Everything I Learned at NYWICI’s Student Communications Career Conference 2015

12195914_10207907732397278_162886318283068768_nThis past Saturday I attended New York Women in Communications’ 2015 Student Communications Career Conference (say that three times fast!). My Aunt Julie introduced NYWICI to me, and I’ve been a member since I was a junior in high school and been attending this conference since I was a senior in high school (right now, I’m a junior at Ithaca College). So this is my 4th time going to the conference, I believe.

When I was a senior in high school, I won a NYWICI scholarship, and I think that that’s when it really made me realize how important and necessary NYWICI is, as in, how beneficial it is for women in communications and professional fields, and how beneficial being a member of such a wonderful and supportive organization is. If you’d like to read more about what being a NYWICI scholarship winner means to me, click here.


Winning a NYWICI scholarship in 2013 as a high school senior.

For the past three years, I’ve gotten to go to the conference with IC Women in Communications,  the professional development organization for women in communications fields at my school, Ithaca College. It was founded by Alyssa Frey and Alexis Dent, both of whom have since graduated but who are off doing amazing things in communications. I am currently the Vice President of WIC, and Katie Baldwin, a sophomore Television and Radio major is the President. We organized a trip this semester to take our e-board, as well as general body members, to the conference, as we’ve done for the past few years now.

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Attending the 2014 NYWICI SCCC with general body members and e-board.

What made this trip so special is that Katie and I (mostly Katie, that girl is so organized and so on her game) as well as the WIC e-board got to organize it ourselves, get the funds together, and pick which deserving members of WIC would get the special opportunity to come on the trip. Everyone who came wanted to be there, and wanted to learn and grow as professionals and as women, and it was great to be in that environment. Katie and I were the “real adult people,” as I like to say, and yeah, it was hard to act and think that way and be in charge of 15 other girls in New York City. But somehow, we managed to do it, and we had a great time.


Attending the 2015 NYWICI SCCC with general body members and e-board.

Going on this trip made me proud to be a part of NYWICI, and proud to be the Vice President and member of WIC. Getting to go to the conference again for the 4th year in a row made me proud of myself as a professional young woman. I always learn so much at the NYWICI Student Communications Career Conference, and get to meet and network with a lot of cool women who are so passionate and motivated and goal oriented, just like me. I also almost always get to see past NYWICI scholarship winners and NYWICI board members and NYWICI members that I know and have met before, and it’s always nice to catch up. (Hi Cathy Carlozzi and Taylor Trudon and Marisch Perera and Taylor Sassman and Amanda Morris! <3)

Lucky for you guys, I took a lot of notes at the conference and compiled a list of it all, which you’ll find below! I summarized each panel I attended/speaker I listened to, as well as wrote down the big picture/specific lessons and advice that I learned. I also italicized the lessons that especially hit home for me.


11260680_10207907733237299_5697752869397802125_nAmy Odell- Editor of Cosmopolitan.com and Author of Tales From the Back Row

What it’s all about: Amy Odell was our first keynote speaker, and is the current editor of Cosmopolitan.com, which is a HUGE deal. She wrote this book called Tales From the Back Row, which she was selling/signing copies of at the conference. My friend Allie and I went up to meet her/get a book signed, and I was so starstruck that all I could do was shake her hand and walk away regretting that I didn’t say anything else.

Personal and professional advice/information:

  • Check for facts. The last thing you want your boss to say is, “Let me Google that for you.”
  • Beg for work. Do not sit around and wait for people to ask you to do something.
  • Take the job you don’t want. Take the job you never thought you would get. Don’t turn your nose up at opportunities you don’t think are the perfect fit.
  • Try a lot of different things. Be open minded in your job search. Interview at places you never thought you would work. Ask yourself: Where will you get the most experience creating something? Find a job where you will learn a lot.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, but don’t go around making enemies.
  • Don’t work for people who make you unhappy, because you don’t deserve to be miserable at work. But you do have to really work.
  • Never walk into an interview with plans to lie or bullshit your way through it. Never walk into an interview without learning everything you possibly can about the company first.
  • If you’re interviewing for a writing job, come up with a list of possible ideas.
  • Be well-read. If you want to work for media brands, read everything (that they do, and also read EVERYTHING.)
  • The best way to network is to work somewhere and make friends.

Conversations About Content (Print, Web & Social) Panel11254031_10207907733957317_2607247825964286824_n

What it’s all about: This panel explored what content really is, how best to get your content out there as well as many other things, through the personal experiences of Georgia Galanoudis, who is the Managing Director of Imprint, Jayde Lovell, who is a Co-Host and Producer of The Young Turks Network on YouTube, Taylor Trudon, who is the Life Lead at MTV News (shout out to my NYWICI scholarship mama hen, who is on panels at most conferences I go to and always rocks it), and Tiffany Winter, who is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Mindshare Entertainment. It was moderated by Lori Greene, who is the Senior Partner Director of Content for Maxus Global.12191722_10207907734117321_1811447813004514677_n

Personal and professional advice/information:

  • Content is an expression of a brand’s DNA.
  • It’s not what your brand is, it’s what your brand represents.
  • Always promote yourself. When you write something or do something cool, don’t be afraid to brag about it.
  • If you don’t apply for a job, you’re never going to get it.
  • The most important thing you can do is figure out how to manage your time, which is why it’s important to differentiate responsibilities from tasks.
  • Media content is based on the target audience’s interest.
  • You know much more than you think you know. People don’t want you to fail, so you should believe in yourself and your ability to do things.
  • Imposter syndrome- feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing and being afraid of being caught in not knowing what you’re doing
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
  • Don’t pigeonhole yourself. (In terms of searching for jobs, asking for work to do, etc.)
  • Learn how to give and take constructive criticism. (So true, and very hard for me to do.)

Non-Profit & Social Good Panel12189080_10207907734437329_5104466484097654322_n

What it’s all about: This panel was definitely the most empowering panel I attended– the women on it were so inspiring and encouraging and understanding about community and women and what it means to be a woman in today’s society. Many of them were teachers or had taught before, which I liked and made a lot of sense to me. The panelists included Courtney Dubin, who is the Senior Youth Engagement and Digital Advisor at GENYOUth, Jennifer Lindenauer, who is the head of Marketing and Communications at Upworthy, Mary Pryor, who is the Digital and Content Development Lead at Samsung and Black Tech Week, and Saundra Thomas, who is the Vice President of Community Affairs at WABC-TV. The panel was moderated by Pam Hacker, who is director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Home Box Office, Inc. (She also used to work for Sesame Street as the publicity director, which is so cool.)

Personal and professional advice/information: 

  • You can’t be a complete person without giving back to the community.
  • The community aspect of a company says a lot about its culture.
  • Do what you want to do in life and live life fully. You are the one who can make things happen for yourself.
  • Tell people what you want and what you want to do because you never know who can help you.
  • If you’re asking people for anything for the right reasons, it’s worth asking.
  • Learn to say no.
  • People who work in non-profit wear a lot of different hats. You need to be able to do many good things, not just one good thing. Be a sponge and absorb everything you learn.
  • Talk to whoever is involved and understand what the problem is before you try and solve it.
  • Be open to things you haven’t done before.
  • Ask the questions you really want to know the answers to. (This resonated with me because I just had my first informational interview, and I tried to ask questions that I wanted to know the answers to about the company as well as what it’s like to work for the company.)
  • There is nothing wrong with having a myriad of interests and pursuing those interests. Never stop learning.
  • What is important is tapping into who you are and really consuming what you’re learning.
  • There’s nothing wrong with the truth.

Paula Rizzo- Emmy-award winning video producer, Senior Health Producer at Fox News Channel & Author of Listful Thinking1610993_10207907735037344_3079588973702559837_n

What it’s all about: Paula Rizzo was our second keynote speaker, and she was really cool. She lives an accelerated lifestyle and runs FoxNewsHealth.com, and is the senior producer for the website, as well as the founder of the productivity site ListProducer.com. She took us through her life journey and experiences. (Fun Fact: Her husband went to Cornell, so Ithaca sort of got a shout out!)

Personal and professional advice/information:

  • People have a right to know what’s going on in their world, which is why news is important!
  • Distractions happen, things pop up, which is why you want to make sure you achieve everything you intend to achieve.
  • There are always going to be ups and downs– but just because you don’t hit it out of the park immediately doesn’t mean what you want to achieve is not possible.
  • You become what you believe.
  • Make lists! They will help you be action oriented. (She was big on lists. See: her book, Listful Thinking.)
  • What everything really comes down to is good writing. (YES! ALWAYS!)
  • Never let failure stop you from moving forward.

12096132_10207907735277350_6001963771555870589_nBuilding Your Personal Brand Panel

What it’s all about: This panel was probably the most jam packed with information. It was also moderated by Brittany Hennessy, who is the Associate Director of Social Strategy and Influence at Horizon Media and who also interviewed me when I was going through the second round of phone interviews for my NYWICI scholarship. I finally got to meet her in person at the conference, and she was so nice and charismatic, and gave me a huge hug! The panel focused on a lot of different ways to personalize yourself and brand through social media and online, which is all stuff that’s so important. The panel featured Bianca Jade, who is the founder of Mizzfit.com, Dina Deleasa-Gonsar, who is the founder of DishItGirl.com and was on the E! show Married to Jonas, Kayleigh Harrington, who is the talent coordinator for Socialyte, and Jacqueline M. Peros, who is a personal branding strategist and founder of JMP branding.

Personal and professional advice/information:

  • The absence of a brand speaks louder than a bad brand.
  • Branding is about how you can communicate/articulate who you are in a coherent way. Ask yourself: What is your essence? What makes you different? The answer to those questions is your brand.
  • You are your own company, agent, PR person, content creator, first and foremost. So you have to know how to do a little bit of everything in order to show people who you are and what you’re capable of.
  • Respect everybody.
  • It doesn’t matter where you start, all that matters is that you know where you’re headed.
  • YouTube is how you leave your stamp on the social media world.
  • People read blogs a lot less than they used to. (This made me sad.)
  • Start blogging like it’s your job, not like it’s your hobby. (This reminds me of my friend at school Sabina, who runs her own blog.)
  • Act like everyone is watching you on social media.
  • Don’t be scared to voice your opinion. This is a part of your brand! People aren’t going to take a lot of time to figure you out and figure out what you stand for, so have a strong opinion that is your own to distinguish you from the rest.
  • Don’t be everywhere on social media unless you’re actively going to be participating on those platforms.
  • Understand who your target audience is and what they want.
  • People don’t meet you for the first time in person, they meet you for the first time online. (This is SO TRUE. My Facebook presence precedes me as a person.)
  • Be consistent in everything you do.
  • Think of the brands that you love. You love these brands because you’ve had a good experience with them. Project the brand you want people to see, and give them a good experience with you.

Spotlight on NYWICI Scholarship Winners Panel12191054_10207907735637359_7525795368707135130_n

What it’s all about: This panel was the last panel. It was basically all about how NYWICI and winning a NYWICI scholarship has helped women in the communications fields, specifically Bridget Jackson, who is a staff associate at Kellen Company, Alexandra Osten, who is an account manager at Nielsen, Marisch Perera, who is a news associate at Fox 5 News (shout out to Marisch, who won the scholarship the year that I won it and who I admire so much for being so wonderful, professional, and for going after her dreams so fearlessly), Lauren Hard, who is a news assistant at The New York Times, and Elisa Tang, who is a production associate at NBC’s Today Show. The panel was moderated by Megan Hess, who is an associate editor at Mashable.

Personal and professional advice/information:

  • Your network is your net worth. (This is repeated at every conference I go to, and I cannot stress it enough.)9936_10203158871358720_1485404682_n
  • Make genuine connections at every job you work at.
  • Mentorships don’t have to be formal. They can occur naturally, and you can have lots of different mentors for lots of different things.
  • Be persistent. Always follow up.
  • Own who you are.
  • Become a NYWICI member, because you have access to so many resources and cool events that can help you out personally and professionally. 

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This entry was posted in Things I've Learned in College and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Everything I Learned at NYWICI’s Student Communications Career Conference 2015

  1. Dannyl2 says:

    Terrific !! Finally read it all the way thru You are very strong and have great leadership skills

    Very proud

    -send to aunt j and grandpa

    Love dad

    Danny Livingston



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