Is it Worth the Risk? When to Make the Leap

April 25, 2017

Courage vs. Fear PanelWith the digital landscape rapidly evolving and the job market rallying, opportunities abound across the communications’ field for those of us seeking a new challenge.

Certainly, a career change can be exciting, but it’s also a leap into unknown territory. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned leader, how do you decide if it is worth the risk?

That’s one of the many questions we’ll consider at New York Women in Communication’s next event, Courage v. Fear: Navigating the Big Risks to “Go Big,” to be held on May 18, 2017, at the New York Institute of Technology.

Co-sponsored with New York Festivals, the panel will feature, among others, Susan Young, executive vice president and executive creative director of McCann New York, Carol Evans, president emeritus, Working Mother Media and Tracy Candido, director of events and programs at LMHQ/Alliance for Downtown NY.

Ahead of our event, here are some strategies for weighing the risks and benefits of making your next professional jump.


Have you done your research?

While you can’t guarantee your success in a new career, you can make strategic decisions about whether it will be a good fit.

Use online research to learn about the industry or role you're pursuing. Is there a demand for new professionals or are layoffs the latest news? Are the current developments and opportunities exciting to you, or not quite what you expected?

Better yet, seek out leaders in the field who are willing to speak candidly about their role and job trajectory. Pick their brains on what their day-to-day looks like and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be sure to ask about typical corporate culture and work-life balance.

Also consider freelancing or taking a class to get a better taste for the role and to network with like-minded professionals.

If you’ve done your research and aren’t completely sold, ask your current employer to support you in pursuing new job functions or training to build up your skills and experience.


What does success look like?

Once you have a better picture of your potential new job, consider your expectations for success. Will this opportunity help you develop a skill set beneficial for your long-term goals? Will you be getting management experience or client interaction that will position you for success down the line? Do you expect to have a greater impact on your immediate or global community?

Be clear about your goals and expectations so that you are prepared for the effort it will take to get there.

If the appeal is more short-term, think twice before derailing your current career. A pay raise or impressive title alone may not be worth the costs to switch jobs.

If you have no idea where your professional life will lead, now is the time to consider a potential path. Having milestones as well as a series of smaller goals will help you envision the future — and decide if this is the right leap to get you there.

This is also a great time to talk to your mentor or a trusted colleague. Having an outside opinion can shed light on potential pros or cons you hadn't considered.


If it doesn’t work out, how will you bounce back?

While fear of the unknown shouldn't hold you back, you should be in good financial standing. If going big could put you into financial hardship, then waiting until you are in a more stable situation may be the right call.

Otherwise, can you envision how you would pivot a potential failure into a new opportunity? Taking risks, even if it doesn’t succeed, can lead to a stronger network, a new path or a refreshed perspective.

Having an established network and references will also help you bounce back if things don't go as planned. And of course, don’t burn bridges when you leave. You never know how your current connections could be important in the future.

No matter how much research and preparation you do, at some point you will need to make your decision. Listen to your gut and trust yourself to make the right informed choice.



Posted by: 
Lauren Tran

2017 Matrix Awards Recap

April 26, 2017

On April 24, 2017, New York Women in Communications presented the prestigious Matrix Award to seven remarkable communications leaders who truly embody “women who connect the world.” The award is one of the highest honors in the communications industry and is awarded to women at the pinnacle of their career.

The awards ceremony, hosted by Hearst Magazines, took place during a luncheon at the Sheraton New York Time Square and was emceed by the one-and-only Katie Couric, a previous Matrix honoree and presenter. The ceremony also featured distinguished presenters for each of the honorees to introduce and present the awards. Nearly 1,000 people attended the luncheon to celebrate these talented women and their achievements.

This year’s honorees and presenters included:

  • Rukmini Callimachi, foreign correspondent, The New York Times — presented by Lydia Polgreen, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post
  • Gretchen Carlson, journalist and women’s empowerment advocate — presented by Paul Feig, writer, director, producer
  • Susan Credle, global chief creative officer, FCB — presented by Julie Kent, artistic director, The Washington Ballet
  • Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of “TODAY” and NBC News chief legal correspondent — presented by Matt Lauer, co-anchor of “TODAY”
  • Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer, JPMorgan Chase — presented by Gregg Lemkau, co-head of Global Mergers & Acquisitions, Goldman Sachs
  • Judy A. Smith, founder and CEO, Smith & Company — presented by Byron Pitts, Co-Anchor, ABC News "Nightline"
  • Nancy Weber, EVP, Branding and Marketing Partnerships, Meredith National Media Group — presented by Tom Harty, president/chief operating officer, Meredith Corporation

Words of Wisdom from the Matrix Honorees:

  • Gretchen Carlson: “Keys to success? Goal setting… being organized and visualizing yourself achieving that goal. Also, understanding and learning from failure. But more than anything else is help. Because as women, we will not be underestimated, intimidated, or set back by misogynists who stereotype and demean us. We will not be silenced by the ways of the establishment or the relics of the past. We will stand up together and use our voices to become the women we were meant to be!”
  • Savannah Guthrie: “I got here not because I’m a woman, or despite being a woman — I got here just being a woman. I’m not the tough as nails, blazer-wearing 80s working woman, who for me, growing up, was the stereotypical image of feminism. I am a combo platter of anxiety and calm, confidence and doubt, fear and courage, vulnerability and invincibility, fragileness and solid, granite strength. I am all of these things at once. Being successful in your career is a really good thing. But it is not an ultimate thing. I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I do not.”
  • Kristin Lemkau: “I have two pieces of advice for the impressionable young minds. One personal and one professional. Personal: Choose your partner well. There is no greater impact to your career and to your life than the person you choose to raise children with. They can either support you or disrupt you. Professional: Find your tribe. Find your people who you would have been friends with on the outside. When you do, have each other’s back and help each other. You can have way more impact as a force for good together and you can way more fun. Work is great. People are better.”
  • Rukmini Callimachi: “Once you find something you love, it’s like you have the wind at your back.”
  • Nancy Weber: “I truly believe that when we’re pushed beyond our comfort zone, we can reach new heights. And that’s when the magic happens. It’s my favorite part of the job, it’s what energizes me and keeps me looking ahead to the next challenge. My advice to young professionals is to look for and take advantage of every opportunity.”
  • Judy Smith: “There are challenges and barriers, especially for women and minorities, but I find that pursuing excellence is a great equalizer and a passion in itself. To reach it we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and to struggle for something we believe in. We may not know what to do, but if we cling to integrity, honesty, ethics and at least attempting to do what we say we will, we’ll be alright.”
  • Susan Credle: “I’ve always felt like the small widget, sitting in front of an amazing opportunity. And that’s the difference — it’s when you feel like the small widget, you either can choose fear, worry, trepidation, or you can choose excitement, optimism and anticipation. And my advice is: If you’re a little widget, look at that big thing in front of you with incredible anticipation and excitement. And if you’re not a little widget, try to become one.”

The Matrix Awards also celebrates the future of women in communications by presenting the newest class of NYWICI scholarship recipients. Each year, the organization’s foundation offers a full range of prestigious scholarships to extraordinary undergraduate and graduate women who are looking to pursue a career in communications. Proceeds from the Matrix Awards go toward these scholarships and to date, more than $1.5 million has been awarded in scholarships. The 2017 scholarship recipients were also featured on the TODAY show on Matrix Monday. You can help support the scholarship program by bidding on some of the amazing experiences available on the Charitybuzz online auction, which closes on May 2.


Photos: © Maryanne Russell. View more images here.



Building Your Personal Brand

April 12, 2017

Aloud StudentsAs ​someone who’s just starting to brand herself professionally and personally, one of the best tips I’ve ever received was “​Don’t be strict and don’t be afraid. ​Post what makes you happy, makes you laugh, inspires you, makes you think and whatever you feel is important to have linked to you.”

Alona Elkayam, ​founder of The Brandinist​a, was the first who brought this idea to my attention. Her advice that “a personal brand and a professional brand are connected” made me rethink my online identity and the connection between the two.

​Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich, President of ​Masthead Media​ Company, reiterates this with her central idea that business doesn’t define you. There are an undeniable amount of things that contribute to your brand. While it is important to be professional, you also have to be yourself.

There’s no point in having a brand if it doesn’t portray the person behind it. This is something many of us struggle with as it can be difficult to decide what to post and what not. It’s obvious  when a person is being transparent, and it isn’t just about what you see on a screen or piece of paper — it’s what you bring to a room.

Where do you draw the line between your professional and normal self? As Tanya Jones, Career Coach and Executive Producer for​ Meredith​, sees it, your “personal brand should be an essence of who you are.” Obviously stay conscious of what you’re posting, writing, saying, doing and how you’re acting — but don’t constrict yourself. If you’re afraid to post about a topic that you feel strongly about because a future employer may not agree with it, keep in mind that maybe you don’t want to work for someone whose values don’t align with yours. A difference of opinion is a fantastic thing to have, but if you’re afraid to use your voice, maybe that's not the best place for you.

Remember that you don’t have to be everywhere, but where you are, be there.​ If you love Twitter, brand yourself on that platform. But if you hate blogging and can’t keep up with it, simply refrain.” Let your best self show, and use branding as a constant way to improve the already incredible and empowering person that you are.



Posted by: 
Lexie White