30 Things We Learned at Her Conference 2014

Her Campus WPUNJ was so thrilled to have attended the third annual Her Campus National Intercollegiette Conference last weekend in NYC that we had to share our experiences with you all.

Her Campus's Her Conference is a two-day event where collegiettes can attend career panels for different industries and interests (some this year included Marketing, Editorial, PR, Book Publishing, Health, Finance, and Leadership), listen to successful women give keynote speeches during breakfast and lunch, and network with other collegiettes and professionals. The Conference also includes fun stuff: opportunities to buy HC apparel, sponsor activation stations from Amtrak and Intel, a LUNA Bar bar, and a mini eff.Y.bee storefront, as well as raffle prizes and goody bags.

We were lucky enought to experience both awesome days of amazing speakers, panels, sponsors, and networking. For those of you who were unable to attend, here are the 30 most important things we learned from the various keynotes and panels.

1. Be bold and work your butt off. Success is hard work, but with confidence, courage and a strong work ethic, you can accomplish just about anything. 

2. If you are not sleeping, you are working! Nearly all of the keynote speakers over the weekend mentioned just how much - and how hard - they work. They've even worked in bed or during meals. That extra time and effort goes a long way.

3. Listen to feedback from others and continue to take risks. As our Day 2 Lunchtime Keynote speaker, Inbar Barak of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia explained, it's far too risky to not take risks in life. Failing is an opportunity to learn.

4. Set really clear boundaries for yourself to reach your goals. Freyan Billimoria of Levo League said at the Leadership in Action panel that the way you set your goals for success can be the make-or-break factor in whether or not you achieve them. Clear, specific, tangible goals more often yield successful results. It's easier to bail on a goal if its parameters are hazy or non-binding.

5. Be a sponge. Learn as much information as possible. Most likely every adult in your life has something valuable to share or an experience to be learned from. Whether it's your boring College Writing professor, your first boss, or even your parent - soak up their experiences about life to give yourself more insight about your future.

6. Pay attention to what is going on in the world by keeping up with the media. Understanding media, culture, and politics, and keeping up with current events will help you be a more well-rounded person. 

7. Find a mentor for your benefit. Even someone only one year older than you could have some valuable advice to share. They just went through similar experiences not too long ago.

8. Send handwritten personal notes. Go that extra mile and send handwriten, personalized thank you notes, follow-ups, and holidays cards. People rarely receive physical mail anymore, so this is definitely a great way to stand out and make a positive impression on someone. 

9. Get to the office earlier. Pay your dues. Be there when your boss arrives. 

10. Learn to be calm and patient when dealing with coworkers and clients. Swallow your pride, bite your tongue, and continue to be respectful and professional when dealing with difficult people. 

11. Be a person other people want to work with. Treat others how you would want to be treated! 

12. Smile on the outside; cry on the inside. People StyleWatch Editor-in-Chief Susan Kaufman said it best in her Sunday Morning Keynote.

13. Dress the part. Make sure that what you wear to work reflects the organization. A business suit might have been appropriate attire for your interview, but it won't work quite as well when you get the job at a high-end fashion mag. (Susan Kaufman learned that one the hard way!)

14. Keep emails short and to the point and write with a personal tone. It's important to be straight-up and skip casual conversation. People are busy and want to get through their emails as quickly as possible. The best time to get a professional's attention is at 7:45am before the work day starts or after 5pm when the work day concludes. 

15. Think differently. Stretch yourself. Make it happen. You are in charge of your own success. You can't do what everyone else does to achieve the same result. Make your success your own.

16. Be kind and respect everyone. You never know who you could be working with (or for) in the future. 

17. Learn to embrace change. Change is constant and inevitable, so it's beneficial if you can conform easily and accept it with a positive attitude. 

18. Failure is opportunity. You should celebrate every failure and learn from it. Every failure brings you one step closer to where you are meant to be! 

19. Believe in yourself, be passionate and curious, and stay humble. Jennifer Levene Bruno, Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer at Town & Country magazine, said in her Saturday Lunchtime Keynote that these were among the three most important factors to success.

20. Be persistent. Good things come to those who make things happen! 

21. Create boundaries between work and personal life that are best for you. If your work is stressful or carries over into your evenings, create ways to ensure you maintian a healthy balance.

22. Don't wait to save money until you're making more. In the panel Keeping Your $20s in Your 20's, Galia Gichon of Down-to-Earth Finance and College CFO gave us this good advice. Save your money and invest early. It's never too soon to start saving for later.

23. Create your own destiny. Work as hard as you want! You can achieve whatever you desire as long as you are willing to do the work.

24. Don't walk the most crowded line - be innovative. Inbar Barak shared with us her most poignant piece of advice, given to her by one of her mentors: "The path from Point A to Point B has millions of lines. The world is not linear. Don't feel like you have to walk the most crowded line. Innovation will not happen there." In other words, you can forge your own path from Point A to Point B. The common path to success is not the only path to success.

25. Don't pidgeonhole yourself.  Just because your major is English doesn't mean you have to work in publishing or as a writer. Figure out your skills and apply them to different facets of the industry you want to work in. Many of the former English majors at the Opportunities in Book Publishing panel now had jobs in Marketing or Publicity.

26. Interview your boss. Think of your interview as a chance to also get to your boss and the company you'll be working for.

27. Give a job you are unsure of a one-year trial. By this time, you will have performed all of the job's duties, and then you can determine if the job is what you want to continue doing. If you don't at least give it a chance, you'll never know if it would ever get better.

28. Live in the moment, do a good job, and better opportunities will come to you. Positivity is really key when you're just starting out. Don't let yourself get discouraged by a less-than-ideal job. Make the most of what you're doing now and do the best job you can.

29. Learn to utilize technology to your benefit. Whether it's a Pinterest pinboard for healthy recipes, an Instagram that gives you options for job interview outfits, or an app that lets you track where your money is going and allocates for a month of spending, technology is an incredibly helpful tool. And the business world has noticed. Keep up-to-date with advances so you won't fall behind tech trends. And while we're talking about it, clean up your social media presence.

30. Transformation is a marathon, not a sprint. Don't expect change to just happen. It will take time and hard work and dedication, and even then, the change will only be gradual. You'll need to take baby steps to achieve your goals - one piece at a time. You won't achieve all of your successes at once, so don't try to sprint your way to the finish line. Keep working, keep believing, and you'll eventually get there.


Well, there you have it, collegiettes! Use these pieces of advice from Her Conference's expert panelists and keynote speakers to one day be just as successful as they are. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer! We will be back in September with brand new, amazing content.

Stay tuned! 


Jenna & Christine