Wednesday
Apr162014

Prolific Designer: Lisa Jackson, Creative Director & Founder of LJ Cross Jewelry

Lisa Jackson, the Creative Director and Founder of LJ Cross, has travelled the globe searching for extraordinary examples of fine art and rare finds. During her career, her exacting eye and vision for detail established Jackson as the go to interior designer and her clients include such boldfaced names as Renee Zellweger, Vera Wang, Tory Burch and Michael J. Fox.
In 1996, the New York native launched Lisa Jackson Ltd., an interior design firm with its own signature furniture line and tabletop business. Business flourished and her reputation grew; in 2006 Jackson purchased Lucca & Co, where she also took on the role of both CEO and designer at the store, creating a signature line to be sold along with a well-edited inventory of international antiques, made to measure furniture, and decorative and fine arts. It was a natural step for the designer to delve into the world of fine jewelry. In February 2014, Jackson will unveil LJ Cross, her stylish line of cross earrings and necklaces that are sold exclusively at Phoenix Roze on Madison Avenue, with an e-commerce website coming this Spring to www.ljcrossny.com.

1) How did you get into the fashion industry?

I have an interior design background and I love product design. Over the years, I've designed so many things for commercial and residential interiors: Furniture, tabletop items, candles, lighting...Fine jewelry is what was next. It is a natural evolution for me.

2) Of all the designs, why did you pick religious symbols to accessorize people with and which ones are your favorites?

The LJ Cross brand is an homage to my late brother, who used to wear a lot of crosses. For me, the cross is not necessarily a religious symbol — it’s a spiritual symbol and an iconic fashion symbol. Chanel, Lanvin, Lacroix, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana...they have all designed collections based on the cross. I am attracted to rectilinear forms and I have been collecting crosses for years. It became a symbol for Christianity, but it existed well before that. It was an ancient Egyptian symbol for life and fertility, predating Christianity. And there are cave drawings of crosses dating back to the Stone Age! As to my favorite crosses: I do not offer up any designs that I would not personally love to wear myself!

3) Describe your transition from interior design to jewelry design - difficult or smooth sailing?

Design is always a process. Ward Kelvin is my design director, and he has an intensive fine jewelry background. I've been dreaming up this collection for five years, but I had never designed jewelry before. Sometimes though, you do find your match. We have a blast! Now we have signature looks that LJ Cross really owns. I'm very proud of that.

4) Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

I have wanderlust and I shop the world. I draw inspiration from nature, architecture, and art from different cultures. LJ Cross creations play with scale and proportion, have a sense of hand, and are ultra-feminine. 

5) What is your favorite travel destination?

Mykonos - It's the most beautiful island, with everything that I love: White buildings, white linens, diaphanous clothes…It's a curated experience. I always find a beautiful cross at one of their flea markets. Nothing like weaving through the white-washed buildings to find hidden treasures.

6) Who is your typical customer - rockstars, celebs, socialites? 

There's an LJ Cross for everyone. Our smallest crosses start at $1,200. On the high end, statement crosses with over-scale gemstones can be $30,000 up to $100,000. We have rock stars and socialite clients who typically purchase three crosses in small/medium/large sizes and wear them layered. An artist recently bought seven in the same size, though. And then there are young clients who buy just a single small cross, too. There are no rules.

7) What is your life motto?  

As we are launching with fine jewelry, my current motto is: "The more diamonds, the better!" But there is a Gore Vidal quote I also adore: "Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn."

8) What person, living or not, do you try to emulate?

Of course it's my brother. He encompassed sartorial splendor but also had attitude and a love of life and people. He had individual style, confidence and an infectious smile. LJ Cross is an homage to Steven. 

9) What's next for LJ Cross?

We are just getting our feet wet in the fine jewelry world now, so we are singularly focused on this category. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I do see LJ Cross as a luxury lifestyle brand with a clear point of view. Over time, there are other categories that I would love to enter, including fur, evening bags, leather goods, and even shoes and fine fragrance! 

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Whether it be a beautifully crafted, minimalist cross starting at $1,200, or a grand statement piece featuring large gemstones, organic pearls and halos of diamonds priced at $100,000, Jackson has created something to fit each of her discerning clientele's individual style.

Lisa Jackson lives with her family in New York City and has a home in the Hamptons. In addition to launching her new business, Jackson is currently attending Harvard Business School's Executive Program. She received her Masters of Business Administration from New York University's Stern School of Business and her BA from New York University.

http://www.ljcrossny.com/

Tuesday
Apr152014

Philanthropic Principal: Eli Verschleiser, Treasurer of The American Jewish Congress & Co-Founder of Our Place Charity

Eli Verschleiser serves as the Chairman of The Multi Group of Companies, where he has overseen a private real estate investment banking firm specializing in sourcing complex financial solutions for its client base. Through his companies Mr. Verschleiser has been involved in over $6 Billion of real estate transactions. In addition to his investment banking activities, Mr. Verschleiser has developed commercial and residential projects in the New York metropolitan area for his own account, and was responsible for winning the national public 858 Acre RFP for the Master Re-Development of Riviera Beach Florida. 

Mr. Verschleiser is involved in numerous community and philanthropic organizations, including acting Treasurer of The American Jewish Congress, co-founding Our Place, a New York based not-for-profit that provides support for teens in trouble, and co-founding Magenu, an international not for profit that works to protect children by promoting education in personal safety. In addition Eli is an honorary board member of numerous additional not-for profit organizations.

1) Please tell us about the charities you are closely associated with?
 Through OurPlace, I am very involved in helping teens that have substance abuse issues. Substance abuse is more than just that. There are so many underlying issues that it can take a lifetime of support for any individual. OurPlace has saved over 8,000 kids and currently receives more than 1,000 new cases annually. OurPlace has numerous drop in centers throughout the NYC metropolitan area. 
 
My wife and I founded a new organization, Magenu. Magenu has made inroads into the private Jewish school sector in educating administration, teachers, parents, and children on how to protect themselves from child abuse. To date Magenu has educated thousands and has now opened additional offices in Florida and in NJ. 
 
I am the Treasurer for the American Jewish Congress which has been successfully advocating  for the people for over a century. As such we are currently involved in Science Diplomacy for Israel and numerous other major projects as proponents of the people. 
 
2) How did you get into philanthropic efforts?
My family has always been involved in charitable work. My grandfather made a lasting impression on us, and was well known for his community work.
 
3) What is the best way to market a charity?
If you take a hands on approach it is easier for you to get others involved. The best way to market is to set the example yourself, which sets a positive example for the entire organization and its members/volunteers/participants. This creates an organic environment for marketing, where word of mouth generates the most interest.
 
4) What is the biggest challenge when leading charitable efforts?
The challenge is always getting the organization to a self sufficient point. You need to remember "never to lose steam". Enthusiasm is contagious. If it gets difficult as it always will, find more enthusiasm, see what you have accomplished thus far.
 
5) How, if at all, do you mix business with charity?
In all my deals I urge on the other side to donate a minimum of 5% of their profits from the transaction to a charity that I believe in. You would be surprised by how receptive to that concept most dealmakers are.
 
6) What charities and philanthropists do you admire?
I admire all charitable efforts if they done in a selfless manner. There are many who have an ulterior motive such as business, personal reputation, and for tax reasons. 
 
7) What is your life motto?
"You don't take it with you."
 
8) What is next for your charities?
I would like to work towards having  Israel be a model country for the world to look towards when it comes to child abuse prevention and education. Israel is small enough to be able to implement a national educational program for all its elementary thru high schools in this field. It can changed the world if the correct model is implemented, which we believe we have. 
Tuesday
Apr082014

Hospitalty's Luxury Marketing Maven: Stuart Foster,Vice President of Marketing, Luxury Brands, Hilton Worldwide 

Stuart Foster serves as Vice President of Marketing, Hilton Worldwide Luxury Brands, which includes Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. He has an extensive background overseeing marketing initiatives for the world’s top luxury brands, most notably Moët-Hennessy.

During his 15-year tenure with Moët-Hennessy, Foster utilized his deep marketing and sales experience and luxury consumer insight to provide leadership in some of the world's top markets, including New York, Paris and Tokyo. While based in Paris as Global Brand Director for the group's namesake champagne brand, he developed and implemented a highly successful brand renewal strategy. While working in Tokyo as a Senior Marketing Manager, he reinvigorated the presence of one of the world's premier champagne brands, accelerating its growth in traditional channels while also developing its visibility and presence in hotels, restaurants and wine shops. In his most recent role, Foster was charged with the development of existing and new brands' distribution, sales and profit, account planning and pricing across the region.

1) How did you get into the hotel industry?

My whole career has been in the luxury goods industry. I started in cosmetics at L’Oreal and then spent 15 years developing Moët & Chandon around the world. People often think that champagne and hotels are at best tangent industries, but in fact there are so many parallels. Both are selling experiences – one the potential of an experience the moment a cork pops, the other a variety of potential experiences available on property. That’s what we’re selling – aspirational experiences. It’s not about the bed, the shower or the towels; nor was champagne about the juice or the bottles. They’re both about creating meaningful experiences with other people that become lasting memories. Building brands with strong heritage and legacy is the commonality between my job at Moët & Chandon and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. It’s about taking the decades and centuries of history and making them relevant to today’s consumers. 

2) Define Success.  What does Success mean to you?

Success to me comes on a number of levels. It’s about satisfaction: I have to be satisfied that I am providing a good life for my family and opportunities for my children. This is the most personal level of success. Success for me also comes from building a business and being part of a team that is launching new properties and creating innovative programs and marketing campaigns that contribute to the success of the business. It’s also about being challenged and stimulated – growing personally in my experience as well as my skillsets. When you combine all these things - family, business, and intellectual satisfaction – I feel success is reached.

3) What is your favorite travel destination?

There are too many to have one. I have travelled to over 70 countries in my life, and so many of the trips have varied. I love the buzz of Shanghai and of Hong Kong, but Tokyo is one of my favorites. I lived there for four years and barely scratched the surface. The Japanese have a concept of tatemae and honne, which is about what you see, and what is real beneath the surface. Tokyo is full of examples – from architecture and cuisine, to people and art – that reveal this idea, but it takes time to discover it. You can’t visit Tokyo over a weekend. The Conrad Tokyo, which opened when I lived there, is the best place from which to explore Tokyo. It’s perfectly located between all the various places you want to visit.


I also love the beach, in particular pure, unadulterated beach, like you would find in the Maldives. The Conrad Maldives is the kind of oasis of retreat I long for, especially after a winter like this one!


4) What is your most successful marketing strategy?

There isn’t just one. Marketing luxury requires a deeper aesthetic and knowledge of the subjective than marketing say soup or baby products. It starts with truly understanding the DNA behind your brand: you have to know your history as well as your values, and you have to articulate them today in a way that is relevant and resonates. And then comes execution, which is constantly evolving. Media, digital, PR – they are as important as events, networking and partnerships. It requires integration, and of course, having a great team in place that you trust implicitly to execute on instinct.

An example of a recent successful marketing execution is Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts’ launch of “The Story Begins Here” campaign. First, we had to identify the core of the Waldorf Astoria brand – the true heart of its legendary history and where it is today – which is that it is simply “unforgettable”. Unforgettable experiences happening at iconic, landmark destinations.  Next, it was about creating disruption and impact through an innovative and creative process that identified a new face for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, actress Olga Kurylenko, who epitomized the elegance of the brand while bringing us firmly into the contemporary. From there we brought on a rising star author, Simon Van Booy, who wrote a short story inspired by Olga that spoke to the inspirational spaces and unforgettable experiences present at each and every Waldorf Astoria property around the world.  The story and the campaign, as well as three vignettes inspired by the story and shot by Bruno Dayan, now live on a custom- designed parallax website where consumers can read Simon’s words and go behind-the-scenes from the shoot. We introduced the campaign through a thoughtful PR and media plan. From my point of view, this was a stellar example of a strategic, yet fully integrated marketing campaign.

5) Do you utilize social media and to what capacity?

In this day, you have to have a presence on social media. It’s a part of our consumers’ lives – where they learn, share, brag and explore.  Therefore, social media is a way of life for our team and our brands. It’s important that we remain thoughtfully engaged with our consumers through all marketing touch points whether it’s via email, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The challenge for any brand is striking the right balance and cadence for sharing and engaging authentically and thoughtfully.

2013 was a big year: we introduced new and unique branded content on our social platforms for both the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad brands. Waldorf Astoria released short videos on Facebook that chronicled “Unforgettable Stories” from all 26 hotels in our portfolio, including 3 Michelin-starred Chef Heinz Beck speaking to the food culture in Rome.  

On the Conrad side, we introduced “Conrad Connections” videos connecting fans on Facebook with the cities around them, featuring local insiders in five different cities where Conrad properties are located. We also executed an exciting Instagram activation for Conrad – dubbed Conrad 5/5/5 for the five digital influencers we had traveling to five Conrad hotels in five countries. Each influencer shared inspiring travel photography from the Conrad property they visited via their own social channels, tagging the brand along the way, and by the time the program wrapped our Instagram following had grown by nearly 500%.

6) How do you differentiate your brand from all other luxury hotels - have you found "co-branding" successful and in what way?

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts speak to two very different groups of travelers – the former to the discerning, established traveler and the latter to the super- connected global travelers. Our two luxury brands have very distinct and different positioning.  Waldorf Astoria is about unforgettable experiences, whereas Conrad is about smart luxury for the traveler whose life, business and pleasure seamlessly intersect. An example of this is how we deliver against our different service models. Waldorf Astoria offers its guests a Personal Concierge, a high- touch engagement offered to ensure every moment of their stay is taken care of.

Conrad also delivers high level service, but we offer an alternative in the Conrad Concierge app. The app allows guests to access all of the hotels’ services, including in-room dining, transportation, wake up calls, and even selecting their preferred brand of toiletries from three options – all from the convenience of their smartphone or tablet before they even set foot in the hotel. We think the best way to differentiate ourselves from the competition is through our impeccable service, not bricks and mortar.

7) What’s next for your hotel?

For Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, there are four new exciting openings in Dubai, Beijing, Amsterdam and Jerusalem. These truly inspiring new properties epitomize the future vision of the Brand. Each are in iconic landmark destinations on the Palm in Dubai, Wangfujing in Beijing, UNESCO protected townhouses in Amsterdam, and steps from the Holy City in Jerusalem. The environments created at these new properties will inspire grandeur, elegance and emotion. And the unforgettable experiences we are offering at each, combined with our signature True Waldorf Service, will make them and the brand unforgettable in the minds of the consumer.

For Conrad Hotels & Resorts, we recently opened new resorts in the Algarve and South Africa and new urban hotels in Seoul, Beijing and Dubai. At these and every other Conrad property, we continue to evolve the functionality of the Conrad Concierge app too keep our guests connected. We have added pre check-in functionality to the app, allowing users to bypass the normal front desk process, and will soon be adding meeting planner and attendee functionality as well.

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Fluent in English and French and proficient in Japanese, Foster brings a global perspective to Hilton Worldwide Luxury Brands. He received his Master of Business Administration from New York University's Stern School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University.

Stuart reports directly to John Vanderslice, Global Head of Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, of Hilton Worldwide and works from the Hilton Worldwide Headquarters in McLean, Va.

Conrad Connections & Unforgettable Stories Videos.

https://www.youtube.com/user/ConradHotels

https://www.youtube.com/user/waldorfastoriahotel

https://twitter.com/conradhotels: @conradhotels

https://twitter.com/waldorfastoria: @waldorfastoria

 

Thursday
Apr032014

Health Guru: Chris Rondeau, CEO of Planet Fitness

theNativeSociety interviews Chris Rondeau, Chief Executive Officer of Planet Fitness.  Chris became CEO in January 2013, after serving as the brand’s Chief Operating Officer since 2003. One of Planet Fitness’ original founders joining the company in 1993, Rondeau played a critical role in developing the unique, low-cost / high-value business model and lean operating systems that has revolutionized both the fitness and franchising industry. Still today, Planet Fitness is the only health club in the industry that prides itself on creating a non-intimidating, affordable environment for first time or occasional gym users.

Rondeau, an entrepreneur at heart, started working at age 14 managing a family-owned chain of drugstores throughout New England before working at what became the first Planet Fitness at age 19. Rondeau attended the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. He enjoys fishing, spending time with friends and vacationing in Florida with his wife and four children.

1) How did you get into the health and wellness industry?

I started to workout in high school and always liked it, so it was a natural fit from the start for me to get involved in the industry. As I started to get a bit older, I began to look at it as more of a chore than a hobby. That’s when I worked with Planet Fitness co-founders, Mike and Marc Grondahl, to come up with the business model designed for those who look at going to the gym as something they have to do, not necessarily want to do. We wanted to create an environment that was non-intimidating for the first time and occasional gym goer. That’s how we came up with the Judgement Free Zone, so people wouldn’t feel judged on their skill level or how often they made it to the gym.  

2) What marketing/branding strategies have you implemented which you find most successful?

We use a layering strategy using a mutli-channel approach through advertising on radio, TV, direct mail and digital, in addition to public relations. Using humor in our ads has always benefited us because everyday people can relate. We have also been successful by illustrating areas of our brand that are different than other fitness clubs, while highlighting the benefits of being a member and our high value/low cost model.   

3) The most important traits in becoming a successful CEO are...

Gaining the respect and admiration from people within the organization so they drive to satisfy the demands of the company and bring the vision to life. In addition, having employees believe in the same vision you have is key.

4) What is your life motto?

There are so many things in life that you can’t control. Therefore, you must control everything you actually have the ability to control.

5) If there were one food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

Steak and beer.

6) What is your daily fitness regime?

30 Minutes 4 – 5 days a week. In the summer I do more cardio and also run outside.

7) Who is your mentor?

I learned so much from my father in the early years . He owned a chain of drugstores in New England, and I got my drive and motivation to succeed from him. One of the founders of Planet Fitness, Mike Grondahl, has also been a great mentor to me throughout my years at PF and in becoming CEO.

8) What's next for Planet Fitness?

To date, we are operating nearly 800 clubs. We are really looking forward to reaching the 1,000th clubs mark. Currently, Planet Fitness is the fastest-growing full size health club franchise in the United States.

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Founded in 1992 in Dover, N.H., Planet Fitness is now the fastest-growing full size health club franchise in the United States, and has revolutionized the industry with a combination of extremely low prices and a unique, friendly, and hassle-free environment called the Judgement Free Zone®.

Planet Fitness has more than 750 locations nationwide and has grown to more than 5 million members. The company prides itself on giving people an unbeatable value, top-notch facilities, and an atmosphere that focuses on the needs of occasional or first-time gym users rather than hard-core fitness fanatics. All Planet Fitness clubs feature a wide selection of brand-name cardio and strength equipment, and provide unlimited fitness instruction with all memberships.

Planet Fitness is a national brand partner of NBC’s The Biggest Loser®. For more information visit www.PlanetFitness.com.

 

Tuesday
Apr012014

Media Magnate: Cathie Black, Former chairman and president, Hearst Magazines & Best-selling author/Investor 

theNativeSociety has the exclusive interview with one of the world's most powerful women: Cathleen Black is the former chairman and president of Hearst Magazines as well as a best-selling author and investor and advisor in digital start-ups. Cathie is also a board member of several digital start-ups, to include Yieldbot, BarkBox and Daily Muse and others.

In addition, she is a popular speaker to business and women’s audiences. As board member of Hearst Corporation and President, then chairman, of Hearst Magazines, one of the world's largest publishers of monthly magazines, for 15 years, Cathie oversaw 20 titles in the U.S. and nearly 200 international editions in more than 100 countries including Cosmopolitan, Food Network Magazine, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, O, The Oprah Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, and Town & Country.

Cathie expanded Hearst Magazines, into a more highly visible and innovative division by rejuvenating its storied older titles, launching new ones  Food Network and O, The Oprah Magazine – the most successful launch in publishing history – and extending branded content into digital venues. Cathie steadily increased revenues and profitability,  broadened the company’s international reach, and acquired numerous digital brands and businesses..

Fortune Magazine named Cathie to its annual 50 Most Powerful Women in Business for 11 consecutive years. She has also been included numerous times on Forbes magazine's list of "The 100 Most Powerful Women" and Crain's list of New York City's "100 Most Influential Women in Business” and been called “The First Lady of Magazines”.

1) How did you get into the media/publishing industry?

While in college, I decided to major in English with the specific idea of moving to NYC afterward and going into publishing, advertising or public relations. At the time, I really didn’t have any big contacts or people that I knew other than one at a book publishing company and after talking about the long lead time for books, I thought I wanted a higher energy and faster time line for my first job, so I relentlessly called and sent resumes to magazine companies and advertising agencies. I finally got an interview at a large magazine publisher and immediately felt that the work and environment were well suited to my temperament and interests. My first job was not on the editorial side but in advertising sales and I was hooked. I liked the sense of owning my own accounts, earning a salary and commission and feeling like it was a great first start. I also had a female boss which was a good role model and quite rare in that era.

2) What do you believe has been your most successful decisions and biggest mistake and how did you learn from your mistakes?

Making  mistakes is part of any job (and in life, for that matter). One learns from mistakes and hopefully you don’t repeat the same mistake. The point is to think about what happened and why; admit it was an error and don’t try to cover the mistake up as it will just get bigger and cause more anxiety or problems. 

My most successful decisions always involved taking a risk. For example, early on when my first boss resigned to go to another publishing company, I immediately went to the publisher’s office to schedule an appointment to pitch for the position. It was a bold move as I was only 23 and my boss was probably a decade older but I had confidence that I would be able to handle the responsibility. I got the job and even asked for more money than the raise that was offered. The publisher was pretty surprised but I ended up not with what I had asked for but more than what they had offered in the first discussion. Getting comfortable negotiating is really, really important.

My biggest decision was to accept the presidency of USA Today which meant relocating from NYC to Washington, DC where the newspaper was headquartered. When USAT launched it was very controversial as it had four color printing, a different and breezier handling of the news and reader friendly format which was looked down upon by journalists everywhere. But it was a great move up and exposed me to the newspaper industry and Wall Street as the company was publicly held and a darling of Wall Street analysts. My real job there was to quickly figure out the advertising strategy as the paper was hemorrhaging red ink in the start up years. It took time and relentless selling but revenue started to come in and the paper was accepted as a great advertising vehicle with its large paper 4c format. The challenges were huge, the staff was many times larger than anything I had managed before but it was a fantastic opportunity for professional growth and experience.

3) At Hearst, what strategies did you employ to stay ahead of the competition? Partnerships or co-branding?

When I first came to Hearst I knew immediately that we had some of the great brand names in magazine publishing, like Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire and another dozen equally storied titles. But I also knew that we had been complacent and not forward thinking enough. In the next years we launched the Oprah magazine, an effort which I led in pitching her personally in Harpo’s Chicago offices, acquired others, closed non performers, and strengthened both the editorial and advertising leadership to compete more effectively. It was also just at the beginning of the digital revolution so we staffed up to learn and participate in web site development leading to new relationships, new skill sets and tremendous change. It was a very exciting time. Additionally, we expanded greatly in global partnerships to extend our reach and footprint. For example, Cosmopolitan is now in nearly 70 cities worldwide from China to Russia.

4) What traits do you believe contribute most in your becoming a successful media entrepreneur?

One of the traits that I believe is most important in the media industry is curiosity. You have to be curious about trends, happenings, change and the future. I have always been comfortable in looking at the future as the past is not always the best predictor. It is why I have not been afraid of taking a risk, albeit hopefully a calculated one.

5) What’s next for Cathie Black?

Ever since stepping down from being Chairman of Hearst Magazines and a brief stint as Chancellor of New York City Schools, I knew I wanted to be my own boss. To that end, I have created a portfolio of young companies where I am either board member, advisor or angel investor or both. I find it incredibly exciting and stimulating to be around all these young entrepreneurs who have put their careers and capital on the line. It is fun and invigorating every single day and keeps me thinking about the future and new business opportunities while offering strategic advice. I have a particular interest in women entrepreneurs as well so a good amount of time is dedicated to them as well.

6) Who is your role model, either living or past, whose beliefs you would like to emulate?

Gloria Steinem has always been a role model for me  as she was so brave and bold in the early days of the women’s movement and continues to advocate for women’s rights to this day.  When Ms. Magazine launched, I had the privilege of being its first advertising director so I have been at the forefront of women’s advancement ever since.

7) Most visited websites on your browser?

Google, Facebook, Twitter, CNN, New York Times, NY Post, Amazon, Flipboard, Business Insider, Digiday, Open Table, Gilt…the list is endless.

8) If there were one food and type of drink left on earth, what would that be?

Mussels, baguette, cabernet sauvignon.

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Black was widely credited for the success of USA Today where she was first president, then publisher, as well as a board member and executive vice president/marketing of Gannett, its parent company.  She later became president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, the industry's largest trade group before joining Hearst. She began her career in advertising sales and made publishing history when she became the first woman publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York.

Her best-selling book, BASIC BLACK: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life) chronicled her decades in the media business, and explains how to achieve "the 360° life"—a blend of professional accomplishment and personal contentment—as well as how women can seize opportunity in the workplace. "BASIC BLACK," now in its eighth printing (166,000 copies), reached No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal Business Books list (Nov. 6, 2007) and Business Week best seller list (Jan. 3, 2008), and No. 3 on the New York Times Business Books List (Nov. 11, 2007). The book has been translated into 12 languages for readers from China to Russia.

Black is a graduate of Trinity College, Washington, D.C., and holds ten honorary degrees. She lives in New York City with her husband, Tom Harvey. They have two college-aged children.