We're looking back at some of our favorite episodes of Coffee Break w/NYWICI, revisiting the compelling conversations we’ve had with some of the brightest women in media and communications.
Our Episode 12 guest was Neha Gandhi. As of July 2017, she is the Editor-in-Chief and COO of Girlboss, founded by Sophia Amoruso. When we spoke with Neha in April 2017, she worked at Refinery29 as the SVP of Content Strategy and Innovation. Our interview below reflects Neha’s experience at R29, though we’re excited to see her impact at Girlboss! (Episode 12 on iTunes | Episode 12 on Soundcloud).
Before Leaving, Maximize The Opportunities
Neha was at Harper’s Bazaar for four years and looking for a change. In the midst of the waiting game for her dream job, she maximized her opportunities at the magazine. “I got to do a bunch of things there. I assisted the Managing Editor, Executive Editor, Deputy Editor…I did everything from personal errands to pitching ideas to working on the table of contents,” Neha said. The diversity of responsibilities helped Neha learn the full cycle of how magazines get produced.
Neha was an online editor at Harper’s Bazaar when working for digital wasn’t a hot commodity. Originally, she didn’t want to take the role because it seemed away from the glamour of the print magazine. “[Online] was a marketing tool. It wasn’t considered a place to deliver great content or engage with an audience in a meaningful way,” Neha said.
Soon, digital became the new normal for media outlets. Working online laid the foundation for honing her assignment and editing skills. If Neha wasn’t flexible in taking on a digital job, she wouldn’t have been ahead of the curve in digital’s rise.
Set Short-Term Goals
“Something that I ask all the younger people on my team is ‘Tell me what you want to learn. Tell me the skills you want to acquire in the next six months, nine months, 12 months. Don’t tell me what you want to be in five years or 10 years. The job that you want in five years probably doesn’t exist today.’”
The media landscape is changing so rapidly that you could end up boxing yourself in by focusing on one career path, rather than learning skills that can lead you to multiple opportunities.
Show Your Worth To Move Up
“Add value. That’s at the heart of it. It’s different than putting your head down and working as hard as you can,” Neha said. “To me, the people who quickly advance are the ones you see their value beyond the job they’re asked to do. These people see a problem and ask how they can solve it.”
Know that you can be excellent at your job, but to stand out for a promotion you have to exceed in areas that aren’t your day-to-day. “You have to do the job you want to get promoted into before you get promoted into it,” Neha said.
Find The Sweet Spot To Ask For A Raise
“It varies by situation but we have a semi-annual process where we look at titles and raises. You have an opportunity to raise that conversation at that time,” Neha said. “But if you haven’t been doing a job for a year, that’s not the right time.”
She mentions that there are always exceptions to that rule, such as moments where you’ve been in a position for eight months and someone leaves and you’re left absorbing all of their responsibilities. That opens the door for talks about promotions, if you’ve managed the work successfully.
When you know that the month for raise discussions is coming up, have a one-on-one with your boss a month prior. Neha said that a good opener can be, “I wanted to share with you some ideas that I had for personal development and I’d love your feedback.” Then you’re planting the seed in your manager’s mind for the following month.
Thanks to Neha Gandhi for being part of the podcast! To hear more, visit nywici.org/podcast.