A lot of magic happens when you get top talent from the beauty, fashion, and editorial industries and put them in a room with our community. Friday, October 5 we kicked off our first ever C Future Conference. Hundreds of students gathered into FIT’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre to take away notes, inspiration, and a lot of laughs. We held conversations featuring the brilliant minds of Linda Wells and Hillary Kerr. We also gathered pointers that are critical to finding success from intelligent pros like Marissa Fuchs and Ashley-Brooke Sandall on our panels. While we wish every single one of our community members could’ve attended, we understand that classes, location, and timing makes that a tad difficult. No worries though if you missed it. We’ve got mini summaries of each talk that get straight to the point. Here’s your condensed, CliffsNotes version of everything that was expressed at our C Future Conference. (Oh, and be on the lookout for an exclusive downloadable packet that’s focused on all thing career coming out next week, just for you!)
Hillary Kerr, Co-Founder & Chief Ideation Officer, Clique Brands
Linda Wells, Founder of Flesh Beauty
While she originally wanted to be an artist, Linda Wells headed for a career in journalism and ended up creating Allure magazine. Before doing so, she worked at places like Vogue, The New York Times, and although she felt out of place, ad agencies. After 25 years, she was fired from Allure, shocking both her and many people in and outside of the industry. She learned how to handle these experiences with grace and view then as lessons. She then took up writing for The Cut and now is the founder of Flesh Beauty and chief creative officer of Revlon.
“The way you do everything matters in the early stages of your career, and people notice it.” —Linda Wells
“Every single day at your company is an audition for a promotion.” —Hillary Kerr
“If you know how to connect with readers, and now consumers, [that’s] really what it’s all about.” —Linda Wells
“I feel like I’m very self-critical. Whenever I have those feelings, I often revert to the thing I know how to do. If I’m having one of those wobbly moments, I’ll say ‘I know what I’m gonna do, I’ll write something.’ It’s like going back to the thing that makes you feel good.” —Linda Wells
“I really wish I listened to my father and would’ve taken one finance class… Knowing finance doesn’t diminish your ability to be creative.” —Linda Wells
“You’re the CEO of your own career.” —Hillary Kerr
Panel 1: Building a Brand People Care About
Ashley Brooke Sandall, Director of Strategic Partnerships, CFDA
Cindy Nguyen, Associate Events Manager, Dolce & Gabbana
Sue Williamson, Editorial Director, Girlfriend Collective
All three women have worked with multiple brands such as Prada, American Express, Chanel, Milk Makeup, and the CFDA. They have discovered that collaboration and listening to consumers concerns and interests makes all the difference when it comes to building a reputable, respected brand. Each of them agreed on the importance of getting as many internships as possible, reaching out for informational interviews. They also mentioned how critical it is to build connections in this industry, and gave several examples of how that helped them advance in their own careers. Lastly, never be afraid to get your hands dirty — whether you think the task is above (or below) your head.
“My old boss used to always tell me, ‘Bite off more than you can chew, then learn to chew faster.’” —Sue Williamson
“Do something that you love, and if you’re not doing something you love in the moment, don’t worry because it will pass… It’s a launchpad and a stepping stone.” —Ashley-Brooke Sandall
Panel 2: Finding Your Voice in the Crowded World of Social Media
Gena Kaufman, Director of Social Media, Vogue
Madisen Theobald, Associate Manager of Social Media, Allure
Marissa Fuchs, Director of Brand Partnerships, Goop & Influencer
These three women are the masterminds behind the social accounts of major magazines and brands. They stressed the importance of having a critical eye and a knowledge of the brand you’re working for in order to grow your following and influence an audience. It was noted that building your own brand is also important, as well as recognizing the difference between you and the company you’re behind. While they’re all fans of social media, they also are strong believers in taking a social media detox and setting aside time to disconnect.
“I always say luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” —Marissa Fuchs
“[When growing your following] I think it’s 50 % data. You have to know who your audience is and what they like… and then 50% a gut instinct of ‘this is what our brand is and this is the story we want to tell.’” —Gena Kaufman
“Authenticity is really key and so is consistency.” —Marissa Fuchs
“It takes practice and really finding out what the brand voice is. You just need to be strategic about staying true to the brand and pulling yourself aside at times and being like ‘this is for the brand, this is not for myself.’” —Madisen Theobald
Editor Roundtable: What’s Next for Media?
Gina Marinelli, Senior Editor, Who What Wear
Hallie Gould, Senior Editor, Byrdie
Kelsey Clark, Lifestyle News Editor, MyDomaine
The three women on this panel had very different paths that lead them to becoming digital editors. They emphasized the importance of knowing that there’s no wrong way to get to where you’re going. Take all opportunities you’re given, and even if they may not exactly fit the mold of your dream job, they can help serve as stepping stones. They discussed how easy it is to fall into a habit of perfectionism, but how pushing past this thinking can be seen as an incredible skill. When it comes to having writer’s block, they all chimed in and agreed that it’s a matter of taking breaks, finding inspiration, and just writing your heart out without restraint.
“Something my dad used to tell me all the time is, ‘Just take a job, it doesn’t have to be the job, then figure it out from there.’ It doesn’t have to be cool or it doesn’t have to pay you a lot of money. Every single thing will help you figure it out.” —Hallie Gould
“It’s been a really big learning process, learning how to write so fast. I was always very perfectionistic about how I was crafting everything and this taught me that you just have to let it go and get it out there.” —Kelsey Clark
“When it comes down to it, you’re never going to get out of working really hard. I think putting yourself in those not especially comfortable positions can be really helpful.” —Hallie Gould