Endyia Kinney-Sterns didn’t get to become a vice president at the Oprah Winfrey Network without picking up a few lessons along her way. With more than 20 years of experience behind her, Kinney-Sterns tells us what advice she gives to anyone who wants to be in her shoes:
Find a need and meet it. You shouldn’t wait for someone to tell you that they need something. You shouldn’t wait until you see an opportunity to make something more efficient and run smoothly. You be that change. You be that extra spoke in the wheel that makes the wheel turn easier. That is your job.
I think a lot of people feel like, “Ok, I’m getting paid 9-5, I clock in, I clock out.” No. Try and put in the work for the next job you want to have—that’s what I have always done. You have to know your landscape. If you’re going into a company and you know that they don’t promote, and you know that there’s been that one person who’s been at that same job for 10 years, then you have to know what you’re getting into. You can’t be frustrated about it. You’ve gotta have a plan.
The resources are always there; it’s up to you to be present and in the moment and execute and grab a hold of them and do the work. What I tell people [is] when they’re on a desk like I was and you’re on the phone with agents and managers and producers, take them to lunch. Learn, engage—don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get as much knowledge as you can [and] build your Rolodex. Then when opportunity presents itself and you feel you’ve learned everything you’ve needed to learn where you are and there are no opportunities for movement, you reach out to those people and tell them what it is you’re interested in.