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Her Campus Maryland takes over Her Campus Intercollegiate Conference 2013

Day 1: By Natalie Tomlin  

From shopping at the BCBGeneration sample sale to absorbing invaluable advice from keynote speakers, the Her Campus National Intercollegiate Conference was filled with nonstop activities for hundreds of Her Campus women.

As a writer for University of Maryland’s chapter of Her Campus, I knew attending the conference in New York City would be a great way to represent my school and meet other writers and correspondents from universities across the nation. Not to mention, why would I pass up an opportunity to go to my favorite city for the weekend?

The conference immediately exceeded my expectations upon my arrival the morning of July 27. As soon as the elevator doors of the Convene Center in Midtown Manhattan opened, I stepped into a sea of other young women anticipating the day’s exciting events.

After we enjoyed a continental breakfast, co-founder, President and Publisher of Her Campus Media Windsor Hanger Weston greeted us to the second annual conference. Windsor radiated with enthusiasm for the day’s lineup of events, making me more and more anxious to head to the first panel session. Before we could get started, we first got to hear from Josie Natori, fashion designer, and CEO and founder of The Natori Company.

Natori’s story was the first of many inspiring accounts of successful women we heard from during the day. Before breaking into the fashion industry, Natori came from her home in the Philippines at 17 years old to study economics at Manhattanville College and became an investment banker on Wall Street upon graduation.

“It was really a lucky break,” she said. “It was the late 60s. I really was just at the right time at the right place.”

Natori credited her ambition on Wall Street to her grandmother who taught her to work hard and be an independent woman despite growing up in a patriarchal society in the Philippines.

“I always knew I would make something of myself,” Natori said. She had no idea her lifelong dream of being a business woman would eventually land her in the fashion industry.

After spending years working her way up to become the first female vice president in investment backing, Natori’s career and daily life began to feel mechanical.

“I became really restless and did not feel like I was being challenged,” she said. “I was bored … People think I started a company because I had a child but that restlessness was there before I had my child.”

Natori began to explore all sorts of business ventures from owning McDonald’s franchises to car washes in the New York area, but she still felt disconnected from her work.

It was not until she considered importing products from the Philippines that Natori found her calling. She experimented with bringing in baskets and even children’s clothes, but then her friend sent her a sample of embroidered Filipino blouses that soon altered her course.

She loved the fabric and brought it to a buyer at Bloomingdale’s who suggested she make it into a night shirt. Natori didn’t even know what a nightshirt was at the time, but today her company includes lingerie collections, a ready-to-wear line, a home collection, fragrances and eyewear.

Her advice to us young aspiring career women: “You’ve really got to work at every single level – top to bottom,” she said.

Natori also emphasized the importance of lifelong learning. She was unfamiliar with the world of fashion before she started her business, but she expanded her relationships with others in the industry, picked people’s brains and strived to learn more.

“It was a wonderful accident [that I went into fashion],” she said.

As if hearing her inspirational story wasn’t enough, 100 of the conference attendees got a custom bra fitting and a free Josie by Natori bra!

Following the outstanding introductory speaker, the Her Campus ladies headed to the first breakout session. I attended “Does the Devil Really Wear Prada? Life in An Entry-Level Editorial Position,” featuring an assistant editor at WomensHealthMag.com, a contributing editor at Glamour magazine, an editorial assistant at TV Guide Magazine and an assistant editor at Country Living magazine. Each of these women shared their stories about how they reached their dream jobs and how they continue to work their way up. They even offered advice about navigating your way through New York City living and finding your first apartment.

Contributing editor at Glamour magazine Katie Sanders said a great way to gain additional journalistic experience is to reach out to a professor who is also a writer. While she was in college, she helped a professor with research and in return, she improved on her skills while building a great connection.

Sanders also shared her experience as an intern at Vanity Fair through the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) summer internship program.

“It was so fun that I actually didn’t end up going back to school,” she said. “I became an editorial assistant through a sort of serendipitous fluke for this 83-year-old legendary editor named Wayne Lawson, whose assistant of eight years had left, and I stayed on through January and took leave from school to go to what I call University of Wayne.”

One of the many pieces of advice Sanders gave was to remember that we are each other’s friends, references and allies. She also said the job search process has a lot do with timing, and it is normal not to land a job as soon as you graduate from college.

“If you don’t have a job when you graduate, you are the most normal person in the world, and it’s time to go search, but it can also be difficult when all of your friends around you are signing on,” she said. “So really keep an open mind, reach out to people you know in constructive, well-crafted, smart ways and really reconnect with your peers and people you’ve done really good work for. That’s how I broke in as a full-time employee rather than an intern.”

While the normal career advice from professors, parents and nearly everyone in our lives can make our aspirations quite daunting, these ladies’ take on the fashion and magazine journalism industries was refreshing and left all of us anxious to introduce ourselves and exchange business cards – networking at its finest!

The rest of the day at the intercollegiate conference was filled with more panels like these, including “Climbing the Ladder: Journalism Jobs Later On” and “How to Be a Content Queen,” which helped us learn how supply our readers with the best stories that Terps want to read!

In between the networking sessions were chances for us to have some fun. Hair stylists curled girls’ hair using Amika hair products, a Brooklyn-based line featuring hair care, accessories and styling tools. BCBGeneration also hosted a sample sale with bikinis, pants, tops, accessories and shoes marked down to unbeatable prices. I scored two pairs of reversible jeans for $20 each!

Towards the end of the festivities, all of the attendees came back together for a screening of Girl Rising, a documentary with a simple yet impactful message: Educate a girl, and she will change the world.

The film followed the lives of different girls and women in developing countries to show how they overcame the obstacles that stood in the way of the education they dreamed of. It was an inspiring series of stories that reminded us how unstoppable women can be, even in situations where there seemed to be no way out. From abusive child labor and forced marriage to unimaginable poverty and sickness, these girls proved that just one girl rising above the constraints placed on her life is truly the start of a revolution. 

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Day 2- By Alessia Grunberger “I Found a Wonderland at the Her Campus Conference”

I was in sunny Florida when I found out about the 2013 Her Campus National Intercollegiate Conference. I quickly realized that I could only attend the second day, but I knew that I had to go! Readers, how could I surpass such a remarkable experience? I understood from the information provided to me that I would learn how to break into the magazine industry, how to make my blog a powerhouse, how to make my résumé stand out, and how to become a better networker from the best of the best in the industry. I had to go.

When I first arrived at 7:15 a.m. to the conference in New York City, I sincerely felt that I could not maintain my composure. All these girls came in with their leather folders – containing tons of stellar résumés, I am sure – and trotted past me in their cute high heels. And this was supposed to be general admission? Whoa. Everyone was dressed to kill, and I was getting a little nervous.

 

Soon after, we were permitted to enter the conference, and let me tell you all, everything I saw came pretty damn close to a college girl’s wonderland. We got a bag full of free samples, food (and good food!), those fabric hair ties that unjustly cost $8, nail polish, a copy of People magazine, and other glorious goodies. We were then escorted to the main room, where there was a BCBG sample sale on my left and a BCBGeneration beauty bar on my right. Was I in heaven?!

Before I could make a dive to either station, our first keynote was about to start, and I got lost in a sea of girls that scurried past me and piled into the next room. Our first speaker was Executive Editor of Parents Magazine Chandra Turner. The following is a list of the cardinal points I compiled from Turner’s keynote:

1.     Get an internship – Getting an internship is the #1 way to break into the magazine industry.

2.     Stay in New York City if you want to be in the media industry.

3.     Find a non-magazine job and make some money.

4.     Network.

5.     Apply to everything – you never know what you will get it.

6.     Everybody needs an editor.

 

Turner’s presence was awe-inspiring and I could not get enough of her sincerity, light-hearted humor, and sound advice. Although some of her main points were somewhat obvious – at least to me – I felt more at ease, and in a way, more prepared, when I heard them from her.

Another notable guest speaker was – wait for it –Vice President and Publisher Jason Wagenheim. Yes, you heard me right! And here is the thing about Wagenheim: he has quite the presence. I was soaking up all his awesomeness and eccentric – yet hilarious – dialogue. He kept the crowd engaged throughout his presentation, and left us laughing for, what felt like, minutes at a time. The following is a list that I organized to summarize his simultaneously charming and blatantly honest lecture:

1.     Social media is very important.

2.     Journalism is not dead – People are reading more magazines than ever before.

3.     Good print journalism still has a place (phew, well that is a relief for me!).

4.     “Good journalism still matters.”

5.     We are “the best of the best among college journalists.”

6.     To get that job, one must have a strong résumé and cover letter, and must nail the interview.

7.     Reconnect – Do not lose connections with people.

 

At the end of his lecture, I mustered enough courage to walk up to him, speak about the inspiring Michaela De Prince article that was featured in a past Teen Vogue issue, and handed him my résumé. Wagenheim took my résumé, gave one hard look at it, and cracked a not so funny joke. He said my name was spelled wrong on my résumé. Good one, Wagenheim. It is not like my heart plummeted to my stomach (which was already in knots just by speaking to you).

All in all, attending the Her Campus Intercollegiate Conference was eye opening, exciting, and beyond beneficial. I already felt much more prepared thanks to Chandra Turner, Jason Wagenheim, and the other workshops I went to. Walking out of the conference, I had a spring in my step, a notepad full of notes, a bag full of free goodies, and my hair done (courtesy of the BCBGeneration Beauty Bar.). On July 28, I felt like I could conquer the world. Now, I am counting down the days until the next Her Campus conference. I hope I have convinced you, my readers, to join me next summer in 2014

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The Perfect Weekend- By Jaclyn Turner  

 

After weeks of begging my mother to let me go to the Her Campus Intercollegiate Conference, she finally relented. So we were on our way, to a city that I hadn’t visited since Seventh Grade, New York City. Because I came all the way from Atlanta, I decided to attend both days of the conference. Even though the workshops were similar, the keynotes of the two days offered completely different words of wisdom.  

The first day I took a taxi to the convention. I felt like a New Yorker, and  I was really excited. A girl walking towards the Convene Conference Center asked me if I was from New York as she saw me get out of the cab. I laughed, I said no, “I came from Atlanta.”

We walked in together, both completely overwhelmed by the impeccably dressed girls,  the BCBG sample sale, Amika beauty bar, and the Intel sponsored Technology lab. Yet, we eagerly made it to the registration desk, where we received our name tags and swag bag filled with goodies from Lacoste, BCBG Generation, Unjunked candy, Harvey Prince, Intel and more!  I was so excited!

To start the day, Josie Natori gave the morning keynote about how she found her way into the fashion industry after working in the investment industry. She gave the Her Campus Contributors in attendance a free bra from her new youthful line, Josie, if you signed up for a bra fitting! I just got mine in the mail and I am really excited to wear it!

Afterwards, I strutted off to “Does the Devil Really Wear Prada? Life in an Entry-Level Editorial Position.”  The panelists, Katie Sanders from Glamour, Allison Goldman from Womenshealthmag.com, Sarah Weinberg from Country Living Magazine,  and Elizabeth Wagmeister from TV Guide Magazine shared their insight of working at these publications, how they got their break, and   life in New York City.   Many of these ladies credited internships through ASME or the American  Society of Magazine Editors as the fast track to their careers. Katie advised that we reach out to people you know. In the media industry, people will often help other people out, so networking is key.  Sarah Weinberg explained the edit test she had to go through and how she perfected it in order to secure her position as Assistant Editor. She was given a round up of products and had to write thoughtful captions for the product and present them in a appealing way. 

The hardest part for the entry level editor is the $30,000 a year base salary. However, many publications will offer full benefits, and you get the perks of free beauty products and events!  The ladies advised that you cook, and only eat out to be social. For affordable housing, they recommended East Village, the Upper East Side, Murray Hill, and Stytown.

After this insightful workshop, I headed to  “A Collegiette’s Guide to Freelancing,” where the panelists talked about the pros and cons of freelancing and how to succeed. Very few freelancers actually do just freelancing because it can be hard to make an income just off of freelancing.  The panelists for this were Andrea Bartz, senior editor from Glamour,  Elyssa Goodman, a writer and photographer, Ben Kassoy, a content writer for Dosomething.org and a sex and love blogger for Glamour.com, and finally, Lauren Metz, a celebrity editor from Yourtango.com.  Kassoy approached the session with a humor that gave us a ton of laughs. The highlight was when Andrea Bartz complimented me on my blue bubble necklace!

After a lovely lunch thanks to Chipotle, Fran Houser, the President of Digital, Style, and Entertainment Group of Time, Inc spoke for our afternoon keynote!   

Then, we had our final workshop for the day, How to be a Content Queen on Campus. This gave me some valuable insight on how to create content that you, our readers want to read! I have some excellent ideas for the next few weeks, so you will have to stay tuned on what Her Campus Maryland does!

After this session, Nikki Nash from Intel demonstrated some cool Intel computers, and even gave one away! Unfortunately, I did not win, but no hard feelings, I’m an Apple kind of girl.  To conclude the day, Nikki presented the film, Girl Rising, a film that followed nine girls working to overcome their struggles and conflicts. I particularly enjoyed the story about the girl who worked at a radio station and convinced her father who did not want her doing the radio, to let her do her passion.

After Day 1, I was exhausted, but I somehow ended up walking to Bloomingdales to meet my mother! I scored a gorgeous Kate Spade yellow and white striped skirt for a fabulous price! Tres Chic!

Now begins 2, I decided to enjoy the fresh morning air by walking this morning. I enjoyed the quiet streets of New York City, and got a few looks from street cleaners as I “vined” my walk to Convene.

I must say that Day 2 may have been better than Day 1. Chandra Turner, the Executive Editor from Parents Magazine started off the day with a morning keynote. Alessia covered what she said, but I enjoyed her fun, entertaining, and witty approach to her speech. She spoke the hard truth, and it stung a little bit. She spoke about the importance of networking, getting an internship, and the importance of living in New York.  I got to speak with Chandra after her speech, and I hope to speak to her again.

Next, I attended “How to make your blog a powerhouse.”  I’ve always been interested in blogging, but I have never been able to maintain the habit.  I created a blog this summer, and got interested in updating my tumblr. So, I thought I would check out the session.  However, I could not wait for Session 2, BECAUSE my cousin’s wife’s sister was a panelist! How is that for a mouthful? Now, guess who she is!

Session 2 was called, “Climbing the Ladder: Journalism Jobs Later On,” and it was about jobs you can do later on.  The panelists all agreed that the time to move jobs is when you feel like you’ve learned everything you can. The panel featured Chris Desposito, Senior Fashion Editor of Redbook, Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich, Editorial Director of Alloy Entertainment, Dan Koday, Director of Digital Operations for Latina, Raakhee Mirchandani, Managing Editor of New York Daily News and Heather Morgan Shott, Site director for the Nest.com.

After lunch, we were treated to the Publisher of Teen Vogue, who was hilarious!   I loved listening to his words of wisdom about his path into  the industry.

Afterwards, I wrapped up my day up with “How to Write the Best Cover Letter Ever.” To compliment my resume, I knew that I need a stellar, memorable cover letter. Yet, I have never had any cover letter training. So I brought my rough, rough draft and hoped for the best.  As far as cover letters go, Do your research of the company and position you are applying for, tailor the letter to the company, be succinct,  and have no grammatical errors.

I finished my weekend off with a Broadway show. Until next time NYC!

And now, for the very best part for you amazing readers who read this entire article: In the next few weeks, Her Campus Maryland will be giving away the swag bag from the Conference Complete with goodies from Unjunked Candy, Intel, Harvey Prince, Veet, Her Campus and BCBGgeneration!  Like us on facebook and follow on twitter for more information once school starts! 

 

 

Journalism & Environmental Science and Policy Double Major
Jaclyn is so excited to be a campus correspondent with Her Campus! She is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, double majoring in Journalism and American Studies. Jaclyn hopes to work as an editor at a magazine in the future. She loves following fashion, attending concerts, traveling, and photographing the world around her. 
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