Nov 07, 2011 • By

5 quotes from a journalism icon

If you have an opportunity to meet and listen to Susan L. Taylor one thing is clear – she’s passionate about giving back, and serving people in need.

Taylor was the face and voice of Essence magazine for nearly 30 years. Once called the “most influential black woman in journalism,” Taylor was the editor-in-chief of Essence magazine from 1981 to 2000. She was instrumental in building the Essence brand and finished her career there in 2008, when she left to devote more time to her “National CARES Mentoring Movement.”

Taylor visited our headquarters recently to speak to employees and offer advice from her career.

Here are five inspiring quotes from her remarks:

  • “You see what I’m doing now, all the opportunities I had at Essence over the years have prepared me for this work, everything. And when you live for a higher purpose, everything you need – the relationships, the resources, the training, the encouragement, the creativity – it all flows to you. I just think it’s the natural order of life… It’s just how life works.”
  • “Leaders are always saying to me ‘Our employees are demanding that we do more in communities. Our employees want to work for an organization that is really bringing value to the people around it.”
  • “If you have a vision for giving something of value, all the forces of the universe combine to help you and open a path for your giving. It’s just the way it works.”
  • “When you speak to people’s hearts and their needs they respond to you.”
  • “You have to have a vision … If it’s not firing your heart and your passion, you’re not in the right place.”

Taylor also gave our employees advice for slowing down their busy lives, to find ways to be more effective at work and in our communities.

She mentioned the importance of finding “quiet time:”

“Stop everything from buzzing and tweeting and ringing,” Taylor said. “Spend 10 minutes a day in the silence. In the silence the answers always come, they always come.”

Editor’s note: General Mills partners with Susan L. Taylor on Feeding Dreams, a campaign that recognizes people in the U.S. who make a difference in their communities and supports the local organizations where they volunteer.