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5 Lessons from Appearing on CNN HLN

After publishing my first book, I was shocked when I checked my Facebook inbox and had a message from CNN’s HLN.

It was 11:00am, and they wanted me to do an interview at 4:00pm…via Skype.

I called the contact in my inbox and excitedly agreed to do the interview- my first national interview. But there were a few problems….read the full post here which includes 5 lessons I share with students. I was not camera ready as I had rushed into work (when I still worked a corporate job), I had a meeting at 4:00 with my ad agency reps who had flown in to discuss new concepts with me, AND I had never used Skype.

However, I was not going to ruin this opportunity. I ran home at lunch to quickly fix myself up and rushed back to work. I found a Malaysian co-worker who was a Skype pro and gave me a crash course. Then I called my agency reps who luckily knew about my book and were excited about my opportunity. They agreed to start the meeting early and finish in time for me to do the interview. Finally, I asked our administrative assistant to quickly find an empty conference room (no easy task) for me to take the call. I did the interview…pretty well…and was thankful for the opportunity and for the lessons learned.

What I tell students

  1. Get ready before you need to be. Learn a new skill, take a new class, explore a new app. You never know when you’ll need it. If I was already familiar with Skype, I would have looked MUCH better on air.
  2. Stay ready. Look presentable and ready for a big opportunity at all times. You never know when your big break might come. Not that you have always be dressed for an interview, but always be presentable enough to represent your personal brand properly.
  3. Be nice to people. My co-workers and my agency contacts were happy to help me and adjust their schedules simply because they liked me and were happy for me. You never know when you’ll need people to help you. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.
  4. Embrace the moment. I rushed around so frantically trying to prepare for the interview that I didn’t get to relish the moment- I was on national TV talking about my little, self-published book. You never know when the opportunity will come again so enjoy every one of them.
  5. Say, “S.O. What!” and, “So NOW What?”. I didn’t have it all together or figured out, but I embraced that and immediately sprung into action to figure what I needed to do to make it happen. You never know what challenges you’ll get, but accept them and figure out ways to handle them.

And there’s a lot more that I share with students to help them overcome obstacles and eliminate any excuses that keep them from getting involved on campus and achieving success. Bring me to your campus, and I’ll help your students S.O. What! their way to success too.

Check out the interview.


I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges.  provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.

Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker?  I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.