Ann Shoket: Shaping the Conversation at GLTI

Ann Shoket

Ann Shoket

Ann Shoket, former editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine, will be kicking off this year’s GlamourGals Leadership Training Institute (GLTI), a day-long training and skill-building conference for GG volunteers in New York City.

In Ann’s view, what she did as a magazine editor was “to lead an important conversation. To lead a conversation with young women that I think they need to have in the world,” and to talk about important issues.

Now, Ann is bringing those conversations to new platforms. She is currently working on a book about “how young women are changing and what it means to be powerful and successful in the world.” She has been having a series of dinners with young women, discussing what it “feels like when you’re young and hungry and ambitious.” To share these “amazing” conversations with everyone, Ann turned to social media and started a newsletter, which you can sign up for at AnnShoket.com.

At Seventeen magazine, she says her “mission -- period -- was to give our readers confidence, full stop. Every single word, every single thought, every single story was meant to make her [the reader] feel like she could walk into any room and own it.”

“Fashion and beauty and relationships and career and college and all of the things that we covered, every single thing we've done through the lens of making her feel validated, making her feel included, and making her feel special and confident.”

How did she accomplish this? By listening to what her audience wanted from their media.

Ann saw that teens weren’t “connecting to” the celebrities in magazines. In response, she changed the face of Seventeen magazine, quite literally, by putting a “real girl on the cover.” It was, she points out, a “real significant shift away from traditional ideas of thinking [...]. It's incredibly validating for young women to see people that look like them, that feel like them, that are in their lives on the cover. “

That shift from the traditional is a common theme in Ann’s work. She embraces the way technology, especially social media, has opened the conversation.

Ann observes, “social media has given young women power in their lives. As there are more and more opportunities for young women to have direct contact with me [through social media], they were able to tell me what they wanted to see and I listened.”

“Social media is really the hammer of young women's power,” she says. “It lets them brand themselves, it lets them have a voice, it lets them be heard, it lets them be part of a larger conversation, it lets them launch their own businesses, own their own content. It's really such a powerful thing.”

Ann believes that power is in good hands, though. As she says, “I have never before seen a generation of young women that is as ambitious and as hungry for personal success as this generation of young women.” She’s seen an “authentic shift” in teens taking on causes that matter to them, not merely bulking up their resumes.

“Teen girls and young women are a phenomenal force right now,” says Ann, “in that -- this idea that giving back and doing good in the world should be infused into everything you do.”

Ann is excited to share her knowledge and her passion with GG volunteers who are giving their time to open the conversation and connect with other generations.

She observes a need for a "a greater dialog" between the generations, in both directions. “I think what's important is learning to be able to shape a point of view. To be able to understand your audience and to talk about the things that matter to them and to keep the conversation moving forward. It doesn't really matter where you have that conversation, it's the conversation that matters.”

“GlamourGals really underscores the point that [...] it's about curiosity in the world and that there are stories to be told and those stories matter.”

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