This article is a part of the "My Experience with MEG" series, in which past recipients discuss how the Membership Empowerment Grant enhanced their careers.
It had been on my to-do list forever: take coding classes. I’d tried out several free courses online already, but to little avail. The way I learned best was in-person, where I couldn’t brush it off or inadvertently get distracted by Twitter or Facebook. So when I first heard about NYWICI’s Member Empowerment Grant (MEG) a few years ago, I knew that this was my chance to actually make it happen.
Let me backtrack: I didn’t just want to take coding classes because it’s arguably the most important job skill of the future (I’m just a little jealous of elementary school students who are learning it as part of their basic curricula in many schools now.) Rather, as an editor working in a newsroom, I’d identified a largely unfilled gap in the industry: editors and journalists who could work closely with the company’s product team and developers and understood how to effectively communicate with those parts of the business.
It wasn’t my goal to come out of General Assembly’s eight-week front-end web development course and become a programmer. Rather, I wanted to be able to apply product thinking to news and help build new forms of storytelling. At the end of those eight weeks (my one regret: taking it on Saturdays over the summer), I was able to add a completely new set of skills to my LinkedIn profile, making me more marketable for recruiters and HR departments. But more importantly, I felt more confident in applying to a new swath of jobs, and had a classroom full of new connections and open doors. Ultimately, it helped lead me to current job as mobile editor at Bloomberg, where I work closely with our product team on a daily basis and helped execute our new mobile app.
Without the member empowerment grant, however, the price of the eight-week course would have been too steep a barrier to entry — and my career certainly wouldn’t be on the same trajectory. At the very least, “coding classes” would still just be another item on my never-ending to-do list.
So find the item on your to-do list that’s been languishing there for too long — maybe it’s on the “oh, that would be nice” list in your head — and take charge of it. If you’ve been a NYWICI member for three years or more, you have no excuse not to.
The New York Women in Communications' annual Member Empowerment Grant is for NYWICI members of at least three consecutive years who want to pursue professional development opportunities. Awards are granted for continuing education courses, conference attendance, career coaching and more. Grants are paid directly to an institution and not to recipients. Winners must be present at the NYWICI Annual Meeting held each May, and use their grant within one year.