2013 Annual Meeting with Joanna Coles
At the 2013 annual meeting, NYWICI members reviewed the accomplishments of the past year, thanked outgoing President Nancy Weber, welcomed the 2013-14 Board of Directors (at right) and incoming President Liz Kaplow (in blue jacket), congratulated the NYWICI Foundation Scholarship Winners and honored Nancy Megan with the Liz Hoover Award for outstanding service to the organization. Featured speaker Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and a 2013 Matrix Award Honoree, topped off the evening with an empowering speech about women and fair pay.
Liz Kaplow, president and CEO of Kaplow, described her vision for NYWICI by starting with the group’s mission: NYWICI embodies the spirit of sisterhood, empowering women in all communication disciplines at every stage of their careers and facilitating conversations to work through challenges. Nancy Weber lauded the redesign of NYWICI’s website and cited this year’s Matrix Awards as “one of the best, ever”. She expressed excitement for the launch of the WiCi’s — an award that will honor rising stars in the communications' industry. Susan Schulz, VP of Strategic Planning and editorial brand director at Cosmopolitan Magazine, called out the Student Communications Career Conference, the annual Ladies Who Laugh and NYWICI's mentoring program as notable 2012-2013 achievements.
Adding to this list of accomplishments: NYWICI increased the number of NYWICI Foundation Empowerment Grants from three to seven, financing continued professional development for seven longstanding NYWICI members — Rachel Bowie, Erica Martell, Alexandra Patchen, Daylle Deanna Schwartz, Stephanie Scott, Tammy Tibbetts and Deirdre Wyeth.
Nancy Weber presented the Liz Hoover Award for outstanding contributions to NYWICI to Nancy Megan, honoring her service to the organization for almost 27 years. Upon acceptance of her award, Nancy Megan advised the roomful of women to take on challenges, to do “not what you know, but what you want to know more about.”
Money was the focus of Joanna Coles’ speech, a practical subject, important to all but often too intimate for open discussion. “Let’s talk about money,” declared Joanna, and noted an instance in her career, when she was so excited for a new position that she didn’t properly argue for her salary. “Many women enter financial negotiations ill-prepared, overstressed and more focused on getting the conversation over with than achieving the desired outcome.”
Over the course of her career, Joanna has learned from her experiences and now shares them with select friends, revealing awkward, but undoubtedly helpful information:
“As a woman, I’m very conscious that historically, we have been underpaid. And no one should take advantage of that.” Joanna left the women in the audience with a clear call-to-action: “Let’s all make an effort to reach out to someone junior and offer them the cold hard data that will help them get what they’re actually worth. Let’s take some of the mystery out of these negotiations. Let’s have some frank discuss about salaries, bonuses and perks.”
The speech left the room of women feeling empowered and more prepared to close the wage gap. “I found it interesting that Coles’ speech brought to light issues that can arise from not talking about such sensitive subjects,” remarked Jessica Mendoza, digital marketing strategist at Kantar Media.
Ravelle Worthington, content editor at Do Something, was struck by Joanna's advice on the bottom line. “These are things that we often don’t think about; we’re willing to second guess ourselves based on what a company offers us, over the fear that someone else will accept the job for that pay.”
When asked who her mentors were, Joanna explained that she was mentored by colleagues and peers. “Everybody you deal with, no matter how grand you are, you have to deal with them with courtesy and respect, because you never know when you’re going to be asking them for a job.”
One of the 2013 scholarship winners inquired how Joanna gained the ability to be so fearless. Her response was comforting: “I’m constantly filled with fear,” she explained. “Fear is something that you just get used to feeling — and you live with it, push through it, understand what it is and acknowledge it.”
— Maris Cohen
Images: Jan Goldstoff