Whembley Sewell is the youngest editor at a Conde Nast publication. And she’s the EIC of its newest publication, them. And when you’re the youngest at the newest, cue pressure. But Whembley told us she doesn’t let the challenges of the job or the pressure get to her because she stays focused on them’s mission of celebrating the stories and voices of the LGBTQ+ community.
On Creating An Inclusive Office Culture
Whembley: Well, I think the most obvious right off the bat is not expecting that someone is going to sit there and educate you on everything. I think the second part of that that's maybe a little bit less obvious or maybe a little bit less of an initial behavior or response is seeking out the media that you wouldn't necessarily think is quote-unquote "for you."
For example, them. I think a lot of people just say, "Oh, that's an LGBTQ outlet. Like that's not necessarily for me or something. That's not mine to be a part of." Well, I think actually, the more informed you are, the more you read, the more you take in on your own time, the more you actually engage with the issues on your own time, makes you that better of a friend or a part of someone's community because at least you have some sense of what's going on and what's maybe affecting them or impacting them in their day-to-day lives.
On Meaningfully Connecting With Your Audience
Whembley: So I think the more you can create relationships with other creators that you admire and [create] those lines of collaboration in a way that feels authentic and organic to your voice, the things that you're interested in, because I also think people can sniff out a mile away when you're just trying to tap into every single conversation. And that begins to feel a bit cheesy, almost like you're trying to capitalize off of all of these different issues that are going on in the world. So I think pinpointing the things that really matter to you and identifying the folks that you think are in lock step with your own voice, your own vision, can help create really amazing content on your own social channels, foster community, and ultimately be really informative for larger cultural change.
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