Cocktails & Conversation with WIMM

Harriet Cole: Lifestyle Expert, Author, (Formerly at ESSENCEEBONY)

Mikki Taylor: Editor-at-Large, ESSENCE

Teri Agins: First African-American Wall Street Journal Fashion Editor, Author

Kierna Mayo: Editor in Chief, EBONY

These were just a few of the fierce women who spoke at last week's Women in Media Meet-Up event at Bergdorf Goodman. My wonderfully talented friend Myrdith Leon-McCormack (founder of World Bride Magazine and co-founder of WIMM) invited me to hear some of NYC's most influential women in the media & publishing industry speak about their career paths. The evening was sponsored by Moet and Lancome, so you can bet I was enjoying a glass of champs and examining a tube of mascara when the fabulous Mikki Taylor walked up and introduced herself. She exuded confidence and was completely approachable thanks to her warm smile and infectious personality. I couldn't wait to hear what she had to say as a panelist.

As WIMM Co-Founder Marsha Reeves Jews introduced the panelists to my right, I knew it was time to get out my pen & paper iPhone notepad. Four amazingly talented ladies, all who broke ground in their respective fields, were taking time out of their busy schedules to support women of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you were a first-time blogger or the editor of a magazine, you definitely went home with more knowledge of how to become a successful woman in media today.

Two glasses of champagne later (and many not-so-sly attempts at slipping that Lancome mascara into my purse), I walked away with the following advice from these influential ladies:

  • "BE PATIENT." - We all want instant success and gratification. It took Harriet Cole 7 years to become a fashion director. If you put in the hard work and believe in yourself, you will get to where you want to be. 
  • "PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR GENESIS." - Mikki Taylor listened to her "inner child" and honed in on her innate skills. Remember what you loved as a kid and bring those attributes to the forefront (both personally and professionally). 
  • "YOU DON'T KNOW HOW A JOB WILL HELP YOU IN THE FUTURE. IT COULD HELP YOU OUT WITH THE NEXT ONE EVEN IF IT'S NOT RELATED." - I felt so relieved after hearing Teri Agins say this. As someone who has ping-ponged her way into the world of journalism, I could finally see how the people I've met and the experiences I've had as as a production assistant, makeup artist, and sales person have led me to where I am today.
  • "HAVE A TOOLBOX AND FILL IT WITH EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO REFINE." - This was a big takeaway from Harriet Cole. If you're not good at something, put it in your toolbox and work on it. Not the best public speaker? Sign up for a Tastemakers or improv class. Improve on your weaknesses so you become more marketable.
  • "WHATEVER YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO CHARGE FOR YOUR SERVICE, MULTIPLY IT BY THREE." As women, we tend to underestimate ourselves, especially in the business world. Take initiative and ASK FOR WHAT YOU'RE WORTH.
  • "TELL ME SOMETHING SURPRISING, NOT SOMETHING I KNOW ALREADY."  -Take advantage of an opportunity by telling someone a new piece of information. Stand out by being INTERESTING.
  • "KNOW YOUR VALUE. DON'T LET YOUR SHY SELF GET IN THE WAY." - Mikki revealed that she had a shy side to her. In order to combat that she acknowledged that aspect of her personality and opted to put it aside. She knew it "got in the way" of her success. 

There were some other great pieces of advice that I jotted down (see below). Unfortunately, I was in a rush and had to head to another event so I missed out on the next set of panelists that were tackling the topic of "Bridging the Gap." I want to thank Myrdith, Sanya Hudson, and Marsha Reeves Jews for putting together such an inspiring event. It's not often we all take time to help each other out (especially in NYC). Women helping women. A truly great concept!


*Just make sure your bra isn't showing when you meet the Editor-at-Large of ESSENCE.

"Friction is a blessing. Point it back at yourself and ask, 'what is my part in this?'"
" Opportunity favors the prepared mind."
"You give all your gifts when you do anything."
"Put your business name on your fridge along with a list of 15 things that you want to do."
"Tell people what you want to claim. DON'T COMPLAIN."
"Look for the counterintuitive. Not what you expect."
"You can't expect anyone to invest in you when you don't know your truth."