August 26, 2014

Seventeen and the City

As promised, here is round two of my New York posts featuring two fabulous ladies and their journey's to the concrete jungle. Today I want all of you to meet Meaghan, whom I discovered randomly last week on LinkedIn (I'm telling ya'll I've met some amazing people via LinkedIn)! Her story is so inspirational and I know you'll enjoy learning about her as much as I did!

You'll find her interview below! Enjoy!

Think back to when you were a little girl…what did you want to be when you grew up and how did that dream evolve as you got older?
Tough question! I think at one point I wanted to be a teacher (I credit all of my AWESOME teachers for that!)…. And then in middle school I was convinced I wanted to be a lawyer (or just to emulate Elle Woods)… And then at some point in high school, my mom and I decided on magazine journalism. She noticed how much I enjoyed putting school projects together, bridging both the creative design and textual elements, and also that I was already obsessed with reading them! I’m pretty sure I remember the conversation we had in my bedroom when she first told me I’d work at Seventeen one day. (Crazy, right?!) It just seemed like the perfect fit. I already loved to write, and when I started to explore those interests during internships and at school, I instantly fell in love with the ability to tell important stories in such a visual way. Books, newspapers, blogs etc. are all great vehicles for storytelling (and I’ve always been a bookworm!), but magazines are really the only platform to tell a story in a way that’s just as powerful visually as it is editorially.

How were your college years? What did you major in?
Awesome, although cut too short! I finished undergrad in three years at the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!), but I loved every minute. I was a Communication Studies major but also took my fair share of English and Spanish courses. I was the ultra-involved girl… I joined the Alpha Chi Omega sorority during my freshman year, spent weekends hanging out with high school kids through my involvement with the non-profit, Young Life, and helped co-found a campus chapter of the national non-profit, She’s the First. And when I wasn’t doing those things, I was enjoying Ann Arbor or studying with friends in the library. I definitely miss it (especially football Saturdays!).

Okay what came first, Seventeen or the city?
I moved to New York City only a few days after graduation, without a formal job offer. Quite literally, I had just finished moving out, had been home for all of a few hours, and told my parents I wanted to book a one way ticket to New York. It was the scariest and most exhilarating few days of my entire life. I had been interviewing for my current job a few weeks before graduation, and my second round interview was actually the day I moved to the city (I went straight from the airport to the Hearst Tower!). After the interview, I grabbed my two suitcases from behind the security desk and moved into my first NYC apartment. Talk about a whirlwind day!

So I know tons of people probably ask this question, but what’s it like working at Seventeen; and for the Editor-In-Chief no less!
First off, it’s so much FUN! I really love the culture here. I love coming to work every day because I know the people around me are genuinely happy to be here and really enjoy their jobs. It makes such a difference to work with a team of people who feel so lucky to be here -- like they landed their dream job, just like me! We work really hard, and our deadlines are hard and fast, but we’re a smart and quick-witted group and work together to make things happen! Working for Ann is awesome – she’s so intelligent and really passionate about the Seventeen brand and GIRL POWER messaging. And she also really cares about our reader. It’s tough to keep up with her busy schedule and important meeting prep, but it helps that I’m obsessively organized and detail-oriented. She also really values mentorship, so it’s been great learning from her and just soaking everything up while I’m here.

Walk me through a day in the life of Meaghan?
Whew! No day is ever the same… but a typical day might go something like this:

Early AM wakeup (around 5:30am), because I like to squeeze a workout in before work, usually a run in Central Park or a quick cardio/weight combo at the gym. Then, I’m usually at work around 8am, drinking plenty of coffee and catching up on email or meeting prep. During the workday, I answer a ton of emails, solve staff problems, schedule and coordinate meetings, supervise our interns, and help other story editors with research and brainstorming. I’m usually out of work around 6:30 or 7pm, and will either grab dinner and/or drinks with a friend or co-worker, or head home to cook something myself. Then I spend time in bed reading or catching up on my favorite magazines before an early lights out (usually before 10pm). Then I do it all over again the next day!

What do you love most about living in New York?
 I love the fact that this city attracts BIG THINKERS and DREAMERS. If you’re going to do something BIG in the world, New York City is definitely the place to make it happen. It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by so many smart, dedicated, and driven people who not only want to be successful, but also want to make a difference in the world. And to top it off, you really can’t beat running through Central Park in the fall! J

Tell me about My Dreams Big City? What inspired you to start blogging?
I started blogging during my first summer in New York as an intern, and talked a lot about the culture shock of moving from the suburbs to a huge city and working for a huge company. When I wanted to make the move initially, I remember searching for bloggers and writers who made that same move, and really didn’t find much that was super helpful. So I started blogging because I wanted young girls to know that big dreams are possible, even if you live somewhere outside a huge city.

Since then, it’s kind of evolved from talking about that to talking about what it means to be a working professional in my early 20’s, from learning basic life skills such as budgeting and interviewing, etc. to figuring out my voice and place in a city that can seem so overwhelming and impersonal at times!

What advice do you have for girls like me who are still in search of that first big break?
 Find your voice, and find the right way to amplify it! Along with that, develop your own personal brand through social media and all of your professional materials (resume, personal website, portfolio, LinkedIn, etc.) and make it consistent. It should be clear to anyone you are interviewing with what makes your voice/personality/skills perfect for the job you’re interested in. And along with that, expand your professional network to include people in multiple professions, industries, etc. It always helps to have friends and acquaintances all over the career board, especially when you’re young and still figuring out what you’re really interested in! Request tons of informational interviews, kick-*** at your internships, and enjoy the moment you’re in now! You’ll be working soon enough J

Describe a time of gorgeous chaos in your life?
I feel like every day is gorgeous chaos… But especially the few months leading up to my first half marathon. I was still figuring out my job at that point, and on top of that, I was training and running 7-8 miles (on average) during the day. It was exhausting, but I felt so accomplished by the time my head hit the pillow at night. It was definitely a time where I was pushing myself to my mental and physical limits, but I learned so much about myself during that time, and what I was actually capable of, that I wouldn’t give it back for a minute!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Your voice is (and always will be) one of your most important possessions. Use it wisely and, most importantly, to do your share of good in the world.


1 comment

Nicole said...

Oh wow her story is very inspirational! Thanks for sharing!!

xo ClassToCloset

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