I ’ve always believed that life is an unpredictable, exhilarating and amazing adventure. Each of us simply has to show up and be 100-percent present, every day—even when it’s not comfortable or easy.

And there are times when life is downright painful and difficult; however, as many of you will agree, just when you think you know what’s next, the universe surprises you with new experiences and opportunities that allow you to grow in unimaginable ways.

That has happened to me multiple times over my 15-year journalism career. I started as an inexperienced, unpaid 23-year-old intern and gradually worked my way up to the editor-in-chief position. All along, I remained open to the unexpected as I prepared to take on challenges and opportunities. I’ve worked alongside a lengthy roster of gifted writers, photographers, designers, stylists and countless people who toil diligently behind the scenes to make magazines appear flawless. I’ve interviewed many of my favorite celebrities, been mentored by industry trailblazers, shared moving personal stories with millions of readers and lent my voice to one of the most iconic publications of our time—JET magazine.

In short, this daughter of Panamanian immigrants from a quiet Connecticut suburb has lived and achieved well beyond some of her wildest dreams. I am so thankful for all that I’ve been given and try to exhibit gratitude for those gifts on a daily basis.

Read more in the July 2014 issue of EBONY Magazine.