I woke up this morning bright and early to get dressed and ready for the First-Ever Her Campus Intercollegiette Conference at the Sentry Centers. I was so excited to meet and network with other young, college journalists around the country who share many of my same passions and ambitions.
I arrived right on time, and walked into the conference center to be greeted by a big continental breakfast buffet, an array of juice and plenty of coffee. Since it was only 7:30 am, the coffee was appreciated. They definitely know how to feed you at these conferences 🙂
I enjoyed the fresh fruit and a blueberry muffin—my favorite!
During the “networking” breakfast session, I met up with some of my She’s the First friends. We also met a few new friends from the Boston area. It was fun to trade Twitter handles and to chat about everything related to journalism and PR. A special shout-out to those who followed me to my blog through the business cards I handed out today!
I also connected with a few girls from Michigan (Go Blue!) and Sammie from AXO! It’s fun to bring a little Ann Arbor to the city.
Our first session was a keynote speaker—Anna Post—a modern etiquette expert and author who addressed some common questions young professionals have when interacting with and using technology in the workplace. Her one piece of advice that stuck with me was that reaching out to people in person will never go out of style. It’s the personal connections and the face-to-face interaction that really makes you stick out in a sea of emails and tweets.
After mingling with a few other Hearst interns (Jamie and Tehrene from Seventeen), we dove into three different breakout sessions where professionals shared their career experience, the journey to landing a dream job and hints and tips to begin a career. I chose to attend the sessions titled “Does the Devil Actually Wear Prada? Life in an Entry Level Editorial Position,” “Journalism Jobs” 5+ years Later,” and “How to Break Into PR & Marketing.” Although it is suffice to say that I would have loved to attend every single session offered.
A big thanks to all of the event sponsors—all day long, we enjoyed the Intel charging stations, the Chipotle lunch spread (incredible veggie burritos with guacamole), the Honest Tea and hint beverage selections, the pop chips and everyone else who donated to fill our incredible swag bags!
While we all enjoyed the lunch break, we gathered back in the atrium to get a good seat for our next keynote speaker, Ann Shoket (Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen Magazine). I almost ran from the lunch tables to the atrium to score a seat in the second row. I wanted to be up close and personal for the perfect photo op.
Ann started her presentation by stating that she was simply going to “keep it real.” Instead of a formal and incredibly organized PowerPoint presentation or something of the sorts, she talked as if she was speaking personally to each and every one of us. She went through her entire career journey and how she ended up in the ultimate dream job.
She left us with 2 key pieces of advice:
1) At some point in your career, everyone should work for both a start-up and a legendary brand.
2) There are three steps to landing a job.
1. Write a letter to someone high up (not just the entry level assistant), and tell them why you belong at their publication and what skill sets you have that would complement the brand perfectly.
2. When you land the interview, sit on the edge of your seat (always!), have a conversation with the person interviewing you (be prepared with questions, comments and talking points that you know you’d like to bring up), make it interesting and engaging and don’t wait for them to ask you questions.
3. Write a thank you note right away—say something that shows you were paying attention and remember the conversation you had.
Then the unthinkable happened. During the Q & A session at the end, I was picked to ask Ann a question … pretty much something I’ve been dreaming about since she became Editor-in-Chief. You better believe that I was going to make the most of it. I stood up, shaking but excited, and introduced myself (with a little plug in to She’s the First). I then proceeded to ask her a question that’s constantly on my mind.
If my parents (or anyone else for that matter) ever doubt why I would want to pursue a career in magazines (which I’ve been told is an industry in serious transition), what should I tell them?
She took a second, and then asked me a question in return.
I’m curious, why are you so in love with magazines? What makes them special to you?
Ann Shoket was asking me a question—and a pretty serious and complicated one at that. I took a second and then responded by saying that reading a magazine is pretty much like having a conversation with a best friend 24-7. It’s not only the community of writers and editors that make me feel so welcome, but it’s also all the readers that make me feel like I’m never alone … like I’m special.
After I responded, she proceeded to address the doubters. “Do you want to record this?” she said almost jokingly. I laughed and said YES! Everyone giggled a little as I reached down for my iPhone.
And here is what she said … here is why both Ann and I love magazines so much.
Incredible right? I walked out of the atrium (after scoring a picture, of course) shaking and still rocked by what had just happened. I’ve dreamed about that encounter. It’s safe to say that I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life.
For the rest of the afternoon, we went to two more breakout sessions. I decided on “How to Be a Content Queen on Campus” and “Putting the Media in Her Campus Media: Design, Branding, Social Media, Tech & More.” After those were finished (excellent, once again) we stepped out into the lobby for a little more networking and giveaways.
Around 6 pm, a bunch of us walked over to Juicy Couture (another sponsor), for an “After Party.” There was a DJ, cute strawberry lemonade cocktails and a bunch of impressive deals. Yes… I did walk away with a purchase. I bought a great black bag (originally $300) for only $60. It will definitely be my go-to bag from now on. I ended the evening with a nice walk home and a reflection of the day’s events.
How did I really end up here? Why did I get so lucky? How did I get so blessed to enjoy the summer of my life in the city I’ve always dreamed of living in?