Ten Minutes With Laura McEwen
Laura McEwen has held senior management positions at some of the most iconic magazine brands in the industry—Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Reader’s Digest, and Family Circle. Through her parents and grandparents, she was exposed to the world of fashion and marketing and knew she wanted to work in a creative business. A Wilton resident, she is publisher of Self and talked to us about her career.
How did you get into the business?
Spending time with my dad in the world of New York City retail inspired me to study media and publishing. After graduating from Fordham, I got an internship with an FIT professor working on an exciting magazine launch.
What do you love about it?
Publishing used to primarily involve selling print ad pages. Today, publishers are charged with building integrated marketing programs across every media platform. They must be super creative, and constantly come up with new, innovative ideas that ignite brands. That’s what I love to do.
Talk about some of your initiatives.
As publisher of Teen Vogue, our team created a line of teen girls’ bedroom décor and launched a retail concept store called Teen Vogue Haute Spot, pop-up shops located in malls. At Reader’s Digest, I was on the launch team of Every Day With Rachel Ray.
You just created a social game for Self.
Self Magazine hosts an event called Self Workout in the Park that travels from city to city, and brings thousands of women together. I saw an opportunity to extend this event by creating a social and mobile game called Self Workout in the Park. Players create avatars and play a series of workout-themed activities.
Why a social game?
Women are avid fans of Facebook. Recent studies show that avatar play impacts real life. Creating a social game around working out inspires women. It also creates a positive halo for the magazine, brings younger women to the brand. After launching in April, we have over 250,000 players.
People think of magazines as glamorous.
You interact with a lot of very successful, creative people. At the same time, you work very hard. As a publisher, you have a huge amount of responsibility and you have to deliver tangible results.
Your current challenge?
Marketers today want creative ideas that can live on every platform. It’s critically important for our team to be digitally savvy.
Some highpoints of your life?
Joining Condé Nast. My brief cameo on “American Idol” while helping launch the show in the U.S. And spending time with my husband Jim and son Sean.
Any advice for those starting out?
Do what you are passionate about and pursue it with gusto. I am convinced that you can have whatever you want. It requires clarity and focus and having energy to make it happen!