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Focusing
on a positive impact

Allowing Adversity to Ignite Your Resiliency

By Amanda Jo Shortlidge

Three weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend the One Young World Summit as a Johnson & Johnson Delegate and hear from inspirational leaders around the globe. The 2019 Summit was a unique experience to bring together change-makers from 190+ countries who came from different experiences in one room to empower us to make a difference.

Three weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend the One Young World Summit as a Johnson & Johnson Delegate and hear from inspirational leaders around the globe. The 2019 Summit was a unique experience to bring together change-makers from 190+ countries who came from different experiences in one room to empower us to make a difference.

These speeches were both inspirational and impactful. They shed light on the dire emergency that is climate change, they provided insights to how orphanages exploit families and children and do more harm than good, and they provided the unique experience to hear first hand how other delegates are making the world a better place one action at a time. It was a reminder that it only takes one person to effect change. One person’s actions can have a domino effect for change. This was a direct connection to Johnson & Johnson’s ‘Resiliency For Change’ campaign that we led while at the OYW Summit. Resilient leaders are much more capable to adapt, recover and grow to make a lasting impact. They feel a strong sense of opportunity and hopefulness when faced with adversity.

For those that don’t know, I am a third-generation employee of Johnson & Johnson. My mother and grandmother have always been the most amazing and inspirational role models I could have asked for and inspired me to also pursue a career at Johnson & Johnson. I used to look at my grandmother’s work stationary and dream of an office job like her. I remember attending “Take Our Daughters to Work Day” (now called: Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day) with my mom and being in awe at the work being done in the labs. I wanted to be like both of them.

Two days after Christmas 2017, my mother had an asthma attack that progressed to heart failure. I provided CPR while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Unfortunately, efforts made to revive her weren’t successful and she passed away that morning. While this wasn’t successful, I’m a strong advocate that others should learn CPR as 2014 data showed that nearly 45% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survived when bystander CPR was administered and nearly 70% of these cardiac arrests occur at home. This past year, her mother/my grandmother passed away suddenly following a stroke. Through both losses, my amazing Johnson & Johnson colleagues empowered me to take the time I needed to recover from the loss and learn a ‘new normal.’ Without this support and our focus on mental health I wouldn’t have been empowered to focus on my needs and recover. It was this empowerment that led me to seek out opportunities to give back and contribute – like OYW. I’m incredibly proud that my company supports young change-makers and resilient leaders to foster an environment for growth and change. It’s this environment that gives our leaders the strength to lift others up and make a lasting positive impact on the world. And it’s why I’ve refused to allow difficult situations to prevent my ability to grow and flourish.

The Johnson & Johnson speech by our own Company Group Chair Medical Devices EMEA Hani Abouhalka and our 2019 J&J OYW Scholar Wesam Eid was a reminder that our experiences and difficulties are not minimized by what others go through. We’re all handed difficulties in life but it’s how you respond to them that defines who you are. This mentality and focus that has set-up our over 10,000 scholars and delegates to champion initiatives to focus on a growth mindset and to make a change. While the last two years have been the most difficult of my life to date, I’ve been provided tools and support by Johnson & Johnson to maintain my resiliency and look for opportunities to positively impact others. I’m incredibly proud to work for a company that focuses on supporting its employees and external change-makers. What will you do when faced with adversity? I hope that you’ll embrace it and let it push you to seek opportunities to make the world a better place!