As an award-winning journalist, editor, author, podcaster and founder of this week’s 10th annual Women in the World summit, which will run from April 10th to 12th in New York, there’s much to be said about Tina Brown. The epitome of a trailblazer, Tina has been there and done it all, transforming sleepy reads Vanity Fair and the New Yorker into buzzy must-reads, launching Talk (more on that later) to publishing the Daily Beast. Here, Tina offers up some simple advice to help build a killer career.
Tell us about what you are doing now and how you got there.
Blonde ambition! I saw each day as a pivotal moment. Passion carried me forward and made every decision feel more important than the last. It was pure journalistic passion and love of storytelling that made me launch the Women in the World Summit in 2009. I felt there were so many remarkable unheard women from all over the world doing courageous, innovative things that American audiences were not exposed to. It began with one sponsor and an audience of 300 at a small midtown theater in Manhattan, but now plays to a sold-out audience of 7,500 at New York’s Lincoln Center over three days every spring.
We have such a great lineup [this week that includes] Oprah, Brie Larson, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Stacey Abrams, Susan Rice and Anna Wintour, hero journalists like Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Carol Cadwalladr from the U.K. and the great photojournalist Lynsey Addario. Women in the World is now a global brand and we've taken summits, salons and live convenings to Toronto, London, Delhi, Davos and other markets across the U.S.
What do you see as the major opportunities and challenges for women today?
Big power surge behind women’s empowerment since #MeToo, but the challenges remain. Nobody gave up a struggle without a fight as you can see from the 11 white middle-aged men on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
What solutions or advice can you share?
The very pedestrian advice that you should always follow-up, answer emails, send thank yous and never drop the ball. It’s remarkable how far you can get if you follow that maxim.
Who helped you in your journey, and what advice did they give you that really shaped your thinking?
My husband Sir Harry Evans is the No. 1 mentor of my life. He is an author, a book publisher, and a celebrated editor himself. He’s my strongest critic, but most supportive cheerleader. I could not have gotten here without him.
What one thing would you have done differently early in your career if you had the right bit of advice?
What about at the mid-point of my career? One thing I would not do is leave the editorship of the New Yorker and go work for Harvey Weinstein to publish Talk magazine (though I should say that Talk had some of the best journalism I have ever published).
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, money or talent would be no object, what would you be doing?
Exactly what I’m doing now.