A lot of girls and young women have aspirations to become leaders and bring change to their communities. To learn more about how to get there, we spoke with Julie Menin, a leader within the Mayor’s Office of New York City with responsibility for relationships with TV, film theater, music, advertising and publishing industries. Her efforts led to the Grammy Awards returning to NYC in 2018 with a positive impact on the entertainment industry in New York.
An interview with Julie Menin,
Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment
New York, NY USA
A lot of girls and young women look up to you – who did you look up to when you were a girl?
I looked up to my mother who was an artist and who overcame great obstacles living through the Holocaust in Hungary and hiding in a cellar with my grandmother. I am in awe of what my family had to endure and the incredible sense of hope and grace that both my grandmother and mother displayed throughout their lives.
What defines a good leader? Are there specific qualities women have that help them be great leaders?
A great leader knows what she thinks and listens to others, making them feel like valued members of her team. She gets things done no matter how difficult and has the ability to surmount significant obstacles.
What kind of impact do you hope to make as a leader?
I hope to show people the value of getting involved in their neighborhood and community since that is how true change is accomplished.
What is the benefit of advocating for a vibrant culture in NYC or any other community?
A song, a painting, a film or a podcast enables us to experience other people’s humanity in a way that is deeper and leaves a long-lasting impression, in part because we can return to these things again and again. The arts give voice to the voiceless, and increase the amount of empathy in the world. Our office is here to encourage creativity and storytelling in a variety of forms.
What should be the first proactive step for girls that are dreaming about having a leadership role in the media and entertainment industry?
Look for opportunities to work with a group while also honing your own voice – like student council, a debate team, a school newspaper or a play.
Public speaking can be difficult – what is your advice for girls that are underestimating their abilities when expressing their opinion/or vision publicly?
Surround yourself with actual people, not just your phone. Express yourself in real life, not just social media. Start small. Practice. Remember, when you do speak publicly, people are rooting for you to succeed.
In your role, you’ve met some very interesting and famous people. What is one of the most amazing things you learned from this experience?
For me, I am most impressed with those who have faced adversity and overcome tough challenges. Some of the storytellers our office has worked to highlight are those that have been shut out and not had a voice. We aim to give a platform to those that have been excluded from the system.
Tips and Tricks:
- A great leader knows what she thinks and listens to others, making them feel like valued members of her team
- Get involved in your school, neighborhood and community – that is how true change is accomplished
- Look for opportunities to work with a group while also honing your own voice – like student council, a debate team, a school newspaper or a play