Monday, February 11, 2008

Working Girl Idol: Cathie Black

She's been called the First Lady of Publishing and the Fun Fearless Female leader of Hearst Magazines. Oprah Winfrey has called her one of the most influential women in the business. We're just going to call her a Working Girl Idol.

Cathie Black is the president of Hearst Magazines and has spent the last four decades in the publishing industry. Black began her career as a sales assistant at Holiday Magazine and quickly made her way up in the industry. She became the publisher of New York Magazine and with this career move she made publishing history. This position made her the first female publisher of a weekly consumer magazine. Black is also known for her success at USA Today, where she was president and publisher. In the mid-1990's Black joined Hearst Magazines.

Her successful career and work experiences inspired her to write "Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)". According to Black, her goals in writing the book were to share her experiences and create a roadmap for the younger reader on their way up in the business world and a provide a refresher course for the older reader with an established career.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend an interview with Cathie Black by the editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine. By the end of the hour and a half long interview, I knew Black was a Working Girl Idol for not only myself, but for all Working Girls. Black began her career in advertising sales when there weren't many women in sales, those who were handled small accounts while the men had the bigger ones. This meant they brought in more business and therefore made more money. In Black's career, the industry has changed from "three martini lunches" (Black once had a lunch meeting at which her male client consumed seven martinis!) with slow afternoon to working lunches with business coming in after the lunch hour.

Black is a career woman and from listening to Black discuss her career and give advice I know that any Working Girl could learn a great deal from Black's experiences. I plan to begin reading Basic Black soon and will be sure to post any worthy advice, here are few bits from the interview:

-Avoid the Dead Zones - The 'Dead Zones' are the four corners in an office conference room. It's hard for a person to speak at a meeting from these spots, try to sit in the middle of the table of near the middle if you're not comfortable being in the center.

-Dress Your Best - When getting dressing the morning think: "Who am I seeing?" or "Who am I meeting with today?" Dress accordingly.

-We All Have a Boss - No matter where you are in the company, it's your job, not your bosses', to set the tone and ask: "How do you want to work? What's your style?"


Bethany said...

3 martini lunches sounds good to me.. where do i sign up?

KBo said...

I love Cathie Black! I first saw her at REDBOOK's Strength and Spirit Awards last year and immediately bought the book! I must confess I haven't finished it but so far it has lots of helpful tips.