Lessons from the Media’s Most Powerful Women

This Monday, Jessica had the distinct pleasure of attending the Matrix Awards, the annual celebration of influential women in the media industry by New York Women in Communications (NYWICI), an organization on whose board she sits. But for many years prior to holding a board seat, she sat in the audience at this inspiring event, held in the 1,400-seat ballroom of New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The luncheon honored seven icons from across the media landscape–from television and film to magazines and advertising–who have achieved much success in their careers. The Matrix honorees, and their presenters (many of them men), included:

Queen Latifah, a 2014 Matrix Honorees, on the red carpet

Queen Latifah, a 2014 Matrix Honorees, on the red carpet

  • Wendy Clark, Senior Vice President, Global Sparkling Brand Center, Presented by Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather
  • Queen Latifah, Musician, Award-Winning Actress, Record-Label President, Author, Entrepreneur, and Cover Girl, Presented by Mary J. Blige, Singer, Songwriter, Record Producer, Actress
  • Jane Mayer, Staff Writer, The New Yorker, Presented by David Remnick, Editor, The New Yorker
  • Cynthia McFadden, Senior Legal and Investigative Correspondent, NBC News
    Presented by Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN
  • Dyllan McGee, Founder and Executive Producer, MAKERS, Presented by Gloria Steinem, Writer, Organizer, Co-Founder Ms.
  • Eileen Naughton, Vice President, Global Accounts & Global Agencies, Google, Presented by David Gregory, Moderator, “Meet the Press”
  • Jonelle Procope, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Apollo Theater, Presented by Richard Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity LLC

These women shared their words of wisdom with the crowd and, since not everyone had the benefit of being there, I’m including the honorees’ and presenters’ best (tweetable!) nuggets below:

“Women can be bad-ass and beautiful.” — Jane Mayer

“No one’s journey is a straight path.” — Jonelle Procope

“I’ve been saying the word ‘improbable’ wrong all along. There’s a space between the ‘m’ and ‘p’: ‘I’m probable.'” — Wendy Clark

“There will never be post-feminism.” — Eileen Naughton

“Staying put is a bore.” — Cynthia McFadden (quoting her late friend Katherine Hepburn)

“If there’s a place in hell for women who don’t support each other, there’s a place in heaven for those who do.” — Gloria Steinem

“Focus on what matters; don’t get caught up in the minutiae.” — Dyllan McGee

“Great things come to those who show up fearlessly.” — Mary J. Blige

“Women need to lift each other up, not tear each other down.” — Queen Latifah

The two pillars of NYWICI–“the changing landscape of communications” and “helping women at every stage of their careers”–were on full display at the Matrix Awards and if this year’s honorees are any indication, there’s a bright future for women in media.

Media Chicks Rocked the House

Jessica with XO Group's Carley Roney

Jessica with XO Group’s Carley Roney

There are tons of events geared towards women–from conferences to panels to rallies. While we love the idea of doing something specifically for a female audience, we noticed a few years ago that there weren’t many events with no other agenda than to connect cool women with one another. With that goal in mind, we started a semi-annual cocktail party called Media Chicks Mixer–and, because we live the world of communications, we focused on women who work in media and public relations across industries, from fashion and beauty to finance and design.

Last night, we co-hosted our latest Media Chicks Mixers along with Carley Roney, co-founder of XO Group (which owns The Knot, The Nest, The Bump and other popular websites) at their gorgeous, sleek offices in the Wall Street area of Manhattan. (I ran PR at The Knot back in their startup days and, boy, do I wish they had been in this space then!)

 

Unfortunately, Meryl was sick and had to sit this one out (we missed her dearly!) but we had a great turnout, with attendees hailing from CNBC to the New York Post, Hearst to GoogleAnn Taylor to Lippe Taylor.

Lots of chatting going on at Media Chicks (with one rogue guy...)

Lots of chatting going on at Media Chicks (with one rogue guy…)

It was a night of good champagne and great conversation–those who already knew each other got to catch up and others made brand new connections.

Lots of bubbly, compliments of Meryl's fab clients

Lots of bubbly, compliments of Meryl’s fab clients

Special thanks to XO Group for hosting the event (their amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge were a special treat) and to those who donated great beauty and fashion giveaways and raffle prizes, including Bliss, Boots, FLOWER, Fred Segal, Elaine Turner and Strivectin.

Jessica, L2 PR's Letena Lindsay and Masthead Media's Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich (we all used to work at Hearst together)

Jessica, L2 PR’s Letena Lindsay and Masthead Media’s Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich (we all used to work at Hearst together)

Jessica with CNBC's Jennifer Zweben

Jessica with CNBC’s Jennifer Zweben

 

Google's Andrea Faville and Jessica Kleiman

Google’s Andrea Faville and Jessica Kleiman

Lauren Melone, Dede Brown, Kirsten Segal of the New York Post and NBC's Lenore Moritz

Lauren Melone, Dede Brown, Kirsten Fleming of the New York Post and NBC’s Lenore Moritz

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Hearst’s Lacey Drucker, Google’s PR girls and Ann Inc.’s Sanam Ghanchi

SANDOW's Jessica Kleiman and Misfit Media's Nicole Brydson

SANDOW’s Jessica Kleiman and Misfit Media’s Nicole Brydson

XO Group's cool cafe
XO Group’s cool cafe

 

Marni Raitt of DiGennaro & Partners, BYOBP co-author Jessica Kleiman and Emily Blumenthal of Handbag Designer 101

Marni Raitt of DiGennaro & Partners, BYOBP co-author Jessica Kleiman and Emily Blumenthal of Handbag Designer 101