John De Lancie was the final guest speaker for the Conversations With Entrepreneurs series on campus. De Lancie gave helpful entrepreneurship advice to a full crowd of students and spoke about his own personal experiences. It was a comical presentation that immediately had the crowd laughing.
De Lancie grew up in Philadelphia. Until age 12, unlike most children, he still could not read. This caused him to fail in school and lose motivation. “I wish I had someone to mentor me a bit with my thoughts. It’s held me back,” said De Lancie to the audience.
Life began to turn around for De Lancie when he started to realize he needed to change his way of thinking. He told the audience that parents, teachers, and God will not help you; only you can help yourself. Even after this revelation, making the change presented a new challenge for him.
After De Lancie had transferred to The Wayward School, he discovered a specific “out of the box” teacher who had a tremendous impact on him. He was then inspired to go into acting.
In a San Francisco audition, he had unknowingly performed in front of John Houseman, the famous Broadway producer. After the audition, De Lancie was accepted to Juilliard School with a scholarship and free housing. Through his life experiences, he learned important lessons in the world of entrepreneurship.
De Lancie told the audience to ask themselves, “What do you want? What is your goal?” The more specific, the better. He added, “Fantasy gives you direction and momentum.”
De Lancie explained how personal appearance matters, but so does preparation, commitment, and enthusiasm in what you’re trying to accomplish. He recommended to try saying “yes” more often because there are no opportunities beyond “no.”
De Lancie explained how his friends’ successes add to his successes “because they are encouraging and supportive.” Talk about what you are doing in your life to welcome conversation. If someone asks you what you are doing this week, tell them. If you ever hit a metaphorical wall in life, keep working around it.
Avoid taking things personally if your ideas and performances are rejected; get back on the horse. Spend a lot of time with older people because they are wise. They can help you with what you want in life and where you want to go.
“It was an interesting talk. Great to see how he got himself to where he is in life. Very inspiring,” said student CJ Jimenez.
Jasmine Demong added, “I was quite surprised at how much [De Lancie] had to work to get to where he is in life. I almost cried a few times because worrying about my future is something I try to avoid, but I have to do it sometime.”
Jay Conlon feels that it was “Not so much an eye opener as it is a reminder of something I already knew.” Nonetheless, De Lancie’s presentation received appreciative applause and many lined up to speak with him afterwards.