By Jennifer Owens, Vice President, Professional Programming and Georgia Galanoudis Vice President, Communications, New York Women in Communications
You wouldn’t know it from our President’s tweets, but real life today is never black and white.
Business today is built on a relentless pursuit of nuance. This is particularly true in the media business, where the best communicators must not only live with ambiguity but must revel in it everyday.
Ambiguity is inherent in the words and images we publish across so many digital and social media platforms and it’s inherent in the way these elements are immediately taken up by readers with their own interpretations as they respond, like and share. And too, it lives in the revenue strategies driven by our brands’ and our clients’ ever-changing goals.
All of which means that in order to thrive, communicators today must first develop a thick skin (for sure) but also a wide-open point of view that is comfortable navigating oftentimes conflicting objectives.
If only we could hire hundreds upon hundreds of writers, editors and strategists to steer our content ship through such murky waters. But ahhh, no such luck. In this age of plummeting ad dollars and congested content plays, the bottom line demands young and cheap talent — talent that by it’s nature is untested and inexperienced.
What’s a brand to do? Easy, hire a woman.
Why not a man? Well, simply put, men have had their turn at the wheel, giving us a communications industry still:
- Driven by useless clicks for regurgitated drivel once known as editorial and now described as “content.”
- Enamored by anything “millennial” and blind to huge swaths of readers and buyers older than 35.
- Rushing after the perfect one-size-fits-all answer — that is, until the next new answer surfaces.
Women, by contrast, understand that a singular path to a desired outcome is often too rigid to succeed. Study after study finds that we are by nature communicators, that we thrive in collaborative settings and that we are master compromisers, knowing how to get the best out of a situation. Important, too: We’re comfortable processing both the emotional and scientific data bombarding us day and night to guide our teams to produce great work.
It’s a combination that our readers need — as well as our clients:
- Because collaborative teams encourage more diversity of thought.
- Because managed risk is far better for the bottom line.
- Because teams that have time for themselves and their work drive innovation.
- And most importantly, because women drive revenues.
Simply put, women make better leaders, which is why in a time of turbulent change in our industry, female leadership is needed more than ever. And yet, it remains far too uncommon to see content and communications firms led by women.
That’s why New York Women in Communications [NYWICI], led by President Meredith Long, Senior Vice President/GM, News, Luxury & Style, Time Inc, remains such a necessary and vital voice for today’s professionals.
Our work in key areas of content strategy, media relations and ad sales serves to keep our industry on firm footing in turbulent times. (Indeed, as part of Communications Week, our NYWICI panel “The Clicks Are In: How Major Media Brands Maintain Trust in the Era of Viral Media” will examine the tough question of maintaining media trust in the “fake news” era.)
“In a moment when genuine and trusted sources of information are harder and harder to find, our industry needs women more than ever,” argues NYWICI President Meredith Long, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Luxury & Style at Time Inc. “Our candor and our credibility are the currency most valued today and communications company that realize that fact will be the ones to succeed.”
An award-winning editor and writer on women’s issues, workplace and parenting trends, Jennifer leads the editorial mission of Working Mother Media (workingmother.com) and the National Association for Female Executives (nafe.com) through their digital, print, social and video channels, reaching millions of women each month.
Georgia has led the strategy and execution of a myriad of integrated programs for such clients as Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, S&P Global and Bank of America delivering sales and marketing growth with strategic content as the common thread.