June 17, 2014

From Miss USA to MBA

In keeping with my recent posts of pageant tips, I thought it would be a nice opportunity for my readers to receive tips from, not only myself, but other former queens. Today, I have MacKenzie Green, Miss District of Columbia USA 2010, to share a little about herself and some tips of her own.

I have virtually followed MacKenzie for some time through Facebook soon after she won her title! She is a graduate of Miami University and now is pursuing her MBA. You know I love a good example of Brains & Beauty! So without further ado, please welcome MacKenzie to Brains, Beauty & Basketball....

I'm a firm believer in reincarnation, especially when it comes to branding.

When I first started my journey as Miss DC USA 2010, I had one major goal…I refused to let my reign be “the best time of my life.” I admired the titleholders that lived on after the stage, and I wanted to be like those women. I figured I lived one dream; I might as well pursue the rest fearlessly. Then some how it felt like wonderful things kept happening to me. However, most of these things didn't feel planned, and they felt more like happy accidents.

But that was a few years ago, I've learned some things since then. I've learned that none of these things were accidental; they were rather necessary steps on my journey to my dreams. And right now my biggest dream is pursuing an MBA. Beyond any of the typical work that goes towards applying to business school, it is turning out to be an amazing heroes journey of self-discovery.

...don't start to think this means I've completely hung up my crown, or that now I’m one of those ex beauty queens that wears only sensible shoes and tight topknots. I still have remnants of that glittery sparkly girl I grew to be on my way to pursuing a crown.

I wear a few less sequins, and my heels are a little lower...but never fear the beauty queen is still here. My life has evolved in a wonderful way that I could have never imagined. I sit on the national board for the National Council of Negro Women, serving as Young Adult Vice Chair. I work as a senior associate for a financial services firm and consult in digital media, marketing, and communications. I was a UCLA Riordan MBA Fellow, and served as the 2013 Class Chair and Riordan Gala Co-manager. I completed a certificate in Corporate Finance from Georgetown University. And, to commemorate the 57th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, I was awarded the Legacy Award by the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute, cited as a “Legend in the Making.”

Now you may be wondering what is the point of this humble brag. Well for one, anytime you get a chance to brag on yourself, take it proudly. But it’s for another purpose, to show you dear reader that life goes on after the crown. What your legacy in pageantry is sits solely with you. I made a promise to myself when I didn’t win Miss USA, I wanted to be the contestant that you remembered form my class. I want years from now when I’m (God-willing) receiving my appointment as Secretary of Treasury that I am one of the shinning examples of post-pageant success you can recall.

I competed in one pageant, and through divine grace had the opportunity to walk away with the crown. But I knew during my reign and beyond that I was an ambassador for my Miss DC USA 2010 fellow contestants and my hometown of DC. They weren’t lying when they said heavy is the head that wears the crown. However for me, I wore that burden proudly, because to whom so ever much is given, much is required. I am happy to have so many roles and people I represent through my achievements.

I hope what you take from my guest post today is that you can never be afraid to expect more from yourself. To continue to push yourself, and understand that everything you want badly is not always meant for you. That the road to success is never a straight line, and a plethora of other success based clich├ęs. What I really hope is that you realize there are more than pageant stages you can shine on.

You can go to a million and one sites to get pageant tips and tricks, but what you won’t get is an honest answer to, “what happens if I don’t win?” Let me tell you the truth. You may cry, you may emotionally eat, you may beat up on yourself. But if you gave it all you can, you will get over it. And if you are like me, you will use that moment as fuel to push you to your limit. You will dream bigger, and take the lessons you learn on your pageant journey toward the rest of you life.

Pageantry is a transformative process, embrace it, and translate the lessons to your life. If I can walk on stage in a bikini, or answer an on stage question without falling all over my words, then presenting to CEOs or surviving black tie dinners is a cake walk.

Shakespeare was right when he said, "all the world's a stage , and all the men and women merely players." But RuPaul was even more right when she said, "we're all born naked, the rest is merely drag." So rather than think of my evolution and transformation as shedding one role for another, look at it as drag...and honey, I'm about to give you all kinds of business realness.

XOXO,

MacKenzie

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