A Very NYC Reflection:
New York City is my second home. It has been since I was three years old. When I decided to attend Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville in 2010, my relationship with NYC deepened. So for my 24th birthday, it was only natural to return to celebrate with college friends while also getting a little work done.
While on the plane flying into JFK airport, I reflected on the career journey that I’ve been on since the two years I graduated from college. I thought about why I decided to leave New York and if I’d ever move back, plus the career accomplishments that happened during my time at Sarah Lawrence College. I started interning in Manhattan after returning from a semester at Spelman College. My first marketing and communications internship was at Modern Luxury Atlanta, a luxury lifestyle magazine. I had no experience with marketing or public relations but thought my personality would be a great fit. As a psychology major, I wanted to combine my passions for analyzing human behaviors with deciphering consumer strategy. Modern Luxury Atlanta was the perfect first internship to do that. There, I was able to learn how to conduct market research, plan and execute events and write event recaps. While at Modern Luxury I worked on several accounts/magazines: Modern Luxury Brides, Modern Luxury Men’s Book, Jezebel and The Atlantan. After about three months of interning in the wonderful Buckhead area, my supervisors approved my transfer to San Francisco Magazine in the summer of 2013 and then once again to Manhattan Magazine for my senior year of college.
At Manhattan Magazine, I met my very first career mentor, Brandon Hugh Grant. Brandon at the time was the Marketing Director for the magazine and responsible for various brand partnerships for their events. I remember the first day I saw him. He was handsome, African-American and definitely had his shit together. At my desk, I tried to figure out ways to ask him to be my mentor. I desperately needed a mentor that was outside of my college career program and would be blantly honest with me. I gathered up enough courage to walk into his spacious office and say “Hi, Brandon. I really need a mentor. Do you know of anyone?” he responded “I’ll mentor you. Can you arrange my social calendar for the next two weeks?” I didn’t know what do with myself. I thanked him profusely and was able to finish his social calendar for the next two weeks later that afternoon. Over the next few months I was in career bootcamp. We had a standing meeting every week where he would rework my resume, discuss next career moves, and give me one-off writing assignments. Towards the end of my internship, Brandon had me writing print and online event recaps to be published on Manhattan Magazine, revised my resume, and helped me to get an internship at American Friends of the Louvre. I don’t take my relationship with him lightly being that he helped raise me within the corporate world and still holds a pivotal part in my life.
Dom’s Very New York Birthday Bash:
Fast forward to my 24th birthday. Most people know by now that I love a good kiki session while also being productive. I wanted to celebrate my birthday in NYC with some close friends and family and also be able to work in my company’s New York office. Working in different offices and traveling for work has always been a dream of mine. When I finally arrived in NYC the first place I head to is Grand Central Station to catch the 2 train up to Harlem to stay with my friend of 19 years. Grand Central Station is so special to me because I remember taking the Metro-North train from Bronxville to Manhattan two to three times a week just to intern for FREE.
After a few days sightseeing, day drinking, brunching, clubbing and museum-hopping, it was time to work in the New York office. After a great day of meeting the TIDAL social media team, an inspiring lunch with an African-American SVP of corporate communications and finishing up usual projects, it was time to head out to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to cover my first live TIDAL event. My co-worker and I were asked to provide social media strategy onsite at Brooklyn Summerscreen for Young Paris, a #TIDALRising artist. It was fun to capture content to live tweet and post on TIDAL’s social media channels while also being able to interact with the artist. In that moment, I thought about how far I’ve come. I started as an intern who was wide-eyed, eager and determined and now I am an Account Executive who gets to travel for work and live tweet at exclusive events. My how time flies.
5 Things I learned from my 24th birthday:
Trust your struggle and never give up
Take chances and believe in yourself
Continue to dream
Work hard and fearlessly
Have fun and don’t forget to relish in your success and progress
See below for pictures and lists of restaurants + places I visited to get #travelinspo for your next New York City excursion.
The Park— Amazing birthday brunch (Their lox plate is to die for!)
Santina— Delicious tropical cocktails are always better with your mentor!
The Highline/Whitney Art Museum -- Modern art is seriously my soft spot especially when paired with an awesome view of the meatpacking district and Lower East Side.
Ample Hills Ice Creamery— Because you need ice cream to survive that NYC summer heat/humidity. I highly suggest caramel crack.
Refinery Rooftop— #DomsBirthdayBash was hosted there and it had me feeling like a hybrid between Lil’ Kim + Carrie Bradshaw.
Desserts by Michael Allen— Some of the best pasticcio cookies, that I have ever tasted, plus Michael Allen happens to be my uncle.
Gran Electrica— Pretty good for NYC Mexican food and their Tequila based cocktails were great.
Sauce Restaurant— Gritty Lower East Side pasta is the best paired with Sauvignon Blanc and a great girlfriend catch up!
Berry Park Rooftop— Best after work drinks nestled in Williamsburg and of course we had Rose.