Case in point: My first paid writing gig lead to a paid internship that turned into a full-time job that evolved into an award-winning career in media…all because my high school English teacher introduced me to a local newspaper editor when she invited him to be a guest speaker on career day. She spoke so highly of my potential that he offered me an assignment for the “Neighbors” section on the spot. I spent the $25 paycheck I received when the article was published to develop some photos I took of the Elián González riots which ended up being featured on CNN and got me into the journalism program at the University of Miami and secured my spot as an editor for the student-run newspaper on campus, which shot up to #1 in the country during my tenure. Fast-forward all these years and I still remember that first life-altering introduction. Next time you meet someone who might be able to set your career wheels in motion or propel you to the next level, make sure to shake their hand with extra gusto, smile and keep an open mind…because when opportunity knocks, you’d better be ready to open the door!