Gerilyn Manago '07

Gerilyn Manago '07

Senior Social Media Editor at Allure

What is your favorite memory as a student at 'Iolani?

It's really difficult to choose just one. From mochiko chicken Wednesdays to senior benches, `Iolani provides a lot of unique experiences beyond the classroom. But for me, I still dream about playing water polo (the team, the coaches and even the ridiculous workouts with Coach Dom)—and helping win `Iolani's first girls ILH water polo title and state championship my senior year.

Who was your most influential teacher at 'Iolani? Why?

One of the first names that comes to mind is Dr. Joseph Won. Like many of the other teachers I had, Dr. Won was more than just an instructor. He was a nice person. There was at least one college essay that I wrote at the last minute my senior year. I know I asked Dr. Won to edit it and provide feedback—and very well might have told him I needed it overnight or over the weekend. (I know, this is a very incriminating example.) But Dr. Won reluctantly obliged, and I can still remember the facial expression he gave me. It was the same one he'd give in English 9 if my speech was short of the minimum length: the you-know-better smirk. This type of willingness and understanding is something I'd like to think I practice every day.

In what ways has your 'Iolani experience shaped your life after 'Iolani?

`Iolani has helped shape my workplace preferences. I enjoy working with a close-knit team at a larger company that has organization and structure. As an employee and manager, I like feeling both supported while still being trusted with the responsibility to lead—just as I was at `Iolani.

What influences from your 'Iolani experience do you bring to your work?

The `Iolani One Team philosophy is something I've always valued. On my social media team, I don't pull rank and don't work less just because I'm the senior person. In my opinion, we all succeed (or all fail) together.

What sparked your interest in a career in social media and journalism?

I was an intern at Tiger Beat and BOP when I attended my first press junket for the then up-and-coming Disney show Shake It Up. Observing the editorial assistant who was with me, I realized that as an English major, I didn't have formal training in journalism skills like interviewing. That was the exact moment I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. At that time, social media was still relatively new, too. Instagram was on the horizon, but it was mostly all about Twitter and Facebook. Growing up in Hawaii, I remember looking to AOL for news or hearing who won American Idol through friends who had family on the East Coast. Hawaii is at the end of the news cycle, and I've always liked being on top (if not ahead) of it. So social media just made sense.

What are the biggest challenges you face in creating content for the various platforms that are available? What are the newest tools that you are employing?

Manpower will always be an exhausted resource because timeliness is crucial. Social platforms are also constantly evolving and growing, so social media editors must remain nimble and adjust their strategies (and resources) accordingly. But as fast as the industry changes, we must also take the time to evaluate the work we've done. Yes, a post is fleeting, but it's more than just throwing content against a wall to see if it'll stick. I personally use insight tools like Omniture, Shareablee and Parsely to evaluate success.

What is a key piece of advice for anyone looking to increase their following (either personally or business related)?

1. Own your voice. Instead of adding to the white noise online, hone in on what you have to say and how you say it. 2. Be consistent. To create a loyal following, you need to set an expectation and always meet it.

You've had great success in a relatively short timeframe...what has been your strategy for advancing your career? How have you sought out and landed opportunities?

Work hard, ask questions and be nice to people. It's probably the most overused career advice, but in an industry where your network is just as valuable as your degree, every word is important. Diligence will always be rewarded. Communication will always be recognized. A problem solver will always advance.

Gerilyn Manago '07 started her career as the assistant fashion editor at Men's Health and has since held social media roles at Beautycounter and PEOPLE. Gerilyn is currently the senior social media editor at Allure. She has a B.A. in English from Pepperdine University and a M.A. in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.