In her role, she leads the social team and social media marketing strategy for American Vogue. Gimmel also serves as an elected member of Condé Nast’s Global Employee Council, which aims to champion sustainability, diversity, and inclusion, and is student mentor for the non-profit Built By Girls.
College sophomore Alina Ahmad, Vice President of Operations for PFW, and College senior Ella Worth, President of PFW, interviewed Gimmel before opening up the floor for questions from the audience. Gimmel talked about her career path to Vogue.
Her love of reading and writing brought her to journalism, starting her career as editorial assistant at DuJour Media.
“Once I got to DuJour, I was an editorial assistant. So what I was doing was writing the website and interviewing people. I was an assistant, so I was either getting coffee or transcribing interviews for some of our editors. And somewhere along the way, social [media] kind of popped up,” Gimmel said.
Gimmel encouraged students to find footing through internships, which are incredibly valuable in learning skills and making yourself marketable. Gimmel started in an internship at a large company, but she explained that interning at both big and small companies are extremely valuable experiences.
Social media is still ever-changing, and Gimmel hopes to encourage diversity through social media.
“We’re super super careful about the issues that we’re putting forth on every single social media channel,” Gimmel said. “We try our best to be very inclusive in our posts and in our language because — especially when you work in a field like this — words really do matter.”
Despite being careful, the public often will have strong responses, like the responses to the Vogue cover that featured Harry Styles in a dress. Although the intention of the cover was not necessarily to make a statement, there was huge outcry from both sides, Gimmel said.
“It was just a natural thing, like the stylists of that shoot brought options for Harry and put him in clothes. And a celebrity will never put something on that they refuse to wear — it’s a two-way conversation, and it wasn’t this mastermind or thing. It was just a very natural project,” Gimmel said.
Ahmad said that Gimmel’s experiences, both working in social media and mentoring underrepresented communities, made her a valuable speaker.
“Having a career in social media is so interesting. [Gimmel] is a valuable person to bring … because [social media] is such an up-and-coming industry,” Ahmad said.
Worth said that she hoped students were able to learn more about what career opportunities exist.
“It’s hard to watch magazines fall out of print and see people put less attention on that, but I think of and look at social media as a viable alternative,” Worth said about the value of social media. “Social media is not frivolous; it’s a really essential part of any brand and crafting a brand identity and customer acquisition.”
Since its inception, the Executive Speaker Series has brought many prominent figures in the fashion industry to speak at Penn, including Zac Posen and the CEO of Aritzia. The most recent speaker was Raissa Gerona, the chief brand officer of the Revolve Group, who spoke in late February.
Although Gimmel was the last speaker in PFW and Baker Retail’s series for this semester, Ahmad said that PFW hopes to continue to bring speakers next year, following the success of this semester’s events.