5 Things I Learned from NYWICI's New Year, New You Event

January 18, 2016

New Year, New YouWith a buzz in the air and a fizz in our drinks, close to 100 women gathered at Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue on Jan. 13, 2016, for NYWICI’s sold out event “New Year, New You: Have Your Best Year at Work Ever!

The panel was stacked with five thought provoking speakers: Karyn Benvenuto, vice president & general manager, Lord & Taylor; Lea Goldman, executive editor, Marie Claire magazine; Emma Gray, executive women’s editor, The Huffington Post; Elle Kaplan, CEO and founder of LexION Capital; and Lindsay Moroney, chief of staff at The Muse.

Between live-tweeting #NYWICIYOPRO and furiously writing down notes so that I could have my best year at work ever, I jotted down five key takeaways:

  • Be Diverse

While it’s nice to surround yourself with the people you like and follow people on social media who have the same interests as you, it’s important to break out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to a diverse spectrum of people and information. Being mindful of what you’re taking in can really broaden your perspective and help you engage in interesting conversations and situations that you wouldn’t have normally taken part in.

  • Put In Your “Sweat Equity”

It’s not as gross as it sounds and it’s totally true: If you want to reap the benefits, you need to put in the work. If you’re looking to take on more responsibility in your position or #askformore, you need to “nail the small stuff” before your boss might even remember your name. Once you do that, tell her about it and show how a new change can make her life easier. Remember: You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

This also works when you need to say ‘no’ — which we all need to do more of. Never say no to a challenge, but also know when you need to say no. The best way to say no but not lose points is if you accrue good will by excellent performance.

  • You Need to "Grustle" = Grind + Hustle

Managing time effectively is something we all struggle with every day, be it with a current job, a side hustle or with keeping up your contacts. We all say we “don’t have enough time,” but the real key is, if it’s important to you, make the time for it. Are you more passionate about your side hustle? Then turn that passion into a paycheck and take risks! Don’t wait for permission to do something you’re passionate about. It could pay off.

  • Go On a Cash Diet

We all agreed: budgets are boring, but unfortunately needed for most people. While we briefly discussed how putting money into your 401k and skipping the proverbial latte are musts, the real tidbit that caught my ear was the thought of “going on a cash diet.” This means taking out a certain amount of cash every week, and once that cash is done, so is your spending for the week.

  • Dress to Blend and Read the Room

While this might seem like a no brainer, in most cases, it’s really not. Example: When going on a job interview, take into account the culture of that company to prepare your outfit. You shouldn’t dress as if you’re going out on a Saturday night, but you should feel good in what you wear as it represents who you are. While many times it is good to stand out and make a statement, other times it’s good to “dress to blend,” so people are noticing you and not your appearance. One amazing quote I heard was, “Don’t bring the coffee pastries in a room full of men — you’re done. But bring them to a room full of women…” You get the idea.

It’s vital for women to connect and support each other, and this event was a great kick off to the New Year — with empowered women empowering women.


— Christine Murray; photo: Jan Goldstoff

New Year, New You: Q&A with Lea Goldman

January 14, 2016

Lea GoldmanThis year, flex your career muscle and resolve to have the best year at work ever! The NYWICI Young Professionals Committee and Lord & Taylor teamed up for the “New Year, New You: Have Your Best Year at Work Ever!” panel on Jan. 13, 2016, to inspire you to pursue that promotion, ask for the salary you deserve and much more.  

We caught up with panelist Lea Goldman, executive editor of Marie Claire Magazine, to learn about her experience and why she loves speaking to young professionals.

What was your first job out of college and what is one piece of advice or lesson learned that you have carried throughout your career?
A week after I graduated college, I started working in the PR department of Forbes magazine. I had zero interest in PR, but I figured, I just needed to get my foot in the door at a magazine or media outlet and I would figure it out. Which is exactly what happened. I spent nearly two years doing PR for Forbes before finally confiding in an editor I’d become friendly with that I was interested in reporting. His first words, I kid you not: “Why didn’t you say so?” Within days, he had me on a plane to Atlanta reporting a story. The big takeaway from that experience: Don’t be shy about your true interests! I was so nervous about revealing my goals, fearful that my bosses would be angry or disappointed in me, that I wasted time and opportunities doing what I really wanted to do. Nobody expects you, fresh out of college, to have a solid handle on your career trajectory. Be honest with colleagues and supervisors about your interests and goals so they can help you achieve them. 

What has been the biggest reward of editing Marie Claire@Work?
My job is effectively a master class in leadership. I approach it thinking, who would I love to talk to? Who can tell me something interesting about leadership at the very top? I set up coffees and lunches regularly with interesting, accomplished women. Then I ask these women who I should be talking to. My goal is to learn about their industries and what they’ve learned to succeed in them. It’s been fascinating. I interviewed Alyssa Mastromonaco, President Obama’s former deputy chief of staff, who is now the COO of Vice. Her office was literally right outside the Oval Office. And she gave me such a vivid sense of what it’s like to live in that frenetic, 24/7 high stakes bubble — the highs (a private tour of Buckingham Palace), the lows (the night of the Newtown massacre), and the regular day to day (sleeping for a few hours a night with two blackberries on her pillow). I recently had coffee with Jay-Z’s longtime attorney, a woman who literally came from nothing in grunge-era Seattle, determined that the only way out of the trailer park (literally) was to become a lawyer and leverage her music contacts to land a job representing a grunge band. She ended up getting a job at a record label where she started representing a young, upstart rapper nobody had ever heard of, named Jay-Z, and shared the nitty gritty on what it was like to be a woman navigating hip hop in the early days. These are FASCINATING discussions, and I get to have them all the time.

Why were you excited to speak on this panel?
I’m always excited to talk to young people who are just starting out. I find, in general, they are more timid than they need to be — about negotiating their salaries, asking for plum assignments and soliciting useful feedback. So I always hope that I can embolden a young woman to start asking for what she wants. That’s the most important part. Exercise your voice.

What is one New Year’s resolution you have for your career?
Hard to answer since I have a lot of “bucket list” items that I’d like to accomplish at some point. I have a long view of my career. I used to measure success in how much I could achieve in a few months. But now, since I've had kids, I realize that nothing happens as fast as you think it will.  At some point, I’d like to give a TED talk.  Produce a film or show. I like the idea of marrying my creative side with my hustler side. I always like to be doing a million things at once.

Give us a fun fact about you! 
I used to answer Shel Silverstein’s fan mail. Cool, right?

— Julia Corbett 

New Year, New You: Have Your Best Year at Work Ever!

January 14, 2016

On Jan. 13, 2016, NYWICI's Young Professionals Committee kicked off the year at Sarabeth's at Lord & Taylor with a sold-out event “Have Your Best Year at Work Ever!” A panel of career experts covered everything from workplace sticky situations to striking a work/life balance that is perfect for you. They delved into how to pursue that promotion, ask for the salary you deserve and go after what you really want.

More than 80 attendees were greeted with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, Bobby Brown make-up experts and 20% off shopping passes. 

The moderator, CNN Political Commentator Tara Setmayer, started the conversation with an honest oberservation of her own, musing, "in our experience as professional women, we want to hear from other professional women to make sure we're not crazy." The panel included Karyn Benvenuto of Lord & Taylor, Lea Goldman of Marie Claire Magazine, Emma Gray of the Huffington Post, Elle Kaplan of LexION Capital and Lindsay Moroney of The Muse.

Some key takeaways of the discussion:

  • Don’t forget the small details when prepping for an interview, such as your nails and hair. Wear what you feel comfortable in at an interview but also take into consideration where you are interviewing and their culture. (Karen Benvenuto)
  • When asking for a raise or promotion, consider the climate in your company or industry when you make a case for why you should get promoted. Be sure to mention what you have accomplished. (Karen Benvenuto)
  • When negotiating for a better salary, the worst they can say is "no". It is expected that you will negotiate when you receive an offer; they are ready for it. (Lindsay Moroney)
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get. (Tara Setmayer)
  • Women tend not to negotiate — men of all levels push back. It's so important to ask for that raise, because if you don't, it can impact your salary for the rest of your career. (Elle Kaplan)
  • Your career level will affect what you can say “no” to. But as you climb the ranks, you’ll be able to pick and choose how you spend your time a bit more wisely. Put in the Sweat Equity! (Lea Moroney )
  • The best way to say no is to make actionable alternative suggestions. (Emma Gray)

For more advice from the panel, check out or live tweets from the event. And read a recap of the event "10 Ways to Have Your Best Year at Work in 2016" that was published on HerAgenda.com.

— Alyssa Barnett

New Year, New You: Q&A with Karyn Benvenuto

January 13, 2016

Karyn BenvenutoThis year, flex your career muscle and resolve to have the best year at work ever! The NYWICI Young Professionals Committee and Lord & Taylor teamed up for the “New Year, New You: Have Your Best Year at Work Ever!” panel on Jan. 13, 2016, to inspire you to pursue that promotion, ask for the salary you deserve and much more.  

We caught up with panelist Karyn Benvenuto, vice president and general manager of Lord & Taylor’s flagship store. With more than 20 years of experience and former positions at Saks Fifth Avenue, she has an admirable career in merchandising and management. Here are five things you need to know about Karyn before the event.

What is one piece of advice you wish you could give your younger self when you were just starting out?
Don’t doubt your abilities when you’re offered things outside of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself and stretch yourself beyond what you feel are your limits. For example, early in my career I was offered an opportunity to advance and move out of NYC. I didn’t embrace how much I would have learned by immersing myself in a new marketplace. The exposure to new lifestyles and cultures outside of NYC would have been invaluable.

What would you say is one of the most rewarding aspects of your career?
Having the opportunity to train and develop successful teams and celebrate their growth.

Why are you excited to speak on this panel?
I’m honored to be invited to speak to any women who strive to make a positive difference in their personal and professional lives and contribute to society through an admirable organization such as the New York Women in Communications.

What is one New Year’s resolution you have for your career?
I need to take a better approach to my work/life balance.

Give us a fun fact about you! 
I have a standing dinner date every Friday night at a local café in Midtown with my delicious 8lb Maltese-Yorkie, Chloe!

— Julia Corbett

New Year, New You: Q&A with Emma Gray

January 12, 2016

Emma Gray

Emma Gray, a panelist at the Jan. 13, 2016, event  “New Year, New You: Have Your Best Year at Work Ever!”, hosted by NYWICI's Young Professionals Committee and Lord & Taylor, is executive women’s editor of The Huffington Post. We caught up with her with a few questions about her career goals for 2016. In addition to her role at The Huffington Post, Emma has made appearances on the Today Show and Entertainment Tonight, and co-hosts a “Bachelor”-themed podcast called “Here to Make Friends.”

What was your first job out of college and what lesson did you learn or piece of advice did you receive that has helped you throughout your career?
My first job out of college was working for a hyperlocal news company called Patch. It got me to New York and into the media world, but it wasn't a job that particularly challenged me or made me feel fulfilled. However, it did teach me the value of getting your foot in the door and of having supportive coworkers that you genuinely enjoy being around. The best piece of advice I got during that time was actually when I was looking for my second job and felt completely hopeless about the process: You only need one thing to work out. That was true, and it did. 

Achieving work/life balance is key in every career. You juggle a lot aside from your full-time job, including a podcast and TV appearances. How have you found a sense of balance in your life?
I think the first step to finding "balance" is accepting that you'll probably never feel completely balanced. The sweet spot is when you can integrate your work into the rest of your life in a sane way. Work should be a part of your life, not something that subsumes it. I stay sane by setting boundaries for myself professionally. I try very hard not to answer emails on weekends and only work in the evenings when I absolutely have to — or when I feel particularly inspired by a project, because then it doesn't really feel like work. And, of course, when I'm on vacation I'm really truly on vacation. Knowing when to unplug and when to throw yourself into your professional life is a constant learning process. Though it really helps when you love the work you get to do. 

Why are you excited to speak on this panel?
It's so important for women to talk to each other about their professional experiences and elevate each other. Panels like this one are a great chance to do that, and I'm so honored to be a part of it. 

What is one New Year’s resolution you have for your career?
Take more risks. View new opportunities with an open heart and mind when they come up. It's so easy to seek comfort in what we know. In 2016, I want to throw myself into the things I don't know and hopefully see my writing grow as a result.

Give us a fun fact about you! 
My grandfather co-founded Tinkerbell Cosmetics, which were very popular in the '70s, '80s and early '90s. When I was little, I used to visit the factory in Yonkers around Christmas and try out all the peel-off nail polishes and bubbles and powders. It was very dreamy. 

— Julia Corbett

How to Increase Your Value in the Workspace

January 5, 2016

workIf you are a recent college graduate or perhaps a mid-career professional, it is important to identify ways to increase value in the workspace. Chances of success improve when employees know what they bring to the table.

NYWICI concluded its 2015 Twitter chat series with a topic that resonates with many career professionals, “Increasing Value in the Workspace.” Twitter chat cohost, Kathy Caprino, is a Forbes, Huffington Post and LinkedIn contributor and top media source on women’s careers and workplace issues. She shared useful insight on this topic.

First thing employees should do is “dimensionalize contributions, in metrics and critical outcomes,” says Kathy. “What needles did you move — what changes, contributions or new business can be attributed to you?” When asked about increasing value in the eyes of others, Kathy notes, “It's important to be of service. Identify your deepest talents and gifts and find new ways to use them to help the organization thrive.”

Below, Kathy shares more tips on how to increase value at work:

Collaboration: Be collaborative and positive. NEVER tear others down. Brainstorm a new project or team you can participate in to move it forward.

Leadership: Tap into your leadership mindset: How can you lead and support others to grow?

Tailor your strengths: It's ideal to tailor your Job to your strengths. Be vigilant about finding roles that allow you to use your natural talents. If that's not possible right now, then get really clear on what the organization needs and apply your talents to support their key goal.

In-person communication: Relationships are EVERYTHING at work. We can't be successful if we've alienated everyone. Build your support.

Advanced training: First you have to figure out what you really want in your career and then identify how to get there. Decide what you want, then explore new directions to determine what's best for you.

Negotiation: We must learn how to negotiate. It's a conversation, where we share what we need and want and listen to what the organization needs. Women are often afraid to ask for what they want. We need this to change. Know what you want to ask for and come very prepared with a strong case for it; be non-emotional and fact-based.

Deal or No Deal situations: Know what your "non-negotiables" are: understand what you will and will not tolerate and embrace.

Boast-and-Brag: “Boast” and "brag" are terms that are negative in many people's view. I suggest, we learn to speak powerfully without bragging. If you want to succeed and thrive, learn how to share what you've done in a way that brings light to your gifts.

Kathy offers this final piece of advice: “Don't wait until a promotion or more leadership responsibility falls in your lap. It won't! Be creative and find ways to shine.”

Join us for our next Twitter Chat on Jan. 26, 2016, on Personal Branding. Use #nywicichat in your tweets.



Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens