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DMing works: How to Network in 2021

The day of the lukewarm beverages at a networking event is over. COVID-19 changed the way people work. Instead of office mixers and happy hours, the pandemic caused young professionals to become creative to build/ foster seasoned industry professionals' relationships. I used Instagram to get in contact with Laura Delarato, a creative director at Vox Creative. Here are her insights on how to make it in the advertising/public relations world.

A picture of Laura

1. Formal Networking is Fake

I did a lot of my networking when a pandemic was didn't exist. And I'm almost positive that must feel very, like isolating to be, on the other end of a computer thinking how am I going to meet someone when the idea of a networking event has gone up in flames. A very particular virus has ravaged networking events and going to the theater office or restaurants, if you acknowledge that right there, it isn't easy.

Honestly, the whole networking thing is entirely fake. The whole thing is wildly fake. It all is LinkedIn, Facebook,, and sites trying to tell you that you need to go to a particular event, course, or messaging system to be able to connect with people who you admire, want to work for or work in their same industry. The best thing I've ever experienced is the following: do you respect someone? Do you think that they're incredible to message them? Message them.

The only thing that's separating you from someone else is a DM or an email. This proactive approach allows you to digitally curate your expanding network and created an opportunity to seek with people what they want to accomplish.

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2. Ru Paul is a great example of a Creative Director

I'm a creative director of Vox media. That means two things presale and post-sale. So it's like before something has sold through a client and when we have to make it. I come up with ideas, the strategy, the look, the feel, and what this program could be. I go on client calls and say, Hi, I'm your creative; I'm here to tell you why this is important; why we've chosen this creative for your brand." I give the final checkmark on everything before work goes live into the world, such as video, an article, a podcast, social component. It all has to look cohesive. Most a lot of my job is saying that I'm not the expert here. Everyone else here is the expert, and they give me your best information.

A great example of creative direction is Ru Paul Drag's Race. You have your queens who have their own like character, personality, and everything. They each have an aseptic as some queens focus on comedy queens. Beauty queens, or fashion queens. Judges RuPaul and Michelle Visage are outstanding creative directors because every time a queen comes down the runway and they show them their look or final piece. Ru Paul and Michelle will advise the queen to tell them how they can be better for the next show. Creative directors push people so they can create the optimal ideas for a client.

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3. Travel impacts your professional and personal evolution

I thought traveling especially, as a plus-size woman, was like the thing I need to overcome, so I could feel like I could trust myself in unknown situations. When I wrote my Conde Nast Traveler piece, I wanted to show that even when I am out of my comfort zone, I can overcome fear and societal pressures to live in the moment. I disregard the garbage stigma about my body or the consequences of eating dessert as I sat in a Paris cafe eating crème brûlée, thoroughly enjoying all of the flavors and sights around me. Travel impacts the person who is when you go back home, you gain new instrumental and qualitative skills you utilize every day.

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4. Confidence is like wine= age makes all the difference.

As far as gaining confidence, I just had more time, I've had more experience going through the world, and now I'm just not going to care about random things anymore. It's really funny; the moment you start, like, paying a billion bills all the time, you begin to care less about what people think of you. I don't have the mental capacity; I have to pay rent. The one thing I would say is to learn, learn. You can learn from going on YouTube, Skillshare, dming a professional someone gets virtual coffee with them. They will make time for you!

(Gif courtesy of

Thank you so much Laura for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me. This conversation demonstrates the power of social media to build professional relationships in 2021.


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog! Please reach out if you have any ideas for content, partnerships, and more!

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