Everything I Learned at Her Conference 2015

This past Sunday I attended the last day of the 2015 Her Campus Her Conference with my sister Carly. I went last year, and it was so much fun. I learned a lot, got a lot of AMAZING free swag, and met so many cool girl bloggers, writers, and communicators. The girls that go to these types of conferences are the best. They care about things. They’re passionate about writing. They’re driven and career focused, and I like to consider myself one of them. (I wouldn’t have even known about the Her Campus Her Conference if it hadn’t been for my amazing cousin Sarah who took me last year, who went to Point Park University and was a major part of her chapter there, so here’s a special shout out to her.)11752609_10207222769153625_3011140173304861958_n

You might ask– “But Amanda, Ithaca College doesn’t have a Her Campus chapter. What the heck were you doing at their conference?”

After going with Sarah last year and getting to meet all of these great women who loved to write and loved social media as much as I did, I wanted to go back. And actually, Her Conference is a two day event– the first day is exclusively for Her Campus chapters and the second day is open to whoever wants to go. So I went, and I dragged my sister along with me. (Also, apparently IC is starting their own chapter up again? Maybe? I’m not sure.)

It was Carly’s first conference. I’m not even sure if she’s interested in communications, and it was also a college conference (she’s going to be a senior in high school in the fall). I think that the main reason I brought her along was to show her my world and who I am when I’m not being her annoying, melodramatic, older sister. I hoped that maybe she would think that I was cool in some way, shape, or form. I also wanted to show her that there are really wonderful professional female role models out there, whether they’re editor-in-chiefs of big name magazines, or entrepreneurs for non-profit organizations, or psychologists with popular blogs, and that it’s okay to try, and to care about things, and to show the world that you care. I hope she enjoyed it, and I hope she learned something. (Carly, if you’re reading this, sorry for writing about you and embarrassing you and for getting all meta in this blog post. I’ll stop now.)11781870_10207222763713489_3372478181503883107_n

At the conference, accomplished and inspiring women talked and answered questions about what it’s like to be professionals in their fields, as well as offered helpful advice for us student communicators and bloggers. We received a free breakfast and lunch (catered by Chipotle, I might add. I ate so much guacamole it was ridiculous) and Carly even won a raffle and got a $200 gift card to 7 for All Mankind. I met up with a blogging friend from themissinformation.com, as well as networked and talked to other college students, bloggers, and professionals in the field I’m looking to go into.

10407094_10207222767393581_3581595307718413728_nI have to say, I love going to conferences. I always come out of them itching to do something, impatient to get home and write, feeling supported from the women in communications community, motivated to try, and passionate about life and my future. And that’s exactly how Her Conference 2015 made me feel.

Lucky for you guys, I took plenty of notes, and am taking the opportunity to share what I learned from the various speakers and panels I chose to go to. I summarized each part that I attended and took notes on, and wrote down the big picture lessons that I learned. I also italicized the lessons that especially hit home for me.

Note: You’ll see that as the day went on, I took fewer and fewer notes. That’s because I became so engaged in what everyone was saying and got so into meeting new people, I almost forgot to record what was going on. Also, a lot of what I wrote down was specific to certain careers which I didn’t include in this post.


Lisa Arbetter- Editor of People StyleWatch


What it’s all about: Ms. Arbetter was our first keynote speaker, and is the current editor of People StyleWatch. She previously worked at InStyle and Cargo. She told us the story of her professional career in fashion editorial, as well as about her personal experiences and how she got to be where she is now.

Personal and professional advice: 

  • Great leaders aren’t born, they’re made.
  • It’s okay if you don’t have your shit together right now. (This was very reassuring.)
  • Never miss an opportunity to sell yourself.
  • What you fear will happen, will happen. And you will live.
  • The talent that gets you promoted is not what you’re going to be doing once you get the job. (I feel like I always forget this when I apply for jobs/internships.)
  • Relationships in the workplace are the same as personal relationships– they need effort to be put into them, as well as honest talk.
  • Always keep relationships with the people you work with.
  • If you don’t love where you work, you shouldn’t be there.
  • Remember that you are the only person who brings what you bring to the table.
  • Make friends with other women and support other women. (Female friendships are SO IMPORTANT.)
  • If you know how to create content and tell a good story, you can work in any medium.
  • You don’t need a fashion/journalism degree to work for a fashion magazine.
  • If you’re clear about your dreams and what you want, you’ll do just fine in life.
  • Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want to read. 

Does the Devil Really Wear Prada?: Life in an Entry Level Editorial Position


What it’s all about: There were four women on this panel, including Jamie Blynn, who is an editorial assistant at Us Weekly, Anna Borges, who is an Assistant Health Editor at Buzzfeed, and Rebecca Shinners, who is a Web Editorial Assistant at CountryLiving.com. They each offered their own diverse experiences in their entry level positions, as well as advice on applying for internships and professionalism.

Personal and professional advice: 

  • Don’t talk to people just to network with them– talk to them because you want to learn.
  • Don’t underestimate the classes/clubs you are in at college.
  • Never think you’re above any internship, because wherever you intern you’re still going to learn new skills that you can take with you.
  • Be open to EVERYTHING.
  • After interviewing, send a thank you note within 24 hours to the person you interviewed with.
  • The best ways to stay in touch with people:
    • Get in contact with them as soon as possible after you meet with them/work with them.
    • E-mail and pitch ideas.
    • Have informational interviews.
    • E-mail and social media are your two best friends– they can help you meet/stay in contact with professionals in your field.
  • Read a LOT. Read everything.
  • If you want to become a better writer, write all the time. (Yes, yes, YES!)

Bookworms- Opportunities in Book Publishing


What it’s all about: This panel also had four women who work in different parts of the book publishing industry. The women on the panel included Ally Bruschi, who is a publicity assistant at Penguin Random House, Paige Hazzan, who is an associate editor of children’s nonfiction and reference books at Scholastic, Kimberly Kaufman, who is a business manager of the college department at W.W. Norton and Company, and Katherine Turro, who is a marketing coordinator at HarperCollins. They talked about the different departments they work with as well as what it’s like to live a day in their lives.

This panel was the one I was most interested in, considering my career goals and dream of being a children’s book editor, and much of what they talked about was specific to the publishing industry.

Personal and professional advice:

  • You have to put yourself out there in some way. If you’re interested in doing something, ask to do it.
  • You have to be able to adapt.
  • Just because something isn’t in your job description, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. (Being open minded is so hard, but very important.)
  • Make sure you have an understanding of your competition.
  • If something goes wrong, tell your boss IMMEDIATELY so it can be solved.

Evolution of Success


What it’s all about: So this was a workshop hosted by Joan Kuhl, who is the president and founder of Why Millennials Matter. She talked a lot about relationship building, forming goals, how to best present yourself, how to communicate well, and what it takes to be a real leader. I particularly enjoyed her presentation because it was really personal, relatable, and motivational. I came out of the workshop feeling really great about myself and excited for the future.

Personal and professional advice:

  • To get sponsorship, you have to be a high performer, have a strong brand, and demonstrate loyalty.
  • You can find mentors in your school’s alumni, your teachers/administrators, and from conferences.
  • If who you surround yourself with aren’t healthy and positive, it will derail you and your career, as well as your potential. (This goes for personal as well as professional relationships.)
  • It’s important to put yourself out there.
  • How you show up and act at work/school impacts how you show up and act in your personal relationships. 

#ActuallySheCan: Reaching your Full Potential 


What it’s all about: Laura Brounstein, who is special projects director of Cosmopolitan Magazine (*squeal*) and works for Joanna Coles (*SQUEAL*) was our final keynote speaker. She talked about her own career goals, as well as #ActuallySheCan, which (from what I can tell) is a social media movement to inspire, motivate, and encourage driven women.

Personal and professional advice: 

  • Put yourself out there to do what you love.
  • We play our own role in reaching our own potential. (Don’t just wait around for people to do stuff for you!)11745351_10207222762473458_5674133250817979262_n

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6 Responses to Everything I Learned at Her Conference 2015

  1. Danny Livingston says:

    Really really great – very sensitive and I learned something Danny Livingston dannyl2@optonline.net 914.661.8505 Cell 914.470.9881 Fax @shoemandanny

    From: Amanda Under Construction | ✍✺♡ Reply-To: Amanda Under Construction | ✍✺♡ Date: Monday, July 27, 2015 at 6:23 PM To: Danny Livingston Subject: [New post] Everything I Learned at the 2015 Her Conferencehey

    WordPress.com Amanda Livingston posted: “This past Sunday I attended the last day of the 2015 Her Campus Her Conference with my sister Carly. I went last year, and it was so much fun. I learned a lot, got a lot of AMAZING free swag, and met so many cool girl bloggers, writers, and communicators.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know what a “swag” is, but this conference sounds like my kind of thing! I am so excited to read the notes, I am going to bookmark this page and then come back later for this! 😀 Thanks for sharing your notes and experience, Dearie! :*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sabina says:

    YAY so glad you wrote up a summary. I kinda dismissed the idea of the conference in general (we can discuss why IRL if you want, or not) but I’m thrilled that you had a good time. Maybe we can go together next year??? (ayyyy)

    Liked by 1 person

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