Upon graduating from Harvard in 1998, Alison Overholt opted for the safer path. Unlike many of her peers, who were choosing at the time unpaid media internships or low-paying reporter jobs with regional newspapers, Overholt accepted a job with consulting firm KPMG.
She realized, immediately, that this decision was a mistake. In the turbulent aftermath, one particular publication helped her get through it. From her “Get That Life” essay in Cosmopolitan:
I was really unhappy. I would get my work done as soon as I could and sit in my cubicle and read magazines, especially Fast Company. It was beautiful and fun. They were profiling incredible people. I was dog-earing every page of the magazine. I realized that I wanted to be a journalist.
In 2000, I made a New Year’s resolution to write a letter to Fast Company. I wrote to the managing editor [and said] I thought that Fast Company was doing some of the most exciting work in the world. Wouldn’t they take a risk and think about hiring me to join the team?
Yes sir, it’s a Fishbowl cliffhanger. But we will tell you that an expensive couch played a key role in what followed. For a journalist who would go on to become the first woman to edit a general-interest mainstream English-language sports magazine. The manner in which she landed that job in 2016 is pretty spectacular.
Pictured: ESPN The Magazine’s 2017 Body Issue, on newsstands today. Photo by Walter Iooss.
Previously on Fishbowl:
Amy Odell Now Freely Admits: That Kurt Loder Interview Just Didn’t Cut It
Amy Chozick Tells Cosmo How She Snagged the ‘Hillary Clinton Beat’
How Cosmopolitan Editor Emma Barker Paid Her Career Dues