Maria Pedone '12
Maria Pedone graduated with a BA in English in 2012. She currently works as Director of Editorial & Social Strategy at Townhouse Digital in New York City. View her LinkedIn profile to learn more or to connect with her.
What has your path been like since graduation? How have you ended up where you are now?
I have gotten all my jobs through connections. From the moment I graduated, I knew I wanted to go into publishing.
The summer after I graduated, I was fortunate to attend a publishing program at New York University. At the end of this program, there was a networking night, which is how I eventually started working for Travel and Leisure Magazine. After working there for a year and a half, I decided to move on. During the subsequent job search, one of my ex-coworkers informed me of an available position at OpenForum.net, which is American Express’ online magazine. I called someone I knew at the company and got the job. Over the course of my four years there, I kind of shaped my own role and was responsible for the maintenance of the entire website. After leaving that position about a year ago, I was contacted by my old boss at Travel and Leisure. She told me that she was founding a start-up based around online content strategy and asked me if I wanted to become her partner. I said yes and have been working there since!
What networking advice would you give to other students?
Obviously, you should be very friendly with every professional and coworker that you meet. Even though I abruptly left Travel and Leisure, I remained on good terms with everyone there and met up with many of my old coworkers for coffee chats. During those coffee chats, always ask about opportunities that they might know about, because you never know what connections they may have. By remaining in contact with my old coworkers, they were able to help me become aware of new opportunities they knew about and were involved in, which eventually led to new jobs for me! You should also learn how to advocate for yourself and be as specific as possible when looking for opportunities.
What skills have you learned from the English major that have transferred to your work?
When I started writing online for Travel and Leisure, one thing that stuck out to me was that writing online content and writing poetry are strikingly similar. Now that every company and brand has social media, badly written and researched online content can sink anyone. Online posts have to be clear, concise, detailed, and informative, which I definitely learned from my English background. Furthermore, being an English major prepared me to deal with so many different kinds of people and perspectives. Through the classes I took, I was exposed to unique voices that I never would have encountered otherwise. Since I am dealing with clients everyday that have a unique and specific brand they want to put out into the world, I am able to morph my voice to each specific client.
What is the best and worst thing about your job?
My answer for both would be people. I love meeting all sorts of clients and coworkers and learning from them each and every day. I was helped by so many wonderful people who have allowed me to expand and develop my skills. On the flip side, I have also met people who make things very difficult.
Any final thoughts or advice?
I would recommend to always be open to new ideas. Subscribe to newsletters that pertain to your career to learn about more opportunities and keep up with the ever-changing professional world. And finally, be willing to "kill your babies," meaning that if your ideas are not well-received, do not take it personally, move on, and learn from the experience.
Interview by Ryan Comeau, Digital Communications Intern