I vividly remember scrolling on Instagram during the summer and stopping once I saw a post that explained Teen Vogue would be having their first-ever summit in Los Angeles, California on December 1st and 2nd. Since the magazine has undergone a transformation and became a fashion publication with a more socially conscious voice due to the careful guidance of Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth, I’ve been a constant consumer of the magazine’s content. This inaugural summit event was something I knew I needed to be at. I didn’t know how I would get there but somehow, some way I was going to be in the building at the Teen Vogue Summit.
Fast forward to the end of October and I still didn’t have tickets to the event. Finding the financial resources to attend the event was the biggest challenge and because of this, I was beginning to give up on the idea of being able to attend. Then, I reminded myself that life is too short to not chase after your dreams and pursue the experiences you want. I set up a GoFundMe to help finance my goal and with the help of donations from generous supporters, I had secured enough for airfare, hotel, and a ticket to Day 1 of the event.
December 1st was here before I knew it. The first day of the conference was appropriately titled @WERK Immersions as the day centered around helping the attendees find out how they can turn their passions into a paycheck. This portion of the two-day program provided each guest with the chance to explore three of the most innovative companies of their choosing.
The festivities kicked off at TOM’S beautiful office space in Los Angeles. At 8:45 AM, hundreds of young women and men were lined up in the driveway of the TOM’S headquarters and were briskly checked in. Upon entering the space, we were able to enjoy delicious breakfast and mingle with other game-changers.
The day officially began with a warm welcome from Elaine Welteroth and summit goers were then directed to get on the bus with their small groups to start the company visits. I chose to visit United Talent Agency, GirlBoss, and Clique Media Group. At each stop, some of the powerful women and men that make up the company’s culture offered words of wisdom and helped us find clarity in our career path.
United Talent Agency allowed us an inside look at the job of digital content creators and the business agents that represent them through an intimate panel with YouTuber Olivia Jade and her agent Ali Berman. The stop at ultimate women empowerment brand GirlBoss Media allowed us to have a “fireside chat” style conversation with the company’s founder Sophia Amoruso and her team about everything from building a brand and learning from failure. The final stop of the day at Clique Brands, which is home to companies such as Who What Wear and College Fashionista, let our group see what a day in the life of a journalist is like. Our cohort of girls was able to go inside a conference room with the editorial director Bobby Schuessler and editor-in-chief Kat Collings of Who What Wear and brainstorm content ideas for the website.
Following our tours, we boarded back onto the buses and headed back to TOM’s for the concluding event: the opening night mixer. Mocktails were flowing once we arrived and the DJ was playing the best tunes during the party. Elaine Welteroth later hit the stage again to ask us all about the day and then delved into an interview with TOM’s founder about his company and mission to invest his resources into worthy causes. We were then introduced to the magazines #21Under21 honorees-young women who have been working to change the world in various industries. The night culminated in a panel discussion with a few of the stars of the Pitch Perfect series, a sneak peek of Pitch Perfect 3, and an unforgettable karaoke session with the crowd.
Attending the Teen Vogue Summit was at one point just a dream for me and I’m so thankful that it was able to become a reality. I was able to connect with like-minded girls and network with women who hold incredible positions in fashion and journalism and have the time of my life being in California for the first time. Having the opportunity to partake in such a historical event was an experience that I will never forget and the professional and personal advice that I was given during my trip will stay with me forever.