USC alumna returns as speaker

Chief inspirational officer · Annabel Nava graduated from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 1996. Now, she serves as a motivational speaker and mentor to help others find their purpose – Amrin Khurana | Daily Trojan

Annabel Nava did not realize her life’s purpose until she experienced the loss of her father. Now, Nava serves as a mentor for students who are eager to find a fulfilling career.

Though she has today nurtured her career in broadcast journalism for years, in retrospect, Nava was unaware of the sudden turn her life took. When she applied to USC as an undergraduate, Nava dreamed of entering the film industry, but she cautiously decided to choose a more stable career path by pursuing a degree in communication.

“I can pretty much do anything I want, but I still loved television broadcast,” Nava said. “People across the nation are looking at my work … It was very rewarding for me to be able to do that.”

Since she was already exposed to television production in high school, Nava felt she should pursue what she already knew how to do.

Nava graduated from USC with her bachelor’s degree in communication arts and sciences in 1996. After entering the professional world, she worked her way up from an assistant position to writer to producer for end credits of shows at Fox Broadcasting Company. In three years, Nava changed her mindset from “at least I’m in the industry I want to be in” to “I’m getting to where I need to be.”

During that period of time, Nava’s personal life and career path appeared stable. She was happy with her marriage and her children and was developing a balance between her professional growth and family life — until disaster struck. Nava’s greatest source of support, her father, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

This moment inspired Nava to concentrate on present moments, on aspects that mattered in real life  — not on a television screen. She left her position as operations manager at Fox, and Nava knew she needed to be the strong and supportive soldier to defend her father’s faith in life.

“It all happens for a reason,” Nava said.

She didn’t feel an internal struggle after she quit her high position of overseeing the production process at Fox. In the National Latina Business Women Association,  Nava found support in receiving the necessary skills to help her husband with his construction business. Through those moments, Nava realized she could combine her passion for empowerment with a mission to support family.  As a board member for the organization, Nava now serves as an inspirational speaker, and hopes to impact the lives of Latina women in their self-development.

Charged by her change in life perspective, Nava made her way back to Fox, adding soul to production management as a connector between creative departments and executives. She has been through personal struggles, but those experiences allow Nava to help others balance their emotions and perceptions within the workspace.

She now coaches diverse groups of people and nurtures her gift to impact those in her audience.

“It feels like I’m a messenger,” Nava said. “Everything starts feeling easy and natural. You know you’re in the right place.”

She acknowledged that her job requires soft skills and strong interpersonal communication, strengths she obtained while studying at USC.

“Sometimes when I have conversations with people, I get so in the zone that I don’t even know where the words come from,” Nava said, about  hosting workshops with her favorite audience — students.

When asked to share her wisdom with those just beginning to form their life goals, she addressed students’ common desire to perceive others’ criticism as a personal attack.

“Don’t take things personally,” Nava said.

Nava learned that the real challenge is setting limits while being fully committed to work and being sensitive to others’ feedback.

“Know that if you step away, they’re going to survive without you,” Nava said.