The FindSpark conference on Saturday, April 5th, was chock-full of industry professionals from distinct companies and backgrounds, prepared to share their wisdom to students of LIM College. Even though I am a recent graduate of LIM and started my first “real world” job, I immediately jumped on the favorable encounter to attend the conference because I saw it as a chance for me to meet new people, develop new relationships, and get a crash refresher course on everything I learned in college and then some. Plus, I took the opportunity to brush up on my people skills. After all, practice does make perfect and the more people I associate with, the better and better I get at not being awkward.
To kick off the day, a few words from the morning keynote speaker, CEO of Eloquii, Mariah Chase. My biggest takeaways were from her closing remarks, which I personally found to be very helpful: “Don’t limit yourself- if you want to get into fashion but your background is in another field, it’s okay [take the chance, but market yourself accordingly]” and, “Ask for more. Don’t be afraid to ask for more from your employers, even if [it’s an entry level position].”
At “Every Day I’m Mingling,” social media-savvy gals shared their stories on how networking (on and off screen) helped them land their dream jobs.
Drew Elovitz, Social Media Editor for Teen Vogue, shared with us her affinity for Barbie and how that landed her some really cool internships and jobs. “I majored in history, film and gender studies, a 2009 graduate. The economy was bad. I didn’t know what else to do so… I went to grad school, studying media and popular culture (for which she had to write her thesis on “Sex & the City” and “30 Rock” and interned at Bravo, then Jimmy Fallon), and looking for a way to translate my interests into a job.” From a “Should Barbie Get Back with Ken?” campaign on Tumblr, Drew exchanged a few emails with a rep from Attention USA, a full-service media agency, which just so happened to work with Mattel, landing her the opportunity to fulfill her dream of making her Barbie obsession into a job she enjoyed. And she must have done an exceptional job because years later, Conde Nast reached out to her for the position she is currently in now at Teen Vogue.
Mae Karwowski, Founder of Obviously Social, has worked with clients such as the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and Uniqlo. Her mindset is looking at events as just “cool people hanging out.” Her tips on succeeding were to be interested and “genuinely care” about what others have to say; be positive- “Don’t be negative about anything, not even about the weather. Save the negativity for when you’re good friends. And if negativity happens, put a positive spin on it;” don’t judge; “Don’t just shove your business cards at people; it may come off as inauthentic;” and finally, “Do meet that one intimidating person- could be the CEO or manager, whatever. Challenge, push yourself.”
Samantha Kunion, Character Design Associate at The Moret Group, creates fun character socks (SpongeBob, Frozen, etc.). She expressed to group that she came about this job thanks to her best friend, who had the right connections and put in a good word. “I didn’t meet the qualifications for the job but I was persistent… My boyfriend’s advice was ‘just see it as a conversation’ [as opposed to an interview]. And I did and I love my job and can’t see myself doing anything else.”
Biggest take away of the session:
“Be confident.” (Sam) Be proud of your accomplishments; “[Find a way to] be memorable [in a good way].” (Drew); “Take a chance.” (Mae) It’s awkward; it’s uncomfortable but just go for it! You never know!