Millennials are ‘multi-faceted, valuable members of their organisations’ says FIPP Rising Star Winner Laura 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.

My journey into the magazine media industry was a very fortuitous one. I was offered a job at Hearst during my last week in college, moved to New York immediately upon graduating and began my career at Hearst. I never expected that the magazine industry was exactly where I would land, but it had always fascinated me so I leapt at the opportunity. As a 21-year-old working as an assistant at a fashion magazine, I had the dream job and carried on from that point! From there, I moved over to an ad agency for a brief time where I was able to gain a larger understanding of the advertising world from start to finish, working on campaigns for Nordstrom Rack, Avon, and others. That was like my “mini MBA” – working as an account manager on a small team that did it all! I then returned to Hearst to begin a job at Town & Country in 2013 and have been thriving there – a fabulous brand with brilliant talent – ever since. I started in marketing at T&C, worked up to the role of Associate Director of Marketing and just recently was afforded the incredible opportunity to really get a 360-degree experience in publishing as I moved into sales.

Laura Wilson ()

What do you think of FIPP’s Rising Stars in Media Award?

Any organisation that has the awareness and sensibility to establish such an award is one that will have a very long lifespan. It is crucial that everyone, no matter the industry, take the time to invest in and recognise the next wave of talent and leaders coming behind them. FIPP is an organisation comprised of the world’s most respected and successful media professionals, so for young professionals like Francesca Wilson, Matthew Stepanic and myself to have this tremendous opportunity to share our thoughts with an audience that has made our industry everything that it currently is something very rare. I have a great deal of respect for FIPP for founding this award and cannot thank them enough for the immense honor. I hope this is an award that lives on for generations. An award celebrating talented young professionals in media will foster continued innovation and cultivate the thought leaders of the future. 

How important is it to recognize and listen to the millennials voice in this industry?

From a business perspective: 

It is important for everyone to pay attention to millennials today, not just the media industry. Millennials make up a large percentage of the coveted audience many of us are targeting today. Since the landscape of our industry continues to shift and expand, we need to look to those who are purchasing, engaging in and sharing our content and – most importantly – pay attention to the platforms with strong traction. Millennials move quickly, for better or for worse, in every facet of their lives so it is difficult to truly peg them. Our goal is to listen to millennials now, respond well and learn to anticipate so that we know them as they move into the decades ahead and prepare for their successors. 

From a professional/industry standpoint: 

Being a millennial, it is tricky to answer this question. What I can share is that senior executives are prepared and willing to give millennials a very strong voice and tremendous access to opportunity. I imagine that twenty years ago the structure of this industry was much more stratified when it came to growth and opportunity. Age is becoming less and less of a factor as young professionals come into the workforce fully prepared to work hard, be creative and take on new challenges! Across the board, millennials are very good at many things. They are exposed to more and more – making them multi-faceted, valuable members of their organisations. This is a huge shift from when careers were rather one -dimensional by comparison. And with that, we begin to fully realize how crucial listening to millennials truly is and how their voices can shape the future of our business. 

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

My overall impression of the FIPP Congress: I was fascinated by the work that is being done around the world and, most importantly, how willing everyone was to come to the Congress and really share their work. That really made an impression on me as it speaks to how strong this unique group of industry leaders is and how dedicated they are to the success of our industry: sharing, growing and connecting to ensure that we remain strong and collaborative, yet competitive. The opportunity to hear remarkable executives share their passions and key projects was outstanding. I met many interesting people and have forged relationships that will lead to partnerships in the future – all very exciting and all due to the opportunity to participate in this exceptional event. This was truly an opportunity unlike any other I have experienced and one for which I am most grateful!

What are your biggest take-aways from the event? 

Key takeaways for me were, in short:

This industry is beyond alive and well. The media industry is nimble and will continue to thrive in a world where people simply love good content that delivers every time. 

Making time to focus on the industry at large is an invaluable practice. We are all guilty of getting absorbed in our own work. But stepping back, observing others’ work and learning about innovations on the horizon lead to new opportunities, partnerships and successes. 

Being part of an organization that you are proud of makes one’s work meaningful. It was evident through the work presented and those speaking that they are proud of the work that they do and the companies that they represent – big or small. 

How has your outlook changed since attending the congress? Are you doing anything differently in your role as a result of something you learned there?

My outlook has only continued to brighten since my experience at the FIPP Congress. The forum showcased impressive work happening in the world that has the ability to impact everyone; it doesn’t get more exciting than that! I had the chance to meet so many fabulous, brilliant people at the Congress with whom I hope to partner in the future in various ways. Connecting with others is something that I strive to do well and as a relatively young professional this forum reminded me of how important it is to consistently grow and challenge yourself throughout your career. A forum like the FIPP Congress does exactly that, which is so amazing. I am challenging myself to focus on the big picture; specifically global relationships that could help me grow and, ultimately, help my organisation further succeed. It is important to take risks, embark on new collaborations and try things that could lead to great success. Even if it doesn’t turn out as predicted, you’ve done something different, learned a few lessons and challenged yourself and those around you. 

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

Go for it! I absolutely encourage anyone considering applying or nominating someone else for this award to do so. This opportunity is a significant honor and invites you to the table to be heard by and to learn from those who do it best. Being nominated for this award was an incredible surprise for me, which made receiving the award that much more special. Knowing that people within your organisation value you and respect your work is very humbling, but also inspires you to raise the bar, yet again, for yourself and for your team. I was also fortunate in that I really enjoyed getting to know my fellow Rising Stars, Francesca Wilson and Matthew Stepanic, who will forever remain in my circle of industry go-tos! 

The fact that FIPP has established such an award tells all of us that simply put, they care. FIPP wants to see this industry sustain the tests of time and the challenges of change. Once you feel the energy of the Congress, you will know exactly what that means! 

Anything else you would like to add? 

I would like to extend a very special thanks to the VP/Publisher of Town & Country, Jennifer Levene Bruno, for nominating me for this tremendous award. It is her unparalleled leadership and continuous encouragement of her team that have inspired me to work hard and love what I do every day! I am truly grateful for the FIPP Rising Stars in Media Award. 

It was a gift to have the opportunity to represent Hearst and my talented colleagues at the FIPP Congress. There is incredible work being done at Town & Country and I could not have grown in the ways that I have without the inspiration and guidance of the extraordinary team around me!

Rising Stars ()

Entries open in January 2016 

In partnership with UPM, FIPP will continue with its Rising Star Awards in 2016. To recognise and connect with millennials in media companies across the globe, under the age of 30, that are demonstrating outstanding talent and developing remarkable initiatives.

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

The top three winners will attend the FIPP London event taking place on 10-11 May at the contemporary Novotel London West. Read more about this exciting new initiative from FIPP incorporating four exciting events in one London venue over two days.

FIPP’s Rising Stars in Media List will recognise people who work in the industry – those showing great initiative in their role and are potential ‘ones to watch’ for the future.  Whether a full-time/part-time employee or freelancer – who in the past 12 months has proved to deliver above and beyond what was expected.

Start thinking about your Rising Stars and get ready to nominate them (or yourself!) in January 2016. Submissions will be received until 29 February.

If you have any questions in the meantime, email Christine Huntingford and/or Jenny Stubbs

Read what some global media leaders have to say about the Awards. 

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