fourpoints Magazine

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MAO Lasts a Lifetime

Monday, 12 November 2012 12:35

0401Lynnae Thurik Benson, Miss Washington 1990, shares her experience of how the Miss America Organization helped shape her goals and life.

The timeless question, “Where do you see yourself five, ten, fifteen years from now?” Yes, I have been asked that very question in my private interview before, but I can tell you that on the evening of June 23, 1990, when I was crowned Miss Washington 1990, that question was the furthest thing from my mind. Years later, just one day short of my twenty-second anniversary as Miss Washington, I was seated in the audience as the parent of the newly crowned Miss New Mexico’s Outstanding Teen 2012. I knew that my daughter’s life would now be changed forever. The opportunities ahead for her just quadrupled in the blink of an eye. The Miss America Organization not only provided me with a greater voice but continues to bless my life with the opportunities now ahead for my daughter.

I competed for a number of years before I achieved my dream of competing in the Miss America Pageant. I had just started my career in advertising when I earned the title of Miss Washington. I took a leave of absence from my job to serve my state. The skills I gained during my year of service really paid off when I returned to the world of advertising. I now had better command of a room and my presentation skills in front of my clients were brilliantly sharp. My career in advertising took me from newspaper, to television, to the advertising agency arena. My participation in the Miss America Organization instilled in me the importance of staying relevant. I was different from other representatives in the advertising business because I could both sell and produce creative; I learned to make myself pertinent. I still strive to increase my personal equity of what I can bring to any individual or organization every day. 

Through the Miss America Organization I have definitely found my place in the circle of life. Igniting a passion to serve within young people and helping them find their own voice continues to play a significant role in my life. 

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