Amber Schreiner is an amazing woman. She is a writer, runs her own social strategy company, is Chief Social Strategist for the We Are Family Foundation and curates the audience for TedxTeen – and if that isn’t enough, she’s super inspiring too.
After the hustle and bustle of TedxTeen 2015 had settled down we got in touch with Amber to ask her a few questions about her life and career.
We discovered she’s a determined and courageous woman who has worked hard for her success. She’s made the most of her opportunities and hasn’t given up in the face of adversity. She’s taken huge risks, like moving to New York to work for TedxTeen and showed tremendous resilience when applying for jobs early on in her career, applying for more than 10 jobs at one company, a reminder that you have to be persistent with your dreams.
Citing her mother as her biggest influence, she recalls her mum having a spirit of entrepreneurship – offering to clean the studios of Amber’s pottery and music classes after the sessions had finished, as she couldn’t afford to pay for them. “With hardly two pennies in her pocket, she managed to send me to multiple private schools – she always says, “where there is a will, there is a way!”
We agree, and clearly Amber has this entrepreneurial spirit too. Keep reading for her answers to our questions.
What has your career journey been like?
Speaking of school, Amber said “I thoroughly enjoyed school but struggled to keep up in STEM classes. I graduated with no chance of attending my dream university and so I took a chance in enrolling in the junior college a town away. [Junior college is the equivalent of the first and second year of university in the UK] I felt like if I could visibly see my goal every day, I might have a better chance of getting there. After two years, I was able to transfer!” Amber left Gainsville State College and enrolled at the University of Georgia where she completed her studies in Philosophy.
“For the remainder of college, I was immersed in an incredible philosophy program that focused extensively on feminist and environmental issues. I felt so lucky to study beyond the classics!
Determined to not end my creative enthusiasm post college, I applied 12 times to different divisions within Turner Broadcasting and my 11th application landed me a role in Cartoon Network Digital. It was thrilling to work around people who LOVED their jobs! I can’t imagine where I’d be if that wasn’t my first job.
How did you get involved with TedxTeen and can you tell us about your role?
After falling in love with New York City while on vacation, I connected over the phone with the TEDxTeen Curator (Jess Teutonico). We hit it off great and she said if I could move to NYC and start out unpaid, I had a job!
Crazy enough, I took the bait! Three years later, I run the social media for We Are Family Foundation and it’s two organizations – TEDxTeen and Three Dot Dash. In addition to being the voice behind the brands, I have the incredible opportunity to curate the TEDxTeen audience. It is a fabulously rewarding position where I get to interact with the brightest youth across the globe!
Soon, people began to ask what my company was called. I realized I had grown out of freelancing and had the ability to start my own social strategy company. Last July, I started Juniperus. Our clients vary in industries but our mission stays the same: we amplify the voices of those that are making the world a better place.
I read every application that comes in to attend TEDxTeen and decide who should attend based around numerous factors (the year’s conference theme, having as many young people as possible, having the most diverse audience as possible, etc). Aside from the audience applications, I make sure that all of our partners have tickets and that our staff is registered.
Is there someone that as had a big influence on your career and what have they done?
My mother. Being a single mother, every day brought a new level of entrepreneurism. When she couldn’t afford my pottery or music classes, she would offer to clean the studios after class. With hardly two pennies in her pocket, she managed to send me to multiple private schools – she always says, “where there is a will, there is a way!”
My mom instilled in me that the worst thing failure can do is land you back where you started … I took this advice when I started my own company and I think about it often when I’m facing adversity.
What advice would you give to someone that is interested in events and social media?
As Nike says, “Just Do It!”
Can you describe a turning point in your career?
When I realized what you do for money and what you do to make the world a better place can be the same thing.
What is one of the kindest things someone has done for you?
True story: my entire life is a series of strangers exhibiting unusual kindness.
When I was 8 years old, my mom didn’t have money to celebrate Christmas. The entire Vermont town we lived in got together without us knowing and planned to surprise me on Christmas morning with a gift from every store in the town! I remember that all of the presents were in one giant stocking that was bigger than me! It had lots of LEGO sets, a big stuffed bear, and lots of other toys.
If you could pass on one piece of advice or 'word of wisdom' to a young person, what would it be?
Like my mother always says, “where there is a will, there’s a way.”
If you would like to find out more about Amber's work just click on the links below!
We Are Family Foundation
Three Dot Dash
Follow Amber on Twitter here @gracefulamber
Over to you!
What's the best piece of advice you've been given? Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share?
Please write them in the comments section below!