[Eminent] Interview Reflection

[The following is a reflection regarding the interview portion of my Eminent project. This is NOT a part of my learning centre and to access that post please follow this link https://mygleneagle.sd43.bc.ca/banaa2020/2021/11/30/taylor-swift-eminent-person-learning-centre/]

Regretfully, I have not been able to secure an interview for my Eminent Person project. It was extremely difficult to find a great way to contact her or anybody on her team, and I believe that is intentional and for a good reason. I am sure that if there was some way to send her fan mail or for the public to contact her managers/publicists/team members, they would be flooded with thousands of emails from obsessed fans trying to get in touch with her.

I tried reading through several forums, looked for her publicist and label information, and looked for organizations that might know about her. The only advice I seemed to get was to make a TikTok or another type of social media post to grab her attention. I did end up making that TikTok, and tons of my classmates pitched in to give it exposure, but unfortunately, it did not make it through to her. I am not even sure if she is able to interact with minors online as looking through the posts she has liked and commented on, she only really seems to get in touch with her adult fans, which makes sense considering how sketchy the former can seem even if she has good intentions. I still do wish I added more hashtags and tried to interact with her on different social media platforms. Maybe if I had gotten started earlier and used strategies to get exposure like singing a song or adding relevant hashtags I would have been able to make it to her.

I will also admit my internet sleuthing was not quite thorough enough, and after my window for emails had passed I found the name of her former high school, whose gym is named after her because she has made donations to it post-graduation. That could have been a good place to at least look. I also wish I investigated certain leads further even if I had no hope for results, like the contact for her merch store or maybe a demo submission email for her label. I could not find publicist contacts but the way record labels work I know there’s a place or two where you can submit your demos and while I know most of those emails get ignored (haha…haha…) anything was worth a shot. The last lead I wish I pursued was her former guitar teacher. I read an article about how she apparently never acknowledged him after breaking out and I’m assuming I could find his contact in it somewhere.

I think what I’d take away from this experience is that even if you find no reasonable or viable ways to do something, it is best to follow those rabbit holes anyway. Just like when you write a test and never leave the answers blank just in case you are right about something you do not know, sometimes you just have to pursue those trails you thought were hopeless because maybe, maybe something would work out.

Nuggets Of Wisdom from John C. Maxwell’s “Developing the Leaders Around You”


Hello! Today I will be discussing a few “nuggets of wisdom” from the leadership course “Developing the Leaders Around You” and the ways they apply to me/T.A.L.O.N.S. leadership planning. Enjoy!

The first nugget of wisdom I will be talking about today is the following: “[There are] two types of leaders: the travel agent sends people to their destination. The tour guide takes people to their destination.” This metaphor uses the idea of a travel agent (somebody who books you a vacation often with no knowledge of the place or insight) and a tour guide (somebody who accompanies you on a journey and knows the place inside out, often using special insight and personal memories to help flesh out the experience) to explain two opposing ways to lead a team. You can either send people on their way with no sense of direction and expect them to accomplish a task, or you can use the sum of your experiences and wisdom to truly assist people in reaching their goals. This is an important distinction for me because I always want to lead in a committed manner, passing down my knowledge and experiences to help others thrive. I should always lead in areas where I feel I have the necessary skills to equip others to work at my level or even surpass me. A T.A.L.O.N.S.-related example would be teaching the Grade 9 students how we write formal emails to companies, I don’t just want to leave them with an overview of the task and a past example, as this is a case where that would be frustrating and confusing. I want to be available to help answer questions, give advice based on my past experiences with the task, help them understand the significance of why they should write these emails this way, and never leave them in the dark.

The second nugget of wisdom is the idea that most leaders are simply “Position” leaders. This is a term from John C. Maxwell’s Five Levels Of Leadership concept, which outlines five “levels” of leadership based on the reason why people follow you. To be a “Position Leader”, you are somebody that people follow because they have to. You cannot grow other leaders and your influence only extends to your job description. This is important to me because it helped me understand why I find a lot of authority figures to be frustrating and disappointing. They’re doing something because it’s their job, and people are following them because they have to, but there is no trust, respect, or mutual satisfaction about results. I find this important to my time in T.A.L.O.N.S. for a similar reason to the abovementioned nugget of wisdom; I never want people to follow me because they have to, I want people to follow me because I have helped them grow into the best person they can be and equipped them with important skills. This is the “People Development” level of leadership (and in order to achieve it I must be a ‘tour guide’ leader). If I help develop the T.A.L.O.N.S. 9s into good leaders, and lead beyond being a Position leader, I can help them and the program achieve more long-term leadership growth.

 The final nugget of wisdom I will be discussing today is the quote “It’s wonderful when people believe in leaders. It’s more wonderful when leaders believe in people.”. A part of a section describing why it’s important to empower those you lead in order to motivate them, I find this whole section profound. As the other concepts I have discussed today touch on, leadership is often about selflessness, and it is very important to think about not just being respected and believed in by those you lead, but respecting them and believing in them in return. Everybody has potential, and in order to be an effective leader, you must look for and harness it. This is important to me because my earlier paragraphs discussed what I can do to help leaders blossom, and this one talks about another core reason why I must do so: because people have potential. I have learned from personal experience this is the most meaningful way to motivate people to go beyond their tasks and even develop themselves. My T.A.L.O.N.S. peers have a lot to offer, and in Leadership planning sessions, I must always remind those I am mentoring that I believe in them as the future of this program and our team. I must keep this in mind so I can motivate them and truly help those around me develop.

Click the following link to play a short quiz on the contents of this blog post: here

Thank you for reading and have a great rest of your day!

[Eminent] Peer Interview Reflection

Hello! In this blog post, I will be reflecting on the process of interviewing a peer to practice for my eminent person interview.

I found learning how to interview someone to be a challenge. I will not dwell too much on the process of being interviewed, but I found being interviewed even more difficult, as I had to come up with good, professional answers to questions that were not too short and not too long, all while maintaining eye contact. However, this experience helped better prepare me to interview somebody else because I could be more patient with the person that I was interviewing. I found that giving an example answer after asking a question and nodding my head in encouragement as somebody answered are two ways that I could make it easier for the person I was interviewing. A large part of what I learned from the interview process came from the feedback I received from the person observing my interview. I learned that a number of questions that I asked were long-winded and confusing, which makes sense considering that I am not a very concise person overall. I will try my best to stick to my written questions better in the future, break questions down into smaller chunks and try more straightforward questions to slowly get to the answer. I would not want to overwhelm the person I was interviewing. I also learned that I tend to fidget with my hands a lot, which is practically unavoidable for me, but in future interviews, I will try to keep that to a minimum or find ways to keep it mostly hidden as I understand it could be distracting for my interviewee. I am grateful for the positive feedback I received as well because it confirmed that my strength when it comes to interviewing is how friendly and enthusiastic I am. There may be a lot of areas where I still need to improve, but the positive feedback helped me understand which areas I do not need to focus on when I practice going forward.

This interview assignment was a very valuable learning experience where I got to know my strengths and my stretches when it comes to interviewing people. I want to improve in the areas where I received constructive feedback and I will try my best to practice and apply what I learned to future interviews, especially for Eminent.

Eminent Blog Post Comment Reflection

Good day! In this blog post, I will be reflecting on the process of reading and commenting on my peer’s eminent blog posts.

Reading about my peer’s eminent people was an engaging experience. I learned about a variety of people, some that I did not know about previously and others whom I am familiar with but was still excited to read about. The depth with which my peers explained their research was admirable and I could sense how eager everyone was to talk about these people they respected. I found commenting on these posts more difficult than reading them because there was a lot of thinking involved in giving critique but it was a rewarding challenge. Sometimes I found it hard to critique blog posts because they were so well-written and other times I felt like there was so much well-done that I could not pick specific characteristics to praise, but in those situations, I kept reading and analyzing, which helped improve my skills. Some of the critiques I gave to my peers I felt I could also consider for my future writing (conciseness, formatting, etc). I also took note of some ideas and pointers from their blog posts, like details they included about their eminent people that I had not thought to research. These observations of my classmates’ excellent blog posts will help me improve my Eminent Person learning and blog post writing in the future.

First Eminent Blog Post (2021)

 

You are not the opinion of somebody who doesn’t know you. – Taylor Swift  (Swift, 2016).


 

As somebody who lived through the 2010s, Taylor Swift is somebody who I could not avoid hearing about. As a teenager who’s passionate about songwriting, the power of words, and music, Taylor Swift is somebody I cannot avoid caring about. My choice of eminent person this year reflects my interests and my goals, and I have been a fan of Swift for a long time for the same reasons I chose her to be my eminent person. I aspire to be as articulate, courageous, and motivated as she is; her bravery and drive have allowed her to reach goals that I one day aspire to achieve. In T.A.L.O.N.S., we are often encouraged to focus on what interests us and be self-directed, and as somebody who released her first album at age 16, made her family relocate to Nashville so she could be closer to the heart of country music and wrote songs about her experiences all throughout her journey of growing up (Ray, 2021), Taylor Swift is somebody who does those things.

On the topic of research, I have learned that Taylor Swift has received both the Artist of the Decade Award at the American Music Awards (Fekadu, 2019) and been named Billboard’s Woman of the Decade (Schiller, 2019) during my preliminary research phase. While awards are not the only metric for success, these awards clearly demonstrate a consensus around the music

Morans from Taylor Swift's You Need to Calm Down Music ...

https://www.eonline.com/photos/28240/taylor-swift-s-you-need-to-calm-down-music-video

industry that Swift is one of the most eminent and important artists of our decade. From advocating for artists’ rights to writing songs about supporting and uplifting marginalized groups (namely “You Need To Calm Down”) to influencing politics (Bleznak, 2020) and advocating for the rights of women in the music industry, Taylor Swift’s impact on pop culture is not only set in stone with numerous awards but also very positive. As the definitive pop artist of the 2010s, her choice to advocate for the rights of women in the music industry will ripple on for decades (If you’d like, watch her Billboard Woman of the Decade acceptance speech here, it is bold, feminist, and relevant to almost everything discussed here on her impact) and it shows through in the artists that have credited her as an inspiration. Olivia Rodrigo (Silverman, 2021), Billie Eilish (Konecky, 2019), and more prominent artists of any gender hitting the charts today around the world have been inspired to boldly follow their dreams because of Taylor Swift; Billie

 

lover

https://youareinlondontoday.tumblr.com

Eilish referenced Taylor Swift when she accepted the 2019 Billboard Woman of the Year Award, saying “In 2014, she won this award, and she basically said, ‘Right now, your future woman of the year is somewhere in a piano lesson, in a choir, and we need to take care of her… I was 11 at the time, and I was in a choir and learning to play piano, and you took care of me. Thank you.” (Konecky, 2019). Taylor Swift’s legacy will continue to trickle down from musician to musician, and the list of those she has touched is already extensive. Like anybody who has reached great success, she has faced challenges on her path to the success she has today, from being sexually assaulted on a radio show at the beginning of her career (“Taylor Swift Sexual Assault Case: Why is it significant?”, 2017) to her struggles with being demonized by the media as a rising female artist (Wilson, 2020). However, something I find inspiring about Taylor Swift is her ability to continue making the art she loves and advocating for what she believes in regardless of how people perceive her. She has admitted in her 2020 documentary film “Miss Americana” that she struggled with letting go of others’ perceptions of her in the past, but today she has clearly learned to move beyond that, and I find that to be one of the most important things we can take away from her story. Besides Taylor Swift’s record-breaking, deeply touching, and unique songwriting and performing style, her personal growth is what truly sets her apart from the crowd.

Sources

Bleznak, B. (2020). Taylor Swift On Her Religious Beliefs And The ‘Sinister Ways’ Politicians Hide Behind ‘Family Values’. CheatSheet. 

https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/taylor-swift-religion-sinister-way-politicians-hide-family-values.html/

Fekadu, M. (2019). Taylor Swift crowned ‘artist of the decade’ at American Music Awards. CTV News.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/taylor-swift-crowned-artist-of-the-decade-at-american-music-awards-1.4700702

Konecky, P. (2019). Billie Eilish Thanked Taylor Swift For “Taking Care Of Her” as Billboard’s Woman of the Year. Popsugar.

https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/billie-eilish-speech-at-billboard-women-in-music-event-2019-47013257

Lana Wilson, Morgan Neville, Caitrin Rogers & Christine O’Malley (2020). Miss Americana. United States: Tremolo Productions.

Ray, M. (2021). Taylor Swift. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Taylor-Swift

Schiller, R. (2019). Taylor Swift Accepts Woman of the Decade Award at Billboard’s Women in Music: Read Her Full Speech. Billboard. 

https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/awards/8546156/taylor-swift-woman-of-the-decade-speech-billboard-women-in-music

Silverman, S. (2021). Inside Taylor Swift’s Relationship With Olivia Rodrigo. Nicki Swift.

https://www.nickiswift.com/314050/inside-taylor-swifts-relationship-with-olivia-rodrigo/

Taylor Swift Vietnam (2016, June 6). [Vietsub] Taylor Swift Clean Speech 1989 Tour Manchester, United Kingdom, June 24th, 2015 [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/8VjFVjwrrOc 

Taylor Swift sexual assault case: Why is it significant? (2017). BBC. 

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-40937429

Timberg, P. (2015). Taylor Swift is not an “underdog”: The real story of her 1 percent upbringing that the New York Times won’t tell you. Salon. https://www.salon.com/2015/05/22/taylor_swift_is_not_an_underdog_the_real_story_about_her_1_percent_upbringing_that_the_new_york_times_wont_tell_you/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow