Today I Want Her Job celebrates its third anniversary. It’s incredible to think that just three years ago, the very site you’re reading launched with five interviews from women I admired. At the time, I was going through a career transition myself. As the youngest-ever editor-in-chief of the alumni magazine at The University of Montana, I was thrust into an incredible position at a young age, but after years of interviewing successful alums who worked at companies like Nike and designed sets for “The Big Bang Theory”, I was left wanting more. I wanted to become one of the alums who made its alma mater proud and who one day would grace the pages of the magazine I used to produce — because I wanted to help inspire college students and not just tell the stories of those who did.
Around that time I also was running a fashion blog, and on it I featured women in fashion via the column, “I Want Her Job.” After attending many informational interviews myself (with many of those very alums mentioned above), I started to think about how great it would be if there was a site that asked the very questions I was asking, and that served as a resource for making introductions, connections and helping others figure out if a certain job would be the right fit. You try shoes on, so why wouldn’t you aim to “try on” a job before applying? I combined the fashion blog with the idea of digitizing informational interviews and created I Want Her Job.
Now, more than 300 interviews later, it’s my hope that I Want Her Job has helped you. I hope it’s helped you learn more about jobs you’re interested in, figure out what it is you want to do to make a living (and love the work you’re doing at the same time), and most importantly, I hope it has helped you connect with other phenomenal women in your fields who have a passion for the same mission as you.
In the coming weeks, I Want Her Job will be undergoing a transformation. A complete redesign and relaunch is just around the corner. And while we are continuing to offer the very same interviews you’ve grown to look for and love, we also are adding an increased emphasis on the issues that arise once you’ve found that job you’ve always wanted. The entire IWHJ team is composed of women already established in their careers, as well as a few amazing ladies in school who are about to embark on their own career path. I Want Her Job consists of career content written by women who’ve made it to their dream jobs themselves, and if we did it, we know you can, too. We can’t wait to open our next chapter in the coming weeks — along with you.
In the meantime, check out my list of the Top 15 interviews I feel you just can’t miss. Whether you’re looking for the right job, or have already found it, all of the ladies below have incredible “had to do it to learn it” type advice that will help you in your current job (or job search) today. But, with more than 300 women to choose from, narrowing the list down to just 15 was nearly impossible. So start here, and catch up on some of our other profiles as time allows. Each woman offers her own distinct view, and each makes up the fabric of this incredible community we’ve created — together.
1 / Grace Bonney | Founder, Design*Sponge
When Brooklyn-based writer Grace Bonney clicked “publish” on her blog seven years ago, it was meant solely as a passion project; a way to express her love of design and decorating. Or, as Grace explains, an outlet to help “feel less like the crazy girl in the room who’s always going on about cool wallpaper.”
To Grace’s surprise, she was hardly alone. Today, the founder of Design*Sponge writes for a daily audience of 75,000 people — all as eager as her to chat about wallpaper and find original yet attainable design ideas. Read More
2 / Liz Carlson | Founder + CEO, InTheDoor.com
An entrepreneur has to be one of the coolest jobs out there, but it also has to be one of the most frustrating. Liz Carlson, founder and CEO of InTheDoor.com, will tell you that firsthand.
Liz began work on the site with two others who shared her passion — creating a website that leveraged a person’s Facebook connections to help them find an “in” at their dream company. Liz first came up with the site after growing frustrated that she was turning in online job application after online job application, only to be rejected not by a person but by … a computer! Read More
3 / Hilary Corna | Author, National Speaker + Kaizen Leader
Hilary Corna has the kind of fearlessness that we admire in a woman. At only 22 years old, she bought a one-way ticket to Singapore to start her career. Anything but typical, right? But she will tell you the opportunity was more than worth it.
Hilary worked as the “one white face” of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific. While there she studied kaizen, a business method and management style for problem solving. She applied this to her work with dealerships in the Philippines and India, and later wrote a book, “One White Face” to share her story about adapting to new cultures, creating new friendships and following your dreams. Read More
4 / Lori Deschene | Founder, TinyBuddha.com
Lori Deschene is the founder of TinyBuddha.com, a website with simple wisdom for complex lives. Before launching the site, Lori was part of a walk-across-the-country tour promoting fitness products. Her job was to walk the Iams spokesdog at various points throughout the cross-country trek. She pitched a “dog blog” — exploring the country through the eyes of a yellow lab. Iams loved it, and that was the beginning of a long journey toward where she is today.
She leveraged that blog into a gig writing for a tween magazine, and then leveraged that into a copywriting job and now, Tiny Buddha. Read More
5 / Jennifer Haney | Professional Pilot
Jennifer graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and then spent five years as a communications officer with the Active Duty Air Force. Two years into her job she was deployed to Uzbekistan, just after Operation Enduring Freedom began. It was there that a new dream — flying — started to pique her interest. She earned her Private Pilot’s license in 2005, and another two-and-a-half years later completed all of the training to become an Air Force C-130 pilot. She’s been in the skies ever since.
Jennifer’s incredible job allows her the opportunity to save lives and provide medical aide to those who need it the most on a regular basis. Read More
6 / Tracey Katona | Ballet Teacher, Oregon Ballet Theatre + Pilates Instructor, Nike World Headquarters
If you ask a classroom of young girls what they want to be when they grow up, chances are at least one of them will tell you that they want to be a ballerina, teacher or athlete. Tracey Katona gets to do all three.
As a former professional ballet dancer, she currently teaches ballet at Oregon Ballet Theatre and instructs Pilates at Nike World Headquarters. If you don’t think that keeps her busy enough, she’s also a dance consultant and guest teacher at various destinations including Canyon Ranch. She loves teaching all athletes — from professionals to weekend warriors to those just beginning their athletic journey. Read More
7 / Lesa France Kennedy | CEO, International Speedway Corporation + Board of Directors, NASCAR
Many women dream of a job in sports — helping to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for fans, creating marketing materials that grab fans and pull them into the venue, or even working with reporters to ensure their needs are met. And for the past several years those dreamers have had a very powerful female force to look up to. She’s so dynamic in her job, in fact, that she’s been named “The Most Powerful Woman in Sports” by Forbes.
Lesa France Kennedy is the Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for International Speedway Corporation, a motorsports entertainment property that owns the majority of NASCAR-sanctioned race tracks. In addition, she also serves as the Vice Chair of NASCAR, an organization that her grandfather, Bill France Sr., founded. Read More
8 / Alessandra Lariu | Co-founder, SheSays + CEO, Shout
Alessandra Lariu, a former creative director from various advertising agencies decided to take her talents elsewhere when she left her ‘big agency’ job at McCann Erickson in New York to focus her time exclusively on SheSays, an organization that exists to further women’s careers in digital. Chosen as “One of the Most Creative People of 2010” by Fast Company, Ale is a mentor any agency woman would want to have.
In 2011, Ale launched Shout, an extension of SheSays that aims to foster a community of like-minded creative women who can simultaneously relate and push one another’s boundaries. And then to sweeten the deal these women get compensated for their feedback and ideas, even if their ideas aren’t chosen as the final client selection. Read More
9 / Katie Linendoll | On-Air Personality + Tech Expert
Katie Linendoll will tell you she feels fortunate to not have only one ‘official’ position in the 9 to 5 sense of the word. She basically has quite a few roles. First and foremost, she’s the resident tech expert for “The Early Show” and “The Nate Berkus Show” on CBS. She’s also proud to be a regular tech contributor to CNN. Katie freelances for various dot coms and print magazines including People StyleWatch, Fitness, Marie Claire and others.
Sometimes referred to as the “Chic Geek”, Katie has thousands of hours of live television experience and also is known as being the one-stop shop for networks. She researches, develops and co-produces many of her own segments to create an entertainment experience that’s always intelligent, quirky, accessible and unique. Read More
10 / Anna James | Creator, Fash Boulevard
Anna James’ journey to successful fashion blogger began with not-so-successfully losing her dream job a week before Christmas. While the unexpected layoff was devastating, Anna realized she had to move on. “Things in this business fall apart every day. It’s so important to keep your head up and believe that everything is a lesson or a test for something wonderful ahead.”
It was out of Anna’s optimism, and a few sleepless nights, that Fash Boulevard was born. Colliding celebrity fashion with everyday style, the Fash Boulevard blog combines fashion advice, brand history and personal stories to make fashion both fun and approachable. Read More
11 / Ann M. Martin | Author
Growing up, Ann M. Martin had the job we wanted to have. She is the author of The Baby-Sitters Club, one of the most successful series in publishing history with more than 176 million books in print. Because of the success, she spent the latter part of the 1980s and most of the 1990s working on the series, which was supposed to debut in 1986 and end in 1987, and to consist of only four titles. Instead it ended 15 years later, with four additional related series, approximately 250 titles, games, a TV series and a feature film.
The Baby-Sitters Club became the first children’s book series to appear on the USA Today bestseller list. The Baby-Sitters Club also was named as one of the “Books of the Century” by the New York Times Book Review in 1998. Read More
12 / Stephanie Ruhle | Anchor, Bloomberg Television
Before she was an anchor for Bloomberg Television, Stephanie Ruhle had never worked in television. She had spent the previous 14 years making a name for herself on Wall Street, beginning at Credit Suisse and then moving to Deutsche Bank, where she was a top producing salesperson covering multi-strategy hedge funds. Now at Bloomberg, Stephanie is the co-host of “Market Makers” and a contributor to “Lunch Money”.
Since joining the network in October 2011, Stephanie has interviewed some of the biggest names in the business, including hedge funders Michael Platt and Dinakar Singh, along with Rep. Ron Paul and Blackstone President Tony James. Read More
13 / Lee Spencer | Senior NASCAR Writer / FOXSports.com
“Keeping it real” could be the motto Lee Spencer lives by, but if you ask her about her rules to live by, she’ll tell you it’s just common sense.
As the senior NASCAR writer for FoxSports.com, Lee travels the entire NASCAR circuit each year reporting on the races, breaking news, and providing in-depth features and analysis. A true voice of the fans, Lee brings her readers into the garage with her thorough reporting. But Lee, who has covered auto racing for more than 15 years, will tell you that respect in the garage had to be earned — and not just because she was a woman. It took years of trust building and hard work. Read More
14 / Aria Stewart | Editorial Production Supervisor, Walt Disney Animation Studios
If a dream is a wish your heart makes, then Aria Stewart has one heck of a heart! As an editorial production supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, Aria is in charge of making sure the Disney editors have what they need to stay focused.
Aria’s days are anything but typical, but some days she’ll meet with a film’s editor and producer, and other days she’s working with actors on their dialogue. Sounds pretty fabulous, right? Aria’s last film credit was for Disney’s “Tangled.” She’s now working on one of Disney Animation’s upcoming features, but she can’t disclose the title. Read More
15 / Maria Yoon | Conceptual Artist + Museum Educator, Metropolitan Museum of Art
When performance artist Maria Yoon said “I do” at Times Square in New York City last May, it wasn’t the first time — it was her 50th.
Maria, a first generation Korean-American, felt pressure to get hitched at a young age from both her parents and the Korean-American community. In response, she became “Maria the Korean Bride,” and set out to hold a wedding in all 50 states opposite a revolving cast of “spouses.” The performance series was designed to bring attention to the social pressures and ostracism Maria has endured and explore how getting married is seen in other cultures. Read More