The Women in Media conference in Los Angeles was energizing to say the least. A full nine hours of mingling with successful women from all backgrounds, a free make-up station, yoga, trendy food and cocktails…how could it get much better. Speakers and attendees ranged from all areas of media, from digital entertainment to social media, from executive level to entry level — there was a place for everyone.
Speakers shared a variety of different experiences on being female in the industry, many of which focused on wellness. I came out of the day understanding one thing about women in media: there is no ‘one thing.’ We each have our own experiences and stories to share, and that in itself is why conferences like this are so important.
Here are some key points speakers made:
Persistence is key
- One speaker graduated at the top of her class and sent out over 400 resumes without being hired anywhere. After almost a year went by as she was working at a grocery store, she finally got a job with her parents help paying rent. Today she is the CEO of a large public relations company.
- Another speaker had to shut down a failed business and struggled with severe health issues following. Today, she runs two creative agencies and leads yoga sessions at large music festivals.
Do it your own way
- You have to find what works for you in your career. One speaker mentioned how easy it is to look up to powerful and bold female leaders and follow in their career footsteps. She pointed out that each woman is different and can reach success by focusing on their own strengths.
- Another speaker embodied this perfectly. She’s had a successful career in branding and credits comedy with helping her along the way. Comedy helps ‘diffuse the divide’ and brings people together on difficult issues.
We all have a ‘Creative ID’
- One speaker introduced the idea of ‘creative identity.’ She explained that we live in a world where everything is fluid, identity included, and that creativity and identity are intrinsically linked.
- ‘Creative ID’ is essentially an expression of identity based on how you self-brand. “Everybody is either a brand, chasing a brand or becoming a brand,” she said.
- Self care is crucial in an industry where there’s constant demands
- It’s important to clock out of work and tell colleagues that you have something personal tohandle. One speaker shared that she does not respond to emails after hours.
- It’s important to be cognizant of the effect social media has on our mental health — it causesmany of us to feel inadequate.
Embrace vulnerability and ask for help
- One speaker touched up on the difficulties of not fitting into the ‘category’ you’ve been assigned, specifically noting the expectation of women to juggle everything.
- It’s important to have allies and admit when you need support.
- We need to remove the stigma behind asking for help.
Diversifying the workforce and media space
- We all need allies.
- It’s our responsibility to advocate for diversity on our teams at work.
- One speaker discussed the importance of diversifying what we ‘put on screen’ so minority groups are not negatively portrayed or stereotyped. We need to be conscious of these issues and speak up.
All in all, this event was hugely successful in providing a platform for women to empower one another. I know that certain words I heard that day will stick with me all throughout my career. While we all have different beliefs, one thing’s for sure — we can learn and grow and advance ourselves by coming together and sharing our stories.