The Best Career Advice From Her Conference

Her Conference Career Advice

via Instagram

I spent this past weekend at Her Conference, an annual conference for college women and recent graduates who are interested in the journalism, marketing and journalism industries. While I may not be looking for my next internship or first job any more, it was still incredibly inspiring to hear industry leaders share their honest advice. Here are some of the gems.

On being a woman in the workplace…

Supporting women never goes out of style.”
, Director, No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project

You don’t deserve everything; you deserve to earn everything.”
, Vice President of Editorial Strategy, Refinery29

Nobody can take away your knowledge. Nobody can take away your hard work.”
, Correspondent, E! News

Being a woman means waking up earlier, going to bed later and working harder.”
, Founder and CEO, Faith Popcorn’s Brain Reserve

On asking for help…

We have to accept the idea that we are all going to fail a little.”
, Editor-in-Chief, Seventeen

It was years of me being defensive before I realized that asking for help is built into the system.”
, Editor, People StyleWatch

On standing out (in the best way possible)…

Nothing beats preparation.”

It’s ok to put yourself forward.”
, Special Projects Director, Cosmopolitan

The answer is always just do good work.”

Confidence is like a muscle; you have to work on it every day.”

Knowing how to write and communicate are the greatest skills you can have.”

On finding your place…

You don’t have to be where you want to end up on Day 1.”

You have to find something that makes you feel like you’re giving back to the world and using your talents.”

Choose an organization that is thoughtful about [work-life balance].”
, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Chairman, Bloomberg LP

What’s your favorite piece of career advice?

~ Sarah

Last-Minute Her Conference Packing List

On Friday afternoon, I’ll be hopping on an Amtrak and heading to New York for Her Conference 2015! HerCampus.com, a site I wrote and edited for in college, launched the conference four years ago and it’s my third time going! It’s geared towards collegiettes (i.e., college women) interested in the media industry as well as bloggers. This time, I really will feel like a post-grad (the last time I went was in 2013, a couple months after graduating Fordham), which is crazy! Since it’s not my first rodeo, I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learned from past conferences.

Let’s start with your supplies (besides your smartphone, of course!):

Her Campus Her Conference Essentials

Pen & Notebook: Chances are both will be included in your goody bag, but if you have a dedicated blogging notebook (I actually use this one from Poppin), don’t forget it!

Portable Phone Charger: Tweeting and Instagramming is definitely encouraged at Her Conference, which means a lot of time on your phone! There’s only so many outlets and charging stations available at in the conference space, so a portable phone charger or power bank is clutch (especially if it’s cute too).

Mini/Disposable Toothbrush: Her Conference is a long day. Fun and empowering, but exhausting! Breakfast, lunch and snacks are served to help you power through, but a quick restroom stop to brush your teeth will help you feel refreshed!

Blotting Papers: You may not use blotting papers throughout the day, but when you arrive at the conference after a long walk or sweaty subway ride, you’ll be glad to have them on hand (plus they won’t ruin your makeup). Also useful if you have post-Conference plans and don’t have time to freshen up. New York in July is no breeze!

Business Cards & Case: You put lots of time in perfecting your business cards (I actually just got my newest ones from MOO on Monday — highly recommend them!), but the presentation isn’t complete without a classy case to hold them in.

Some other tips:

  • Dress for fashionable functionality. It’ll be hot outside, but the room temperature can definitely fluctuate, even from room to room. Layers are a must! I recommend a cardigan or blazer, depending on your personal style. Also, consider flats. When I wore heels, my feet were definitely sore by the end of the day. Keep it collegiette chic!
  • Review the schedule beforehand. There’s only so much room for each session, so a quick look at the schedule will help you prioritize. If you’re part of the Her Campus team and can attend the conference on Saturday and Sunday, some of the sessions do overlap, albeit with different panelists.
  • Pack light. This isn’t just referring to what you bring with you (besides the above, you really shouldn’t need too much extra!). You will be acquiring stuff, from goody bags to potential giveaways, so make sure you leave room to bring everything back home with you!

Have you been to any blogging conferences? Share your essentials in the comments! If you’re going to Her Conference, don’t forget to say hi!

~ Sarah

Her Campus Drexel Panel Discussion

Earlier this spring, I had the exciting opportunity to speak to Drexel University’s Her Campus chapter as a panelist for a Women in Journalism discussion. When the Her Campus Drexel team reached out to me, I honestly thought they had the wrong person. My day job is in marketing, which is definitely media-related, but it’s not what I expected to build my career in when I was studying journalism. (Actually, at Fordham, marketing wasn’t even included as a communications concentration — it was a business major!)

Honestly, I was tempted to decline the invitation — what advice do I have offer soon-to-be college grads, when my professional life hasn’t gone as planned? Then, I remembered that my New Year’s resolution was to push myself, so I said yes. I put the panel on the back burner, and the week of the event I found out who else was on the panel: Katy Zachry, a NBC10 reporter; Jenice Armstrong, a Daily News columnist; Aubrey Nagle, a Philly Voice producer…and me. I freaked out again, sucked it up and went along with it.

HC Drexel Women In Journalism

Being back on campus, even if it wasn’t my college campus, was bizarre, especially since I now felt an expectation to be some sort of authority figure. Two years ago, I was still a student, feeling over school but also over my head about the real world. So I totally surprised myself when I had answers to students’ questions, and when they seemed to be receptive to some of my advice. Just craziness.

Listen, I never really wrote about it much here, because I was too busy living it, but the college graduation transition is difficult. There are so many decisions to make, and I ended up choosing my personal life over my professional life. It may have seemed unwise to some, but it didn’t mean I was entirely discounting the latter for the former. I was not in the place where I was ready to throw away a relationship to pursue a difficult career path I wasn’t 200% sure about (because that’s the attitude you need to make it in print or digital journalism). Of course, ideally, I wouldn’t have to choose, but that’s not how life works. I think it’s good for young women (and men) to hear that, and know that it’s okay to make the unpopular choice.

Since I made that choice in my own life, I’ve had my moments of doubt and uncertainty, but I haven’t had regrets. There were sacrifices I was willing to make (leaving New York) and sacrifices where I drew the line (uprooting every 1-2 years to move to a different market). Being able to say that aloud to a crowd of 30 or so students, though, made me realize how much I meant it. Afterwards, Katy and Jenice (who are well-establsihed in their respective careers) told me how interesting they found my perspective, and I was super appreciative of that.

HC Drexel Women In Journalism

And obviously, I learned lots from my fellow panelists (I mean, I’m only 24). I think HC Drexel did a great job organizing the event, because we were four women in different media tracks at completely different points in our careers. It was inspiring hearing how Katy and Jenice dealt with inequalities in the workplace (not so great that that’s still an issue…). Our advice on how students can get started in the media world was also so different, which was pretty cool. One student even came up to me afterwards to ask more questions, which was the coolest!

HC Drexel Women In Journalism

Thanks again Kiarah and the whole HC Drexel for having me! It was a great learning experience, and I hope the students got as much out of the evening as I did.

~ Sarah