Integrating Passion and Creativity

by Meghan Powers '04

The Lois Langland Alumna-in-Residence program is an opportunity for an inspiring alumna to return to Scripps to nourish her professional self, remember good times, share ideas among past and present Scripps students, and inspire the students of today.

This fall’s Lois Langland Alumna-in-Residence, Lynne Thompson ’72, human resources manager and poet, did all that with enthusiasm and to rave reviews.Through a Tuesday Noon Academy Series lecture, poetry readings and workshops, and countless informal conversations with students, staff, and faculty, Thompson stressed the importance of allotting time and integrating passion and creativity into one’s life.

As a student and alumna, Lynne Thompson has been an integral part of the Scripps community. During her college years, she was the student council president, and, upon graduation, was the recipient of the Annual Alumnae Award for service to the College. She has also acted as chair for the networking committee of the Alumnae Association and president of the Alumnae Association.

Thompson earned her J.D. at Southwestern School of Law and now holds the position of manager of employee relations at UCLA. Her poetry has been published in Rattle, Louisiana Literature and The Yalobusha Review, and is soon to be published in Pearl, a journal out of Long Beach. She also has an interest in participating in a big sister program called Writegirl, an organization that provides mentors to high school women interested in writing.

Her transition from practicing law to working in human resources at UCLA was a result of her understanding that as a lawyer she had minimal time to herself to write poetry.When she was offered a job at UCLA, she thought of it as an opportunity to do different work in a different way. With her extra time, she has been able to attend workshops and educate herself. She trusted her own judgment, and thus is satisfied with herself and her decision. She is quick to add that her career transition is her path, and it does not represent everybody’s path. Extra time can come through the smallest changes, such as driving to work with the radio off.

In her Tuesday Noon Academy Series talk,Thompson spoke of the prevalent tendency to lose track of creativity in your life. Her message was clear: you must give your personal interests and creativity the same significance as your jobs and responsibilities. It is essential to take time for yourself in order to give to others.

Thompson addressed the question,”Where do we find the time?” It is commonly thought that if an endeavor cannot be completed quickly, it is futile.Thompson believes that working in small blocks of time with gradual progress will aid in your personal growth.The two spheres of personal and professional do not always have to be in conflict; however, for women the two spheres often are. It is considered a weakness if women integrate the two spheres, but it is not impossible. Thompson solves this dilemma for herself by expressing her creativity and love for poetry, at least minimally, in her work. Lunchtime poetry readings allow her to build multidimensional relationships with coworkers, and her interest in language comes through in the memos she writes.