, fairleigh dickinson university, ann huser, hart singh, real-world I am a big believer in exposing college students to real-world experience. Throughout my college courses I was lucky enough to have two amazing professors that followed this belief: Ann Huser and Hart Singh.

I met Ann Huser my fall semester sophomore year when I enrolled in the “Principles of Marketing” class. This class opened my eyes to marketing and helped me decide to declare my major. Professor Huser worked for several large companies including General Foods (now Kraft Foods). Every class she would explain how what we were learning in our textbooks related to real-world experience.

The senior seminar class I took with her was one of the top 2 courses I enrolled in. We worked with Ciao Bella Gelato (with whom I also interned) to come up with a retail brand extension and campaign. When we had it all planned out, we then presented it to their Director of Marketing and Director of Sales. We learned about Ciao Bella’s competitors by visiting high end stores like Whole Foods, analyzed current market share data, and she taught us how to create a report the same way she created reports for Jell-o.

Professor Huser wasn’t just a teacher though. She became our advisor as the five of us (Mike, Sarah, Krystal, Kathryn and I) started the Marketing Mix - FDU’s first ever marketing club. We planned monthly speaking and networking events, recruited members, and wrote our own constitution. During my sophomore year, I was comfortable being a founding member and doing what was asked of me.

However, after my conversation with Ray, Nat and Sarah about my leadership potential, I had a whole new outlook on this club and my ability. Since our club was just established a little over a year earlier, several of our e-board members concluded that our current President would remain President and we would not hold elections. As an e-board member with a whole new outlook on how we could make this club even better, I couldn’t let this happen.

Instead of sending a very frustrated email to Professor Huser at 12am, I slept on it and emailed her that morning asking her to call me. That decision alone, impacted the next 6 months of my life. I discussed with her over the phone the ideas I had for the club, my leadership ability to get us there, and how we need to give other members (including myself) a chance to run for President. To this day, I know that if I emailed her rather than calmly and professionally talked to her on the phone I wouldn’t have had the same outcome. Long story, short, she agreed, organized a proper election for all e-board positions and I started my “campaigning.” Needless to say, I gave one of the best speeches of my life and became the first officially elected President for the Marketing Mix.


The second step towards student leadership was taken.


My other professor, Hart Singh, taught in the Entrepreneurship program. He was a successful entrepreneur himself creating innovative software solutions for Intuit, Quickbooks, and launching new technologies to help municipal government. Every class he ran felt like a start-up.


However, I remember the first day of his class senior year: the room was filled 15-20 seniors in the business program. Professor Singh’s aggressive syllabus and required readings alone scared off 2-3 students. He had high expectations of his students: create a business model,  write and present a thorough business plan, and keep up with the weekly readings and writings. Sure enough another 3-5 students dropped out. I am so glad I decided to stay in his class because I still go back to the things he taught us everyday.

  • He helped us create working cash flow models in excel (that I still use today)
  • Critiqued our business plans with a fine tooth-comb.
  • Stopped us in the middle of our presentations and made us start over if we used a filler, were unsure of ourselves or lost the audience.

Given the new leadership skills I was learning, and my new outlook on life, this class resonated with me on a much different level. I saw myself as a leader now, so I could envision myself as an entrepreneur one day. That’s the beauty of college. The work we do outside the classroom sets our students up for success inside the classroom.


How they inspired me:

If it wasn’t for both Professor Huser and Professor Singh I wouldn’t have grown to love marketing and entrepreneurship. Even though I didn’t go the traditional corporate marketing route, the skills I learned in their classes have been utilized every day.


What they taught me:

They taught me to challenge the expectations that people set for me, and always try to push beyond them. They also taught me how to set ambitious expectations for myself and gave me the tools to reach them as long as I am willing to put in the work.



1. If you’re passionate like me, there will be days when you want to fire off that email out of frustration. That’s ok! But, if you have something meaningful to say, hold off on sending an email. Pick up the phone or better yet, meet with the person face to face. You’ll be surprised by how positive the outcome can be.

2. When the bar has been set high, hustle. Work hard to set the bar even higher for the next person.