Saturday, February 11, 2017
“Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you’re at it.” – Horace Greeley
The Florentine is the only English-speaking news magazine in Florence. I began reading it online prior to my departure to Florence in August. Upon arrival, I found paper issues at local cafés and restaurants, LdM buildings, and museums. The Florentine offers events of the month, a food & wine section, classifieds, and features from contributing writers. It’s similar to the Vermont News Guide only read by more people and in a foreign city!
Yesterday I was poking around the site and happened to come across the staff page. I noticed that the events & associate editor was Mary Gray, a young woman who studied abroad in Florence herself during her junior year of college. The link to her email address was listed in her bio, and I put my networking cap on. I told her I am a loyal Florentine reader and curious as to how she got to where she is now, wondering if she had time for coffee and a chat. She emailed me back a few hours later and asked if tomorrow at 10:30 AM at Ditta Artigianale worked for me. Of course I said yes!
So this morning we met across the river on a sunny Saturday morning. I was a bit nervous, but I have had the opportunity to connect with strangers more than ever in Florence (ending with positive results). Mary walked in the door dressed in a fashionable pink coat accented with a black Kate Spade handbag. She knew she was meeting me as soon as I smiled at her in a green, plush chair. As I sipped on a caffè latte, she absorbed a big cappuccino.
I asked her how she ended up working at the Florentine, how she enjoys working and living abroad, what she hopes to do in the future, etc…. Mary informed me it was a windy road to get to where she is now. She loves her job, and she loves Florence. It wasn’t a clear-cut path to her success though; it involved a horrific au pair experience, hours of studying Italian to become fluent, and ‘knocking on doors’ left and right for a job. I’m certainly inspired by her career path. She assured me I am doing the right things by reaching out to people who have careers that interest me, taking opportunities as they come, and writing! Mary also said being a native English speaker who wants to work in editorial in a foreign country is a big plus. That makes me feel good, because I am serious about living and working abroad sometime in my 20s! Studying abroad in Florence makes me want to work outside the United States.
It was so nice of her to meet me. She said she did the same thing as a college student and post-graduate, so she is only returning the favor. I hope someday I’ll be able to tell college students how I got to where I am. Mary ended our meeting by giving me her card and asking me to pitch her some ideas for a future issue! So exciting! I am thinking about study abroad articles I could contribute which is very exciting. Stay tuned! xo ~ e.