Last Day at Work

Today is the dayyy. My last day in the office.

I've been getting so many questions about how I feel about leaving.

And the truth is, I feel great, but probably more normal than you would imagine. 

That's the thing with a plan that starts with a dream. 

A dream can only become a reality once you have thought about if forever. 

And then you speak about it to families / friends / mentors. 

And then you make goals, you create an action plan that becomes more clear and refines over time. 

And then the hard part. This is where most people have regret because they stop here. You have to actually go for it. 

You have to take the first step. Even if you're not sure where the path will go, you have to trust yourself. Trust your plan. Have faith.

Know that things will get messed up and there will be failures along the way. Give yourself permission to fail.

Like MLK said "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step".

Today is that day, my final day at work, and what a great day for this to happen.

I'm thrilled that some of my co-workers want to take me to lunch.

I'm thrilled how well my employer and team has taken everything. So grateful :) It's been a great place to work for the last year. I'm just on a different path. 

I'm thrilled to meet 23 speakers tonight at our TEDxWilmington speaker dinner for tomorrow TEDxWilmingtonLive: Age of Amazement event hosted at Wilmington Friends School.

Aarón Shepard I'm excited to finally meet you. It's been great watching your road to the red circle. You'll do great tomorrow afternoon!! :)

I'm thrilled to get amazing feedback from a friend and client today. This is what it's all about :) "JAKKKKEEEEE I am so happy with this video - so proud of you! You are going to go far my dear!!!!! Don’t forget me when you do!"

I have some big news to drop too, an amazing film project that will put me in some interesting places pretty soon :)

For those of you who have been following my journey, thank you <3.

The encouragement, the interest, the questions - everything helps more than you may realize. Thank you <3

Thank you so much to my family for all the help and support in making this change. I love you Dad, Jim Voorhees, who has never used facebook but someone will tell him about this.

Mom thank you for always believing in me Peg Leonard Voorhees McHugh, even went I may struggle to believe in myself. I love you. 

Sam Voorhees who is my little brother but has already done so many awesome things in his career that I look up to him in some ways.

Tom McHugh, thank you for all of your mentorship and advice. 50 years on me means you know a lottttt more about navigating critical life moments like this one. I look forward to more morning coffees.

Ajit Mathew George how would I be in the position I'm in today without the help of you and the tribe that is TEDxWilmington? It's been a life changing family, full of inspiration, love, support, and the best ideas. Thank you for the connections and referrals.

And to the TEDxWilmington tribe itself, thank you for all the conversations we've had about this, and all of your inspiration and encouragement through your interesting lives Rhianon Husmann Alessandra Nicole Evan M BartleDana Dobson Alex Platt Kelsey Guinnup Bob Turner Megan Varley Brian M Loy Monterry Luckey Fawn Walker Denise Angeli-Desiderio Leah Coles

Chris Dougherty, to all the great entrepreneur conversations we've had in recent years. Can't wait to see what we're talking about at 40, 50, 100, etc. 

Sam Shoge, thank you for being able share camera journey's and collab as much as we can. I have a feeling there will be a bunch more of that coming up. 
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Darius Johnson can't wait to see what you can cook up together, looking forward to helping you from here. 

Saba Sab for helping me so much while I was realizing that I needed to leave Vancouver and return home. I still don't know how to thank you and your family. The Persian kindness is real!

Simon Duguid I'm glad we could team up together for a few years, and I'm really excited to see what sort of international stuff we can tackle together next. 

Amiel Leandro De Guzman, the best drone pilot I have ever met, still. Thank you for being my drone mentor and truly my first ever camera friend. I want to come with you to The Philippines soon!

Cory Tieste for reconnecting this year and all the fun and the conversations about everything. 

Grant Waldie for trailblazing some things with me. Good times sir, good times. Glad to see you're running with everything now. 

To 1% Nation! Thank you! 

To my Drexel Society of Women Engineers (SWE) crew who is having me back to speak next week :) Purva Vaidya Dani Elizabeth Serena Yombe.

To the people I've already been able to help and work with, thank you for the support :) Soraya Morgan Sara A. Jones IncNow John L Williams Nicole Harrison Sarah Brown John Schratwieser Kara L. Frison Gina Scalzo-Jachimowicz Colleen Leithren Joyce Tannian.

More tags in the comments, because apparently you can only have 50 lol. 

Here's to more adventures!!

Jake

TeenSHARP looking sharp!

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As a TEDxYouth@UrsulineAcademy organizer, I was in for a treat on Saturday March 17. It had been eight years since I've been on campus at The University of Delaware during St. Patrick's Day.
But the day was not about green outfits or lucky charms, but about ideas worth spreading.

We met with TeenSHARP during their regular weekend meeting, which includes all students in the program, teachers, and whatever parents wish to attend. They were focused on public speaking practice to a full lecture room - an intimidating scene. Some of the participating students would continue on to share their idea worth spreading on the TEDx stage at Ursuline Academy on May 20, 2018.

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Over ten students and a few teachers gave practice talks. We were impressed to say the least. Some talks brought the audience to tears, some made them laugh, but overall, they were well organized and delivered with a world changing idea in mind. Topics involved things that many high schools students are not trying to solve, ranging from depression to diversity. TeenSHARP students are striving to leave their positive impact in this world.

After their sessions, we provided feedback from a TEDx perspective. There is no exact answer or method, but we do spend ample time to understand possible recipes for a great talk. The biggest advice we can offer young speakers is twofold. First, tell your story. Stories capture the imagination and therefore, the audience's attention giving you a better situation to share your idea. Second, call to action. How can your audience get involved after you have moved them? How can they now help grow your mission and spread your idea?

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At the end of the day, TeenSHARP co-founder Atnre Alleyne, introduced Judge Joshua W. Martin III and Mr. Wesley Wilson. With decorated corporate backgrounds, everyone in the to room listened intently. They conducted a panel discussion focusing on topics such as: career success and passion, leadership, finding a community like TeenSHARP, emphasis on hardwork and ethical decisions, and more. 

What a great afternoon, surrounded by future world leaders and game changers!

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A New Event for Hotel Du Pont

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What a great time at the HOTEL DU PONT yesterday evening during their St. Patrick's Day Irish Happy Hour event. 

Last night was the second edition of a new event for the hotel, as they are spicing things up and adding some 2018 flare to the venue. 

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Both lobby happy hours have been a great success. Live music, a fun crowd, great food and drinks, and fantastic service. What else can you ask for?

In the photos are TEDxWilmington tribe leaders Rhianon Husmann and Evan M Bartle, along with Tracey Schofield, the Sales Manager, and Linda Schofield also from the hotel, who helps bring the lobby night events to life. They are so welcoming and fun and both chatted with us for a while. Can't wait for the next event!

We hosted a TEDxWilmingtonED event in HOTEL DU PONT's banquet hall last month, and it was a stellar day. 

I'm grateful for the opportunity to build a relationship with fabulous people at an iconic Wilmington, Delaware venue :)

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A story about telling stories

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This time almost exactly nine years ago, I'll never forget the phone conversation I had with my mother. Despite it being my final semester at UD, the housing crisis had reached a new low. The stock market lost 50% of it's value in just six months. Jobs were hard to come by, and internships nearly impossible. However, I managed to get convince my to-be grad school advisor to let me start early, over the summer. I was excited to tell Mom!

Mom: "You're doing what?!?"
Me: "Yeah it's okay, I'll leave just one week after graduation."
Mom: "No."

It was like a scene in a movie for me. An all time high note quickly turned into a conversation of disbelief. Why wasn't she as excited as I was? I couldn't understand. 

What she must have understood is when students move 1000 miles away for grad school, they don't just move back. They build relationships in the local area, which lead to interviews, and ultimately job opportunities in the vicintiy. 

None of these things result in moving home to Mom.

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Two and a half years later, the grad school role led to a full time engineering position in Chicago. And before I knew it, I was travelling back and forth to Vancouver, Canada for work. And in the spring of 2014 after what was already an eight month trip, I was asked to stay.

What an opportunity. It was hard to appreciate it as much at the time, but looking back, I know how lucky I was. Vancouver is an international magnet, attracting people from all around the globe. Host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, some of the nicest real estate in the world, and unrivaled wild beauty, Vancouver is to die for. 

Everything started to connect. I realized how many movies were filming in Vancouver. Then I realized how drones were supported. And finally, how my camera related background could now be taken to the air. To collect engineering data, promote engineering projects - anything engineering, but this time with drones!

The progression quickly evolved from drones for my engineering firm, to a business with drones outside my engineering firm, to then DSLRs, and business promos, and finally niching down to dynamic wedding films via Capture Productions. It was all about stories - how to tell a story of a project, of a business, or a couple.

After a very successful 2016 season with Capture Productions, still working my full time job as an engineer, I started getting home sick. I missed my family. The five year anniversary (starting in Chicago) with the company was approaching, so it was a good time to transition. 

Before diving into the move home and what I've been up to for the last year, I'd like to speak a little more on the camera trajectory. How data collection, drones, weddings, YouTube shows, and TEDx speaker interviews are all connected.