Carrie Williams—Managing & Digital Editor, Today’s Chicago Woman
By Susan Lanier
Ever since Anne-Marie Slaughter’s piece in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” went viral late last month there has been a heated dialogue circling the Internet over the challenges of work-life balance for the modern professional woman. In case you either can’t tell by the article’s title or you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks, Slaughter, a former aide to Hillary Clinton, has some bad news: To be a high-power professional woman and mother is no easy task. Slaughter explains the real issue is that women are often unable to talk about these challenges at the office for fear of being taken less seriously.
Now is the time to talk about it.
Today’s Chicago Woman, a monthly magazine targeting professional women in the Windy City, doesn’t shy away from such topics. For example, an article covering workplace equality could be featured next to such topics as family and parenting, beauty and style, and even the dos and don’ts of modern dating. Carrie Williams, the newly appointed managing and digital editor for the magazine, is proud of professional Chicago women and is eager to continue telling their stories.
“I’m in awe, seeing so many successful women in this city. And, to know there are many more out there, waiting to be discovered and interviewed, I can’t help but be inspired to do great things in my own life,” she said.
Williams previously served as associate editor at Associated Publications, Inc. where she worked on the editorial production of Sophisticate’s Hairstyle Guide and Sophisticate’s Black Hair Styles and Care Guide. Now, with Today’s Chicago Woman she is excited to return to the city where she was born and raised.
“I’ve always had a deep connection to the city, being born and raised in the south suburbs and attending high school and college here.”
It was in high school, at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School on the South Side, that Williams developed a passion for women’s issues.
“We were always encouraged to embrace female empowerment and I firmly believe high school is where I came out of my shell and learned to stand on my own, as a young woman,” Williams said.
Now, years later and only two weeks into her new role, Williams has the daunting task of carrying Today’s Chicago Woman through its 30 year anniversary and to continue the success of the TCW Foundation.
“The foundation has helped countless organizations supporting women and children since its inception in 1989. I hope to carry both [the magazine and the foundation] through to many more milestones,” she said.
In the short term Williams has plans to beef up the magazines social media presence. “I believe social media is the product of the current generation of 20 and 30-somethings who want it all and want it all right now. They may think, ‘Why wait for the daily paper or a monthly magazine when I can find out what’s going on, right now, online?’” she said.
However, Williams is quick to admit that social media and online content doesn’t replace the experience of reading a printed, glossy magazine. There are too many distractions online Williams explained. “When you’re reading a story on the Internet, your glances may go to ads on the web page or to an interesting-looking hyperlink. You click on the link and, often, you’re directed off the current page to a completely new page. Will you return to the previous page and keep reading the story? Maybe, maybe not.”
So, what role does online and social content play? Hopefully it garners interests and gets readers to actually go out and pick up the print publication.
“Another reason for social media is to engage your readers and connect with them on a more personal level. Having a conversation, however brief, makes them feel like they’re part of a special group,” Williams said.
And that’s the point--whether you disagree with Slaughter or not, whether you believe that yes, women can have it all--we should all, men and women, at least start feeling free to talk about the issues we face as hardworking professionals. After our brief correspondence, I can’t help but feel like Williams couldn’t agree more.
Williams’ biggest pet peeve is the PR professional that doesn’t put in the legwork and review what an outlet covers.
“Why, for example, would I care about the hottest toys for toddlers in Phoenix, when TCW focuses on the issues facing professional Chicago women? When PR professionals don’t take the time to research the content of your publication, it’s a little insulting,” she said.
Williams welcomes relevant pitches via email. “I’m often doing 10-20 things at once on the computer or elsewhere in the office, and I don’t have time to continually answer the phone or open packages,” she said.
Follow Williams on Twitter at @CarrieAWilliams
Photo courtesy of Carrie Williams