Nancy Gibbs, Janice Min Among Honorees at This Year’s Matrix Awards
46-year-old awards honor outstanding achievements by women in the communications field.
In its 46th year, the 2016 Matrix Awards presented by New York Women in Communications is a well-oiled machine powered by savvy, successful standouts. While the cobb salad served for lunch at this year’s event contained chicken, this year’s eight recipients are anything but.
Of the eight, two have earned their stripes in magazine media, Nancy Gibbs and Janice Min. Gibbs, the first female editor of Time magazine, who has written more cover stories than any writer in the brand’s history, accepted her award from fellow journalist Katie Couric. Couric called Gibbs “a cross between a poet and a pastor,” and said of her writing; “Finding the right word is like capturing light in a bottle. Nance does it again and again.”
During her moving acceptance speech, Gibbs said, “the future belongs to those who can incite and inspire.”
For the first time in the history of the awards, a second magazine maverick, Janice Min, was honored at the same event. (Usually one award each goes to women in magazines, broadcasting, PR, digital, advertising, books and marketing.) In her intro, Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, called Min “the master of the magazine makeover.”
And she’s not kidding. After doubling Us Weekly’s circulation, Min moved her husband and two children to the West Coast in 2010 to resuscitate The Hollywood Reporter. She did such a good job turning the magazine and website into must-reads that she has since been promoted to co-president/chief creative officer of the Entertainment Group of Guggenheim Media. She now hopes to work the same magic on Billboard magazine just as she did for The Hollywood Reporter. Min, who since moving to LA has had a third child, currently oversees both publications.
Min told of an epiphany she had in the second grade that she wasn’t like the other girls in her class. “Most successful people have a quirk that makes them act differently,” she said, encouraging the 22 recipients of scholarships from the New York Women In Communications Foundation who were on hand for the event to embrace their awkwardness and trust their instincts.
The last recipient of the day kept attendees in their seats past their lunch hours. Actress/writer Lena Dunham was honored along with GE’s chief marketing officer Linda Boff; A&E president and CEO Nancy Dubuc; president of the L’Oréal Luxe Division Carol Hamilton; president of Ariel Investments Mellody Hobson and Kaplow Communications founder Liz Kaplow. In addition to her success with “Girls,” which just wrapped it’s next-to-last season, Dunham co-founded the newsletter Lenny, and has since partnered with Hearst for distribution and monetization. Presenter Gloria Steinem called her “our Orson Welles,” and “a living bridge between old and new media.” Dunham admitted that she hadn’t prepared a speech, but proceeded to speak extemporaneously on how women need to mentor and be mentored. As emcee Andy Cohen said when he closed the show, “That’s what it’s like to see Lena Dunham wing it. Pretty good.”