5 Questions for the Executive Director of NYWICI

Alexandra OwensAlexandra Cantor Owens, Senior Account Executive at Kellen, a global professional ‎services firm that manages NYWICI, became our executive director in September 2020.

Prior to joining Kellen, she spent most of her career as executive director of the American ‎Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the national organization of freelance writers. She also now works with the NYC Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, as well as the New England Society in the City of New York. She lives in Boonton, NJ with her family.

We pose 5 Questions to Alex, who shares insights and thoughts on some of her favorite things:

1. What inspires you about NYWICI — its mission, members and programs?

I come from a long line of female journalists and educators and believe that communication is a key to the human condition. As a professional society, NYWICI lets communications professionals support one another in the pursuit of both communications excellence and successful careers. What’s really great is that more so than just about any other discipline, professional communicators are found everywhere. For this reason we are able to hear voices from every industry not the traditional “communications” roles such as journalism and public relations. We elevate and show the value of professional communications as a facilitator for success in every field.

NYWICI’s mission of members supporting one another has inspired women to great heights of achievement, perfectly exemplified by the 50 classes of Matrix honorees. Our scholarship program likewise gives recognition and encouragement to women just starting out.

2. What are you reading right now?

Reading recently has been very difficult; my attention span like everyone else’s is strained. Right now on my CloudLibrary app I have The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton, historical fiction set in part during the Great Plague of London. Hoping to finish before I have to return it! I’m also very much appreciating audiobooks, and last completed What Unites Us by Dan Rather. It was perfect, a primer for America that everyone should read.

3. What song gets you pumped?

My favorite go-to mood-improvers are “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls and “Payphone” by Maroon 5.

4. What single piece of career advice do you live by?

This isn’t advice anyone gave me, but it has become my guiding principle. Work has to be interesting — if boredom is even peeking around the corner I know I’m not in the right place. Supporting oneself and one’s family is job one, but once that box is checked? Work has to ENGAGE, consistently.

5. If you could invite five people over for drinks and dinner (post-COVID, naturally!), who would be included?

My paternal grandfather always tops this list. He died when I was 7 and there are a million conversations I have always wanted to have with him. From his experience as a solo teenage immigrant in 1908 to the entire family and life he left behind in Russia, so many stories have been lost. Turning to present day, though, today I would invite Cecile Richards, Kaitlan Collins, Michelle Obama, Dan Rather (see above), and Peter Jackson.


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