On July 21st and 22nd, 2018, Her Campus Media and hundreds of young, ambitious, college women from all over the country came together for this year's Her Conference in NYC. I am very lucky to say I was one of these women! This yearly conference is a weekend-long event filled with key-note speakers, panelists, and freebies for college women who are interested in marketing, communications, journalism, and gaining major insights on the media industry. Her Conference was an experience I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of and left me feeling empowered, more aware of my self-worth, and confident in the choices I plan to make in my career path.
Her Campus explains their mission with Her Conference as "an event that would bring the digital Her Campus community to life, and where college women around the world could network, jump-start their careers and generally prepare to take the world by storm." As a result, they provided this and so much more than I expected.
Both Saturday and Sunday began with an early start at 7:45 sharp. We registered, ate a delicious breakfast, networked a bit, and were given an unbelievable swag bag with makeup, a swell bottle, and a Moleskine notebook. This notebook has become my career advice BIBLE.
The Career Advice Bible.Mia Montalvo
These pages soon became filled to the brim with words of amazing individuals such as famous podcasters "The Lady Gang," the star from "The Bold Type," Aisha Dee, and even Glamour magazine's Editor-in-Chief, Samantha Barry. Saturday began with panels such as "A Day In The Life: Entry-Level Editorial Positions," "Fear Less, Do More" and "WTF Is a Personal Brand? How To Find Your Expertise As A Writer." On Sunday, I attended "Navigating The Media Industry: How To Work Your Way Up," "The Many Ways You Can Work In Media" and "Insiders Spil: What Is A Career In PR Like?"
Each panel featured about four or five young women who spoke about the different aspects of their careers as an interviewer asked them different questions. This intimate, yet interactive experience answered so many questions that I have been quite clueless about, despite the fact that I am a communication studies major, Her Conference gave me what a collegiate education cannot — hands-on experience. We are taught in our classes how specific roles affect media but are not usually given an inside look at day to day. We are not told the bitter cold truth about keeping our mental health in check while still trying to pursue our passions or how male perspectives can make the workplace a tough issue to manage.
With that in mind here are a few other lessons I gathered from this weekend:
"Don't give up until you get a NO."
"Be the source of your own success. You have to stay persistent!"
"The best part of working in an editorial is being able to tell people's stories while the worst is staring at a screen all day."
"If you are going into the media industry, expect to freelance for some time."
"Produce great, thoughtful work."
"Continue writing and track your improvement. You'll see a major improvement."
"You never know which door will open for you, so knock on them all."
"There is a reason for everything. Not getting the dream job or internship is all apart of the process."
"Take every opportunity you can available on campus. No job is too small."
"When interviewing for a job, know the brand! Research articles, editors, and be ready to pitch ideas on the spot."
"Always ask yourself 'what's the best that can happen'?"
"Internships are looking for diversity. As a college student, you have something valuable to offer."
"Networking after internships is the most important action to take. Make them remember you!"
"Remember, you are important."
Therefore, the notes that I have taken alone show that Her Conference was an experience that not only will I ever forget, but the future me will be very thankful for. Sure, the coconut cotton candy was really cute, but the lessons were priceless.