A passion for sailing and writing led Winchester High School graduate Lydia Mullan, Class of 2013, to a dream job as associate editor with Sail Magazine, based in Salem, Massachusetts.
What are you doing now? What was your pathway?
I’m fortunate enough to have made a career out of my passions. I grew up sailing (WHS team captain, 2013), and I always knew that I wanted to make videos professionally. Early on in college, it occurred to me that there must be a job out there that combines the two. I spent the next three years volunteering, networking, and keeping a pretty terrible ocean racing blog to be ready when that job listing came. After college, I was working at a video production job in NYC that was a terrible fit for me. I was commuting on the Bronx subway (two hours each direction) and I used to sit on the subway and read back issues of Sail Magazine, dreaming of escaping that job and that city.
As if in a fairytale, I got a call from Sail Magazine’s editor two months into that job. He asked that I apply for an opening that they had. These days I write for the magazine and am responsible for all their video content. I get to sail cutting edge boats; interview Olympians and America’s Cup champions; and travel all over. It’s an absolute dream.
Was there a favorite moment, person or experience at Winchester High School?
There are too many moments, people, and experiences to name favorites, but the first and most important people that come to mind are the teachers (professional or otherwise) who gave so much to us while at WHS. I could not be more grateful for the strong, positive relationships I had with adults during my high school years. Whether it was the English department that gave me the skills to be a professional writer or the people at WinCAM who made my video aspirations a reality, I have been unbelievably lucky to have had so many generous, hardworking mentors.
Is there insight you can share with current students? A wish that you have for them? Advice?
You will never live your dream if you don’t have one. I can’t stress that enough. If that makes you panic— if your major is “undecided”— take a deep breath. Then think of 1) the “real job” that you “should” do and 2) of something that brings you joy. There is a very specific, niche job out there that combines the two. Find it and do whatever it takes to be the best possible applicant when they’re ready to hire.
Don’t be afraid to have a big dream. Be humble, work hard, and ask for help when you need it.
Lydia Mullan is willing and eager to speak with anyone considering a career in publishing.