The Manhattan hotel conference room was filled with recent graduates seeking guidance from seasoned veterans on how to launch their careers. All females. The C-level executives on the dais gave insightful advice and congratulated the graduates on reaching this point—an advanced degree. The final speaker, the Chief Legal Officer of a major food company, stood to give her remarks. She looked at the salon full of eager faces, and she paused, set aside her notes, took off her glasses, and, in a Lorraine Bracco tone of voice, said,

You young women amaze me. You have your next ten years planned out already. You’re far ahead of where my generation was. But I want to let you in on the secret of my generation, which I am sure my peers on this panel will echo. It’s the unexpected twists and turns in life that yield the greatest opportunities. I’d have never become who I am today if I had not jumped off the path to take a turn that no one would have predicted.

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