This past weekend I had the exciting opportunity to speak on a career panel for Her Campus Media‘s annual Her Conference. The two-day event, July 22-23 at the Convene Center in New York City, centered on career development in media and marketing communications, bringing together rockstar college students and young professionals from across the country – and the globe (I met an amazing student from Venezuela!).
Talk about serious girl power. Her Campus even gave out notebooks with “Now is the New Later” etched on the cover.
It’s time to take a page from that book. And in the meantime to get inspired, here’s my recap of Her Conference and what it was like being a panelist.
The roster of keynote speakers boasted actresses breaking barriers, like Troian Bellisario and Aja Naomi King, to those leading the charge in women’s equality, including Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour, Women’s March National Co-Chairs.
Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor who came forward last summer about the sexual harassment she endured from CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Group Roger Ailes, gave a moving keynote on Sunday. Carlson empowered women to continue speaking up and out by delving into her sexual assaults throughout her career – even as early as her time as Miss America. She also brought her 14-year-old daughter, discussing her pride when she came home from school to say that she stood up to those tormenting her about her mom.
THE BREAKOUT SESSIONS & MY PANEL
Breakout panels spanned career tracks and interests, such as Becoming a Vlogger: How to Create Your Best Video Content, Ditch the 9-5: How to Make It as a Freelancer, and How to Kickstart Your Career in Marketing, which yours truly was on!
Sitting on the panel with three other accomplished women at junior and senior levels in marketing was one of the most rewarding experiences. Each brought a unique perspective while staying real about the industry (creative, fast-paced, and sometimes thankless). The discussion began with introductions and job overviews and moved into questions like what integrated marketing really means, how to identify trends, and how to play on similarities in your brand’s message to your competitor’s.
But, the questions from the audience were what made the experience truly incredible. Typically on career panels that I’ve both been on and watched, a lot of audience questions are specific to how to get a job at a particular company or what to put on a resume or if panelists think someone is going down the right path. These ladies? They already had that stuff down and then some. I’m serious – at the end I was given beautifully designed business cards filled with areas of study, activities, and professional goals that put my corporate ones to shame. (Psst, quick tip: creating business cards as a student gives people a quick way to remember you and shows your preparedness for events like these. Check out Moo to make your own!)
They asked how we define our personal goals each day, how to succeed by drawing on skills from a major that may not be directly related to the industry, the differences between in-house and agency work, and what technologies and programs we use on a daily basis. Their questions made you stop and pause. It was such a joy to speak to this group. It makes me more certain than ever that this generation and the next of young women will truly take over the world.
At conferences like these, it can’t be all business all the time. Ulta Beauty sponsored a beauty bar, KIND gave out snackage, Brit & Co had fun raffles for adorable planners, and Harvard Business School was there to educate on their grad programs (among many other sponsors). There was even a headshot station, which I was all about.
For panelists, Her Campus gave each of us a hand-written thank you card (!!! They do exist!!!), a gift bag from Ulta Beauty, and a gorgeous Erin Condren LifePlanner™ as well as a few other goodies. I also grabbed some colorful carnations from the KIND booth… which I excitedly and carefully arranged into a flatlay after I got home (that took too long to take, but social media).
This was one of my favorite career development events. I felt empowered by Carlson’s speech and inspired by these young women who are so engaged and curious. They know that their paths don’t have to be linear – in fact, they shouldn’t be. Instead, they’re open to anything and everything. That’s why, as Her Campus’ event tagline read, now is the new later.
Thank you to Her Campus for inviting me to be a part of this event.