In a riveting third session of the Samsung Summer Discovery Series, famed producer, founder and CEO of isitFunnyorOffensive.com, Norman Golightly, opened up about his career journey and pivotal life challenges that have led to his current success.
“Listen to your heart from the start – you don’t get a second chance to follow your dreams,” said Golightly.
The event, held at Samsung 837 in New York City, was co-moderated by two Samsung Electronics America interns: Gloria Tso, Corporate Reputation intern, and Jacob Picotte, Performance Marketing & Analytics intern. The intimate conversation provided audience members with the opportunity to gain valuable life lessons from Golightly and take part in an interactive Q&A session.
Reflecting on his college days, Golightly knew even while earning his degree at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania that he was not like the rest of his cohorts. At a primarily financially-driven business school, he was involved in a theater/comedy group where he discovered his passion.
Golightly’s main message to a captive audience of students and young professionals: Work hard, follow your gut, and be willing to take second chances. He also emphasized that as long as you continue to have a burning passion for what you’re doing, you should keep on doing it – otherwise it might be time to hit the reset button. For Golightly, he unexpectedly hit his own reset button after a service trip to an orphanage in Kenya, during what he calls his midlife existential crisis.
Expecting to encounter a depressing situation due to the children’s circumstances, instead Golightly was surprised by how happy they were. His visits prompted him to start “Kenya Spare a Camera,” a project inspired by how many of these kids, using cameras, were able to see themselves for the first time, as they live in an area where it’s not commonplace to use mirrors. Golightly mentioned that for these kids it was a matter of developing and seeing identity and self-expression in a way they had never seen before, tying this idea back to what young adults should keep in mind when searching for internships and jobs.
Since then, Golightly has been inspired to tackle more socially-relevant films, and moving away from the Hollywood-friendly action movies he used to produce. Golightly stressed how film is an important medium for translating messages to an audience, adding that it’s up to the creators to generate content with positive messaging that will further positive change and serve as a progressive force in the industry.
“Listen to your heart from the start – you don’t get a second chance to follow your dreams.”
– Norman Golightly, Producer, founder and CEO of isitFunnyorOffensive.com
As for his current career challenge running the website isitFunnyorOffensive.com, Golightly explained his goal was to take a deeper look at what is perceived as funny versus offensive, especially when it comes to current affairs. By doing so, Golightly aims to provide a platform for people to be able to exercise their right to free speech in a positive way while still furthering the conversation about important topics in our national news landscape.
The next installment of the Samsung Summer Discovery Series will take place on Monday, August 28th and will feature guest speaker producer Tommy Oliver. The event is open to the public and those interested in attending can register here.