"I feel like I'm constantly preaching to people, no matter what you do, whether you're in media or other things, learn business."
I'm Danielle Weisberg Kim from the couch this podcast is where we go deep on career advice from women who have lifted from the good stuff like hiring and growing a team to the Russ so I feel like I'm constantly preaching to people no matter what you do whether you're in media or other things learned business I'm carly's acres dinner looking at my resume doesn't actually reflect how much of a generalist I was I don't include all of it because again looks kind of crazy the types of things I used to write about editor in Chief of Allure magazine Michelle started her career and magazines working in publications such as parenting Glamour and paper today we are talking to Michelle Lee the fast forward to becoming one of the youngest editor in chiefs ever humble Brag Michelle was an early adopter of digital strategy within more traditional not at all how it was at first my first job was actually at a weekly newspaper so doing hard news and a look back and I think at the time I thought God I seem really arose about everything from cars to extreme sports to finance technology and now I think when people think about me think oh she's like a beauty and fashion person it is so many different multilayered interests anything that's really great and that everything does sort of intersect in a really interesting way and then not something that people need to know I got much more into women's publishing but then also into digital and into the business side so most recently before Laura I was the editor in chief and she from marketing officer at Nylon and then about four and a half years ago I got just a random email from conde nast and then I came over to allure about four years ago and that's where we are so long that if you go on my linked or something if I went into detail it would probably go on for like four or five pages so someone very early on in my career had said to me in order to move up I brought the definition of beauty we're GONNA get into that Michelle we are so excited to have you on the couch ladies high so let's jump in all print publications nearly tripling visits to Lord Dot Com since taking the lead there she's a champion for diversity and says she wants to change the world but we're GONNA come back to the first half of my career was very much spent imprint I worked like you said at a lot of different places I didn't necessarily have specific men's voice in women's publishing was very earnest and so- men's was very like snarky and fun and clever as I liked being able to stretch that muscle a bit and then flash words second-half may career really had a very vibrant freelance career at the time too so I always talk to my bosses at the time wherever I was about one to freelance other places that were not competitive with at that was so when I was at parenting wrote a lot for men's health for G. Q. At the time the women's voice was very different this is like more than twenty years ago the in the media world you have to move out and I think I took it too literally and I stayed in every job for like I said the first seven years for only a year and in some cases less you look at my resume it looks a little bit crazy so I'll give you the super cliff notes version of it so in the first like seven years I would say I was a major job hopper so that's why my resume is so it did help me move very quickly up but the problem is with that is that it starts to look very very bad and starts to be a red flag to people so I don't recommend doing that unfocused and I should probably pick a topic I know plenty of other people who started out in beauty and they stayed in that for me looking back though I think it was actually a really positive it be at the time I worked at parenting I was on the launch team of COSMO girls or worked in like parents teens also on the launch team of US weekly and how being a generalist certainly understand that if somebody feels so passionately about something I know plenty of people who when they were kids like elementary school level there's just skim your resume for us yes I actually thought about this in advance because I know you asked this question what I always half jokingly say to people's how much time do you have a lot of time eh why is something people should know about you that they can't find on linked in or googling you I think that looking at my list becoming editor in chief to be successful for the rest of my life I would have been setting myself up for failure so I knew at some point within the past ten years that I needed to learn digital I needed to learn the thing that I see myself as a generalist now because in everything that I do even though a lawyer is core beauty it's also about so many other things right as women we can have Liam I think it was like Dolphin Stadium because I lived in Florida it's time in Dolphin Stadium Lay said one of my friends was like do you want to go be an extra on this movie I was like okay so it was great partly so part of it was born out of frustration like I said I started out mostly in print and I was frustrated because the job that I was in my see radio social but then also to learn business so I feel like I'm constantly preaching to people no matter what you do whether you're media or other things learn business if I james because you get to see all these different industries even though like I can't say I worked in movie production I got to see what it was like to actually put together a movie and to see like some of the creative process I saw the behind the scenes of how a movie is made and the only other thing I really remember is having crispy cream donuts later and it's like and I was faking it till I make it because I didn't really know what I was doing I mean right now it's awesome because you can learn so much online so I taught myself. Seo I think about which is is it okay to be a generalist do I need to really become an expert at something and what are your thoughts on that yeah I mean for me obviously it worked out really had a lot of like odd jobs when I was a kid I worked concessions at a stadium also I worked at a bookstore and swept floors and think about now like those were some of the greatest time go into journalism I felt like that was my path and then within journalism you can make that so many different things but it also play within the past ten years or so realized that the Oh had no interest in digital whatsoever actually I remember I took like an eleven by seventeen sheet of paper and I was like this is what our website should look like and he was like well we shouldn't do it because it's had a really great discussion with my ceo where he wanted me to grow there and he said what can we do to kind of get you to that next level you're already an editor in chief like typically I started out in media being an editor in chief was completely one eighty degrees different from what is today so had I stayed on the path and just thought these are the only things that I need to do asking them too many questions and stuff so I was very open with my CEO and I said I feel really self conscious sometimes about not fully understanding the business side so he so once they left that job I taught myself how to fully design a responsive website I taught myself CSS. I taught myself video editing and production I taught myself like sales basically I taught myself so many different things at the same time you can only get so far with that too so when I was at nylon I remember cannibalize what we're doing in print so no interest in it whatsoever so after he left that job a very kind of famously took a pay cut in half and they went to a digital only place being done so he eventually promoted me to head of brand strategy also on top of being editor in chief and then eventually became chief marketing officer there too as the world well I wasn't expecting that as an answer on this thinking and of course I'm not GonNa put you touched on a lot of things just now about career path and about being yeah yeah yeah and so my husband used to work in finance so occasionally I would come home and say to him what does this mean can you explain this to me it's awkward sometimes with your spouse to of like generalist and moving around and I think it's a lot of stuff that we've thought about for our solves a lot of our employees have we've talked to them about and certainly I know a lot of our listeners you feel that way about something that you're GonNa go and you're going to live that passion for me I think that it's been really great for me being a generalist but then also once I decided when I was a sophomore prompted us to leave and start the scam they just felt this passionate for working in the fashion industry they stood there unclothed say just devoured every single fashion magazine and to me that makes sense then that if yeah I have done I don't know very weird things when I was younger I was an extra in I was watching something about Jim Carey recently and it made me think about when I was in college I was an ex was great and he has been an amazing mentor for me where he said Okay I'm going to include you in some more of these meetings you can come along with me and he understood that I was creative and away the we had a very specific aesthetic that was very gen z. like very cool that a lot of brands really wanted to hop onto and they weren't necessarily sure like who the right photographer go back to school I think I would either get my mba or if I could literally get on a time machine I would probably have a major in journalism and a minor in business or Kajing if you wanted to mail in the actual physical peace but I didn't WanNa touch my collection but you can preview the item online any frame style super easy off your first order just go to frame bridge dot Com Promo Code Skim again that's frame bridge dot Com Promo Code Skim of the business people were not so it was sort of mutually beneficial that he saw me as somebody who could be great on the marketing side and building the brand and away on a business side that wasn't really one of the things that we struggle with is running a company where we have a lot of people that are where do you go from there in like the old school media world that was like the pinnacle and you get put out to pasture after that so for me I was the thing I'm really frustrated in that movie Ace Ventura KS Mishra I don't think you can even see me so at the very end he's in like a State Hatha Journalists Ron and editors was not going to be the path forever right like when I was starting out being an editor reaching two full you know that for sure when kind of like hearing what we felt better articulated back to us because everything that you went through our things that in a free no picture me it's a picture of US something new and different because you don't have any what's it used frame bridge yet get started today go to frame bridge dot com and use Promo Code Skim S K I m M to save an additional fifteen percent you can teach yourself anything I think at some point in my own life probably in high school I told myself I'm not good at math and then I thought okay we'll businesses all math so I should just not even care about business with is that I sit and now these advertising sales meetings and marketing meetings and there are terms that people are using the I don't actually understand and I'll kind of nod my head and be like oh graduated from Duke with a degree in math but she's also an extremely creative person and my daughter is also the same way at eleven where see like she has very very like in branded content started to develop so kind of wore these two hats Manila's there where one of them was core editorial and then one of them was white labeling things for certain brands because at Nylon I how do you learn business were you in your previous jobs going to your bosses and saying can you teach me social can you teach me how to look at a p Anelle or redoing this in your own time isn't stylus where to do those things so we built this really strong branded content business and that kind of gave me this bug of wanting to work on the business side to it greener in their career who loved the creative aspect and we say to them you have to learn the business side and I feel like there is sometimes a S- talk about the separation of church and state and I think a lot of that also extends to our childhood that especially as women it's like a lot of say oh you're either good at math or your creative person our whole team behind was nodding it's not true not true we've been told that and then we start to convince ourselves of that and it's absolutely not true because Daghma of this insecurity right like if you're a creative that's kind of what you do when you want to be pure but it's only get you so far how have you it's from bridge who's our favorite it's so easy all I had to do with upload photos from our beautiful instagram account and I just went to frame bridge dot com they send you actual and very logical about things love math but also loves drawing and loves writing and reading and stuff so to me those are two examples of where you can have both of those things you been able to mentor people that are younger journalists I think it's so interesting and rare that you were able to play the part was the biggest most amazing just money flush magazine her job though was running a magazine I don't think was like super involved in the business side because that's not what the editor I've seen him Oh and also have been editor-in-chief yeah oh it's a very rare thing and especially anyone who grew up in the media industry at the time that I did because you know we always use it sheep did it was long before the digital world it was long before people were doing a lot of other business extensions so today I think the role of an editor in chief is almost more in a lot of it is leading by example telling your own story so that they understand that how you got to where you are is out by understanding the business side more we also our team does the company right now and so technically yes there is a business team and there's an editorial team if we were completely independent though as you guys are what I ever of like a CEO I touched everything and our business so we not only have the magazine we've got the website we've got social media video but also other businesses too so we're looking at consumer events we've got the beauty box And any other things too I mean I have so many meetings with brands we're very fortunate because in a world of being just the creative and not caring about the business side I wouldn't it makes no sense so even though I'm Outta Larger Corporation why should I act like that like we I think I was sort of forced into it in a way because I see this future of where the media landscape is changing I think that as much as I want to believe that the editor in chief role were allure immediate brand and now very much think of ourselves as we're not media brand were a brand when you look at your team today or even for yourself what is the scale we'll go on for one hundred more years I don't know if that's the case and even if it does it'll be such a different situation that the analogy is used as that I work at work on branded content so I think a lot of them are very interested in also because I think that they're seeing the in the world working for brands even if you're not a little or there's a lot of duty editors now that work at beauty brands we had someone who went to go work at Fendi someone who went to go work at glossy so it's that the media world is changing it's not the jobs are disappearing they're just kind of changing stuff like negotiating your salary and giving or getting hard feedback we started the skin from a couch so what better place to talk it all out than where it began on account the beauty world right now is just exploding so much so even the media world has been pretty tumultuous in the past ten years the beauty world is exploding so much it's very now my very first editor in chief who ever worked with in New York was Ruth Whitney who was the longtime editor in chief of Glamour and so at that time glamour should all be acting like startup founders we should all be acting like entrepreneurs even if we're not and we're working on a more established company I do answer your question about the mentoring younger people to when you think about all the different ways that we can think about where you're can go when I first started here I think my first year I was trying to convince everyone we're not allure magazine so Danielle your birthday is coming up it is you know what I don't know where you're going to get you I got you something is it a picture of you know with the talented designers the prices start at thirty nine dollars shipping is free it's so nice to know what you spend my birthday she if you haven't I'm just going to be a creative and it's so we were now we can all share and commiserate my sister is the people skills enough and so I was saying to you before so I'm a mom got a fourteen year old an eleven year old and so my son Ethan who's my oldest every single year so sad that you would encourage people to get today so that they can still have all doors open to them ten years from now I think a lot of times people don't emphasize I am dot com to 'em for a little something extra there's some things that we could modernize and we can improve first of all it was very much known as just a magazine so we needed to really extend ourselves into other platforms and then it's kind of crazy to think was not diverse place at all and I don't just mean racial and ethnic diversity it was not diverse with body types with age with gender with anything secondly diversity which you mentioned in the Intro I think was a very big thing that it wasn't just a lower it was women's media in general and also the beauty and fashion industry in general that four years ago Sir how I have to deal with my bosses it's about learning how to be respectful but also being forceful enough and not being just a yes person you have seen in many thing like I think half of going to school is learning what you need to learn the curriculum but then the other half is navigating people and understanding how to work things interviewing and hiring and figuring out are they right for the culture so I do look at it as a red flag right now and definitely not a positive thing when you tation for them about how it changed the brand and obviously I was starting from a place of it was such a strong brand already had so much brand trust and everything but I did think that they're it was the hardest thing I was so nervous I remember the first day having to address the team and it was absolutely the most nerve I've ever been because Linda is a hundred you for a reason they want your opinion and I see this among young people all the time that they're too nervous or too shy to say what they actually think and I want to there's of my career people who have made their way to the top by being yes people and so we are very adamant with our kids that is not the way that we do things and I actually think that if you have a it's not easy though when you're coming into a staff where they're used to things running in a certain way and I think within media it's very easy to get kind of St hire people who have strong opinion and who are not going to be assholes about it I want to have people who I can bounce ideas off of what is your reaction when you see people and within the past two years I would say the industry has changed dramatically but that was not the case when I started so I feel like I came in with having these really exciting plans can a routine of saying we've always done the story this way we're kind of going to do it this way so it was a lot of constantly talking especially to my senior staff About percents total idol to me within the industry had been following her career for so long I love allure as a brand for such a long time but it