On Saturday I was invited to speak on a panel at the New York Women in Communications Foundation annual Student Communications Career Conference, and the timing was actually really great because I completely re-energized me about my career. Seeing all of these young women so excited and interested to learn about the field that I must admit, I sometimes take for granted, was an incredible reminder of how lucky I am to be a part of it.
The panel that I spoke on was about Communications Entrepreneurship, and the other women sitting up there with me included media personality Hariette Cole (who I have run into at many a green room over the years so it was very cool to finally officially meet her and hear her story), Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO and Creative Director of Crenshaw Communications, and Suzanne Kantra, founder of Techlicious.com.
Figured it may be interesting to share a few points that really resonated for me personally as I listened to the others and shared my crazy path that landed me where I am today:
- Decide what you want your brand to be, and always put that first. Understand- and be okay with the fact- that you may constantly need to reinvent yourself- but that is just part of it, and try and look at it as a fun opportunity to fine tune and evolve.
- There may be some skills you have that you don't want other people to know about because you don't want a job that focuses on them- but keep them tucked away somewhere because they will come in handy. For example- Harriette taught herself to type ridiculously fast. But she didn't want to be a secretary- so she kept it on the DL. But it came in handy big time when she needed to crank out her first book at night while still maintaining her day job. Even those little things you learn and master along the way can serve you well as you develop your career the way you want it to be.
- There will always be grunt work. So whether you are sorting mail at entry level or filing expense reports as the head of your own company, learn to deal with it.
- Don't be embarrassed to ask for what you are worth. I am still struggling with this- so any advice you guys have to share, please do- but I think especially as a woman in business, it gets awkward, and it shouldn't.
- Declare what you are, follow through with it by working hard and learning everything you possibly can about your craft, and once you put it out there and truly believe it (or can at least convince others- convincing yourself may take more time) it just kind of happens.
I could go on for pages sharing thoughts and tips and tricks- all will be shared in due time! Thank you so much to Rachel Bowie for including me in such an inspiring afternoon.