Exploring Thought Leadership

career profileI was fortunate enough to spend my Saturday at The OpEd Project’s seminar, “Write to Change the World.” The OpEd Project’s staff was friendly and helpful; from calling before the seminar to make sure we found the room at UCSD to being warmly welcomed by West Coast Regional Management Intern Connie Ho and Fellow Yoonj Kim.

I was surprised to see the diverse professional backgrounds of each of the women and one man that attended the intimate seminar.  Journalists E.J. Graff (seminar leader) and Chelsea Carmona (West Coast Regional Manager) informed us of industry facts, studies on how few minorities publish op-eds, as well as stressing the anatomy of an opinion editorial and pitch. They also imparted great practical advice on how to perceive and present oneself as a journalist and professional.   With her unique perspective and engaging speaking, E.J. Graff pushed us not to procrastinate out of modesty or underestimation of our abilities so that we ultimately publish op-eds that influence “public thought leadership.”

Analyzing the Huffington Post and New York Times articles published by former OpEd Project participants is firsthand proof of this seminar’s effectiveness.  During the seminar, we had the chance to brainstorm, discuss and write the lead sentence for our own op-ed.  Thanks to The OpEd Project for encouraging us to unearth our potential and showing us that our written opinions carry important weight for society-if we are confident and disciplined enough to pen, pitch and publish that op-ed!

Carla Ruiz-Velasco is a San Diego native who loves dancing and dogs, but not dancing dogs-necessarily. During her time at UC Berkeley she edited and wrote for various publications ranging from Berkeley Poetry Review to Where San Diego.  Her curiosity, resourcefulness, and love of cultures have led her to learn French and Portuguese as an adult and to experience living in Spain and Brazil. 


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