The 2015 Matrix Awards Recap

April 30, 2015

Matrix 2015 winnersMore than a thousand people from the communications and entertainment communities attended the 45th annual NYWICI Matrix Awards on April 27, 2015, at the Waldorf Astoria, to honor six women who have made significant contributions within the communications industry. Pervious Matrix Award recipient, Martha Stewart, was on hand to emcee the big event.

This year’s Matrix winners were Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator, New York (presented by Arianna Huffington, President & Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group); Debra L. Lee, Chairman & CEO, BET Networks (presented by Phylicia Rashad, Actor & Director); Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, NBC News and Host, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports (presented by Savannah Guthrie, Co-Anchor of “Today” and NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent); Robbie Myers, Editor-in-Chief, ELLE Magazine (presented by Tony Goldwyn, Actor, Director & Producer); and Martine Reardon, Chief Marketing Officer, Macy’s (presented by Thalia, Singer, Actress, Entrepreneur, Author, Fashion Designer) and Megan Smith, US Chief Technology Officer (presented by Nicholas Negroponte, Co-Founder, MIT Media Lab and Founder, One Laptop per Child).

Portions of the proceeds from the Matrix Awards luncheon will go to the NYWICI Foundation, the largest foundation for communications scholarships for women in the tri-state area, which offers a full range of scholarships and educational programs for women, whether just beginning or embarking on a transition in their careers. The 18 scholarship winners were acknowledged at the ceremony. To date, the Foundation has given more than $1 million dollars in scholarships.

If you missed the big event, you can watch the video, read our digital Matrix Journal and be inspired by these quotes from our honorees, shared at the awards luncheon:   

2015 Matrix AwardsSenator Kirsten Gillibrand

  • As women, we should stop talking about having it all and start talking about how we’re going to do it all.
  • When women are heard, whether it’s in the boardroom or in the halls of Congress, the outcomes are better.
  • As women, our voices matter. What we care about matters, what we do matters, what we say matters, so go out and be heard.
  • My mother is a huge influence in my life.  She told me it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to have your own voice and go your own way.
  • Ambition is not a dirty word.

Debra L. Lee

  • You have the power to change what people think when they hear the word 'confident' and 'woman' in the same sentence.
  • Everything gets better when you realize you don’t have to be your own worst enemy.
  • We have to understand that sometimes we are the ones holding ourselves back.

Andrea Mitchell

  • Young women should be mentors, sisters and friends. It’s my network that carried me throughout my career.
  • My mother was a rebel and told me that I could do anything even when that wasn't really feasible for women.

Robbie Myers

  • The first thing women need to do is to stand up. You have to stop and ask yourself, why wouldn’t it be me?
  • The best part of my job is being able to meet tons of incredible women involved in all different industries that have such different stories.
  • As a mom, I’m not just trying to make the world a better place for my daughter, I’m trying to make it a place for everyone’s daughter.
  • We women are arbiters, messengers, agenda setters. We pick the stories to tell.
  • On presenter Tony Goldwyn: "Tony is one of my favorite kinds of feminists — a man.”

Martine Reardon

  • My biggest piece of advice is to really just love what you do. It won’t feel like work. It just becomes a part of who you are.
  • Work is never a four letter word.
  • Companies with a high percentage of women on the board outperform those with a lower percentage. Hiring women is just good business.

Megan Smith

  • We need to bring back the lost female and minority contributors of STEM and tech.
  • What we show in the media, whether news or TV, really need to start reflecting a better representation of women in today’s world.
  • Help me to include us techies. Encourage people to join us. On behalf of all the girls in the world.


Photos © Maryanne Russell. More photos here.





Posted by: 
Tekla Szymanski

Kirsten Gillibrand: A Voice for the Voiceless

April 29, 2015

Kirsten GillibrandU.S. Senator and a 2015 Matrix winner Kirsten Gillibrand spent her early life in Albany, NY. She grew up in a politically active family — her father is a Republican Party lobbyist and her maternal grandmother, a Democrat, founded the Albany Women’s Club. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1988 and UCLA School of Law in 1991, she worked as an attorney and then as a clerk for a judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals. In 2006, Kirsten ran for and won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving two terms before then-Governor David Paterson appointed her to the U.S. Senate, replacing Senator Hillary Clinton when she became Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Kirsten won the 2010 special election by a margin of 63 to 37 percent. Her margin of victory was even larger in 2012: 72.2 percent.

Kirsten says her biggest influences are three strong female role models:

“My grandmother Polly Noonan always told me ‘You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it.’ She taught me so much about life, by living her own life in a way that proved those words every single day.”

“My mother, who in between hunting the Thanksgiving turkey, being one of three women in her college law school class and becoming a black belt in karate at the age of 50, taught me to always be exactly yourself, whatever you wanted that to be.”

“And Secretary Hillary Clinton, who I am blessed to now be able to call a friend and mentor.”

Kirsten decided to get involved in politics when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton delivered a speech at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, declaring that women’s rights were human rights. She recalls, “I had to find a way to do my part to make a difference in the world. That was who I was and who I had always wanted to be. And I have never looked back since.”

Kirsten considers her greatest professional achievement overcoming fierce partisan opposition and passing the 9/11 Health Bill in 2010 to provide health care and compensation to the first responders who answered the call of duty at Ground Zero. “These men and women risked everything, and too many of them are still sick and dying. Nobody gave us much of a chance to succeed, even some people in my own office. It was a long uphill fight, and it taught me the single most important lesson in politics: To be an effective voice for the voiceless, you have to speak and fight from your heart.” This effort in part led to Kristen being named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2014, the same year her book “Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World” came out.

Kirsten GillibrandFor women starting their careers, Kirsten wants them to know “that ambition is not a dirty word. It’s OK to aspire to do big things. And that it doesn’t matter what you aspire to, you can do anything you set your mind to. You just have to work hard and believe in yourself. And that’s what ultimately I had to do for myself to be able to run for office and win.”

“As women, we should stop talking about having it all and start talking about how we’re going to do it all.”

“When women are heard, whether it’s in the boardroom or in the halls of Congress, the outcomes are better.”

“As women, our voices matter. What we care about matters, what we do matters, what we say matters, so go out and be heard.”

“My mother is a huge influence in my life.  She told me it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to have your own voice and go your own way.”

“Ambition is not a dirty word.”


Photo ©Maryanne Russell




Posted by: 
Michele Hush

Debra L. Lee: A Powerful and Influential Voice

April 29, 2015

Debra LeeWhen you meet Debra Lee, CEO of BET Networks and a 2015 Matrix winner, the first things you notice are her 1000-watt smile and infectious laughter. At BET Networks, she infuses the job and company with a sense of fun and that may just be one of the keys to her success.

While Debra credits her creative mother for her easy-going attitude and high-beam grin, it was “my father who pushed,” she admits. A career military man who achieved the rank of major, he told Debra she could become anything she wanted with a good education.  Beginning in segregated schools in North Carolina, Debra rose to become an Ivy League star, graduating from Brown University and receiving her law degree from Harvard. “Even though my father passed away in 1998,” Debra reveals, “I still hear his voice telling me to be the best I can be, provide leadership, give back to the community and set my own path.”

No doubt Debra is a powerful and influential voice in the television industry, but ironically “I didn’t choose it. It fell into my lap,” she confesses. While practicing law at Steptoe & Johnson, BET was one of their clients. At a certain point Robert L. Johnson, the founder of BET, offered Debra the job of general counsel. She liked communications and TV and that the network was geared towards the African American market, so it was a natural transition.

But Debra didn’t limit herself to her official job title. She took on business strategy, development and the magazine group, among other projects. “Find a company, industry, cause or subject matter that you’re passionate about and then work hard at it and take on more responsibility,” she advises women at any stage of their career. “That’s what put me in the position to be a COO when the time was right.”

In fact, Debra marks her appointment as BET’s COO in 1996 as the turning point of her professional life, crossing over into a real leadership position at the company. Most important, she knew she was going to be Robert L. Johnson’s successor.

In the pivotal role of CEO at BET, Debra created original programming, launched CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network, and aired the network’s first-ever miniseries, “The Book of Negroes,” this February. “I’ve wanted to change the face of television,” she says—and she certainly has.  Moreover, Debra has no plans to slow down because “we’re accomplishing what we’re trying to accomplish.” She feels fortunate to be in an industry where “I can tell stories and do it from our perspective across different genres,” Debra adds. 

Debra LeeThanks to her magnificent talents and achievements, Debra has been named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment, inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, the Washington Business Hall of Fame, and was honored with the Distinguished Leadership Vanguard Award by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Yet, when asked what receiving the Matrix Award meant to her, Debra responds without hesitation: “It’s one of the highest awards a woman can win in the media industry and I am very honored to be among this elite group of women.” It’s clear that 1000-watt smile promises to burn even brighter in the future as Debra continues to break barriers and bring innovative programming to delighted audiences. 


“You have the power to change what people think when they hear the word 'confident' and 'woman' in the same sentence.”

“Everything gets better when you realize you don’t have to be your own worst enemy.”

“We have to understand that sometimes we are the ones holding ourselves back.”


Photo © Maryanne Russell



Posted by: 
Meehna Goldsmith

Robbie Myers: Bold, Understated and Eternally Chic

April 29, 2015

Robbie MyersIt was a bold move, born more out of naivete than bravado. Robbie Myers, now editor-in-chief of ELLE Magazine and a 2015 Matrix winner, had landed in New York to hole up on her cousin’s couch while she looked for a magazine job. Her “in” at Conde Nast had fallen through, so with a political science degree from Colorado State and nothing much to lose, Robbie did some old-school sleuthing to get the phone number for the editor-in-chief of her favorite magazine.  

It was 7p.m. when Robbie dialed up Jann Wenner who answered the phone, promptly telling Robbie to send in her resume and then hung up. “The next day I walk in, resume in hand, wearing a little black dress with a white collar, and I tell Mary Mack, Jann’s longtime assistant ‘Jann is expecting me’.”

Told to come back the following Monday for a typing test, Robbie purchased a copy of “Teach Yourself to Type” and showed up at the Rolling Stone offices and got herself a job. Next were positions at Interview, Seventeen and InStyle, before Robbie helped launch Hachette’s teen title Tell, became Editor-in-Chief of Mirabella and then landed the top job at the U.S. edition of ELLE, where she has remained for 15 years.

Robbie is proud of her role in ELLE’s success (the 4th largest magazine in the U.S., reaching 16 million women per month), but is quick to credit the talent of her staff: “The secret [to my success] is the smart people I surround myself with. Period, the end.”

While a front-row fixture at the shows in New York, Paris and Milan, and a fashion icon in her own right with her chic minimalist style and signature updo, Robbie points out ELLE is not just about the dress—it’s about the woman in the dress. This year marks the magazine’s 30th anniversary and its latest initiative is "The Agenda"—a monthly installment featuring people, such as Melinda Gates, Reshma Saujani and Shonda Rhimes, who are making the world a better place for women.

“The thing that really bothers me is that Congress is only 19% women,” explains Robbie. “That’s a metaphor for so many things… half the population is disenfranchised from the decision-making process.  My goal for the future is using the magazine to help increase the representation of women across the board so that women can have real power, real influence… and real money.”

Robbie MyersHow can young women—be they ELLE readers, NYWICI scholarship winners or even Robbie’s 14-year-old daughter—help further this cause? By believing they deserve a seat at the table: “You don’t have to have an Ivy League crown on your head. It’s very easy to perceive that everybody else has more to offer than you do, but you have enough. Show up, and do the work. You do deserve it.”

Robbie’s very deserved Matrix Award and seat in the Hearst Tower may have started to take shape back in high school on a different kind of tower—the 10-meter high dive. “As a diver [and swim team co-captain], you spend a lot of time nearly naked and wet, flinging yourself off a board in front of hundreds of people. Once you’ve landed on your face? Let’s just say… it’s helpful, especially when you’re in the magazine industry.” The other lesson she learned from diving that she applies today? “You learn that it’s fine to lose, but that it’s really fun to win,” Robbie concludes.

“First thing women need to do is to stand up.  You have to stop and ask yourself, why wouldn’t it be me?”

“The best part of my job is being able to meet tons of incredible women involved in all different industries that have such different stories."

 “As a mom, I’m not just trying to make the world a better place for my daughter, I’m trying to make it a place for everyone’s daughter.”

On presenter Tony Goldwyn: "Tony is one of my favorite kinds of feminists, a man”


Photo © Maryanne Russell



Posted by: 
Susan Schulz

Megan Smith: Raising the Tech Bar

April 29, 2015

Megan SmithMegan Smith, chief technology officer (CTO) of the United States and a 2015 Matrix winner, traces her love of technology to her grammar-school days in Buffalo, New York, when she worked on science fair projects in her father’s basement workshop. Her eighth-grade project, a solar house inspired by the then-1970s energy crisis, led to her winning the Western New York Science Congress. “I had amazing entrepreneurial teachers,” remembers Megan. “Science fair was mandatory, which opened the door for me to experience science and math in a much more applications-focused, ‘impact-the-world’ way.”

The skills and confidence Megan gained tackling those projects would eventually take her all the way to the White House. This past September, Megan was named the third — and the first female — chief technology officer (CTO) of the United States. Previously, she worked at Google, as VP of business development; Planet Out, as CEO; General Magic, a startup; and Apple Japan. As a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she was part of a team that designed, built and raced a solar car 2,000 miles across the Australian outback.

Megan joined the White House at an exciting time, following the administration’s launch of the United States Digital Service (USDS) in response to the initial challenges with the HealthCare.gov website. Megan and her colleagues at the newly created USDS are working to raise the “TQ” (tech IQ) in government by recruiting top technology candidates. “We have a similar sense of entrepreneurship, passion and innovative thinking at the White House as I did in my time in Silicon Valley and at MIT,” says Megan.

In her role as CTO, Megan builds upon the reason she was drawn to STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math): to make a difference. She credits her parents with serving as social change role models. “They were always involved in local projects to make our city better,” she recalls, “from co-creating the city bike routes in Buffalo, to starting the local recycling center, to school reform, public housing innovation, environmental clean-up and civil rights work.” 

Childhood summers were spent at the Chautauqua Institute in New York, where her mother, a teacher, ran the Children’s School – and where Megan met extraordinary people who shaped her life. The summer institute was “sort of like a TED conference,” she explains, while recalling as a teenager walking down a hill, talking with Alex Haley, author of “Roots.”  “His storytelling changed our country,” points out Megan.

On winning a Matrix Award, Megan says she is grateful for the recognition of her efforts to inspire women to enter STEM fields: “I’ve been working to increase the visibility of technical women and people of color both currently and in history. These groups are too often missing or underrepresented in television and movies as well as in textbooks.” The award is especially fitting since it was past Matrix winner Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, who first brought these statistics to her attention.

To today’s young communications professionals, increasingly called upon to have tech skills, Megan encourages them to try different areas. “Learn a little code, biology, physics and astronomy,” she advises. “Don’t shut yourself off from STEM, even if you feel intimidated.” Most important, she emphasizes, believe in yourself: ”If you find that people are not appreciating you or are unkind, switch to a better team or create your own!”

“We need to bring back the lost female and minority contributors of STEM and tech”

“What we show in the media, whether news or TV, really need to start reflecting a better representation of women in today’s world.”


Photo © Maryanne Russell



Posted by: 
Patricia Maloney

Martine Reardon: A Retailer with Passion and Purpose

April 29, 2015

Martine ReardonMartine Reardon, Chief Marketing Officer of Macy’s and a 2015 Matrix winner, always set her sights high, except retailing was not the ladder she expected to climb. “I wanted to work on Wall Street. My trailblazing goal was to have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange,” she admits. But a chance opportunity for an internship at Abraham & Strauss (A&S) changed her intended career path.

“I was bitten by the retail bug,” admits Martine, who today is overseeing marketing, public relations, advertising, customer insights and research for 800 stores nationwide as well as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Fourth of July fireworks display. “A neighbor who worked at A&S needed assistance with a major public relations project. I didn’t even know what public relations was,” Martine confesses, “but I loved the idea of fusing elements like pop culture and retail to create buzz.” While there, Martine met Doris Shaw, head of marketing and the store’s fashion and visual merchandising offices. 

“She was an incredible mentor,” Martine recalls. After graduation from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, Martine had the choice of entering the store’s training squad or its marketing department. Doris convinced her she was too creative for the training squad. “Joining the special events/public relations department was absolutely a major milestone in my career,” asserts Martine, who also cites her mother, Ellen, as one of her true inspirations. “My mother showed me what you could achieve with hard work, dedication and really having a purpose,” Martine proudly acknowledges. 

This native New Yorker rose through the ranks, holding positions of increasing responsibility at Federated Department Stores and Macy’s Inc. About eight years ago, Martine got the proverbial “tap on the shoulder” when corporate leadership realized it had to establish a national brand. She was then put in charge of developing and implementing the strategies that would align all the stores under one name and considers it her greatest professional and personal success. “I remember at A&S thinking of all the incredible things that our arch competitor Macy’s did. I couldn’t imagine that 20 years later, I would be the head of all Macy’s marketing,” she says incredulously.

Martine ReardonAccording to Martine, successful communications involves a 360 degree strategy that includes leadership qualities as well as communications skills: “If people are going to listen to you, there has to be a level of respect. Secondly, it can’t be one way. This is especially true for people in positions of significant responsibility. You have to be mindful of what others are thinking. And be aware of the human touch points – an email doesn’t work in every case. It is not ‘one size fits all’.”

This philosophy may be a factor in why Martine is a 2015 Matrix honoree, which she considers “like winning the Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy all in one for women in our industry. I would hope that one day younger women entering this field would look at me and the many, many Matrix award winners and be inspired to emulate us.”         

Martine also advises having patience and passion: “If you’ve got a passion for something, enjoy it and don’t be quick to move on to something else.” Citing her own experience, she adds, “your mentors will tell you when to move.”

As Martine creates strategies for a digital world, she is guided by the words of Margaret Getchell, who in 1865 became the first woman store manager at Macy’s: “Be everywhere, do everything and never fail to astonish the customer.” Her legacy guides Martine today. “The customer is at the center of everything I do. Never failing to astonish the customer is what I try to live by,” concludes this savvy communicator.

 “My biggest piece of advice is to really just love what you do. It won’t feel like work. It just becomes a part of who you are.”

“Work is never a four letter word.”

“Companies with a high percentage of women on the board, outperform those with a lower percentage. Hiring women is just good business”


Photo © Maryanne Russell



Posted by: 
Joyce Kauf

Andrea Mitchell: Chosen by Broadcasting

April 29, 2015

Andrea MitchellIn these days when young communicators seem to have their careers mapped out before they even begin working, it’s refreshing to learn that a top broadcaster had two other career paths in mind before she landed in TV news.

“It chose me,” says TV journalist and a 2015 Matrix winner Andrea Mitchell about broadcasting. At one time, Andrea wanted to be a professional violinist. Next, she thought she’d become an academic and teach English literature. But while working toward her bachelor’s at the University of Pennsylvania, Andrea interned at a local radio station. Then she was hired at another. That was it: Broadcasting was in her blood. It has never left her.

Andrea, who now hosts “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC, an hour-long show five days a week, has been at NBC since 1978. The stories she’s covered read like a history of the last 40 years. She was with the White House press corps during the Reagan and Clinton years, covered the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident in 1979 (“no cell phones,” of course, and “real problems with story transmission”) and has reported on widely divergent world events – including the United Nations debate leading up to the Iraq war and socialist Cuba in a series of exclusive interviews with then-President Fidel Castro.

There’s no trick to her success and longevity, Andrea maintains, although she admits there may have been a bit of luck along the way: “It’s been a lot of hard work, and I have a passion for what I do.”

And having a great mom didn’t hurt either. “She was a very strong woman and super-smart and supportive of anything I wanted to do,” remembers Andrea. “She’d always say, ‘Take a deep breath,’ which was her way of reminding me to slow down,” explains Andrea. “That’s very important advice, and I still hear her voice saying it every day. It’s especially valuable now in this era of social media.” 

Winning a Matrix Award has allowed Andrea to take a breath. “I am so touched and honored by the recognition from my peers,” she says. “I hope it’s a signal to younger women that they can be a role model, too.”

Andrea MitchellTo Andrea, Barbara Walters has been a role model and remains an industry giant: “There was no one before Barbara doing what she did. She had to invent the role for all women in television.” She also admires civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) “because of his passion and commitment to social justice and his refusal to yield to anger or bitterness despite provocation.”

For the young communicators, Andrea offers this advice: “Be prepared. Always do your homework, do your research, study, read and be a great writer. Good writing forces you to think clearly and boil a subject down, and that’s especially important in TV.”

And will Andrea ever really slow down to take a deep breath, as her mother counseled her? Yes and no.

“There’s always another election to cover, another election night to wait out, another interview to get,” admits Andrea. “The great thing about journalism is that you’re never repeating yourself. The stories are always new and different and exciting.”


"Young women should be mentors, sisters and friends. It’s my network that carried me throughout my career.

My mother was a rebel and told me that I could do anything even when that wasn't really feasible for women."


Photo © Maryanne Russell


Posted by: 
Michelle Lodge

NYWICI Must-Reads 4/17/2015

Recent Event: Increase Your Digital IQ

April 16, 2015

Digital IQHave you wondered how the Internet really works behind the scenes? Thought about the evolution of code and how it forms engaging and informative websites? “Increase Your Digital IQ,” the most recent NYWICI-sponsored Digital Salon, answered these questions and provided a fascinating overview of how what “goes on behind the screen” forms the building blocks of our online experiences. The salon also introduced some tools that are available to take attendees’ digital communications to a new level.

Held on April 14, 2015, in the beautiful offices of Decoded, a company that provides individuals in organizations worldwide with a fundamental understanding of the technologies behind the screen, this Digital Salon delivered on its promise to increase attendees’ digital IQ in just one hour.

The presenter, Heidi Braunstein, Decoded’s head of product for North America, shared an engaging timeline of how the language of code evolved from the introduction of Morse Code in 1836 through the first use of APIs (application programming interface) in 2006. We heard about Claude Shannon, the founder of information theory, whose work in the late 1930s furthered the evolution of binary code by examining what other kinds of information it can store. Braunstein explained that Alan Turing, whose work is portrayed in the hit film “The Imitation Game,” took the process a step further by asking the question, “Can computers think like us?” It was especially exciting to hear about the contributions of Grace Hopper, a computer scientist and U.S. Navy rear admiral, who took Turing’s question a step further by asking, “Can we think like computers?” Hopper, one of the early women in computer science, is credited with introducing the concept of a “compiler,” which turns the English language into the 0s and 1s of binary code. Her work led to the development of COBOL in the late 1950s.

Digital IQAlthough it doesn’t seem possible, the Internet was launched 46 years ago in 1969. The World Wide Web came to life in 1989. The Internet, according to Heidi, is “just the transparent layer…it’s the road, like our highways.” She explained the functions of HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and HTML (Hypertext Market Language), the language of today’s Web and demonstrated how we can right-click on any Web page to see its source code.

We also had some fun learning about APIs, which provide essential building blocks in the form of routines, protocols and rules for software applications. An example would be an API that allows relatively easy integration of Google maps onto other Web pages. In fact, says Heidi, you can search Google for an API on just about anything.

At the end of our journey through the evolution of code and APIs, Heidi challenged us to form groups of five to brainstorm ideas for a digital campaign using two different APIs. Five innovative ideas were presented, and the group voted for its favorite — a campaign utilizing a Fitbit API to drive new YMCA memberships.

Those who attended this Digital Salon left with an understanding of how the Internet and code evolved, and a great deal of appreciation for the decades of innovation and transformation that contributed to today’s digital technologies. Angela Morris, a NYWICI member and a graphic designer at The Wall Street Journal, summed it all up by saying the program gave her “a clear sense of where we started from to what’s available now.”

— Melissa Weisstuch

Photos by Jan Goldstoff

Posted by: 
Melissa Weisstuch

Behind The Scenes Tour at WABC-7

April 15, 2015

ABC1Which career decisions did prominent TV professionals make before getting to the top? At NYWICI’s recent behind-the-scenes-tour for high school students at WABC on April 8, 2015, a group of young women were able to find out. They took a glimpse behind the scenes, toured the studios and the reporting bullpen, witnessed a live taping and heard inspiring stories from four WABC executives, who stressed that you will not only be remembered for who you are — but for the work you do.

Barbara Warren, vice president of publicity at Disney-ABC Domestic Television, spoke of her high school aspirations of being a dancer. By remaining open to possibilities, Barbara’s career took a turn into something she never could have imagined. Carolann Monroe, director of Web Operations, worked for nine years as a reporter in Burlington, Vermont, only to find herself with a growing curiosity of the internet and how the web could shape the future of news. Carolann familiarized herself with website development and now has 14 years of experience under her belt. Renee Washington, an executive producer, would watch the 6 pm news with her parents each evening, dreaming of becoming a reporter herself. It wasn’t until she tackled a field reporting project in college that she realized the job wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and she later discovered producing as her dream job.

The inspiring and exciting tour was led by Jessica Styles, High School Outreach Committee chair and FAB Network founder, and hosted by Saundra Thomas, vice president of Community Affairs and a former NYWICI Foundation Board Member, who also shared her own career experience with the group: Saundra always wanted to work for ABC and did not rest until she achieved that goal. She’s been with the company for 28 years.

ABC2The group met reporters as well as executives, such as Camille Edwards, vice president & news director, and they watched as two women directed and produced the live broadcast of Channel 7 Eyewitness News with Ken Rosato and Lori Stokes. The students had the opportunity to speak to Ken and Lori, who are as pleasant in person as they are on television. Then, the group watched a live taping inside ABC’s storefront studio and stopped by the set of “Live with Kelly and Michael.”

The students walked away with more than just a behind-the-scenes look at WABC, but with Saundra’s business card and the inspiration to build relationships with professionals and other students they had met.

NYWICI and the High School Outreach Committee helped open doors — it is now our responsibility to explore what lies on the other side.

— Isabelle Miner

NYWICI Must-Reads 4/10/2015

April 10, 2015

Another week of amazing web wisdom!

Many thanks to this week’s contributors: Davida Arnold, Suzanne Cohen, Michele Hush, Giuliana Lonigro, Tekla Szymanski and Deirdre Wyeth.


For Women At Every Career Stage

Wearing Luxury Brands Makes You Seem More Qualified For The Job (Harvard Business Review)

Why Older Women Are The New It-Girls Of Fashion  (AdWeek)

Women In The World - NY Summit (Livestream)

Female Legal Justice Team (Lego Ideas)

The First Woman CEO To Appear In A Google Images Search Is ... CEO Barbie (PC World) 


The Changing Landscape Of Communications

The Best Days To Launch Or Promote Your iOS App - By Category (Q1 2015) (Sensor Tower)

Wikipedia Now Makes It Easy To Create Shareable Images Directly From Your Mobile                     (Venture Beat)

‘You Need Editors, Not Brand Managers': Marketing Legend Seth Godin On The Future of Branded Content (Contently)

The Commoditization Of Creativity (Media Post Agency Daily)

LinkedIn Buys Lynda.com, Invests In Education (Social Media & Marketing Daily)


Technology News

A Week On The Wrist: The Apple Watch Review (Recode)

27% of New York Agencies Fail Google's Mobile-Friendly Test (Media Post News)

Can Your Phone Measure Emotion? (Media Post – Media Insider)

Hillary Clinton Hires Google Executive To Be Chief Technology Officer (The Washington Post)






Posted by: 
Davida Arnold

Strategic Networking Tips

April 7, 2015

Diane BaranelloUsing peer collaboration as the basis for a vibrant discussion on strategic networking, Diane Baranello, NYWICI’s Co VP, Membership and president of Coaching for Distinction, led the fifth Turning Points & Touch Points Workshop for Mid-Career Professionals on April 2, 2015.

TPThis series of workshops offers discussions in an intimate setting, establishing peer rapport among women from across the communications industry. Participants may be those who are considering a new career, currently involved in a job search or simply looking to expand their professional network.

“By sharing best practices and talking about what challenges us about networking in a safe, collegial environment, NYWICI members are really helping each other to grow and improve their own technique,” says Diane.  “It’s a constantly evolving process,” she adds. “Through our work together, we share best practices and fine tune our approach.”

TPA core discussion highlighted the value of communicating one’s personal brand in every networking situation. To prepare everyone, Diane gave participants a pre-event written exercise that asked us to articulate our personal brand attributes. Doing this made us all think more clearly (and later, more critically about) how we present ourselves in networking situations.

Here are Diane’s key points that can make a difference in opening doors:

  • Outline networking goals and pre-script yourself in advance of any situation so you are on top of your game and feel prepared.
  • Before walking into a networking event, take a moment to meditate and breathe.
  • Always wear a name badge on your right side so that as you extend your hand in greeting, the gaze of the person you are meeting can easily follow your extended arm back to the nametag.
  • TPMake charismatic, soft eye contact to show interest in the other person (eyes that look tense will communicate just that)
  • Share contacts and information freely because “what you give, you get back” and “reciprocity adds value to networking.” 
  • If speaking from the audience at an event, stand up to make your presence known. This establishes an immediate connection to others in the room.

As Diane sums it up, “Everyone has turning points in their careers. The important thing is to own your power and presence.”

Photos: Jan Goldstoff

Posted by: 
Julie Livingston