Meeting Terry Mansfield!
On Wednesday 18th July I had the amazing opportunity of meeting Terry Mansfield. With a career spanning over four decades, president and chief executive of the National Magazine Company and director of Hearst Corporation (for those who don’t know, they publish 24 magazines including ELLE, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire etc) -to have a meeting with him in London was a very exciting and nerve wracking experience for me.
The moment I arrived, I felt very welcome and Mr Mansfield’s charm and friendliness is what immediately stood out for me. As an undergraduate I was very intrigued to meet a man whose influence in the publishing world is profound – in 2002 he was awarded a CBE for his services to the magazine industry. As I am an aspiring fashion journalist the advice I received was invaluable. An expert in his field, the guidance he offered not only motivated me further but inspired me too.
There are three main things in a career that you need to do Mr Mansfield said, and that is: learning, earning and returning – we must give back to the people who put us where we are today. Terry Mansfield is a great role model for this as he spends a lot of his time helping young people into the industry where they see young people as an expensive risk. As a long term supporter of young, new talent Terry Mansfield is more than happy to offer advice to aspiring journalists, like myself. He said as a journalist you have to be curious, you want to go out in the world, to discover and question. You need to have that thirst for knowledge– I can’t help but think back to the late Marie Colvin, a legend who died for her job and went against the grain to learn more and get the story to tell us the truth; she truly is advocate for this job. As well as this, what was reassuring for me was that I finally met someone who completely understands the way creative people work. Everyone asks a creative person “Why do you have to write? Why do you have to design?” The answer to that is that we have to. Mr Mansfield says it’s in our DNA – we just have to do it, we can’t see ourselves doing anything else, it flows through us.
In the magazine industry people assume everyone who goes for that golden job has a degree in something – so you need to stand out from the crowd. Mr Mansfield said that in order to stand out you need do so from your application. Publishing houses receive 300 applicants every week when internships are offered. What can you do to set yourself apart from the other applicants? Well your application needs to be adapted to the job you are applying for. For example, I want to work in magazines/journalism so I could make a mini-magazine of myself! If you want to be a designer, put your CV on a t-shirt! It’s all about catching the attention of your employer. I asked Terry what was the craziest approach he ever had for a job, he said someone once chained themselves to the door and put messages on his car saying “PLEASE HIRE ME”. You have to admire originality and this is what the business thrives upon.
What I learned from this encounter is that you need to be self-sufficient, when something doesn’t go your way or when we worry too much we need to essentially pick ourselves up and start again. Terry Mansfield used a great a metaphor to describe this as being able to swim away to something new if your ship becomes shipwrecked. In addition to this you need to be multi-skilled, it’s not only about the printed word anymore. There are a number of different platforms now, interactive web-pages, social media sites and even video-clips. It’s all about having the skills to know the difference in language between one medium to another. The industry is thriving and expanding therefore the people who work there need to be too.
I’d like to thank Terry Mansfield to take the time out to meet with me, I’m grateful for the advice given and it has undoubtedly inspired and motivated me to really pursue this “pipedream” I’ve had for a few years now.
Watch this space!