Amy Antonelli, CEO of Humanitarian Experience for Youth, spoke at one of the first Power to Become events and will be speaking again tonight as a follow up to her initial presentation.
“Five years later I still get letters about it,” Antonelli said.
Antonelli had just been fired from Facebook and let everyone in the audience know. She remembers hearing the audience whisper in shock after she announced it.
“I think that failure has to be apart of our narrative,” Antonelli said. “We don’t just go from success to success to success. We’re not doing others justice when we tell our story like that. If we’re gonna tell our stories, we have to tell our whole stories.”
According to Antonelli, she said being asked to return caused her to really reflect on the last five years. She hopes that her message will be useful to students and hopefully answer questions that participants have prayed about.
She looks forward to returning to Rexburg because as an alumna of BYU-Idaho herself, Antonelli knows it’s a sacred place.
“Rexburg is where I started to figure out my relationship with God and who I was,” she said. “Having that space physically, and no borders and I could see for miles and miles was huge for me. The possibilities were endless and I wanted to make sure I was doing what He wanted me to do. I felt like He became my friend.”
Since graduating, Antonelli has racked up experience with Apple as a spokeswoman for Steve Jobs and worked as the first executive director for Rising Star Outreach.
Antonelli had three pieces of advice she wanted to share with BYU-I students figuring out their path and passion.
1. You have to learn to code. Antonelli said that in a world that is so reliant upon computers and the digital world, coding can open doors.
“You need to know the basics of coding and if you don’t, you’re less qualified than others,” Antonelli said. “You need to speak it to be competitive. You have to learn the basics of coding.”
2. Learn how to write.
“All these liberal arts classes seem pointless, but almost everything you do in life will require you to understand how to engage people,” she said. “If you can learn how to write, it will benefit you regardless of what you do. Learning to write was the best thing I got out of my college education.”
3. Listen to the Spirit.
“No matter what, you guys have to make sure the spirit is the first voice you hear,” Antonelli said. “It’s just too hard, It’s non-negotiable and you have to do it everyday. It’s just too complicated to navigate without the Spirit.”
Tickets for Power to Become are still available and can be purchased here. Event check-ins began at 10 a.m. but will continue until 5 p.m. at the Hart Main gym.