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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

Women In Media UCSB held their 8th annual conference at the Interactive Learning Pavillion on UC Santa Barbara’s campus on May 18th and 19th. Women In Media (WIM) is an, “all-inclusive, student-led professional development organization dedicated to celebrating and supporting women in media,” according to the @wimucsb Instagram. 

The conference featured nine panels over the two days and was catered by local Isla Vista eateries: Yetz Bagels, South Coast Deli and IV Pizza Pub. Each attendee was sent home with a beautifully decorated, purple Women in Media iced cookie, courtesy of Mary Gonzalez, @cupcakesbymary on Instagram.

For Michelle Lee, it’s only when things are bad that you get better. The former Editor of the Year at Allure Magazine told a packed audience how she grew through adversity and not knowing what you want to do in college, is “totally fine.”

Panelists, moderators and attendees were filled with a shared passion for supporting women pursuing careers in media. The room was brimming with women from all stages of their professional careers. From freshmen, to post-grads just breaking into the industry, to those fully established in their careers. 

First Few Years

Erica Mae McNeal, Hollie Collins, Keana Alden and Mitchka Saberi were interviewed by WIM Events Co-Chair, Sophia Shin, on entering the media industry after graduation and how to keep a positive outlook.

The panel suggested turning to music and YouTube as sources of creativity as authenticity is able to shine online.


WIM Member Amanda Marroquinn talked to Chloe Hall, Delaney Willet, Jessica Black and Nicole Sperling on intersectionality and storytelling within journalism. Their advice was to try and find your writing “niche” and “voice,” early on, and that you are only as good as your portfolio.

Delaney Willet told future writers to make themselves into a “Swiss Army Knife,” and to be self-taught and ready to step up to the plate. The entire panel advocated for the sentiment that if you want to start writing, just write.


Irie Aburto, WIM Outreach Lead, spoke to Jury Duty writers Katie Mathewson and Kerry O’Neill as well as the screenwriter for The Bear, Sofya Levitsky-Weitz, on when to trust your instincts when pitching story ideas.

O’Neill admitted that you have to have a thick skin and an open mind and to always look for “the note behind the note,” when receiving feedback.

All three women preached that you had to be, “unprecious,” with your work and that you are the only person who can tell your story and it’s your story to tell.

Leading Lady

Michelle Lee graced the stage to talk about her life in the editorial, marketing and brand building space throughout her career. Lee was named 2017 Editor of the Year for her work with Allure magazine and has changed the face of the beauty industry through her work in diversity, inclusivity and representation.

Lee told the crammed hall that banning the term “anti-aging” from Allure’s publication in 2017 was a huge accomplishment that she holds close to her heart. 

When asked about advice she would give her teenage self, Lee admitted to raising the ceiling of her dreams, that nothing is unattainable, and shooting for the stars allows for more growth than settling for what you think you can accomplish. 

Lee gave advice on finding the balance between being both constructive and supportive as a boss or an editor, and that it is only in the face of adversity that you can discover how to (and how not to!) be a leader yourself. 

President of Women in Media, Giovi Andreassi, was thrilled with the success of the conference this year. “I can confidently say that there is no other event quite like ours at UCSB: offering students an opportunity to spend a weekend, networking, gaining insights into their chosen industries from seasoned professionals, and fostering meaningful relationships,” Andreassi remarked.

For Andreassi, it is witnessing the interactions between students and panelists that is incredibly rewarding and fills her with excitement for the students collective professional futures. 

Vice President, Phoebe Choi felt proud to have collaborated with the “best team,” full of, “hardworking individuals.” Whether that be behind the scenes or as an attendee, Choi believes the experience is “guaranteed” to be valuable and worthwhile. 

If you didn’t attend this year, be sure to keep up with @wimucsb on Instagram for next year’s conference!

Hi, my name is Francesca, I am a third year at UCSB studying Film and Media Studies. Originally from England moved to California for college, I have a passion for writing, storytelling and people's passion.