Women are making their mark in the world of business like never before. In every industry and at every level, we look to women who've made it their own as an example for us to do the same. For our latest series, entitled 'How She Got Her Job', we ask women who have achieved stunning success in their field to tell us how they got there, and their advice on how we can join them.
For our very first edition of 'How She Got Her Job', who better to kick off the series than IMAGE Publication's very own Editor-In-Chief, Lizzie Gore-Grimes. Lizzie has an extensive history in publishing for titles both at home and abroad, including across IMAGE's own publications and various roles at Condé Nast. Now as Editor-In-Chief, Lizzie oversees all editorial development, content creation and production for all of IMAGE's titles, including IMAGE Interiors & Living and Cara magazine.
What was your favourite subject in school?
What was your first job, and what other jobs have you had since?
I still remember my TY work experience in The Star newspaper; great memories of cigarette smoke, laughter and chess. Not much work. I then spent six months at Condé Nast House & Garden in Cape Town, before moving to London to work for Condé Nast for four years. Friends would come to meet me for lunch and arrive ten minutes early to sit in the lobby and people-watch; it was great fun. It’s been publishing in one guise or another for me almost all the way, but I loved waitressing. I would always happily work in a cafe or restaurant - I love the energy, buzz and chat.
What was the first job you loved?
The six months I spent working as an editorial assistant on the launch of Condé Nast House & Garden magazine out in Cape Town, probably made the greatest impression on me. As the company was just a startup I got loads of amazing experience.
What does your daily routine look like?
We have a new six-month-old cockapoo puppy in the house so that’s throwing an extra layer of logistical head-melt into the mix. He is seriously cute though. Mornings are busy so I try and get up at 6.30am ahead of the three kids, make tea, take puppy out, pack lunches, make breakfast (ie shake cereal into bowl), call kids to wake up, search for missing bits of uniform, eat a boiled egg, send the puppy to jump on kids, make my lunch (if I can be bothered), shower, dress and hustle everyone out the door. Leave for work. Phew.
How do you think you got to where you are today?
I’ve always tried to hold myself to account. I try and do everything to the best of my ability because it matters to me to do it that way, not because I’m trying to impress others. I try always to aim beyond what I think I’m capable of and above all else, trust my instinct. If something doesn’t feel right – on a page layout or in a personal work relationship – I try and address it straight away. If you are open in your communication with others and generous with your time and support, it will come back to you in spades.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Working on creative concepts with others and finding solutions to problems we thought were unmanageable at first. I also love the tangible part of what we do here. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than holding the finished product of your work in your hand.
What’s your least favourite part?
I love what I do and I will always want to work. But I do struggle with the work-life balance thing (like everyone else). I was thrilled to take on a new role with more responsibility earlier this year but because I feel now that I need to be even more dedicated to my family when I’m not working I haven’t seen my friends as much. This is something I want to fix. No matter what age and stage in your life you’re at - never forget how important your close friends are.
What are the key skills you need to make it in your industry?
You need a head full of curiosity and ideas, with a good eye for detail and a good ear. You need to be a keen observer, someone who loves soaking up the world around you and is always thinking of new ways to tell a story, visually, verbally and editorially.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned for success in your career?
Be open and transparent. If in doubt, communicate. Never be afraid to say you don’t understand something and if you make a mistake (and everyone does), own it and be gracious about it. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you deal with them that really matters.
What’s the number one piece of advice you would give to young people starting out who want to follow in your footsteps?
Pick up the phone. It’s fascinating to me how little our office phone lines ring. I think we rely far too much these days on non-verbal communication, particularly for work. You get so much more when you chat to someone person to person. For the same reason, get out and about as much as you can and meet people, this is where you’ll forge the vital contacts and links you need to succeed in any industry.