Linda Descano is a mover and shaker who has used her communication skills and influence to elevate and educate women throughout her career. Linda is past president of New York Women in Communications and currently serves as the organization’s Vice President of Strategic Planning. Linda’s day job is Executive Vice President at Havas PR.
During a recent NYWICI Twitter chat, Linda shared insights about career choices, overcoming obstacles and the best career advice she has ever received.
How would you describe your responsibilities at Havas?
My role at Havas PR is part conversation architect, part account management and part new business development. As a “conversation architect,” I create integrated communications programs underpinned by social media and content.
You are NYWICI past president and now serve as VP/Strategic Planning. What does this role entail?
As VP of Strategic Planning, I work with the executive committee to set the strategic priorities for NYWICI.
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in communications?
It was never a conscious decision but evolved over time, as I discovered my skill at “translating” information into insights that were relevant to a user.
What was your first job in communications?
Well, I guess it was as co-editor of The Patroness, which was a poetry journal produced at my high school.
What is the biggest obstacle you faced while pursuing your career goals?
My biggest career obstacles were being underestimated for my smarts because I didn’t have a MBA and was, shall we say, curvy which was synonymous with "lazy" in some people's view. Lastly, I was being criticized for exhibiting behaviors that were considered strengths in male colleagues. For example, I was "emotional" while the guys were "passionate". I was "bossy", while they were "decisive" and so on.
Highlights of my career were being a part of Women & Co. while at Citi, and second, no surprise, my tenure as president of NYWICI. Both provided me with the opportunity to stretch my skills while educating and elevating other women.
What advice would you give college students interested in pursuing a career in communications?
Get a job as a tutor. Teaching others is a great way for developing your communications skills. Learn and embrace social media and digital tools, as they must be a key part of any communications platform.
On the best advice Linda has ever received
The best advice I have ever received was from a manager who asked at my first performance review whether I was happy. He said that we spent too much time at work to only do it for the prestige, money or trhe title and that our work should give us purpose and meaning if we want to be happy. I’ve looked at every career opportunity through that lens!
What I love most about NYWICI is how invested our members are in each other’s success. NYWICI is all about women raising their hand to reach for more while lending a hand to bring other women along.
Check out the full Twitter chat transcript on Spotify and our event calendar for upcoming Twitter Chats.