The theme of Women’s History Month this March is, “Celebrating the Women Who Tell Our Stories.” We’re thrilled to introduce you to three AmeriHealth New Jersey associates ― Corporate Communications Manager Carly LePore, Senior Social Media Specialist Samantha Hellinger, and Copywriter Kristen Sanchez. They share their experiences as professional communicators and their personal thoughts about the women who inspire them.
Question: What does this year’s theme mean to you?
Carly: It resonates with me personally as a mom and professionally as a working parent. I’m grateful for all the new mothers and working parents sharing their experiences and not being afraid to talk about the highs and lows.
Samantha: It celebrates women like me who are in the field of communications and help their brand or company share their message to the masses, but it also celebrates women who are brave enough to share their personal stories.
Kristen: It means a lot to me because I’m always looking for ways to celebrate the women in my life! Personally, I have friends who inspire me every day with their stories. Professionally, I appreciate that a lot of the people on my team are women. Working with them helps me feel supported and empowered in the workplace.
Q: Can you tell us about your career journey and how you became involved in media and communications?
Samantha: I went to school for communications, first for journalism and then for advertising. I kind of fell into social media ten years ago and ended up loving it. It was a unique way to use my degree with my love of creative writing to share a brand message. I also love that I get to work and collaborate with associates all over my company!
Kristen: I studied English in college just because I enjoyed the subject, not really considering what kind of career it could give me. When it was time to find a job after graduation, I became interested in marketing. I found that I love helping people convey their message in the best way possible, even if it’s just through a short social post.
Carly: I went to school for communications and always dreamed of working at a magazine and with celebrities. It wasn’t until I had my first job at a public relations agency that I fully understood what working in communications entailed. I love all the creativity and brainstorming, the cool and important campaigns that I’ve launched, and the ability to craft a message and leave a mark on the industry. Working with celebrities is always an added perk!
Q: Why do you think it’s important to have women telling stories in health care?
Kristen: I think it can be easy to think of some health care advice as one-size-fits-all, especially when writing about broad topics that are applicable to a lot of people. But it’s important to acknowledge women’s health and include women’s perspectives when creating content because women have unique experiences and health concerns.
Carly: Women make up a big portion of the health care market. There’s no better way to add a personal touch to our content than to share the stories of the women in our own company. Our members can relate to these women and become inspired to care for their own health.
Samantha: Working in health care, I love that I can help educate women on the importance of preventive care and mental health. As a new mom, I love the sense of camaraderie I feel sharing my stories with other mothers, and I love destigmatizing the discussion of mental health struggles. No matter your gender, it’s so important to let people know they’re not alone.
Q: Who do you look up to in your career or personal life?
Carly: My mom taught me many things, most importantly family values. MiMi, my grandmother, is a cancer survivor. I’m influenced by her fierce, competitive, and no-nonsense approach to life. At the start of my career at AmeriHealth New Jersey, Jill Roman, my manager and mentor, gave me the support I needed at a pivotal time. She believed in me when I was a new mother on the path to finding work-life balance.
Samantha: I have too many women in my life who inspire me. I keep in touch with my first boss because she was a great mentor. I also have past colleagues who have become my close friends. We support each other personally and professionally. I’m also fortunate to have strong female leaders in my current role. I find it really motivating to have smart, compassionate leaders to look up to.
Kristen: I look up to every woman mentor I’ve ever had. Each of my supervisors and my friends and family members who are women have shaped me into who I am today.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to become involved in media and communications?
Samantha: Explore all areas of media and communications. You never know what will stick! Learning how each field works just makes you stronger in whichever role you do end up in. I also recommend keeping in touch with your colleagues and supervisors whenever possible. Over the years, I’ve created a supportive network that just keeps growing. I love celebrating other women in my field, and I’m always proud to see my colleagues grow!
Kristen: Find your niche, and just go for it! There are plenty of ways to become involved in media and communications, so find the one that speaks to you the most.
Carly: Explore as many different industries as possible within communications. The great part about working at an agency is there are so many different clients. I jumped at the chance to work for any client, no matter the industry, and I’d encourage others to do the same.