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©2019 by Jehn Kubiak.

New York Minute Magazine

Writing Intern

I was writing intern for New York Minute Magazine, an online publication, from October 2017 to April 2018.  I wrote three articles a week on various subjects––politics, international news, the arts, and more.  In addition, I wrote text for social media videos. Visit my author page for a full compilation of my articles. 

 

Work Samples

News and features

10 Designers Share their Experiences with the Gender Gap

November 21, 2017

Women dominate the graphic design field, yet only 11 percent are creative directors, and three percent of creative directors across all fields are women. Even Adobe, a top design company, shows its vast gender disparity on its diversity page, with 29 percent of women working in the global workforce, 25 percent as people managers, 24 percent as leaders, and 20 percent as technical employees.

Designer Fund, an investor in tech startups, seeks to help close this gap, asking 10 design executives from top companies atWomen in Design 2017: Women Working Together how they create positive environments for female designers.

Abstract Director of Design Heather Phillips led a panel alongside four other panelists: Jamie Myrold from Adobe, Nancy Douyonfrom Uber, Bo Lu from Pinterest, and Laura Naylor from Youtube. The panelists described their relationships with colleagues, the company-level programs that boosted their careers, and practical tips for female designers in the workplace.

Women dominate the graphic design field, yet only 11 percent are creative directors, and three percent of creative directors across all fields are women. Even Adobe, a top design company, shows its vast gender disparity on its diversity page, with 29 percent of women working in the global workforce, 25 percent as people managers, 24 percent as leaders, and 20 percent as technical employees.

Designer Fund, an investor in tech startups, seeks to help close this gap, asking 10 design executives from top companies atWomen in Design 2017: Women Working Together how they create positive environments for female designers.

Abstract Director of Design Heather Phillips led a panel alongside four other panelists: Jamie Myrold from Adobe, Nancy Douyonfrom Uber, Bo Lu from Pinterest, and Laura Naylor from Youtube. The panelists described their relationships with colleagues, the company-level programs that boosted their careers, and practical tips for female designers in the workplace.


During the panel, these leaders explained how they climbed the corporate ladder and shared their experiences with gender barriers. Lu described how, despite her hesitations, a female mentor convinced her to apply for a leadership role. Today, Lu works as the Creative Lead for Pinterest. The company has an online forum with a Creative Women’s room, which featured a thread about the inner critic, something Lu felt validated her feelings about self-worth.

“A lot of women had some variation of ‘I don’t feel I’m good enough’ or ‘I don’t feel like I’m doing enough,’” Lu said. “It was really empowering to hear that women I see as confident and capable, have these voices too.”

In an interview with Design WeekConstruct Founder Georgia Fendley explained how a lack of self-confidence widens the gender gap.

“I think the challenges in design are similar to those in other sectors, the biggest being self-belief,” Fendley said. “Women are just as capable, hard-working and talented – but sadly they don’t always recognise this in themselves.”

According to Adobe, leadership roles for female designers are limited, but women can apply the “shine” theory – a term Ann Friedman coined after she studied how President Obama’s female staffers amplified each other – when they encounter competition. The shine theory states that when one woman shines, all the women around her also shine. The panelists discussed how this theory applies to their experiences and how women can help each other earn positions instead of engaging in fierce competition.

“It [the shine theory] finds itself in the idea of mutual female support, and it promotes women lifting each other and other women up instead of tearing them down,” Heather Phillips said.

Designer Fund also reports that these leaders led workshops with different topics: nonviolent communication, using their voices for important causes, mitigating barriers in the technology industry, creating a collaborative and inclusive design team culture, and global perspectives in the workplace and hiring for diversity.

The women also discussed how the likability penalty – the idea that accomplished men are more “likable” than accomplished women – creates challenges for women who seek executive positions, yet aren’t naturally assertive. The panelists advised attendees to remain true to their personalities.

“I tried to fit in, and it wore me out. People had to start to take me as I was,” Douyon said.

Female designers and creative directors have a long way to go before they achieve equality with men. However, events like these bring awareness to the cause and empower creative women to fight for leadership roles.

SYBS Single, ‘Motivation,’ Inspires Many

December 20, 2017

Yugy Onyekwe stood on a busy Los Angeles street near Chinatown, while his sister, Dobi Kwe, sat in her London home studio, working on songs for the upcoming year. Despite their busy schedules – split between London, New York and Los Angeles – the brother-sister SYBS duo sat down for an interview about their new song, “Motivation.” 100 percent of proceeds from pair’s new single, released on December 8th, will benefit relief efforts in Puerto Rico, according to the SYBS website.

Yugy Onyekwe stood on a busy Los Angeles street near Chinatown, while his sister, Dobi Kwe, sat in her London home studio, working on songs for the upcoming year. Despite their busy schedules – split between London, New York and Los Angeles – the brother-sister SYBS duo sat down for an interview about their new song, “Motivation.” 100 percent of proceeds from pair’s new single, released on December 8th, will benefit relief efforts in Puerto Rico, according to the SYBS website.


Back in the early to mid-2000s, Yugy played professional basketball for Spain and Israel. During his career, he injured his right knee and had five surgeries in four years. In a commentary video about the song, Yugy explained how he watched the team play from the sidelines at practice one day and thought about the things that motivated him to push past these injuries. This eventually led to the song’s first draft.

“I was asking myself, ‘Why do I keep doing this? What’s my motivation and reason for getting injured and continuing to try and come back again just to be frustrated?’” Yugy said.

“I don’t want to ever look back on my life and be like, ‘I didn’t take that chance’ or there’s something I felt like I could have done or should have done,” Yugy said.

For someone who has lost motivation, Dobi would recommend that they take the time to figure out why they do what they love and understand it for themselves, instead of going through the motions or following someone else’s dream. Dobi has struggled with lack of motivation to pursue music at times and explained how changing her mindset gave her motivation.

“If you have that mindset shift, then it will be so much easier to be able to be motivated because you know you can achieve through effort rather than through this innate ability to do something or not be able to do something,” she said.

Through Reese’s, Coss’, Yugy’s, and Dobi’s stories, “Motivation” provides an encouraging and positive message in a competitive world where people often experience disappointment. SYBS encourages others to find the motivation necessary to push past obstacles and go for the gold in the race of life.

Mexico Ignores International Recommendations on Femicide

December 26, 2017

Mexico is one of 25 countries with the world’s highest femicide rates, with 12 women killed daily.

The La Violencia Feminicida en México, Aproximaciones y Tendencias 1985-2016 report indicates that the country’s annual femicide rate was 3.8 per 100,000 women in 1985 and rose to 4.4 in 2016. The National Women’s Institute in Mexico collaborated with UN Women on this report, which indicates nearly a third of the killings in a 32-year period occurred within the last six years.

The General Law on Women’s Access to a Life of Free Violence, released in 2007, contains a clear definition of femicide.

“Femicide violence is the most extreme form of gender violence against women, produced by the violation of their human rights in public and private spheres and formed by a set of misogynistic actions that can lead to the impunity of society and the State and culminate in homicide and other forms of violent death of women,” the law states.

In 2015, the National System for the Prevention, Attention, Sanctioning and Eradication of Violence Against Women established the Alert of Gender Violence Against Women (AVGM) for Mexico. The AVGM affects 11 municipalities with the concentration of the highest index of violence and crimes against women. The alert implemented security measures to prevent violence and to increase women’s security.

Despite these safety measures, women in Mexico still suffer from high femicide rates. Colima had the highest femicide rate in 2016, at 16.3 per 100,000. The next highest areas include Guerrero, Zacatecas, Chihuahua, and Morelos. Areas with high-organized cartel violence rates also have the highest number of these kinds of killings; for instance, Acapulco in Guerrero had the most killings of any municipality, at the staggering number of 107.

The National Citizens Observatory on Femicide is an alliance of 36 human rights and women’s organizations that monitors information about the lack of justice for women victims of violence. Mexico has received numerous international recommendationsregarding the rights of women because Mexico’s actions remain insufficient.

A University of San Diego report, Violence Against Women in Mexico, describes how the country’s long history of femicide has created distrust in the government, as well as a culture of impunity, since only eight percent of femicides in Mexico result in punishment.

“Femicides terrify, denying women equal access to public space and opportunities, and further shredding a social fabric already torn by a decade-long drug war,” the document says.

Women die through cruel methods, such as stabbing, beating and strangling, according to the Feminicida en México report.

“This means there has not been success in changing the cultural patterns that devalue women and consider them disposable, allowing for a social permissiveness in the face of violence and its ultimate expression, femicide,” said the report.

As a result, the report recommends the government address the problem with public policies that prevent violence and eliminate risks in public areas, a change that will empower women and increase their economic autonomy.

Mexico cannot continue denying the confirmed femicide statistics that these reports present. Gender violence will only rise if the country’s government does not enforce the already implemented legislation. Femicide rates will only decline if the State heeds human rights recommendations and addresses the issue head-on.