NYWICI Must Reads March 31, 2017

March 31, 2017
Posted by: 
Tekla Szymanski

MEG Adds Impressive Credentials to My Resume

March 29, 2017

This article is a part of the "My Experience with MEG" series, in which past recipients discuss how the Membership Empowerment Grant enhanced their careers.


I first learned about the Member Empowerment Grant in 2013, about six months after joining NYWICI. I had just started volunteering on the Young Professionals Committee, working with Rachel Bowie, who won a MEG award that year. I learned what the MEG was and decided that as soon as I was eligible, I would apply.

Three years later, I had my application ready to go. I wanted to use a MEG to take classes at New York University’s School of Professional Studies. I’d already been working toward a Certificate in Editing for about a year. At the time, I was working for an engineering publishing company, which was interesting, but not what I wanted to do long-term. I hoped that my coursework at NYU — copyediting and writing for magazines and websites, fact checking, developmental editing — would add a missing element to my resume and make me more desirable to the trade publishers I hoped to work for, or, alternatively, open up the possibility of freelance work.

Just a couple of weeks after I submitted my materials, I found out I’d gotten an interview. It had been a long time since I’d had a panel interview, but Judith, Janet (heads of the Scholarship & Grant committee) and all the rest of my interviewers were fantastic. We spoke about my career, what I hoped to achieve by finishing my certificate, and how I hoped to continue working with NYWICI and the Young Professionals Committee. It was terrific to get to chat with women so high up in this organization and to have all of them interested in my career, discussing my path, throwing out the odd suggestion or piece of advice.

Not long after the interview, I got the call from Judith that I’d received a grant to finish my coursework.

It still took about a year and a half to finish my courses, due to a restructuring of the program and limited offerings for the summer semesters. But I finally finished my last class in December 2017. Now, I have a Certificate in Editing from NYUSPS, as well as a new job as an acquisitions editor at an independent trade publisher. From this experience, I was able to put two new items on my resume, both of which I’m extremely proud of: I earned a professional certificate through NYUSPS — and I was awarded a Member Empowerment Grant from NYWICI. As I continue down my career path in publishing, I know that both of these experiences, from two very different but prestigious institutions, will impress future employers. 


The New York Women in Communications' annual Member Empowerment Grant is for NYWICI members of at least three consecutive years who want to pursue professional development opportunities. Awards are granted for continuing education courses, conference attendance, career coaching and more. Grants are paid directly to an institution and not to recipients. Winners must be present at the NYWICI Annual Meeting held each May, and use their grant within one year. 

For more details on the Member Empowerment Grant, read our Fact Sheet and Requirements & Obligations and Apply Online.
Posted by: 
Bridget Thoreson

Where Should I Place My Time and Energy?

March 28, 2017

Sarah DurhamFor longtime New York Women in Communications member Sarah Durham, a key question for professional women is Where should I place my time and energy?

It’s a question Sarah answered for herself by launching Big Duck, a New York City-based communications firm that helps non-profits raise money, recruit for programs and increase visibility. Founded in the early 90s, the firm has since built an impressive roster of clients, including the Brooklyn Public Library, Robin Hood Foundation, Columbia University Medical Center and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The question of where to put our energies must not be answered just within the realm of our professional lives, however, as NYWICI members undoubtedly will learn in a Cocktails & Conversations event on March 30, 2017, with serial entrepreneur and sleep advocate Arianna Huffington. 

For Sarah, as Big Duck’s founder and CEO, Arianna’s message of redefining our professional lives to include time for personal time resonates deeply. Here, she shares how she puts that message — and NYWICI — to work for her. 

Let’s start with the basics: How do you get it all done?
You know what they say, if you want it done right, hire a woman. I really believe that. I’m a mother of two, have a successful marriage and manage 15 employees as well as other part-time workers. But I’m able to achieve that with the help of my team. I really do believe that women are the best employees. I’ve found that female employees are able to communicate in candid and transparent ways.

Why did you decide to work with non-profits?
When you’re a woman in communications, you have to choose where you will place your time and energy. At the end of the day, I’m choosing between marketing products — like lipstick or hamburgers — or an impactful non-profit organization.

In many ways, working for a non-profit is more complex than for a company selling a product to customers. In non-profits, there are so many more audiences with competing agendas. It’s more complex and challenging to measure success and the outcomes are varied. For example, did this campaign increase brand visibility, raise dollars, or recruit new employees?

What are you most proud of in your work?
Whenever I’m having a bad day, I think a lot about how certain clients have taken huge leaps forward and how incredibly lucky I am to work with a team of people who can achieve incredible things.

Given what’s going on in the world today, I’m proud that in the past, we worked with organizations like the ACLU. We’re a small piece of their success today. I’m also proud that I’ve built a business that is a positive place to work. It’s an environment where people want to build their careers.

How has NYWICI membership helped you along the way?
I’ve been a member since the early 90s, when I founded the company. When I first joined, I was very green and used it as an opportunity to learn from other women and find my role models. It was a great opportunity for networking — it still is.

As time went on, my responsibilities changed and so did my use of NYWICI as a professional resource. Now, I use my membership as access to fellow members who have expertise in areas beyond my wheelhouse. Other times, it’s an effective network to conduct a job search for my company. Any NYWICI member can take a look at Big Duck job opportunities and sign up for our e-mail updates on our website.

What advice do you share with your fellow NYWICI members?
I know there are critiques of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, but there are so many important lessons to unpack from that book. Women really do put themselves in the backseat. They’ll use qualified language like “I think…” rather than “It’s the case that…” Men will apply to a job without the needed skills for that position, while women hesitate despite being overqualified. So lean in, speak up and have your voice heard.

How can women help each other advance at work?
Tiffany Dufu, who wrote Drop the Ball and formerly ran The White House Project on women’s leadership, is a powerhouse. She always used to tell me that men intuitively know how to network and share resources with other men. If a man sees a position that’s not a good fit for him, he’ll tell his buddy and put in a good word for him, knowing that his friend’s advancement will serve him in the long run. Women need to treat each other less competitively and share resources like men do. Also, if you have to ask, “Will you be my mentor?” then you’re doing it wrong. You have to build solid relationships with other women and help them. Pay it forward.

Because we have to take care of ourselves and each other.
That’s basically it. I’ve read Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive and I think it’s great that a woman of her visibility and success has highlighted the importance of self-care. It’s hard to balance work and your life, but it’s something we all have to figure out.



Posted by: 
Jennifer Reres

MEG: A Champion for Women Empowerment

March 23, 2017

This article is a part of the "My Experience with MEG" series, in which past recipients discuss how the Membership Empowerment Grant enhanced their careers. 


I knew I wanted to go into communications since I was 16-years-old. I understood the power a news article or video had to enlighten and influence their audience. I worked hard to make sure I was able to open every door necessary to be successful in this career, including leaning on New York Women in Communications early on in my studies. As a two-time scholarship winner at 18 and 19-years-old, I met women who mentored me and helped me make connections that led me to intern and work for some of the most prestigious PR companies in the world. However, after a while working in my comfortable PR job, I suddenly realized that a career wasn't supposed to be linear — but that growth and transitions can take different trajectories.

A year after graduating with my Bachelor of Science, I decided to return to school for my Masters of Science in urban policy analysis and advocacy. I was hoping to merge my background in communications with my passion for social change. Despite the transition, NYWICI provided additional financial support for my studies through its Membership Empowerment Grant. The grant went towards a media and politics course I took during the last presidential election, helping me further my strategic skills in media, framing and storytelling, and gave me the tools to employ other tactics to influence the public.  

NYWICI describes itself as supporting women in communications throughout their careers, from college to c-suite. Opportunities like the Membership Empowerment Grant demonstrate how NYWICI invests in our careers — no matter at what stage — and acts as a true champion for women empowerment. 


The New York Women in Communications' annual Member Empowerment Grant is for NYWICI members of at least three consecutive years who want to pursue professional development opportunities. Awards are granted for continuing education courses, conference attendance, career coaching and more. Grants are paid directly to an institution and not to recipients. Winners must be present at the NYWICI Annual Meeting held each May, and use their grant within one year. 

For more details on the Member Empowerment Grant, read our Fact Sheet and Requirements & Obligations and Apply Online.
Posted by: 
Stephanie M. Guzmán

10 Ways to Be Successful

March 21, 2017

Aloud ProIf your life is a constant cycle of cancelled dinners and skipped gym classes as you jump onto the next urgent client project or breaking news story, it’s time to ask yourself a simple question:

Is your drive to succeed professionally putting your personal life on hold?

Arianna Huffington can help you find your answer to that question. She is a remarkable example of a globally successful entrepreneur who practices the art of balance. To hear her advice on moving from surviving to thriving, NYWICI will host Cocktails & Conversations: Thrive with Arianna Huffington from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 30, 2017, at Bloomberg headquarters, located at 731 Lexington Avenue.

Ahead of our discussion with Arianna, here are some tips to get you started on creating the balance you need for personal endeavors in an overly busy work life:

  1. Get organized. Stop wasting time searching old emails and scrambling to meet deadlines you overlooked. Set up an organizational system and commit to it. Consider trying a productivity app for your to-do list, setting up automatic email filing and using calendar reminders to keep you on track.
  1. Put your goals in writing. Sit down with your manager and document measurable goals for the year. This will give you the chance to discuss what you really want to be working on versus tasks that are draining your time and not advancing your career.
  1. Know when to prioritize. No one is going to prioritize your life for you. Yes, think twice about turning down a new opportunity at work because it conflicts with this month’s book club—but don’t sacrifice your mom’s annual visit to volunteer to staff yet another event.
  1. Understand your productivity cycle. Whether you’re at your best at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., plan your to-do list accordingly. Take care of admin tasks during your low energy hours so you can nail that strategy proposal at your peak.
  1. Tune out distractions. When it’s crunch time, don’t get bogged down with distractions. Find an empty conference room, wear headphones, mark your calendar as busy or limit email checking to once an hour.
  1. Learn when it’s OK to disconnect. Unplugging every night may be unrealistic for you, but having a clear understanding with your boss about which projects and clients actually need immediate responses can help limit after-hours emails.
  1. Work from home. Take advantage of any work from home options or approach your manager about this possibility. Cutting your commute even one day a week can help you squeeze in an extra gym class in the morning or guarantee you’ll be home for family dinner.
  1. Build your circle of trust. Create a network you can turn to for help, from a coworker who can back you up when you’re running late to a mentor who can advise you ahead of your performance review.
  1. Know when it’s time to go home. Break your habit of hanging around until your boss is ready to leave. Tell her what you’ve gotten done that day, ask if there’s anything else she needs and head out the door.
  1. Use your free time wisely. Everyone needs the occasional weekend on the couch, but make sure you’re using your hard-earned free time wisely! What activities charge you up after a long week rather than deplete you?



Posted by: 
Lauren Tran

NYWICI Must Reads March 17, 2017

Changing Women's Perception in Advertising

March 14, 2017

Madonna Badger, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Badger & Winters, is on a mission to change the advertising industry.

Madonna, whose early success with Calvin Klein’s iconic Marky Mark campaign (and many others) prompted her to launch her New York-based advertising, branding and design agency in 1994, developed her mission after losing her parents and three children in a house fire on Christmas Eve 2008.

Speaking at NYWICI’s Cocktails and Conversations event, hosted by Mediacom on Feb. 21, 2017, Madonna began her talk by sharing how she’s struggled with intense emotions anew, due to the recent death of her ex-husband and father of her children.

It was this loss, combined with a growing realization of the power that advertising has to attack women’s confidence through objectification that led Madonna to dedicate her life to make a difference in the world. That’s why she decided to tackle an industry she knew intimately — the world of advertising.  

Her firm researched the effect that objectification of women has on individuals and brands.  It found that the approach can have a significantly negative impact on both purchase intent, as well as on brand reputation.

objectifying adsBased on its findings, Badger & Winters has pledged to no longer create imagery that objectifies women. They took their commitment even further by creating the #WomenNotObjects campaign to encourage other ad agencies to follow suit.

Meanwhile, the campaign has convinced Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to caution jurors not to recognize work that reflects gender bias.

Madonna showed powerful, provocative images and statistics to illustrate the myriad of ways women are objectified in advertising and explained the four key filters the campaign uses to determine whether an ad is objectifying:

  1. Props:  A woman is reduced to only a “thing” in an ad.
  2. Plastic: A woman has been retouched beyond achievability.
  3. Parts: A woman is reduced to provocative body parts only.
  4. Empathy: An ad prompts the viewer to ask, “What if this were my mother, my daughter or myself?”

Attendees surveyed at the event said they were shocked to learn that “gender bias is still strong,” even though we “have more say than ever before in advertising decisions.”

“It’s amazing,” said another attendee, “how some brands, even reputable ones, are making bad choices”, “how little has changed” and how ads today are “reflective of ads from the '60s and '70s.”

The evening ended with a lively, engaged question and answer session, during which Madonna encouraged us all to take action. Here’s how:

  • Use our spending power and refuse to buy from brands who objectify women.
  • Take photos of objectifying ads and post them on social media.
  • Make sure we, as women, know and teach our daughters that our weight and appearance is not our worth.
  • Support brands that empower women.

“I plan on using my money as my voice,” said one attendee. “As a female consumer, I will carefully choose where I spend my money. I will only shop at places whose labor conditions and advertising campaigns align with my values.”

Said another, “I’ve already noticed a difference in the way I looked at images in ads today. I plan to be more vocal about ads that are offensive to women, both as a consumer and as a professional who is a part of this industry.”

#WomenNotObjectsTo learn more about the #WomenNotObjects campaign, visit womennotobjects.com and follow the campaign on Twitter: @Not_Objects

Related Article:
Cannes Bans Gender Bias With Help from #WomenNotObjects (AdAge)

Slideshow photos: Jan Goldstoff


Posted by: 
Robyn Hatcher

International Women's Day Strikes

March 7, 2017

Women's StrikeThis article was published in TheStreet, on March 5, 2017

It's just a few hours before what's called the A Day Without A Woman strike kicks into high gear. For those unfamiliar, the strike is an action set on International Women's Day on Wednesday [March 8, 2017] that calls for refraining from shopping at large companies, sitting out a day of work and wearing red in solidarity.

However, nearly 20 companies contacted by TheStreet have declined to respond to a request for comment about the strike and its potential impact on their bottom line and reputations.

"Companies have to walk a fine line, particularly consumer-facing ones," Douglas Chia, executive director of the Conference Board's governance center, told TheStreet. "They are basically in a no-win situation. They are going to have a portion of the population who is going to like them or hate them, no matter what they do."

Chia, who specializes in corporate governance, added that because most companies are conservative and risk-adverse, it's not surprising that they are publicly silent. Some, he said, may be formulating how they are going to handle a strike or quietly allowing those who want to participate to take the day off, similar to a day needed for a religious observance. Or, for events like the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work, it may mean an employee's workload is purposely lightened.

More recently, the A Day Without Immigrants protest caused smaller businesses shut down altogether. Additionally, Chia said companies in the age of President Donald Trump know that the president could mock them in a tweet or a press conference, and that could cause their stock price to drop.

However, Tia Gordon, vice president of communications at Catalyst, an organization that advocates for women's career advancement and pay parity, sees it differently. "There is power and strength in numbers and how women spend dollars and use their voice," Gordon told TheStreet. "Women have a tremendous amount of impact and influence when it comes to the economy of this world."

suffragistsAmerican women are the global leader in controlling household and consumer spending — by a stunning 73% — noted Catalyst. In 2013, women worldwide oversaw 64% of household spending and $29 trillion of consumer spending, a number expected to jump to $40 trillion by next year, according to Catalyst. "They [companies] might want to give it [the strike] some attention," Gordon said. "Success of the strike could come as a surprise." In the U.S., women make up some 47% of the workforce, a fact not lost on Catalyst's Gordon: "Women are half the talent in the workplace, they are half the brains."

Wednesday's strike aims to capitalize on the enthusiasm of the Jan. 21 Women's March on Washington. That event was initially planned only for the nation's capital in the wake of Trump's presidential election, but quickly grew to be a passionate outpouring worldwide, in which marchers wore hand-knitted pink "pussyhats" directed at Trump and his degrading comments about women.

According to the strike's website, participants are urged to take the day off from both paid and unpaid labor and skip shopping for the day (with the exceptions of small, women- and minority-owned businesses), both of which could affect business.

In concert with the A Day Without A Woman action is a strike organized on the same day by a separate coalition, called the International Women's Strike US. That group formed following the Feb. 6 publication of an op-ed in The Guardian calling for a women's strike. Its platform includes economic and social issues.

Here are the companies contacted by TheStreet that did not respond to a request for comment: Amazon, Burlington, Chipotle, Costco, Gap, Home Depot, Lululemon, Lowe's, McDonald's, Papa John's, Ralph Lauren, Shake Shack, TJX Companies, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Walmart, and YUM! Brands. A representative for Domino's  responded by saying the company does not make "public political statements." A spokeswoman for Nordstrom was a bit more forthcoming. "We can't predict what kind of impact this will have on our business, but we look forward to serving any customers who choose to shop with us that day. We'll work to accommodate employees who request time off — they'll be fully paid if they submit a request for paid time away. We just ask that they try to let us know in advance so we can ensure we're prepared to take care of our customers," Nordstrom's spokeswoman explained. 


Posted by: 
Michelle Lodge

NYWICI Must Reads March 3, 2017