"The executives who I interviewed with knew I could put a magazine together, but the reason they hired me was for my presence on social and my ease with it."

By Alexis Bennett
Nov 15, 2019 @ 3:00 pm
Darian DiCianno/BFA.com

Bergdorf Goodman is definitely a fashion lover's paradise, its stores filled with designer handbags, shoes, and ready-to-wear pieces. Equally important, though, are the women who love to buy and wear those items. Bergdorf Good Mornings brings some of those women together to chat about career experiences and overcoming challenges on their path to succes.

For the latest gathering, which was hosted by Bergdorf Goodman president Darcy Penick, InStyle's editor-in-chief Laura Brown joined Dee Poku, founder and CEO of WIE, a membership network for women leaders and creators, for an inspiring conversation. The discussion started off with Poku and Brown sharing stories of how they met and then jumped to career talk.

When asked how to be assertive without stepping on toes, Laura made it clear that it takes a whole lot of confidence in yourself and your work. "Be that person in the office that's confident. You know when other people in the office have that fearful face? You know your stuff, whether it's how to produce a photo shoot, or how to write a feature, or how to edit something. So don't go in there afraid. You're there because you have the equity that gets you in the room to do the job.

Darian DiCianno/BFA.com

Poku also shared her tips for networking like a pro. "I'm always thinking about the relationships that I'm building," she said. "So that when I get to the point when I need something, whether it's a job or anything, I don't have to panic because I've already nurtured and built these great relationships."

And social media has definitely made it easier to maintain those relationships, and it has given both women great opportunities. "I like to talk about immigration and equal pay," says Poku. "Initially when I started posting those things, I would get massive unfollows and it made me retreat." But a mentor encouraged Poku to stay true to herself, which gave her the confidence to keep on posting issues that mattered most to her. "Now I have a sense of what I want to say," adds Poku. "And my followers appreciate that."

Brown revealed that social media also played a pivotal role in helping her land her position at InStyle. "The executives who I interviewed with knew I could put a magazine together, but the reason they hired me was for my presence on social and my ease with it," says Brown. "It gives me an ability to be myself, and I put my work out there and to showcase what I'm doing."

Before the talk ended, Brown sent an important reminder it isn't all about the numbers. "I'm more interested in ladies who are doing something, more than someone who has a million Instagram followers."

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