Name: Jennifer Barrett
Job Title and Description: Vice President of Edit & Product Strategy & Editor in Chief of DailyWorth
College/Major: Syracuse University, Newhouse School of Communications/ Journalism
Twitter Handle: @JBarrettNYC
What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Jennifer Barrett: There’s no such thing as a typical day. That’s one reason why I took a job at a startup after more than a dozen years spent working at media companies like The Washington Post, Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, NBC Universal, and Hearst Corporation. I wanted a job that would allow me to indulge my passion for journalism (and for teaching women how to be more successful with their money and careers) and also help me further develop my skills as a digital strategist and a senior manager.
In this role, I’m responsible for everything from creating and implementing social media and SEO strategies to establishing syndication partnerships to developing new revenue streams for the site -- and I’m responsible for all the content that goes up on the site and out in our emails to more than 600,000 women each weekday.
With this job, I wanted to challenge myself to build a popular, profitable, multi-platform editorial site without the infrastructure or resources I’d have at a big media company.
What is the best part of your job?
JB: I love our team and I’m passionate about our mission: to help women close the wage and wealth gaps and get the most for their money, whether they’re investing, spending, or donating it. We have such a smart, talented group of women. With a team this small (there are 10 people at our New York headquarters), everyone has to bring their A-game every day. We can’t afford to have a weak link.
What was your first entry level job in your field and how did you get it?
JB: I started as a reporter for a newspaper in Utah. I landed it by sending a cover letter and some clips from my school paper (The Daily Orange) and by being very persistent.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
JB: That I couldn’t count on staying 1) at one company, and 2) in print. Journalism and the media industry have changed so much since I started my career! All I wanted to be when I was young was a journalist at Newsweek magazine, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do that when print was thriving. But I’ve enjoyed the transition into digital, too. One thing I’ve found is that in order to be successful in your career, you need to pay attention to what’s happening both within your company and within your industry –and adapt accordingly. When it became clear that print journalism and Newsweek in particular were foundering, I switched my focus and took a job that would help me develop my management and digital media skills. And I’m glad I did.
Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
JB: There are so many! Perhaps the most important is Laura McBride, who hired me at the Arizona Republic early in my career. She pushed me to take chances. She assigned me to cover tough, high-profile stories over and over again. And that helped me build my confidence as a reporter. She also provided a model for me as a working mom with two young kids who was enjoying a successful career.
What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
JB: I have a card that someone gave me years ago that says, “No guts, no story.” I keep it on my desk at home, alongside a photo of me in full flight gear just before I rode in an F16 fighter jet for a story (which I’d been terrified to do). They remind me to take chances and do things that feel uncomfortable or scary. That’s how you grow.
Do your Editor-in-Chief and VP of Editorial & Product Strategy duties overlap each other?
JB: Only to the degree that the editorial content that we put up on the site every day is our main product. So it has to be good. Our brand, value, and the future of our company depend on that. So my number one priority is to put out excellent content every day – stories that will empower, inspire, and entertain our readers. And our readers are a pretty smart, sophisticated bunch.
What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
JB: I wish I’d done a better job of negotiating my first few salaries. I’ve definitely learned from my mistakes there!
Where do you see yourself (and DailyWorth) in five years?
JB: We see DailyWorth as becoming the platform for ambitious, professional women. Over the next few years, we’re planning to expand our mission beyond editorial content to include elearning courses, conferences, and events for women who want to earn more from their careers and investments and fund the lives of their dreams.
What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
JB: First, they need to be well-qualified. But beyond skills and expertise, I look for people who share a passion for our mission, are go-getters as well as creative thinkers, and are able to do a lot with a little. We are a startup, after all.
What advice would you give to a 20something with similar aspirations?
JB: Jump in and be open to doing whatever needs to get done—even if it’s not in your job description. That will make you invaluable to those above you, and it will give you a chance to really understand how the business works.