Marketing editor…Chief Operating Officer of a magazine…writer for the Wall Street Journal…these are all monikers one would expect belong to a rather experienced individual who has had decades of experience in writing and content creation. Well 23-year-old Erin Ashley Simon is all that and more.In an interview with M-Lifestyle, Simon shared her experiences, ambitions and inspirations.
The journalism major who minored in business management, has a regular day job as a marketing editor at an engineering and architecture firm, STV Inc.
She is also an established content creator, which is certainly impressive considering her young age. As indicated, she has worked with one of the world leaders in international media.
Simon is the current C.O.O. of Hype Fresh Magazine, which addresses urban culture and all its facets, from music to fashion and much more. Simon’s involvement in Hype Fresh was partly due to her experience at the Wall Street Journal. “Not only have I written for the Wall Street Journal but I’ve done strategies and strategic planning for the Wall Street Journal so I implemented several of those strategies for Hype Fresh,” she said, “The owner really liked it so he brought me on as a C.O.O.”
“Just because you’re not getting paid doesn’t mean an opportunity is not good for you,”
So when did she get the chance to work with the Wall Street Journal? It all started while she was studying at the University of Kentucky, where she got an internship at the prestigious media house. She covered mostly sports, insisting on getting a unique perspective in the sports stories she wrote about. Simon noted that she had been passionate about sports for many years, “I actually played soccer for about 18 years and I played Division 1 soccer for the University of Kentucky…so I played that and my brother played football and basketball.” She went on to admit that her older brother was an influence in her life especially when she took up sports. Since then, Simon has gotten into covering music as well.
The first indications of her talent as a content creator came when she was 16. “When I was 16 years old I actually started my own blog and it was for fun with one of my classmates and it kind of blew up because of the interviews that we were doing,” she said, “I was able to achieve over 1 million unique visitors and 1.5 million views for YouTube.” Interestingly, Simon wrote for free from the age of 16 until she finished college. However, all this did not go in vain as she was able to acquire many important connections within the sports world, from the NBA to the NFL.
Attending the University of Kentucky on a scholarship, helped shape her as a person, “I wanted to experience a different area and get out of my comfort zone. I personally believe that in order for you to grow as a person and to grow in anything that you do, you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” This philosophy may well help her as she works on building the brand she envisions, and will set her apart as a credible digital strategist and content creator. She also wants to be a good example to young people and especially young women of color, showing that success is within reach if you put in a lot of hard work, learn consistently and strive to achieve excellence.
Simon credited Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington and Jay-Z as her major inspirations, particularly citing how they built empires by creating platforms for others using their brands. She intends to build a similarly credible brand for herself, and her engagements with STV Inc, Hype Fresh and WSJ are helping her on this journey.
As a parting shot, Simon’s advice to everyone is to create a brand which is very specific and deliberate. She also states that one’s network is their net worth, explaining how her networks within sports have helped further her cause. Lastly she addresses young people, “Just because you’re not getting paid doesn’t mean an opportunity is not good for you,” she said, “I’ve worked for free until i got to college. If I hadn’t done that I probably wouldn’t have been able to write for the wall street journal at the age of 23. So you really want to evaluate each situation and see if it can be valuable…and that value may not always be monetary”
Erin Ashley Simon is definitely someone to look out for now and in the future; she has the drive and passion to do great things. This is an inspiring story, especially for young women, who can now see that they can achieve anything they want as long as they put their minds into it. Watch this space!
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