Anne Fulenwider, EIC of Marie Claire, Inspires at NYWICI Conference

New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) hosted a student career conference on November 22 at NYU’s Kimmel Center. Hundreds of anxious and motivated girls looked on as speakers from all aspects of the communications industry spoke about how they made their story into a success story.

One of the highlights of the day was the lunchtime keynote speaker, Anne Fulenwider, the editor-in-chief of Marie Claire Magazine.

Anne spoke with such poise and sophistication; you could feel every young hopeful in the room hanging on to her every word. She told the story of how she started out in the business, and added personal anecdotes of mistakes she’d made along the way.

Anne gave 10 pieces of advice that she believes are important in gaining success in the communications industry.

1. You have to chop the carrots.

This bit of advice came with a story. Anne told the story of how at one of her first jobs, she was asked to chop carrots before an event. While grumbling about it at the time, it was those little tasks that eventually led her to where she was.

2. Show up.

Anne emphasized that sometimes just showing up can prove that you have what it takes. She told us a story of a time when there was a huge blizzard in New York City and everything was shut down including taxis, the metro, etc. She didn’t hear anything about not having to come in to work so she put on her boots and walked 40 blocks in the deep snow. While she was the only person that showed up to work that day, she was invited in to personally work with her boss and his family, which was a defining moment for her career.

3. Throw yourself into it and work hard.

Anne works countless hours every week to create magic on the printed pages of Marie Claire. She said, “Work hard and then turn it off on the weekends.”

4. Enjoy what you do.

“Forty to 50 years is a long time to be bored,” Anne said in reference to your professional career. You have to love what you do, so that you can keep doing your absolute best at it.

5. Remain curious.

One of my favorite quotes from the day came from this point. “You’re handed things to learn every day,” Anne said. “Be wildly curious. You have to have new experiences.” She said it is important to keep up with the trends and the constant information that is coming out every day on what is new.

6. Remain useful.

While she emphasized that this can sound condescending, Anne said that it’s important to notice what needs to be done. Her first job was with David Lauren with a magazine called Swing. She was a paid intern and no one was overseeing her. She opened a lot of packages and did menial jobs but eventually she got a page in the magazine because she was constantly filling her time with something to do.

7. Make people notice.

“Women don’t promote themselves in their careers as much as men do,” Anne said. “Make sure to point out what you’ve accomplished because you deserve that promotion.” She told a story about how she made only $16,000 a year at her first job but she put on a brave face and asked for a raise, and it was absolutely worth it.

8. Stick with it.

Anne goes on to say that life will throw a lot at you. Besides a job, there’s also money, a social life, a marriage, weight, etc. etc. to worry about. “Hold onto something for yourself,” she said.

9. Find financial independence.

“Life is long, it’s complex,” Anne said. “There are very few better feelings than being financially independent.”

10. Do the things you’re afraid of.

Anne ended with a wonderful piece of advice. “Don’t decide not to do something because of fear,” she said. “Intellectually dismiss fear.” She went on to say that she almost didn’t take the job at Marie Claire, but she is so glad that she did. “I am inspired every single day by women in this country, especially the new generation,” she said. “It’s really fun. I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had in my life right now.”

Listening to Anne Fulenwider, someone that has made it so far in the industry, was an inspiration. She stood there and leveled with us – told her that things will be difficult but that we all had it in us to be successful. I think I’m not the only one to say that I left that conference with her words hanging in my head, and a little bit of an extra spring in my step regarding hope for my future.

New York Women in Communications, Inc. is the premier organization for communications professionals in the New York metropolitan area. They empower women in all different facets of the communications industry and all different stages of your career.

They host events like this conference, along with other networking and informational sessions, opportunities for scholarships, mentorship programs and so much more. Sign up for a year-long membership, meet some incredible women, and make a huge difference in your career.

All photos by Maryanne Russell.