Having attended the Threads Senior Collection fashion show at North Carolina State University twice now, I can tell you with certainty that the student designers from the College of Textiles have a passion for fashion. Last year I had the honor of being asked to join the industry advisory board for the department, and I’ve had the difficult job of judging one of the Threads shows.
From the intro videos that showcase each student explaining his/her collection’s inspiration, to the months of planning that go into the show, the designers’ careful selection and styling of their models, and the finished garments unveiled on the runway, the students’ enthusiasm is obvious. And contagious.
While I’m a big believer in having passion for whatever it is you do, I worried that passion had become one of those overused business words when I wrote a portion of my presentation at the recent PRSA Counselors Academy conference all about having a passion for the business. So I asked the other PR agency leaders in my session… has the word passion become like “sweet spot” or “synergy” or some of those other cringe-worthy phrases? Much to my satisfaction, the answer was a resounding no. Furthermore, I loved seeing heads nodding when I said that as agency leaders, we must recognize, nurture and insist on passion.
Where do we begin? With the hiring process. In the past year, I have passed on two extremely smart candidates because I felt like they were lacking in passion either for being communications counselors, for joining a start-up agency or for the specific job I had to offer. I knew they had the skills, but without the passion, I also knew it would not be a long term relationship.