“In this time of flux and change, millennials will play a clear role in the media industry’s future” says FIPP Rising Star Winner Francesca Wilson

FIPP’s Rising Stars in Media is a new initiative that was launched in 2015 that seeks to recognise exceptional young talent within the international magazine media industry, across any discipline. 

Tell us a little about your journey into the magazine media industry, for those who don’t know.

I joined Immediate – the special interest content and platform company – in June 2014, based in its London office. I’m responsible for delivering the commercial awards and events activity for Immediate’s parenting and wedding portfolios, including Prima Baby, You & Your Wedding and juniormagazine.co.uk, as well as the development of marketing partnerships for these titles.

I have an English Literature degree from Sussex University, and following my degree I began my media career at IPC Media’s (now Time Inc.) Wallpaper* magazine, working as an editorial intern on their City Guides series. After a number of freelance assignments in the arts, I became a member of the administration of The Orange Tree Theatre in London, working on marketing and fundraising. I also helped to develop the profile of a London-based choir using social media, widening and enlarging its audience. Prior to Immediate, I joined Hearst Magazines UK’s lifestyle brands which include Country Living and Good Housekeeping, as Events & Sponsorship Assistant in a team delivering reader events, award ceremonies and brand presence at exhibitions, as well as their popular Country Living Fairs.

Francesca Wilson ()

My career to date has been varied, working both in media and in the arts, but all my roles have had some common threads; a love of words, written and spoken, creative and strategic thinking, and building partnerships.

What do you think of FIPP’s Rising Stars in Media Award? How important is it to recognise and listen to the millennials voice in this industry?

There are many highly driven and ambitious young people in our industry, but we don’t always remember to stop, take stock of our achievements along the way, and to celebrate them. The FIPP Rising Stars in Media Award is a really important venture which provides an opportunity for young people in the industry to celebrate their achievements on a global scale.

Since joining Immediate in June 2015, I have also been awarded PPA New Events Professional of the Year 2015 at their New Talent awards, and been nominated for newcomer of the year at the Immediate Media Awards. Immediate is great at recognising talent, and rewarding it. I might not have known to enter the PPA or FIPP awards, or that I had a strong enough case to win, but for being nominated by my two publishers. Winning both these awards has given me an added confidence in the work I do.

In this time of flux and change in the magazine media industry, millennials will play a clear role in its future. What was very apparent from many of the congress speakers, and from discussions with other delegates, is that people in the industry really are keen to hear and learn from millennials. The FIPP award is a great medium to facilitate this, and FIPP will hopefully continue to share the insights and case studies of millennials and their work, and continue conversations and interaction between the established and the new generation of magazine media professionals.

So, you have now been through the inaugural Rising Stars in Media experience. What is your overall impression of the experience?

Fantastic! I have learned so much. The whole journey, from first being nominated by my publishers and considering my entry, to making my own Rising Stars video, and of course, speaking on stage at the congress, has been very rewarding. Not least for the shiny, starry trophy decorating my piano! My overriding feeling since the congress has been how much the experience has nurtured my understanding of the industry as a whole, and made me really consider where the opportunities lay ahead for brand development and growth. In the weeks preceding the congress I was fortunate to have meetings with Immediate’s CEO, Tom Bureau, as well as various publishers and key people in the company, to discuss the industry, and Immediate’s position within it. The whole process, and being at the congress itself, has reminded me why I always wanted to be part of this exciting industry, and has fuelled further thought about the exciting possibilities ahead. 

What did you think of the FIPP World Congress and being at an event, you wouldn’t ordinarily attend? What are your biggest take-aways from that event?

The Congress was a really captivating experience. I got to listen to so many interesting speakers, including from some major players in the publishing world, sharing their insights and case studies. It was also really special to be approached by some of them who came over to speak to me and the other rising stars.

Another real highlight was to get to know the other two rising star winners, to hear about their careers to date, and to share our learnings and experience; between us we had quite varied job roles, but had lots in common. We are still in touch and hope to remain so! The format of the congress, a mixture of lectures, networking sessions and events was well balanced, and made it easy to speak to other delegates, even though I hadn’t attended a conference of this scale before.

How, if anything, has your outlook changed, since attending the Congress? Are you doing anything differently in your marketing and events role as a result of something you learnt there?

Being at the congress and listening to all the different speakers gave me such a great, rounded understanding of the global market as a whole, of how different brands are responding to the changes in the market, capitalising on them and evolving. It reinforced the importance of brand extensions, of events, of thinking creatively and collaboratively to the future. It is undoubtedly already shaping the way I look at projects and I am already deploying some of my learnings as I progress.

What would you say to any millennial peers who are considering entering the Rising Stars next year?

Enter! It’s tempting to assume that you won’t win, as the competition will be huge. I really wanted to be on that list, but knew the competition would be tough. I certainly never expected to end up as one of the three overall winners and speaking at the Congress in Toronto! When Christine Huntingford, FIPP’s Vice President, called me to tell me, I was totally taken aback – she sent me an email soon after to confirm it was true! You don’t know what the judging panel are looking for in particular, and what it is about your entry which will grab their attention…

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Rising Stars 2016 

FIPP, and its partner UPM, wants to continue to discover and recognise those individuals under the age of 30 in media companies across the globe that are demonstrating outstanding talent and developing remarkable initiatives.

From this, FIPP will create a ‘Rising Stars List’ and share their initiatives, success stories and, of course, their profiles with the global magazine media community. 

FIPP’s Rising Stars in Media list will recognise people who work in the industry – whether this is a full-time/part-time employee or a freelancer – and who in the past 12 months has proved to deliver above and beyond what was expected.

Entries are now open and submissions will be received until 29 February. Download the entry form from the FIPP website.

Read what candidates who are our Rising Stars of 2015 have said about their experience:

Linda Mali

Samantha Freedman

Laura Wilson

Matthew Stepanic

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