SES: Why I Come Back

Every year around June it creeps up on me. The email from president and founder of the Image Initiative, Nicole Jones Watkins, where she asks us to put a date on the books and prepare some ideas for a meeting to discuss next year’s conference. I often think, oh my goodness, we just finished this year’s conference! But needless to say, I kick into gear and am extremely encouraged when the west coast advisory board gathers together to kick around ideas and brainstorm the endless possibilities of guests and topics for the upcoming year--and then the work hits. It isn’t the fact that it’s a lot of work, because I honestly believe that ANYTHING worth having is worth working for. It’s more of a combination of other things that occur, like your job, family, hobbies, social outings, unanswered requests, denied sponsorships…life essentially. Life tends to get in the way of the things we try to accomplish. Every year there is some sort of obstacle we face, and I find myself asking why are we hitting this road block? At times I get so discouraged, that I question if I will even be able to make it back the following year. And then, I get the thump. I’ve just arrived at the conference, and I see the girls. The thump hits harder and louder. It’s my heart beat, and it is running with excitement from seeing all of the beautiful faces, and hearing their voices. Seeing the girls’ concerns, their openness to learn and receive the information being presented. Their youthful presence when something funny occurs. The way they bare their souls when they are honest and expressing who they are and how they really feel within the sister circle. They way they look at us enthusiastically when we share that we live in LA and work in the entertainment industry. But most importantly, the way they smile in the end when they come together at the conclusion of the conference, sharing the joy of what they all just achieved together and the bond they formed with one another in only two days. That is why I come back. The girls never fail to remind me each year that though we face many obstacles, they are worth it and so much more.

JaSheika James
Advisory Board Member



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