Last weekend, New York City hosted the inaugural BinderCon, a groundbreaking event that was aptly titled “Out of the Binders”. For two days, the symposium provided women and gender non-conforming writers with powerful resources to push forward in their respective careers. Distinguished female journalists were present at this event, showcasing the highest ranks in today’s media industry. Each female speaker, trainer, and panelist in attendance embodied an abundance of wisdom and more significantly, accomplishment. BinderCon was a conference dedicated to writers, but the words of wisdom shared by its speakers apply to all career paths. Here are some of the best takeaways from BinderCon attendees.
“When there wasn’t a venue for me, I started my own.” –Lisa Peet
Lisa Peet didn’t wait around for anyone to ask her to review books; she knew what she wanted and took action. She began reviewing books on her blog, despite having no platform at the time. Peet demonstrated that she was a trailblazer, and venues soon began recognizing her talent. She now regularly posts reviews on websites like “Like Fire” and “Bloom” and has been featured in numerous reviewing sites – all of which prove the point: don’t wait around for someone to give you an opportunity; take it into your own hands! If there’s no door? Then break down some walls! When you know what you want, just go out and get it!
“People want to help you if you’re easy to work with.” –Lisa Levy
When it comes to networking, etiquette is key — and friendliness should be at the top of your list. As Lisa Levy, freelancer extraordinaire aptly states: “Be kind to others.” It’s one of the most vital tips you could ever receive! Take the time to celebrate and support the work of others, not just your own. When networking, as well as in life, generally speaking, be respectful and courteous. Open doors for those around you; don’t forget “please” and “thank you.” You never know if that individual you held an elevator door open for is a potential connection or even someone who could potentially hire you one day!
“Know when to walk away and to not be nice.” –Merve Emre
However, Merve Emre emphasizes the importance of standing your ground and not being too accommodating. As a freelance writer and reviewer, she firmly believes that it is essential to assert yourself in negotiations with editors – if they cannot meet your conditions for an article or piece then don’t hesitate to withdraw it from consideration without apology. Don’t be intimidated by authority figures; stand up for what you believe in and fight for just compensation!
“If someone can’t help you, go to the next person.” –Natalia Oberti Noguera
The world offers innumerable people who can advance your career, but also ample individuals who will not be able to assist you or simply won’t. Don’t be discourteous, but don’t forsake either. If you reach a brick wall, according to Natalia Oberti Noguera, the founder, and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship, persist in inquiring. It’s not their responsibility after all! Network and talk to people until you discover someone who can be a dependable resource, even if it’s only for advice. Noguera further shared advice from Toya Powell of the USBC which ties in with this same concept. “Fortune is in the follow-up.” So, when you meet someone, follow up.
“When it comes down to it, you should be a little bit more of an asshole.” –Jessica McGlory
Despite what you may think, Jessica McGlory – founder and CEO of Industry Forecast Project Inc. – isn’t advocating impoliteness in the office environment; her statement at BinderCon was certainly one of the most memorable lines! Instead, McGlory encourages women to have a voice and take ownership of their successes. She proudly told us about the time she raised money for a charitable cause that was close to her heart. After putting in a lot of hard work alone, she filled out all the paperwork and submitted the forms. But McGlory was surprised to find that her advisor showed gratitude for the entire team’s effort – even though it was mostly her own! “Don’t be afraid to say, ‘this happened because of me, and without me, it wouldn’t have happened,’” McGlory says.
“Own your expertise.” –Adaora Udoji
According to Adaora Udoji, a broadcast journalist and entrepreneur, far too many women are hesitant to own their expertise in certain topics. If you are passionate about a certain topic or stay updated with the current news, Udoji believes that you should hold yourself up as an expert. Oftentimes, women can be disregarded as contributors or employees since explicitly expressing expertise may be seen as “boasting”, while not mentioning their capabilities is viewed to be more “modest”. However, this should not always hold. Udoji insists. “Would a straight, white man hesitate to claim his expertise?” she asked. “No. Neither should you.”
“Sit at the big kid’s table.” –Natalia Oberti Noguera
Noguera shared with the crowd a remarkable story of his friend’s daughter—a piano teacher’s offspring who tried out for volleyball and proudly earned spots on both varsity and junior varsity teams. The daughter confidently opted to take on the role of varsity player, despite knowing she’d be relegated to the bench for her entire junior year. When asked why she’d sacrifice playing time in favor of cheering from the sidelines, The mother replied, “Because she’ll get to practice with the better players.” Undoubtedly, the daughter started on varsity her senior year while friends who had chosen JV a year prior found themselves sitting on the bench. Here’s my advice to you: If it is an option, always practice with those more experienced than yourself. You may be out of your league at first but they will teach you valuable lessons that no one else can match!
“Know enough to be dangerous.” –Alejandra Owens
Contrary to what our data-driven society would have us believe, we don’t necessarily need to know it all to make a success of ourselves. That’s according to Alejandra Owens, AARP’s marketing advisor extraordinaire. Instead, you only need to possess the basic knowledge to get started. As an example, you aren’t required to be a professional in SEO, but it is advantageous to have enough knowledge of the subject when conversing with people who code being able to ask them questions using their language. This will help them appreciate and respect your efforts more.