School of Communications alum Morgan Jones guest speaks at the annual Beckham alumni lecture and shares about her career and the role God has played in it
Just shy of her 10 years as a BYU communications graduate, alum Morgan Jones was asked back to give the annual Beckham alumni lecture put on by the School of Communications. Jones has worked with the Deseret News, LDS Living Magazine, Deseret Book and now acts as the voice behind the popular LDS Living podcast “All In.”
Communications students and faculty alike welcomed the guest speaker and former student back with open arms on Friday, October 8. Students were invited to a pre-event networking breakfast with Jones’ lecture to follow.
Jones opened with an experience she had when she was 15 years old. “I read a quote by Mother Teresa that said, ‘I am but a little pencil in God’s hands. He does the writing, the pencil has only to allow itself to be used.’ From then on, that quote gave me a vision for my life.” Jones continued to say that she knew she wanted her life to be used by God.
She empathized with students by saying, “You want your professional pursuits to in some way fulfill a specific mission that God has in store for you, but it feels difficult to have a vision for what that looks like.”
Jones’ key message to communication career hopefuls was to turn your life, professional pursuits and all, over to God so that He can utilize you and guide the path.
The lecture was structured in five principles by which Jones hoped the students could find helpful.
The first, “Take all the opportunities.” Jones shared how she became the first student to intern for professor and author Jeff Benedict at Southern Virginia University. After her stint interning, she was introduced to the CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers, Scott O’Neal and his wife, Lisa. She recounted how her professor who connected her to the O’Neal’s said, “I think that you and Lisa will be best friends.”
Jones didn’t find that believable as she was a recent grad at the time. But now, years later, Jones considers Lisa to be one of her best friends. She has found great strength and belief in herself through her relationship with the O’Neals.
Secondly, “Your future employer will be hiring all that you have ever been.” Jones used this principle to caution students to be mindful of their social media presence. Detailing the story of a job interview past, the employer had Jones’ Facebook page pulled up on his computer as she interviewed. She also encourages students to refresh themselves on Elder Jeffery R. Holland’s talk, “Don’t Check Your Religion at the Door.”
“This is so important because we have to be ready and worthy for when an opportunity presents itself. President Henry B. Eyring said, ‘Part of the tragedy you must avoid is to discover too late that you missed an opportunity to prepare for a future only God could see for you,’” quoted Jones.
Her third point was, “Bring all your strengths and all your weaknesses, God can use all of it.” Jones said members of the Church can turn to their patriarchal blessings to understand more of the strengths they’ve been given.
“We have to look for where our gifts meet our passions and where those two things are aligned. That’s where we can see an opportunity [where] God might be able to use us,” said Jones. “I think that it’s so important that we set goals and have dreams, but we involve God in those dreams.”
Jone’s fourth principle was, “Give all of your life to Him.” She opened this section with a quote by Ezra Taft Benson. “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can…” She used this part to make the point that if people can give their whole lives to God, He will give them the opportunities to course-correct their lives into directions they never saw possible.
Jones closed her principles with her fifth point: “Stand back and wonder of all God can do in a life.” Jones said if the audience got anything out of her lecture, she hopes it’s this: “I hope that you walk away knowing that God needs people who are willing to play big… When we’re willing to turn our lives over to Him, He can make so much more out of our lives than we ever could.”