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A New Kind of Alchemy and Workstyle

When I first heard Azure Antoinette speak this summer at the Re/code conference , I was struck by her confidence and authenticity. I couldn’t wait to meet her and talk to her about lifestyle and workstyle. I had a feeling she would agree: It’s just life.

Once we did meet and start talking, we couldn’t stop. Her story is amazing.

Azure_6-45In her mid-twenties, Antoinette realized that what she did in her time away from work was much more meaningful and energizing than what she did at work. She spent a lot of time doing things she thought she was supposed to do, but that gave her nothing in return—satisfaction, happiness, pride. So, she quit her job in human resources. She started the journey to pursue her passionate avocation and became a full-time poet, speaker, photographer, youth and arts advocate.

Antoinette is a self-proclaimed alchemist. The most utilitarian definition of alchemist is someone who changes base metals to noble metals. But another definition of alchemy is the development of the elixir of life that provides youth and longevity. Antoinette takes ordinary ideas and transforms them into brilliance.

But I don’t see her just as a dreamer or artist. She also brings her creative expression to causes and companies as varied as the Girl Scouts and Clean and Clear Cosmetics. She explains, “I look at the work that I do in that same light—whether it’s poetry or looking at some sort of guerrilla marketing or my love of street art.” What she enjoys most about her work is that she “gives people fresh eyes to old things.” There is a reason she’s been called “the Maya Angelou of the millennial generation.”

It isn’t just about the message, though. Antoinette uses new mediums, specifically social media, to express her ideas and change how people think. And beyond the fascinating work she does, I was attracted to the way she lives. She creates no separation between her work persona and her personal persona. As I’ve said before, it’s just life. Her workstyle is fluid — all inspired by her lifestyle.

As a millennial, Antoinette is a living example of the millennial mindset, “If you don’t like what you see in the world, if you can’t find what you are looking for, create it yourself.” Not surprisingly, like other millennials, she sees technology as part of her DNA. “It is built from a very embryonic stage. You just grew up with it.” Technology enables her. But technology has its limits, too. She understands how we can—and cannot—use technology to be better versions of our true selves.

We’ve spent time with Azure in our Jive offices and we’ve loved collaborating and creating with her. Watch this video and get a flavor for her unique approach to work and life!

And, I’m psyched to have Azure join me and the Jive community to continue our conversation at JiveWorld in Vegas!