“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

"When I grow up, I am going to be a judge, a senator... or maybe even president! Oh no you're not, little girl..."

When I was seven years old my picture appeared in an advertisement in Newsweek for the National Organization for Women (where my mother worked; call me cheap labor!). I had a dreamy look in my eyes, as I gazed at the above quote. It was an advertisement about women's rights... and a four-color acknowledgment of what my family, and their friends, thought possible of me.

I have often felt overwhelmed by these expectations, and to live up to the accomplishments of my parents, who have both bettered society through public service. As a result, I even caved in to the HBS pressures of coming up with the dreaded 10- and 20-year plan to achieve my professional goals.

But I have since come to realize that my most rewarding experiences have occurred by embracing interesting opportunities as they presented themselves, like participating in two presidential campaigns and starting a magazine for high school athletes. NOW's 1980 poster-girl for dreams has long since grown up, but she has yet to figure out what she wants to be.

I may still someday fulfill that lofty Newsweek promise, but my road map to public service will hopefully, and thankfully, include plenty more detours.

— Mora Segal