2019 Student Career Bootcamp Takeaways

13 Tips for the Next Generation of Leaders in Communications

The NYWICI Student Career Bootcamp always brings together young, ambitious women and several industry leaders who share their insights in a tech-savvy location. With the opportunity to ask questions and obtain a deeper understanding of how women across the communications industry navigate the constant disruptions, students are able to learn valuable lessons. Here are 13 tips to keep in mind if you too want to be a future leader in the communications industry.

1. Be Passionate About What You Do

Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Jessica Pels rose to success at a young age. She declares that she doesn’t believe in burnout for herself because she is passionate about what she does, and the work invigorates her. It is essential to love what you do because it translates to those you work with and can impact the end product. Passion will drive your ideas to new heights and fuel your reason for what you do.

2. Open Your Mind to a Nontraditional Career Path

The traditional path that was always the blueprint for the way we enter careers and how we gauge trajectory in our success is no more. Pels’ rise to success took her away from her passion for dance as she started off as an assistant, soaking up everything she could in those early days. Ali Frischman, Talent Development Specialist at PVH Corp and former associate director of learning & development at Cheer Partners, also believes that opportunities handed to you by your boss can have a big impact. She evolved in her career—she did not start out in communications — and you can too.

3. Inquisitive Minds Find a Way or Make One

Always continuing to learn and asking questions that spark ideas are just two ways to find a path to success. Khartoon Weiss, Global Head of Verticals at Spotify, says that the people that think they know everything will get stuck. Vanessa Mojica, senior director, music programming operations at Sirius XM also believes in staying inquisitive. Being on top of industry changes and finding the answers that others cannot can be career-changing skills. They may allow you to learn to analyze various scenarios that will come your way. With the landscape of media changing as fast as it does, your career could halt if the questions stop flowing.

4. Confidence Is the Key to Owning Your Career

Learn to silence the doubt and be confident in yourself. You’ve taken the time and made the effort, so it’s already apparent that you have the drive to impact change. Aundrea Cline-Thomas, a reporter at CBS New York, believes that you deserve to be in the room, but you must put in the work to stay there. That all begins with a firm belief in your capabilities. Never waver in the confidence you have in yourself—it will take you far.

5. Know Your Worth — Then Add Tax

Vice President of Communications at Nielsen and NYWICI board member Leslie Pitterson has valuable advice for both current and future leaders: Whatever you think you are worth, ask for more. Knowing your worth will allow you to flourish in more ways than one. Once your confidence is established, knowing your worth is next in line. Oftentimes, a company or boss has higher expectations for you than they do for themselves. Go above and beyond to let them know the value you bring. And if you have a little voice inside our head that’s getting in the way of career-changing ideas and moments, don’t let it win.

6. Set the Tone From the Start

Start with a firm handshake. That’s what Ivy Jacobson Ford, Deputy Editor of believes is best. Next, work on holding robust first conversations because first impressions are everything. There may never be another chance to impress that same person or group of people. And have your elevator pitch down so you can express why you are the right person to get the job done in any given moment.

7. Branding Is Vital — Make Sure They Know Your Name

As a communications professional, branding yourself is critical to your success. Make sure that everyone knows your name as you climb the ladder in your communications career. Leigh Scheps, a senior digital reporter at, is an advocate for introducing yourself to everyone in your office to make sure that they know what you do. You never know where your next opportunity will stem from, so you want to grow your network.

8. Become a Great Leader, and Learn From Your Mistakes

Great leaders know how to take ownership of their errors and dissect the blunder to find lessons that will propel the next project or task at hand. Your boss and team don’t have time to gripe about the one mistake — they want to find a solution, and fast. Master separating your emotions to learn, acknowledge, connect, and think about the next steps.

9. Learning Never Stops on the Job

Pels is a perfect example of how to say yes to projects outside of your wheelhouse and comfort zone. Outside of the job, she put in the work necessary to become a master at tasks she previously knew nothing about. Too often, people forget to master the small nuances in their line of work. These tasks become habitual and allow fluid, succinct, and efficient execution later on in one’s career. Building an arsenal of information that will enable you to outwork your counterparts in the room is essential.

10. Take the Leap — Your Intuition Is Everything

Being afraid to take the next step in your career or go out on your own is never easy. It is truly a project that is bigger than ever before. Sometimes that fear is the jumping-off point to the next big thing, though. And without growth, there may be no progress in your career. Trust your gut and take a chance.

11. If Networking Feels Weird, You’re Doing It Right

Sharon Jautz, Head of HR of Ascential North America, describes the frustrations of networking effectively. Jautz says that many colleges and universities don’t prepare students to network for their careers. Networking aligns you with people who may vouch for you when you’re not in the room. These people can help boost your value among connections throughout your career. Networking early on can give you the head start that many people miss out on.

12. Think Outside the Box and Create a Role for You

Successful communications professionals often interview with companies that do not have a purpose for them at the time. These leaders think outside the box and explain to the company why their needed in this new role. Emily Drewry, head of social at Nasdaq Corporate Services knows that her position did not exist before she arrived. Her exemplary networking allowed for her to create her role and provide value to a Wall Street powerhouse. Recognizing spaces where you’re needed — even if the company doesn’t know it yet — is a valuable skill for years to come.

13. Be Your Authentic Self

No matter the path you take toward your goals, always stay true to who you are. At the end of the day, your true self will be the deciding factor in the relationships you make and your level of happiness with your career. And it may also help you reach your goals that much faster.

— Natalia Herbert


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