Last weekend, Young Media Professionals Foundation hosted its first-ever global and virtual summit in collaboration with King’s College London Women in Leadership. Over the course of two days, YMPF hosted a panel of female media professionals. Panelists spoke about their career paths, provided advice to budding communicators and answered questions from attendees.
If you didn’t get the chance to attend this year’s summit, here’s a recap of what you missed!
Trisha Sakhuja-Walia – CEO & Co-Founder of Brown Girl Magazine
During her undergraduate studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Trisha found herself wondering why there was a marked lack of representation of South Asian women like herself in the mainstream media. In 2010, she co-founded Brown Girl Magazine, an online publication and platform aimed at amplifying the voices of young South Asian individuals living in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia.
Since joining Brown Girl Magazine full-time in 2018, Trisha has established herself as a respected communicator and business leader in the South Asian community. Trisha oversees more than 250 freelance contributors to Brown Girl Magazine while also managing day-to-day operations and business development. She has presented at multiple community events at Columbia University, Michigan State University, Yale University, The Wing, General Assembly and Disney Junior, just to name a few.
During the summit, Trisha encouraged attendees to remain true to themselves throughout their careers while simultaneously encouraging cooperation.
“You don’t need to be the next Trisha because you can be yourself first,” she said. “If you have a passion project, make time for it and allow other people to be a part of your process.”
Hannah Tattersall – Manager of Insights & Measurements at NBCUniversal
Early in her career, Hannah accomplished the tremendous feat of landing a position at a Fortune 100 company immediately after graduating from the University of Delaware in 2016. Throughout her tenure at NBCUniversal, Hannah had the opportunity to work behind the scenes in data and measurement on shows like The Office and Fallon Tonight. She attributes much of her success to networking and working hard to connect with potential mentors.
“Networking is key,” Hannah said. “There’s no such thing as too much networking.”
She also stressed the importance of staying humble and asking questions when you need assistance, spending time with people you want to emulate and taking time off if you feel burnt out.
Sophie Maisant – Vice President of International Marketing at Huda Beauty
Sophie’s work in the beauty industry spans an impressive twenty years! Prior to her current position at Huda, Sophie has worked with brands like Chanel, De Beers and Shiseido. She is incredibly appreciative of the work Huda Beauty has done to contribute to diversity and inclusion efforts in the cosmetics community, and admires CEO Huda Kattan’s mission to make everyone feel welcome, no matter what gender, race or ethnicity they identify with.
She kickstarted her career back in 1998 when she made the difficult and courageous choice to move from France to Germany for her first internship at Dior. Since then, Sophie has gotten increasingly comfortable working and living abroad and has worked across Europe.
“When I go back to France now, I feel like a different person,” she said. “Every experience shapes you. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid of others.”
Sophie encourages young professionals to make connections and apply to any opportunities that strike them as interesting, even if they seem out of reach.
“Be bold, send your CV, make connections!”
She recommends anyone interested in exceeding their abilities to read Farrah Storr’s book titled The Discomfort Zone: How to Get What You Want by Living Fearlessly.
Tyrona Heath – Director of Market Engagement at The B2B Institute, LinkedIn
Tyrona Heath is a powerhouse communicator who was named one of the top 25 most influential women in marketing in 2018 by TopRank Marketing. Prior to her work at LinkedIn, she contributed to communications efforts at IBM, Google and Nestle, and runs her own B2B consulting practice, the Spectacled Marketer. Additionally, she is also the former President of LinkedIn's Black Inclusion Group (BIG).
Tyrona encourages all young communicators to work on developing their LinkedIn profiles to look enticing to potential connections. According to her, investing in your professional online presence is one of the best things someone can do when preparing to enter the workforce.
To Tyrona, networking is much more than simply following industry influencers on social media.
“Networking is forging a community for yourself, expanding your influence and bringing people along in a vision you create,” she said. “You will influence 80,000 people in your lifetime, but as marketers, we touch way more than that.”
Tyrona Heath will also be a speaker at TransformHer, a virtual conference hosted by LinkedIn’s Guide to Networking. More details about this event can be found here.
Aparna Shewakramani – Netflix TV Star (Indian Matchmaking) & Co-Founder at My Golden Balloon
Aparna Shewakramani wears many hats. After ten years of working as an attorney, Aparna made her television debut on Indian Matchmaking, the hit Netflix series that offers American viewers an inside look at the traditional matchmaking process that comes with arranged marriages in India. Now on sabbatical, Aparna is working on a book detailing her life experiences, travels and appearance on the show. Thanks to her outspoken and hardworking nature during her time on Indian Matchmaking, she became an overnight sensation and role model for women around the world.
Aparna encourages women of all backgrounds to prioritize their personal goals and aspirations over romantic relationships. She underlined the importance of finding someone who appreciates you as a partner who supports your passions rather than just a spouse. She also stressed the importance of finding mentors who can support you through milestones that require difficult decision-making.
“Life is sometimes about logistics and sometimes we can’t do what we love, but finding the right mentor can help in being proactive.”
Ellie Norman – Director of Marketing and Communications at Formula 1
After working in advertising and marketing communications at various sectors of the automotive industry, including Honda and Virgin Media, Ellie Norman was a perfect fit for her current role at Formula 1. As one of the top 100 marketers and one of the most influential communicators in the United Kingdom, Ellie is an expert in her field.
Ellie stressed the necessity of catering to an audience while working in marketing for a specific field. She also emphasized the need to have good problem-solving skills and to look outside of your area for expertise for inspiration. These skills assisted her in guiding Formula 1 through a successful rebrand.
“If we don’t serve a fan, we don’t serve Formula 1,” she said. “In order to be successful, you have to have a love for what makes people tick.”
Additionally, Ellie also stated that risk-taking and not being afraid to make mistakes are the best way to learn.
“I’m not an expert in everything, but that realization and keeping that knowledge in mind when approaching our evolving world is important.”
Sakshi Sindwani – Content Creator, Model and Body Positive Advocate
Sakshi Sindwani has taken the internet by storm! Her infectious personality and infallible charm have landed her appearances on GRAZIA, BBC, Cosmopolitan and Vogue. Working full time as a model and content creator has taught Sakshi many important lessons about leadership, self-advocacy and resilience.
Sakshi urged audience members to remain shamelessly authentic in the face of adversity and to be yourself even when others are attempting to put you down.
“It might be tough in the beginning, but you’ll always find your correct target audience,” she said.
Be sure to take a look at our “Global Events” story on our Instagram for screenshots and clips from this year’s sessions. We look forward to hosting similar events in the future and wish all of our followers a lovely rest of Women’s History Month.