Terrie was demanding, hardworking, and generous to a fault. As hard as she worked for all her high-profile actors and executives, she worked just as hard for her pro bono clients, and she was able to give nonprofit agencies access to resources that they never would have had if not for her influence. So I saw firsthand how you could have a successful business while mentoring young people and helping nonprofits. What an inspiration!

I spent three wonderful years working with Terrie, but then I realized that it was time to begin a new chapter in my life.

I've always loved makeup, so when I heard about a job opening at Elizabeth Arden's media department, I thought it would be perfect for me. Because, okay, I'll admit right now, I don't just love makeup—I'm a product queen! What I had liked about public relations was the chance to convince somebody that a person with talent was worth being talked about or that the world should take note of a particular new TV show, movie, or CD. Promoting a creative person or product required all my creativity, which I found both challenging and fun. And it was a terrific high to read the article I had helped to place or to watch the talk show I'd managed to get my client on. I liked knowing that I had helped talented people—especially new talents—achieve their dreams or get the chance to promote a project they were proud of. That said, as much as I liked wearing makeup and perfume, I just didn't get the same thrill from promoting them. I very quickly realized that what I really wanted was to take my love of public relations, along with all the skills and experience and connections I had acquired working for Terrie, and use it to promote something worthy that I believed in.

Excerpted from If It Takes a Village, Build One: How I Found Meaning Through a Life of Service and 100+ Ways You Can Too by Malaak Compton-Rock, foreword by Marian Wright Edelman. Copyright © 2010 by Broadway Books. Reprinted by permission of Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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