10 Secrets We Learned During Our Time at Her Conference

Last weekend, Her Campus at UCF had the amazing opportunity to send three of our writers to Her Conference in New York City to learn all the secrets it takes to be a successful woman from some of the number one girl bosses in the world! Campus Correspondents Lena and Nicole are here to answer some of the questions you had about the conference and spill all the career-goals secrets they learned from the leaders who hosted this empowering event.

Q: What does a day at Her Conference consist of? 

Lena: Her Conference took place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday last week. We began both days by checking in, receiving amazing goody bags from our sponsors, and eating a delicious breakfast (quick shoutout to the Cinnabon guy for filling my day with happiness in the form of sugary-iced coffee goodness). We then headed upstairs to the conference room where we were able to interact with all the different sponsor activations. We even got free hair styling and makeovers from Ulta beauty — what more could a girl ask for? Next, we heard from some amazing keynote speakers to kickstart the weekend. (Let's just take a minute to reflect on how incredible The Lady Gang is!) We then headed off to separate panels and workshops depending on our interests. Each day consisted of three keynote speakers, two panels, and one workshop, with tons of breaks scattered in to make sure we could get the perfect shot for Instagram. It was so empowering to hear from such inspiring women and network with other amazing girls from across the country!

Q: What made you want to attend the event?

Lena: When I first applied for Her Campus my freshman year, I saw that our Campus Correspondent attended the event that summer. I knew from that moment that I was prepared to do whatever it takes to get to that moment so that I too could have this amazing experience. 

Nicole: I found out about Her Conference after seeing it advertised on the Her Campus social media feeds. I watched some of the videos and checked out some of the posts from previous years and I knew I had to go! I plan on moving to Manhattan after college, so I knew this would be a great way to network with girls from the area and find out about job opportunities as well. 

Q: What did you do to plan for the event?

Lena: Last summer I promised myself to save money so that I could attend this summer. We bought our tickets early, in December, and continued spacing out our payments over the course of the spring semester in order to not be #broke come July. We also were able to sit down together and plan out an itinerary for our entire stay in New York!

Nicole: I spent a lot of time going through social media posts and videos from the previous year's conferences so I could know what to expect. Her Campus also sent us a lot of information about the panels and workshops ahead of time so we could decide which ones we wanted to attend before we even arrived! 

Q: What are three words you would use to describe Her Conference? 

Lena: Empowering, Inspiring, and Beneficial 

Nicole: Informative, Invaluable, and Mind-blowing

Q: What's something from the conference you're bringing back with you to UCF?

Lena: I'm really excited to bring back all the knowledge I gained on social media analytics to our media team here at Her Campus UCF. The world of blogging is not just about what we write anymore, but it's how we brand ourselves on all platforms. One of the most important messages I took away was that limiting yourself to one platform is a recipe for failure because any day the CEO of Instagram could just shut it down, and then what's left for you? By branching out and covering all platforms, success will follow you. 

Nicole: I would love to see the Her Campus UCF editorial team continue to tackle topics that are important to us as college women. Something I learned from Samantha Barry, the editor-in-chief of Glamour, is that as a publication oriented towards young women, we have the responsibility to address issues that affect our audience (and ourselves!). I'm also interested in the potential of branching out into more video content creation, such as the use of IGTV or even YouTube, to promote our chapter and our writers.

Q: How’d it feel being surrounded by so many other Her Campus writers and other girl bosses?

Lena: It was incredible knowing that all 600 girls in the room had one common goal, and being able to support each other and lift each other up was incredible. I learned so much from some of the girls I met, and I hope I was able to inspire others as well. It wasn't just about the speakers, but the entire ambiance created such a powerful vibe.

Nicole: One of the main concepts that Her Conference focused on was the notion that as women, we must support each other. We can't dismantle the patriarchal restrictions of our society if we're too busy putting each other down on social media. I felt so overwhelmed knowing that I was in a room filled with girls who I could support and who would support me back, and I can hope that feeling is the same one we bring to Her Campus UCF pitch meetings this year. 

Q: How do you feel Her Conference helped you prepare for your future careers?

Nicole: I went into Her Conference feeling a little unsure of my career path. I was worried that there weren't enough opportunities in media, and especially not enough opportunities in publication. Luckily, I came out of Her Conference with the exact opposite impression. There are so many career paths that I could see myself taking that I'm not even sure where I would begin or where I want to end up (besides Manhattan, of course)! However, something else I learned at Her Conference is that it's totally fine to be unsure of your path - in fact, it's natural! Everyone finds their way differently, and as long as I'm in a position that I enjoy and that I can bring value to, it's going to be fine. 

Q:  What was your favorite part of hearing the editor-in-chief of Glamour, Samantha Barry, speak?

Nicole: Samantha Barry was one of my favorite keynote speakers, especially because she currently has my dream job of editor-in-chief! I love how she brought examples from her work at Glamour, including articles and video content, to illustrate her various points. Her path from a journalist to an editor-in-chief is one I could absolutely see myself mirroring (should I be so lucky!).  

Q: What was the most memorable part of the event?

Nicole: One of my favorite keynote speakers this year, Jen Welter, was the first female coach in the NFL. At the beginner of her speech, she had all 600 of us assume the proper linebacker position as a metaphor for how we should approach challenges. She was so inspiring and so funny, and I bought her book on Amazon literally two minutes after she finished speaking. I can't wait to read it!

Q: Advice for those who are interested in going next year?

Lena: Just do it. This conference is nothing like any other, and I'll be remembering this weekend forever. You can find ways to make it more affordable to fit your budget, and the conference itself is priced amazingly for what you get from it. Don't let anything hold you back, because opportunities to learn in such an empowering environment are rare, and it should be on everyone's bucket list. It's not just for Her Campus members and college students- anyone is welcome to attend!