Launch Party: Bringing our Digital Community to Life
August 5, 2019
On Sunday, July 28th, we brought Aspire to Her’s digital community to life by hosting our first-ever in-person event to connect our audience, young women in their early careers, with the mentors they aspire to. Over 70 young women attended the sold out event and had the opportunity to chat with 25 NYC-based business leaders across industries and companies, including badass women from Birchbox, Away, Female Founders Fund, Lola, Lou & Grey, WeWork, Snapchat, and more. Our incredible keynote panelists included Alex Daly of Daly, Emily St. Denis of Female Founders Fund, Kima Cooper of Birchbox, Peri Shamsai of Accenture, and Selby Drummond of Snap, Inc.
We wanted to give you a glimpse into our Launch Party’s magic, which included two hours of networking, a panel of superstar businesswomen, and candid career-focused conversations. Our incredible keynote panelists came from a wide array of backgrounds and are on different career tracks, but their resounding advice was the same: your early career matters, and so do you. We talked the fun stuff - like following your passion and weaving it into your work - the real stuff - like being realistic in where you are in your career and having the patience to build your skill-set to eventually land your dream job - and the tough stuff - like negotiating your salary.
Check out some highlights below!
The Importance of your First Job
Alex Daly opened the panel with her comments on her first job as a fact checker for the Wall Street Journal. “It was the beginning of a long line of experimentation to figure out what I did end up wanting to do...it actually taught me that journalism was something I didn’t want to be doing, which was equally valuable.” Cheers to all of us who have no idea what we want to be when we grow up!
Making a Career Switch
When thinking about making a career switch, Peri and Emily had excellent advice. “Look around your company and your leadership team. If you can’t find anyone who has a job that you want, it’s probably time to move on,” Emily St. Denis advised. We couldn’t agree more - finding someone you aspire to is key in building your career - sometimes, it takes seeing it in someone else to believe you can do it.
Peri’s thoughts were more tactical. She said to think about your career on a matrix with your business area on one axis (i.e., marketing/finance/HR/analytics/etc.) and your industry, region, or other relevant experience on the other. When you’re looking to make a switch, be sure to make it in just one area. So if you’re working in finance for an early stage healthcare tech startup, but you want to be in marketing, seek jobs in marketing at early stage healthcare tech startups. You always want to be able to translate your past experiences to future roles, so take gradual steps toward the job you aspire to, rather than huge leaps that might be more than you can handle at once.
Building Your Brand
When asked about how she went about building her brand, Selby’s answer was simple: “Be authentic.” She discussed how building your brand shouldn’t be something you think too much about - it’s about being you. Alex expanded on that idea in saying that it’s not always about only showing off your best self. She encouraged all of us to get more comfortable being real and not to discount the importance of being as honest and transparent about the tough stuff as the exciting celebratory moments. Your brand goes beyond your Instagram’s highlight reel - it’s everything that you communicate to the world; it’s who you are and how people are impacted by you.
Building a Desirable Skillset
As most of us, what Kima thought she wanted to do turned out to be entirely different. She started out pursuing a career in media law, and quickly realized that she had no interest in the field of law and rather wanted to work in marketing. “I thought about what skills I had learned in law school that would be transferable - research, analytical and critical thinking, attention to detail - and began applying to roles that required that skill-set…when I was applying to advertising jobs, I was getting no responses, so I had to find another way in.” By leveraging her media experience and analytical skills, she landed a role in insights working at a global radio group. Her story goes to show that it’s the skills you learn on the job that matter most. So if you’re looking to enter a certain field, research what skills are required to succeed, and think about how you can demonstrate that you have them. Don’t sell yourself short - you are qualified!
Knowing and Fighting For Your Worth
The first audience question was bold and ambitious: “If you love your job, but you’ve been there for a few years and feel that you deserve more, how do you ask for a promotion or raise?” Emily St. Denis jumped at the opportunity to answer. “Get the numbers” she urged the audience. Find out what other people in your field are making and show your boss why you deserve more than the average. Selby added to make sure you approach career negotiations with a “here’s what’s in it for you” approach. Explain how paying you more or giving you a bigger budget or elevating your title will help you to better do your job. The message behind their advice was clear: know your worth and fight for it.
After the panel, attendees mingled over sips and snacks and networked amongst themselves. Seeing our audience and the mentors they aspire to connect in person for the first time was absolutely inspiring.
Our Launch Party was everything we dreamed it would be and more. We are thrilled to announce that this was just the beginning of what we hope will become a core part of Aspire to Her’s platform. Look out for upcoming events this fall, beginning with our Digital Workshop Series in partnership with Accenture, which will focus on providing digital upskilling to our audience and female founder mentors. The first workshop will be on Thursday, September 5th at 6PM. Tickets will be on sale soon :)
Thank you again to our incredible Launch Party sponsors! Couldn’t have done this without all of you.
What did you think? Let’s chat. Comment below!
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